Yesterday we had a builder come to replace several radiators. It was a dirty job and my filthy living room carpet was visibly filthier after the man finished. Our carpets haven’t had a proper sweep since I broke the last wheel off our vacuum (you can plug it in and it sucks, but without its little wheels it was like wrestling a supernatural entity in the carpet). So the carpet has suffered nothing more abrasive than a tiny cheap thing my husband bought to use on the car which often picks up rubbish in one place and deposts it in another as if I was trying to force feed it my mother’s chilli (which is like chewing stewed wood). The Goblin phoned to see how the workman was getting on and I mentioned it would make me feel better if I could vacuum up all the dirt. We’ve been meaning to buy a vacuum cleaner for ages, but always found something more entertaining to do with our time, but the Goblin, being a lovely man (he hates going out after work especially before eating his dinner), said if I was ready when he got home we could go and buy one before the shops closed. I was in a good mood as we got out of the car at the appliance store. We went in and found the vacuum section and debated various points knowing I wouldn’t have long before the hungry Goblin would start snarling for his dinner; buy the cheap one without much suck and have it die soon requiring the purchase of another machine or spend more and get a decent vacuum that would last a few years. We agreed the latter was more logical. I liked the red one, that was half off so I went to the clerk and told her I wanted to buy a vacuum cleaner. She sent someone off to find it in the storage area and we waited. Some time later the man comes back and tells me that they don’t have any in stock. If I was a betting girl I’d put my money on this company not surviving the next three years!
Perhaps it was irrational of me, but after being denied the pretty red vacuum that was half off, I didn’t want one of their lesser options or more expensive choices. We walked out and the Goblin, determined to hunt down a vacuum for his woman, told me to hurry up and get in the car. There was a shop down the road…it might still be open. We sped off and walked into the store with five minutes to spare before closing. We had to flip through an eight inch thick catalogue, find the vacuum page, decide which one to buy and pay for it before the clock struck the hour and turned us back into the vacuumless Hislops. Preassure!
When I saw the tiny pictures of their offered merchadise I had grave misgivings, but the Goblin was determined to buy one. It was like being in a game show except we’d have to pay for the prize even if it was rubbish. We decided on a vacuum that was the exact price as the shiny red one half off. That should have rung a few bells, but we chose door number three and rushed to pay and collect our new toy.
I felt mildy unhappy as we arrived home and watched the Goblin determined to figure out how to put it together without looking at the instructions. Seeing it in the flesh; shiny new silver plastic against our flithy rug, I felt like an unthankful wench. It was cheap, ugly and yes, I hated it. The poor thing hadn’t even rolled over my filthy carpet and I wanted to shove it back in the box and take it back.
The Goblin eagerly plugged it in (he still hadn’t had his dinner) and started hoovering. There was a cheerful sound of dirt being sucked into a plastic cylinder against a background high pitched piercing screech that made it impossible for me to pretend I could ever enjoy seeing my rugs come clean. I told the Goblin to go microwave his dinner and gritting my teeth, I vacuumed the whole living room and then all around and half under the bed (we sleep in the dining room). I ran it over the small area near the front door, unplugged it, emptied the half full cylinder (from two rooms!) and lugged it upstairs. My intention was to leave it for the morning, but the Goblin really wanted his floor done and he was my vacuum hero so I plugged it in on the landing at the top of the stairs intending to vacuum the small area before doing his room. The cheap ugly thing screeched like a banshee and then there was a weird flash of blue light out of the bottom of the vacuum and then silence. I tried the switched, nothing happened. I checked the plug, it was in and switched on. I pluged the machine into a different socket…nothing. The filthy clear cylinder was on its way to the great rug in the sky after two rooms. It was dead! I now had visions of not getting our money back. They’d look at the cylinder that looked like we’d used the vacuum to clean a tower block and then brought it back for a refund. Who could believe I’d suck up that much dirt from two rooms? I didn’t believe it and I pushed the vacuum!
I didn’t sleep well and neither did the Goblin. He woke up with a fever (we both have some sort of cold) and soon went back to sleep, but by midmorning he was up, off work sick and bored so we carted the vacuum back to the shop along with the box containing its wrappings and waited in line. The lady didn’t even look at it. She refunded our money without question as if she was used to giving refunds for vacuums that only survived two rooms. I felt relieved and guilty. I’d hated it. I hadn’t wanted it. And now it was dead and we had our money back. The Goblin still wanted to find me a vacuum so he drove me to another store where we they had a larger display. There was no shiny red vacuum half off, but they were selling doppelgangers of our dead vacuum. We pretended they weren’t there. The Goblin eyed the most expensive upright that happened to be on special offer, and mentioned he’d read it was one of the best. I should hope so for what they were charging! Then he lifted it off the shelf and I had a go trying to push it. It was really heavy. The salesman at that point came over and explained it was on special offer; some old lady had returned it because it was too heavy. I agreed with the old woman and put it back. After walking up and down the ailse a number of times I found my eyes drawn to a canister vacuum.
