My Marriage in Vacuum Cleaners

My mom still has the same vacuum cleaner she’s had for decades, a blue, bullet-shaped machine with a snorkel hose at one end. Think of a mechanical Dachshund, a hot dog with a waist-line problem. “It still does the job,” she says.

We are not quite as frugal or married to a brand as Mom though. As newly weds, Cliff and I bought a Filter Queen, a squatty brown thing that rolled along the floor on four little wheels, a vacuum cleaner that came with a great sales pitch: It could suck up marbles and had a Hepa filter: Picture the cone-shaped spaceship that returns from outer space, splashing down in the ocean: that’s the Hepa filter. The salesman also said it was clean enough to use on a submarine. Cliff experimented with the suck-up marble trick, but I don’t think he ever tried it on a submarine.

Vintage Filter Queen vacuum cleaner: image via eBay

Vintage Filter Queen vacuum cleaner: image via eBay

A few years ago I was getting tired of my upright Kenmore vacuum, sick and tired of its spewing out more dust than sucking in. Usually we employ due diligence researching a good replacement, but Cliff was out of town on his spring tour, so I thought, “I can handle this myself . . . how hard can it be?” A woman with a mission, I went to Linens and Things, a chain store now defunct in Jacksonville, to check out my options. I totally discounted mainstays like Hoover and Electrolux sitting snugly side by side. Then I spotted a vacuum cleaner at 70 % off. (Going-out-of-business sale!) Overlooking its heft, I compared it to a cleaner parked close by in the showroom, a Dyson, my gold-standard at the time. “It would be perfect, sturdy and top of the line both,” I think.

When Husband came home, he just stared at my purchase open-mouthed and started laughing, then a wild guffaw. His comments: This thing looks like it can suck up the rug in one fell swoop. Why, it could even pull a red wagon with a child sitting in it around the block–a vacuum cleaner on steroids, that’s what it is. A turbo-charged Bissell beast!Blog_Vacuum Cleaner_drawing_300

I have to wonder: Can a vacuum cleaner help a writer find her voice?

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Here is the link to my entry in the Gutsy Story Contest now in progress on the website of author Sonia Marsh:

My Gutsy Story: Rising Above the Pettiness to Focus on the Positive