Sunday, February 01, 2009

What is the Opposite of an Ode?

I don't vacuum very often. There are several reasons for this: 1) I have an extreme dislike for the chore and 2) both children and the dog absolutely hate the vacuum. We have mostly hard floors in our house so Swiffering or sweeping suffice most of the time. And most of the rest of them time we just, um, ignore the dust bunny armies that spring up. Today Mike and Ann were coming for dinner and to watch the Super Bowl and I had reached the tipping point in terms of the level of dust bunny uprising I was willing to tolerate. Matt was home and he took both the kids and the dog into our bedroom and closed the door so I could vacuum everywhere else.

In our old house I didn't mind vacuuming so much. Our old house was small and I could plug the vacuum into the dining room outlet and vacuum the entire ranch without moving the plug. In this house I can't even vacuum the entire living room/dinning room area without moving the plug. (Our house isn't that big, just bigger than our last place.). I love a lot of things about this house, but I really hate vacuuming it.

So, as I vacuumed today, I found myself composing a letter to our vacuum in my head. It went something like this:

Dear Vacuum,

I hate you. I try not to waste energy hating anything but I just cannot take it anymore. I hate that you are so heavy my back aches within moments of starting to use you. I hate that, on our hard floors, you seem do blow the dirt around instead of sucking it up unless I go over the same spot 97 times and even then you miss things. I hate that you are so loud you terrify the children and my ears ring as though I've been front row at a rock concert after using you. I hate that your attachment hose is so short I have to lift your heavy a** off the floor with one hand, while extending the hose with the other hand, to get the cobwebs off of our decidedly normal height ceilings. I hate that, when stowed, one end of your hose tends to come loose and flail around like some nearly severed appendage. I hate that your locking mechanism is broken so I stand you up, let go, and about fifty percent of the time you fall back with an alarming crash, often hitting one of my feet. I hate that you are just barely tall enough NOT to reach into the little area between the edge of the kitchen cabinets and the floor and I am forced to use your stupid hose if I want to get at all the gunk. I hate that your vacuum bags never seem to fit quite right. If I could sue you for causing back strain and hearing loss and psychological trauma I would.

And I know,
I know, I have electricity and running water and I should be thankful I'm not sweeping a dirt floor, oblivious to the locusts which are about to eat our crops and lead to a famine of massive proportions. BUT I still hate you, Vacuum, and I want to fire you, but I'm not sure we can afford to replace you with a better performing model.

It's been over six years, Vacuum, and I kind of wish you'd just die already so we could all move on. Clearly this relationship isn't working.

You see, I had to turn to something as silly as composing vacuum hate mail because it was the only way take my mind off the outrageous volume I was dealing with. Just was I was thinking the part about wishing the vacuum would die my hand felt something funny on the cord.

I looked down and realized an entire chunk of the protective sheath (is that the right word?) around the wires of the cord was just missing! And we all know it is not safe to use appliances with damaged cords, right? I did a temporary duct tape repair so I could finish waging war on the dust bunnies, but we all know that was a very, very short-term fix. I told Matt about the cord and...

It's time for a new vacuum baby!

We are going to try to get one soon, as in next weekend, so please, please leave your vacuum advice in the comments because, much to my delight, Matt seems to agree that it might be prudent to spend more than $99 on the next vacuum. Dare we discuss Dysons? Are they worth it?

Pertinant vacuum circumstance facts:

  • We need a vacuum that can handle hard floors and carpet.
  • We have a dog, but he doesn't shed (and we'll never have shedding pets because of allergies). He does, however, drag all manner of debris in from the yard, like small bits of leaves.
  • Harper (and Michael will join her soon) is prone to leaving boulder sized crumbs behind when she eats. (BTW, what is the matter with our dog that he doesn't attend to those?)
  • I would like a vacuum to be significantly lighter and quieter than my current model. Unless it weighs as much as several bowling balls and sounds like a rock concert it won't be difficult to improve these areas.
Okay, Internets, tell me what to do!


MamaK said...

I'm guessing the opposite of an ODE is a DIRGE. I could be wrong, but a vacuum dirge sounds almost as cool as vacuum hate mail.

We're haven't hired out asassins on our cheap-o model yet. If I clean it meticulously, it works great for about two times!?

But we covet Dysons. Hear ALL kinds of great things. S ome friends have: 4 dogs, 3 cats, a preschooler and some horses/chickens that live outside but stuff gets tracked in. They love, love LOVE their pet-hair-dyson.

