The Day I Killed the Vacuum

Paula Danner essays

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I hate vacuums. I can’t even express how much I dislike all vacuums. Vacuums have been a plague on my life (no drama at my house). No matter how many vacuums I purchase, or how much money I pay for them, it’s always the same story. They don’t pick up what they should, like dirt and animal hair. But oh yes, they love to pick up what they shouldn’t, like the carpet corners and their own chords. And speaking of the chord, is it my fault that my vacuum chord always ends up a mass of black electrical tape to fix the places where the vacuum has continually sucked up its own appendage and stripped it clean? Shouldn’t a self-respecting vacuum be more discerning? Eventually, my vacuums always end up spitting more dust than they pick up. And don’t even get me started on the new and improved “bagless” vacuum. Because changing a bag every once in a while was so much more inconvenient than having to manually dump the disgusting contents from the canister into the trash (as dust flies everywhere) on a regular basis!

On the day in question, my current vacuum/bane-of-my-existence clearly crossed the line. Now, it is only fair to point out this was not my first indiscretion where machines are concerned. However, trust me, this time the machine really had it coming.

Last week, I was up to my neck in a heinous vacuum job involving the eradication of a season’s worth of dead and live, scurrying spiders. It was near the end of the job when the vacuum chose to jump (ok, it might have fallen) off the step it was perched on, thus dislodging the nearly full “bagless vacuum” canister and spilling contents all over the floor. In that instant, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt the vacuum’s time had come. And, yes, I will admit it…I was a tad peeved, maybe a little premenstrual, and possibly temporarily off my rocker.

Whatever the case, the annihilation began as I kicked the offending machine…several times. Lacking the desired results, I then proceeded to take the vacuum apart piece by piece and throw each piece violently out the back door onto the concrete driveway. I swear I heard the sweet sound of cracking plastic and dislodging mechanisms. The attack was only complete when the main vacuum unit was sent skittering across the driveway to its final resting place, lodged partially under a parked car.

Around this time, my two sons heard the ensuing brawl and came to investigate.

Teen: “Uh, Mom, what are you doing?”

Me:  “Killing the vacuum.”

Pre-teen:  “Need any help with that?”

Me: “No thanks, I think I’ve got it covered.”

Then, I shed tears of frustration—not for the vacuum now lying scattered all over the driveway like the Scarecrow after the Flying Monkeys had their fun—but for the dusty, bug infested mess left in its wake that had to now be manually cleaned.  And that my friends, was the end of the vacuum, or so I thought. 

For you see, sometime later that day, I looked outside to see Preteen collecting up all the scattered vacuum parts. And when I next looked out the window, there sat my vacuum on the back porch fully reassembled (and  I am completely sure it was snickering at me).

I left it sitting on the back porch hoping it was reflecting on its bad behavior and fairly certain of its demise as a result of the onslaught. However, the time came when pet hair in the house began to clump and blow in front of me like tumbleweeds in the Nevada desert. Dreading the thought of facing yet another new vacuum purchase, to the porch I went to drag the vacuum back in the house, hoping it could, albeit inadequately, still to do its job.

That afternoon, when Preteen came home from school…

Me:  “By the way, I tried using the vacuum today and, guess what? It worked!”

Preteen:  “Really? That is amazing!”

Me: “No Preteen, actually, you are amazing.”

Preteen smiled and then we both laughed.

As parents, it is our job to pick up our kids when they are down and put things back together for them. 

But sometimes, it works the other way, too.

About the Author

Paula Danner

Paula is a mom of two boys. She writes about finding the best moments even in the worst times at . She loves to laugh, travel, perform and snowboard.

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