Huge Sucking Sounds


April 9, 2000

Well, I'm here to report that I recovered nicely from what could have been a disastrous case of hostess nightmare. You see, we had a houseguest this weekend. Well, an overnight guest, Saturday night to Sunday. None other than the Sole Proprietor himself. He came down to go to the Point Mugu Air Show with Chuck and Steve.

As an aside, while Bob fancies himself as an "Old Fart", I'm here to report that he is not nearly as crumudgeonly as he makes himself out to be.

Turns out, Chuck and I are the first journalers he's actually met in person. Ut oh, I hope we made a good impression.

But back to our story... I am the first to admit, I am not a very good housekeeper. So, we have a housekeeper. Delmy. She comes every Friday. And while she's not the world's best housekeeper, she's normally very reliable. Normally I say. Reliable, until this week.

It seems her daughter called on Friday and said Delmy would not be coming. Some sort of dental emergency.

For those of you who don't know, all the janitors in Los Angeles are on strike. Office cleaning is getting done by replacement workers (read scabs), but it makes me wonder if in fact Delmy doesn't have any molar maladies, but is out in sympathy for her high-rise brethren. I'm giving her the benefit of the doubt, but I'm here to say that her absence Friday left me in quite a little pickle. I was going to have to clean the house. UT oh.

Well, Saturday afternoon Chuck and I had at it. As he was toiling away in the kitchen he decided that Delmy needs a raise. Cleaning the house really sucks. We decided to focus on the common areas. No need to scrub our bathroom. Bob would not be using it. The kitchen, dining room, living room, guest bedroom, Zoe's bathroom (AKA the guest bathroom) and laundry areas had to be done.

Mercifully, Zoe was out on her regularly scheduled outing with grandpa, so Chuck and I had some uninterrupted time to devote to the task at hand. While this is not exactly our first choice of ways to spend a languid Saturday afternoon home alone, it was going to have to do.

Chuck focused on the kitchen. I tackled the other areas. I scoured, dusted, Windexed, and vacuumed my fingers to the bone. But about this vacuuming thing...

Some time last year our vacuum broke. I bought the vacuum shortly after we moved into the old house. It's predecessor, at least 10 years old, finally gave up the ghost. The housekeeper gave me the bad news one Saturday morning. Off to the $300 Store I went. It is the one and only time in my life where I went in, got one single item and left the store.

The old house was just over 1300 square feet and less than 1/3 of that was carpeted so I didn't exactly need the top of the line model. The very basic Hoover upright I got did the job.

Well, when the vacuum broke last year I took it in to be serviced. I figured I needed a new one but didn't want to fork over the bucks just then. I took it to a local repair shop. Turned out all it needed was a new belt. It was fixed and I was back home within an hour. Total damage: under $10.

Then about a month later it jammed up again. I took it back to the same repair shop. This time Chuck was with me. I figured it was just another belt problem. Well, apparently Delmy had tried to vacuum up some of the wallpaper detritus from Zoe's bathroom after my remodeling job. While the repairman was extricating strips of dried wallpaper and assorted other disgusting things from the roller he suggested we might want to consider a new vacuum. You see, this repair shop also sells vacuums. Go figure.

He asked us how many square feet our house was. 3000. How much of that is carpeted. 90%. Do we have pets. 4: 2 cats, 2 dogs.

He then informed us we were lucky our current vacuum hadn't exploded from overwork. OK, well it wouldn't explode, but it certainly wasn't designed to do the kind of duty it had been pressed into. He fixed it for free but spent some time showing us his lovely floor models.

Of course he had the perfect vacuum for us. A Miele. I'd never heard of this brand of vacuum before but apparently it's the Rolls Royce of vacuums. It does everything except windows. And for what they charge for this lovely house cleaning wonder, it should do the freakin windows. These puppies retail for approximately $1000-$1200, fully loaded. And of course fully loaded was what we needed according to this guy.

Needless to say, we didn't buy that vacuum. For that price I could buy a car, but some of the points the salesman made hit home. One of his suggestions was that we go with a canister vacuum. Now truth be told, I don't remember what else he recommended, but this canister business really stuck with me.

A few weeks ago I decided to face the facts. We need a new vacuum. What's a girl to do? I wasn't going to shell out a house payment for a vacuum cleaner, but I really wanted a new one. A good one.

Off to E-Bay I went. Maybe someone had a Miele S400 canister they were trying to get rid of. Cheap. Well, no. No one was, but I found a lovely Panasonic canister model, in a lovely shade of cranberry. I bid. I won. Woo Hoo. When I got home from work last Thursday my new cleaning machine was waiting for me. OK, waiting for Delmy I thought, but it was here.

Well, it was waiting for me.

I was a vacuuming maniac Saturday afternoon. I love this damned thing. It cleans the floors like a champ. Carpet, hardwood, upholstery, walls, whatever. It's got tons of attachments. It's got a crevice tool, a dusting tool, a hardwood floor tool, and an upholstery tool. It's got a cleanliness indicator--when the area you're vacuuming is dirty the indicator light is varying degrees of red, and when it's clean the light turns green. I vacuumed the floors, the couches, the chairs, the throw rugs, and the window ledges. I extended the hose arm thingy and got all the cobwebs from all the corners and even vacuumed the ceilings.

Sucking sounds could be heard from miles away.

Bob arrived as scheduled Saturday night. We sat down to a late dinner and talked well into the night. He's a lovely man.

He and Chuck left early this morning. But for this recounting of potential nightmare, I have to guess Bob would have been none the wiser.

Until next time...