What kind of hypo-dog is Rebound? I have all kinds of allergies but really want a pup someday...

Erin said...

Spend more money on something that is high quality and will last. Otherwise you'll end up STILL spending a sizable chunk on something you want to replace in six months. Ultimately, you save money by spending more. (Did I justify a Dyson for you?)

Also, my parents have an Orrick (sp?) and it's lightweight and POWERFUL. Holy crud, that thing can SUCK. Have no idea how that brand stacks up on price.

Pam said...

Buy a lottery ticket and if you win, hire a maid (that's my wish)

Emily said...

I have mostly hardwood, too, and I loathe floor cleaning in general. I feel like it is such labor intensive and continuous work and I feel like my floors ALWAYS look dirty. So anyway... I feel your pain.

I've never purchased a vacuum - since we only have a few area rugs, I'm using a hand-me-down Hoover that I think my mom bought when I was in middle school maybe? But when we move, I will be taking your philosophy. I think when it comes to vacuums, you get what you pay for.

Anonymous said...

ok, you might want to check consumer reports or something. we have a dyson and it seems to "break" a lot. not that we haven't been able to get it going again, but it has been kind of a pain. my sister has one too and she HATES hers. she complains about the attachments etc. I will admit, i don't use our hardly at all since dave is the stay at home parent in our two-some. Good luck!Goobs

Val said...

We have a Dyson - it's the model specific for pets, has a little attachment for furniture that sucks up cat hair, etc. I love it. We have never [knocking on wood] had a problem with it, and we've had it for about three years now. It's not toooo loud, and it does hardwoods beautifully - not to mention the carpets. The first time we vacuumed our carpet with it we both thought, wow, who knew our carpet was so soft. LOL.

I have a 14mo old and a 4 year old, both who are constantly leaving crumbs and assorted "stuff", so between them and the cat - we're set on reasons to vacuum. I say go with the Dyson - totally worth the cost if you ask me. :)

Jen said...

I have a canister vac, I was totally resistant at first but now I love it. Its a Kenmore from Sears and was half the cost of a Dyson. If at the time I could have afforded a Dyson I would have bought one, but who really has an extra $400 sitting around that you want to spend on a vacuum. I love to vacuum and so therefore I vacuum at least twice a week. I have lots of tile in my house and this vacuum works great because it has a little attachment that just picks everything right up.

Using a cannister vac is kind of like using your existing vacuum with just the wand to suck everything. Its much lighter and much easier on your back. You can get under surfaces and reach high places easily too. The one big drawback though is that you have that canister following behind you all the time and it bangs into things and if you turn around quickly you can get tripped on it. You get used it though and I think the positives far outweigh the negatives.

Here's a link to the one I have

BTW: i had a bagless before this one and I hated it. It was like a dustbowl coming through my house when it was time to empty the canistser and I was completely disgusted.

Hillary or Ryan said...

We have the Kenmore Progressive Upright Vac from Sears. It's not as expensive as the Dyson, but I think it does a decent job. It makes some noise and my dog barks at it too. Grady has yet to be fearful of it. I, too, hate vacuuming. My husband did it yesterday. Bless his soul!

Liz said...

ahhhhhh kelsey - did you read my 25 random things list? you, my friend, just made me laugh so much that it hurts. i loved your death-inducing letter to your vacuum. :) we have a dyson and i really do love it - and it has the bare floor setting when vacuuming the hard floor so crap does not blow everywhere - it gets nicely sucked into the cyclone crap collector. we, however, were very lucky in purchasing our dyson and snagged it up when it was on some crazy sale. i think i would have a heart attack if i spent $500 on a vacuum. good luck vacuum shopping!

Astarte said...

We had a Dyson and brought it right back. The spinner brush spun so fast that it made a weird static between the pet hair and the linoleum in the kitchen, so it wouldn't come up.

I love our vacuum. It's a Kenmore Progressive canister, and even the power paw attachment for the furniture is electric! We have two dogs and a cat, hard wood and rugs, and it gets everything from everywhere. The cord is looooong, and retracts into the body, and the handle telescopes until about forever. It's not too heavy, so if I want to I can hold the canister rather than pulling it along behind me when I'm doing a smaller space, and the suction part slides easily under the couch. Plus, it has a handy light on the front that stays on until every bit of dirt is out of the carpet, so I know when all the pet hair is really up! It was about $400 at Sears, and the bags are 8 for $12, I think.