In flagrant violation of my friend, Jacquie’s “no plug” rule, I have an early Christmas gift — a Shark vacuum whose suction mechanism seems designed to pull up dirt from Middle Earth.
I wasn’t planning to buy a vacuum, certainly not at this time of year when so many other charges are being rung up on our Amex, but there was no choice.
Yesterday morning, as I took a “lick and promise” approach to housekeeping in the hours before Catherine’s friend, Ceire, came to spend the day, the Kenmore canister vac committed suicide in a pungent cloud of acrid vapors.
I had only gotten to 1/10 of the house’s floor surface when it died.
As he hauled it to the garage and cursed my recent purchase of now-redundant bags, Basil pointed out that the machine didn’t owe us anything — it was, after all, a housewarming gift from my parents 17 years ago.
He then sat back down at the computer to play hearts, and argued that we didn’t need to rush out and buy a new one.
In quick order, the day’s plans were scrapped; the Bed, Bath & Beyond coupon snipped; and we braved the holiday shopping crowds in the awful crowded Ridgeway Shopping Center.
Somehow we found a parking space without trouble, but then ran a gauntlet of the rudest, most self-absorbed, in-a-rush people we’d seen. We made a bee-line for the cleaning section, beating our way past holiday candles and home goods, kitchenware and kitschy gifts. Before long we were headed back to our car, Shark vacuum held aloft like Tiny Tim’s prize turkey.
Back at home, I was quick to assemble the thing and put it through its paces. As with most chores around here, I had an audience, this time including Ceire.
The Shark has a clear receptacle where dust and other crap gathers as it is sucked up, and we found ourselves as fixated on this plastic tube as we were some years ago by the spin action of the front-loading washing machine.
It quickly became clear that the old Kenmore had been phoning it in for some time — a fact not lost on Ceire.
When her mother came to collect her after dinner, and we were singing the Shark’s praises, Ceire chimed in with this evaluation:
“You should have seen it; it was REALLY REALLY dirty.”
THIS IS NOT A CHRISTMAS GIFT! It is a household expense.
A gift is something you can wear. Something you dab behind your ears that smells heavenly. Something you massage into your skin. Something for your wrist that tells you what time it is. Something you can tell people how many carats it is.
A freakin vacuum doesn’t cut the “gift ” list by any stretch of the imagination.
Totally Agree! When will she listen to us.