Monday, April 25, 2011

A Story About A Vacuum Cleaner

When I was young, Mamaw always loved her vacuum cleaner. No, I am not kidding. In the late nineties, she bought a newer version of it that cost her an arm and a leg, but she paid it happily because she LOVED her vacuum cleaner. What did it do that was so special? It vacuumed. I'm not kidding about that either. It's one of the single most effective vacuums I've ever met. But it's hellishly expensive and pretty high maintenance, so I've never met anyone else who has one.

None of the rest of my family liked to use this vacuum because it was, as I mentioned, high maintenance. There's a tub of water in the bottom that you have to fill before you vacuum. All the dust and dirt goes in there, rendering it pretty stationary so it doesn't blow back into the room like other vacs. The down side to this is that the tub has to be emptied at the end of every vacuum session. You're left with a tub of mucky water and sludge that has to be disposed of, and the tub has to be rinsed out really well, and all that and people just don't want to do that.

When Mamaw died, the only possession of hers that I asked for was that vacuum. The family willingly handed it over because no one wanted to toss it (hellishly expensive, remember?), but no one wanted to USE it either. My aunt brought it to me sometime in the winter, but it sat in a closet in the nursery because it needed (guess!) maintenance. Whoever had used it last (not Mamaw, she was bedfast) had left the water in the tub and it was SKUNKY. I had rinsed out the tub and turned it on, but the smell was too much. It smelled like Mamaw's house with a pretty serious overtone of dead ass. So, it sat. I have hardwood floors and a few area rugs, so my Swiffer Sweep & Vac does most of my work. But I also have dogs. And a toddler. I really needed more muscle.

My loving husband kindly took the entire thing apart (literally, he removed every screw) and cleaned it for me. He bleached the tub and made it all nice and shiny again. Today, I not only filled the tub, but put a couple drops of jasmine essential oil in the water before I vacuumed the couch, rugs, and baseboards. My house smells terrific. J got home and started to grump about the fact that I hauled the enormous beast from its cave, but stopped when he smelled the air. It's like I was running a giant air purifier while I cleaned.

Okay, this isn't a product review. Well, it kind of is, but not really. If you don't mind the water thing or the price, go buy one right now. It's worth it. Your house will be spectacularly clean. But the point of the story is that Mamaw loved this vacuum. I loved it originally just because she did and maybe also because I felt a little sorry for it because no one else loved it. Now, as an adult with a house that needs cleaned every 27 seconds, I understand the true value of the thing and love it even more. AND! My husband, who thought it was a dumb idea (he didn't say that, but he did complain quite a bit about cleaning it) has come to love it too. Something about that makes me exceedingly happy. J didn't get to know Mamaw very long before we lost her, and this is like some kind of bizarre connection to her. I can give him that. I can teach him to love the vacuum that only she loved.


  1. Interesting. I love my vacuum, so I appreciate a good vacuum.

  2. I have one! The Rainbow is FABULOUS! Yeah, dumping out the water is a pain - and we have to do it more often than just at the end because of the sheer amount of pet hair in this house. We have 2 cats and a dog, and both my husband and I shed just as bad as they do. :) But I LOVE it. When not using it as a vacuum, it's sitting in the bedroom being used as an air purifier/humidifier/white noise machine.

  3. You know, it's funny, my mom has very strong opinions on vacuums. She told me recently, "Never buy an Oreck! They're the worst vacuum on the market!" and then went on to explain her awful Oreck experience. She had a crazy expensive vacuum that finally died and she switched over the a Dyson, but it's not the same as the incredibly heavy, industrial size piece of equipment that's scattered throughout memories of my childhood!

  4. it is funny how we have connections to the past with the strangest things.!!

    you are over half way through your pregnancy now!!


    ICLW #96

  5. I know of those kind of vacuum cleaners, apparently they are ideal if you have someone in the house who suffers with allergies! Mine is close to go into the bin (after 12 loyal years!) so I will look into it!

    ICLW #131

  6. Hi
    Excellent blog i like it about vacuum cleaners thanks for this blog
    vacuum cleaner

  7. I can understand why she loved your vacuum very much. Having a vacuum cleaner in the house lessens their workload every day. It’s never easy to clean the house, as there are endless sweeping and mopping and dusting. It’s such a pain in the neck, but with the help of vacuum cleaners, cleaning becomes easy.

    -Deidra Schaefer