It was a Miele (made in Germany) pretty matt blue, had a high noted sucking power and a built in Hepa filter. Seeing it swivell on the ground on its three rotating wheels I was captivated. It was fluid, smooth, pretty; I wanted it more than I’d ever wanted a vacuum cleaner. We bought it and brought it home. It was soon plugged in. Faintly humming a pleasant low note it sucked, like a blackhole, more dirt from my living room carpet!
We took it upstairs and like a repeating dream, I plugged it in and turned it on in the exact same place the ugly one had died and started sweeping. It hummed as it sucked and then there was a loud Zzt, a flash of light and pain in my wrist, right where the vein enters the hand. Was it our rug that killed the ugly vacuum? I don’t know! The Goblin was watching, but he didn’t believe that I’d just been shocked so he tried it…a few seconds later Zzt! I think he said a mildy uncouth word as he was given a hefty static electric shock on the arm. Being a brave vacuum hero and a long suffering Englishman he hoovered his office suffering several more shocks. I was nearly finished vacuuming my workroom when he came back in to tell me he’d read on line that I needed to hold the cleaner handle in a certain place where there was a metal strip to keep the user from being shocked. That tamed the beast! The rug in my room now looks almost new. That is a miracle! It feels so good to have a clean room (or at least a clean floor) and I didn’t have to wear my industrial chemical mask to keep from getting sick while vacuuming because our Miele has a Hepa filter. I love my new vacuum, like I’ve never loved a vacuum before; it’s a pretty little piece of engineering made in Germany and built to last. As we drove home my hero commented that we might not need to buy another one for thirty years. Scary thought! In thirty years I’ll be…old! We’ll be two little old people out shopping for a vacuum. Hopefully one of us will remember not to buy one out of a catalogue!
The Goblin says
Hey! What about the stairs? I vacuumed the stairs, and it didn’t even get a mention! I demand a mention for vacuuming the evil stairs!
Sally Irvine says
I do really understand about shopping for a vacuum cleaner – hate it! Here in Australia they advertise all the really expensive ones (that you can’t afford unless you work 2 jobs!)or when you go to the shop the price range is cheap cheap to oh my how much?! Luckily last year I found that a long time retailer in our closest main town (approx 4000 population) knew a thing or two about these machines and now have an upright one that actually works. And no, I don’t have stairs but lots and lots of tiled floor! Hope the vacuum is well rested after a break on the lounge! Love your blogs.
I’m glad I’m not the only one who finds hunting vacuums a pain! Lots of tiled floor sounds much nicer than my vile cheap carpets, though depending on which part of Austrailia, it might be really dusty which could make tile slippery. My problem would be the special Austrailian spiders and snakes. Even if I never saw any, knowing they were out there waiting to bite me would make me even more paranoid (if possible). Saying that I grew up in Blackwidow country (which could account for the paranoia). I was about five when my mother pointed one out, “Don’t touch it, if it bites you, you’ll die!” She was really good about telling me all the things that would kill me. To this day, every time I see a cement mixer truck I feel Death breathing on the back of my neck. About four we were waiting to cross a busy street right near our trailor park and one rummbled past and my mother, trying to teach me to be careful crossing the road told me how one had run over a boy and killed him. I didn’t understand she meant it had hit the boy, I saw the boy sucked up into the mixer full of wet cement. Bless her, it worked! I’m only surprised no one’s made a horror movie about an evil cement mixer truck. Austrailian spiders or cement mixer trucks? I’ll take the spiders!
Becky, you’re so funny! I know where your ‘clean floor fetish’ comes from! I get freaquent flashbacks of The Brown House. Did we even own a vacuum? I remember one in Scorpion Drive, a silver cannister thing that was so heavy it took all one’s strength to move it so one could keep vacuuming. You couldn’t move it with your foot. It must have weighed 30-40 pounds. I can’t remember mother asking me to vacuum, it was probably a self-inflicted ‘Cinderella moment’, like the time I found myself home alone about nine and decided that since Mother had forbade me to chop wood, I’d go chop up wood and show her I was just as capable as my brother. I chopped it till I got bored/tired. That was a big ax!
all that hard work I never realized it because I have never bought one new, when I lived in california I just went to the flea market and bought one for $20.00 it lasted until I moved to texas and gave it to one of my friends. you don’t need carpets in south texas it’s the bug capital of the world and anything crawls into them. give me wood floor and tile any day. To Mr. Goblin Sir, good job on vanquishing the evil dragon stairs.
I agree, I’d prefer not to need a vacuum! My dream house would have hard wood floors one can wash down with Murphy’s Soap…yummy! I love that smell. I miss American cleaners, especially Pinesol! The strange things one misses.