The Hapless Househusband. Vacuuming Sucks...
Chris is trying to avoid doing housework by taking “The Hapless Househusband” on the road. If you enjoy his writing, you will certainly enjoy his live one-hour show. Chris is not afraid to tackle any subject from ironing to staying sober while dusting, including the care and feeding of dust bunnies…
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Sucks The Big One...
Well, duh! But in my newfound role as househusband, priorities have changed. A few years ago we bought a new vacuum cleaner. Being a man, it had, of course, to be the SUV of machines. No wimpy little cylinders that follow you around, all brightly colored, on its hose-leash, no sir. No, “light as a feather”, wuss machine either; I wanted power.
I mean really? There’s a choice between a twelve-amp and a fifteen-amp machine? You have to go with the fifteen. It matters not one bit that you have no idea what an amp is, what it does, and why more is better. This is not golf. Higher numbers win, and that goes for boats, cars, and sound systems, or whenever power is involved. Now, I vaguely remember from dim distant physics classes that an amp is a unit of work, no wait, is that an ohm? BTU? Watt? Whatever, my math says that the fifteen can out-suck a twelve by twenty percent. I want a vacuum that takes great mouthfuls of carpet and drags every ounce of not-carpet into its belly.
Or so I thought...
I begin the vacuuming, having, very intelligently I thought, moved all little furniture aside, giving me a wide swathe to attack. Vacuum does its thing in sucking, hard, and will not move forward or backward. I look at the handle and realize I have not engaged "drive", (seriously, who knew they could be self-propelled?) I push the little switch over. Nothing. Lots of noise. Lots of suck. No movement.
I look closely at the behemoth, and adjust the rug height device. Silly me, I had it on the hardwood floor setting, that was the problem. I put it on shag, which, with me being English, is still a dirty word to giggle at, and we have some movement.
Ten minutes later I realize that forward motion is harder than reverse, so I end up reversing around the rug. I am sweating like I'm cross-country skiing. (If you've ever thought of taking that particular form of torture up, don’t. Take it from me, normal humans can't do it)
One room down, four thousand calories burned, I need to rehydrate. The thought of vacuuming the next room provides inspiration to do, well, pretty much anything else really. Toilets are cleaned, the kitchen floor, not mopped exactly, can I coin the term "Swiffed"? And dust winkled out of every crevasse by my trusty Swiffer 360. (I do hope you are not using the outdated 180 model. It is twice the work, honest.)
In fact, everything is done except the dang vacuuming.
I decide to cheat.
Our particular monster has a little rotating brush head, like it's own mini machine, which I can stick on the end of the hose. By now this will not surprise you, but we have the extended hose, it's like fifteen feet long, and about as manageable as an anaconda on speed. I tame it through sheer force of will, and do the stairs.
Success! (Pun fully intended.)
I open all the windows and strip down to my boxers, and tackle the two Herculean tasks left. Getting the beast upstairs, and vacuuming the upstairs rooms. An hour or so later, I'm soaked and exhausted, and deserve the nice shower I award myself.
I am aware that this can’t become a weekly thing, so I go online and look for replacements. Being me, I get terribly distracted by a great YouTube clip. There’s this one of a cat riding around on a Roomba, beating up on a poor defenseless dog. (I had to put the link below, it’s pee yourself funny…) (I am certifiably ADDDwhatnow?)
I really like the idea of a robot cleaning the floors for me, but the price, and the fact that I can't figure out how it's going to do the stairs, put me off. (Plus, we’d probably have to get a cat again to ride on it, just for fun…)
The guy-ness thing kicks in once again, and I'm drawn to the Rolls Royce of vacuums created by the affable Brit who is not Richard Branson. (Bound to work, think of all those never-break-down-or-rust British cars we made.) I look at Mr. Dyson's offerings with a glint in my eye, a ball, what a great idea, I've never seen a ball stuck to the carpet. The video shows that it twists and turns delightfully with nary a touch, just the slightest flick of the wrist. I'm in love.
Then they talk about the whole "never lose suction" thing. OK, not so sure about that. I envision a house full of vacuums stuck on various bits of carpet, never to let go. I'm actually good with vacuums that lose suction after today. In fact one of my plans was to fill the bag with dirt so I could actually move the darn thing back and forth.
Then, I remember, we have another vacuum in the garage. She-Who-Is-Adored bought it for use in her classroom. I find it in the garage (quite a feat I can assure you), bring it in and clean it. Now, She having bought it for herself, it is not an SUV. It was road tested, light and maneuverable, and what I previously would have considered wimpy.
So that's the one I use now. The behemoth is still sitting at the top of the stairs daring me to carry it down, and I have to vacuum around it, but with my new lightweight buddy, the job is a snap. It sucks of course, but at just the right level...