Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Vacuuming. Ugh.


My first official household job when I became a newly minted teenager was the vacuuming.
Ugh.
Mom would drag out her antiquated upright vacuum, wheel it over to where I was sitting watching Saturday morning cartoons, and say, cheerfully, “Diane! You've just won a trip!” There, she would pause significantly, smiling widely at me.
I knew what was coming.
Which made it distinctly un-funny.
Finally, she would add, “Around the house with the vacuum!”
Sigh.
I hated vacuuming.
And her vacuum, whatever it's glowing attributes in its younger days, was distinctly past its prime.
In fact, it hardly had any suction at all.
Vacuuming with a machine that hardly sucks really sucks.
So to speak.
Dutifully, and after a significant number of follow-up 'encouragements', I would drag myself out of my comfy chair, grasp the handle of my nemesis, and start in.
Brrrrrrrrr.
Stupid vacuum.
Brrrrrrrrr.
Look at that! It won't even pick up that piece of lint.
Brrrrrrrrr.
Have I mentioned that I hate vacuuming?
Brrrrrrrrr.
And so it went.
Every Saturday, there was a half hour or so of my life that I'd never get back.
Sigh.
I learned a few tricks.
For example, running an upright vacuum with a spinning brush over an area rug usually resulted in disaster.
The ingestion of said rug.
I learned to stand with a foot at either edge of it to hold it down.
Genius.
But I also learned that spinning brushes are not to be tampered with.
Not-so genius.
Maybe I should explain . . .
One day, the wretched vacuum quit sucking altogether.
For several minutes, I ran it back a d forth over the same piece of lint.
Nothing.
Without shutting it off, I tipped it up to see if the problem was something obvious.
It was!
Right . . . there.
Now, just because a vacuum had quit sucking, doesn't necessarily mean that it has stopped working.
I poked one finger towards the problem.
ZZZZZTTTT!
Ow.
Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow!
I dropped the vacuum and did the dance of pain, clutching my injured right pointer finger in my left hand.
Finally, I spread my hand, palm up and gazed at it.
Looked okay from here.
I turned it over.
My fingernail was black.
I kid you not.
Black.
The vacuum had ripped it free of my finger in one quick, easy movement.
Leaving it attached only by the outer edges.
And it had filled instantly with blood.
Ick.
And it hurt.
Ouch.
Sometime later, an incessant noise intruded upon my pain.
I realized, belatedly, that the vacuum was still running.
Not that it was doing any good.
I switched it off and ran to find my mom.
My black fingernail was with me for a long time.
A long time.
A reminder that vacuuming was not to be taken lightly.
Or at least that vacuums were to be treated with respect.
After that, whenever I needed to see the inner workings, not only was the beast switched off.
But it was also unplugged.
A lesson harshly taught.
But a lesson nonetheless.

P.S. I still hate vacuuming.
Just FYI.

8 comments:

  1. Was it a Kirby??? I remember wanting to vacuum as a kid so mom handed off and the Kirby took off with me dragging behind lol.
    That was a painful lesson indeed and one I'm sure you have passed on to your kids.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think there is a Kirby placed inside every space shuttle. That's what give them such great lift!

      Delete
  2. Ouch!
    I prefer barrel and hose vacuums. The hose pipe can be taken apart and the shorter suctioning end used to clean the lint and dust out of the brushes. Then slot it back together and keep going! Or put it away until next week.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep. I always used a cannister when I had my choice. When Mom was handing out the free trips, she supplied the machinery. Sigh.

      Delete
  3. I dislike vacuuming as well... of course my ex step mother was psychotic and had to have it vacuumed all one way with the lines showing... lol... whatever.

    I have hard wood floors now:)

    ReplyDelete
  4. I like getting calls from vacuum sales people. "I'd like to conduct a survey..." Of which the third question swings over to what kind of vacuum I have. "What kind of vacuum?" "Shop Vac," Pause. "Shop Vac? Ahem, uh, what kind of floors?" "Plywood and concrete." Another pause. "No rugs in your house?" "Nope, the only rug is in my truck and it's so filthy I don't even know what color it is." And "Oh yeah, my neighbor wears a rug but I don't think he could us a vaccum either." Smart alec answers like that work every time...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm definitely going to use those! Instead of putting my four-year-old on the phone and telling her to tell the nice person about her kitty.

      Delete

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