My husband is a big fan of upright vacuum cleaners while I prefer the canister type. This has been an ongoing source of debate since the first week of our marriage.
“Canister vacs are a pain,” my husband always says. “You have to pull the machine behind you, the hose usually ends up tearing, and it’s always banging into walls when you yank it.”
“Well, upright vacs are even worse,” I usually answer. “You have to push the entire machine back and forth, which makes your arm tired after a while. And what happens if you have to get into a tight corner with it?”
“Then you attach the long hose that comes with it and use that,” he answers.
“Then essentially,” I say, smiling smugly, “you’re turning the upright into nothing more than a tall version of a canister vac!”
End of argument.
My husband is right about one thing, however, when it comes to canisters. The hoses, at least when I use them, rip apart faster than tissue paper in a hurricane. I can’t count the number of times I’ve yanked on the hose to try to free the machine when it got hung up on a chair, table leg, the dog, etc., only to have it rip open and spew clouds of dust and dirt all over the room. As a result, most of the hoses on my vacuum cleaners usually end up decorated with about 10 feet of assorted duct tape.
A few months ago, I had to return my newest vacuum cleaner to the store where I bought it because it needed repairs, still under the warranty. Once again, the hose was the problem, but this time I outdid myself – I broke it off right at the base where it attached to the machine.
“You’re an animal with vacuum cleaners!” my husband said when I broke it. “You pull and yank so hard on the hoses, you’d think you were in a tug-of-war competition.”
“Well, then the manufacturers should make indestructible hoses,” I said.
I was upset when the department store told me it would take three weeks to fix my machine, especially since it was right before Christmas.
“I can’t go three weeks without a vacuum cleaner!” I protested to the employee. “Not during the holiday season when we'll be having company, and not when I have two dogs whose hobby is trying to make it into the Guinness Book for shedding the largest amount of fur in the shortest amount of time!”
“Well, don’t worry,” she said, smiling, “we’ll give you a loaner to use until yours is fixed.”
I thought it was really generous of the store to do that, especially when I discovered they’d given me the Rolls Royce of canister vacuum cleaners. The machine did everything but make the beds and cook breakfast. And it was a dream to use. For the first time in my life, I actually enjoyed vacuuming. I even found myself encouraging the dogs to shed.
“Isn’t it generous of the store to lend me this fabulous vacuum cleaner while my hunk of junk is being repaired?” I said to my husband.
The look he gave me clearly told me he thought I needed a transfusion of brain cells.
“Are you that naive?” he asked. “Don’t you know why the store is letting you use their queen of all vacuum cleaners? It’s not because they’re being nice, it’s because they want you to fall in love with it and buy it! I’ll bet it costs twice as much as your other vacuum cleaner.”
I shook my head. “It’s only $298 more.”
“And I’ll bet you’re in love with it!”
I hesitated before answering. “Well, maybe it’s more like a strong crush. I mean, it even has a dirt sensor on it! When you come to an especially dirty area, it lights up to let you know! How can you not fall in love with that?”
My husband just stared at me. “You need a light to tell you where the dirt is? Can’t you just open your eyes and look? Heck, I can see a whole colony of dust bunnies from here!”
“Well, what if you have shag carpeting? You can’t easily see dirt in that!” I said.
“We have bare floors and a few scatter rugs,” he just had to remind me. “You could get away with using just a regular old broom and a carpet sweeper!”
He had a point. But I still really wanted that super-duper vacuum cleaner. Even when my old vacuum came back from the repair shop as good as new, if not better, I still thought longingly about the loaner.
I hate to admit it, but I haven’t used my vacuum cleaner since it was repaired. And it’s not because I got spoiled using the fancy cleaner.
It’s because I discovered (and I really hate to admit this) that my husband was right. It’s much easier just to use a broom and a carpet sweeper.