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Monday April 17, 2006 // By Sarah

The Vacuum: A tale in two chapters

Chapter One: Sarah proves to be a really, really bad neighbor

So our vacuum cleaner died. It was no surprise. The thing was six years old, and it was pretty cheap to begin with, and we do have an awful lot of cat hair to deal with.

Around the same time, our neighbor went on vacation, and we were bringing in her mail. I had a brilliant (read: idiotic) idea. We should just borrow her vacuum! She’s out of town, she won’t need it!

So we borrowed the vacuum, we used it, and then we fell into one of these:
Sarah: Will you bring it back up?
Sandy: Will you?
Sarah: Um, maybe you could?
Sandy: Really? I was thinking maybe you could?

So it sat by the door for four days.

Then, on Wednesday, while home making matzo ball soup I realized I was a few eggs short. I seriously thought, “well, maybe our neighbor has a few eggs.” Because an out-of-town neighbor is apparently like a full-service mini-mart to me.

Anyway, no eggs, but there was a note on the counter from the neighbor’s cleaning lady. (See where this is going?)

“Where is your vacuum cleaner?”

There was also a note from some other neighbors, who were helping out with her cats. “Our cell phone wasn’t working so we had to borrow your phone to make some long distance calls. Let us know what we owe you!”

Apparently, out-of-town neighbor=full-service mini-mart to everyone!

Chapter Two: Sarah proves to be really, really susceptible to salesmanship and it is increasingly clear that her paternal grandfather could have sold her any car on the lot.

What I was going to do was buy another cheapie vacuum cleaner at Target. But this little part of me wanted a Dyson. That advertising is so persuasive! But it’s so expensive. I just couldn’t do it.

So I did a little research, we asked around about Dysons, checked Craigslist. Lo and behold, I discovered that Chicago is home to a Vacuum Cleaner Store. (Levi: “How do you know you’re in Chicago? There’s a Vacuum Cleaner Store. How do you know you’re in New York? There’s a Vacuum Cleaner District.”)

I could tell that this place was high end just from looking at the website, but I figured I’d just go and get some advice and then go get a cheapie vacuum cleaner at Target as planned.

But oh, these vacuum cleaners were lovely. And the best part was that after the guy wowed you with the features of the various Bosch, Miele, and Electrolux models, he had carpet samples that he could smear with cat hair and kitty litter! And then you could vacuum them up!

He didn’t recommend the Dyson, which, it turns out, is best for homes with wall-to-wall carpeting, and is a little scratchy on wood floors. But, oh, the Bosch, it was perfect. A highly maneuverable little canister number, that switches from carpet to wood floor with the flick of a switch conveniently located right by your thumb. A telescoping tube makes it easy to use on the couch and the curtains. Variable suction, too. And so quiet.

By the time Sandy arrived, ten minutes after me, I was already starry eyed. “Show him the thing with the kitty litter,” I cooed.

Well, between my love of the vacuum’s home cleaning features and Sandy’s susceptibility to really attractive European product design, we were like fish in a barrel. We made a show of thinking about it, even ran a few errands to kill time. But, then, just like that, we were the proud parents of a brand new baby Bosch. She’s beautiful. And, if the hype is to be believed, she will still be going strong when our kids are old enough to take over the vacuuming. She’d better be.

That noise you hear is dust screaming in terror
That noise you hear is dust screaming in terror
Posted by Jim // Apr 18, 14:43
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