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Or, adventures in vacuuming.

My vacuum is a vintage 1982 Kirby Heritage II that I bought off eBay for $120 more than five years ago. Probably more like ten years ago. Anyway. It weighs a ton, and requires periodic maintenance, pretty much like an older car would. I love it, though, because it has a VERY powerful motor -- I'd been through two mass-market vacuums that were totally useless before I bought the Kirby -- and I have all the attachments for it, the tools, the carpet shampooer, EVERYTHING. (Actually, I might not have the belt sander. I know I wanted it.)

However, last time I was vacuuming the living room, I ran it over a bump in the carpet (it's not flat, and the massively heavy entertainment center and my massively heavy desk prevent me from straightening it out) and it just conked out. Pfft, flat, dead.

mhaille has kindly volunteered to pick it up this weekend and take it back to her house to see if she can repair it, because she's got experience fixing old Kirbys, and she'll do it in exchange for an 8"x8" pan of apple crisp, because she's awesome like that. However, that doesn't get my carpet clean in the meantime.

eternaleponine has a lightweight upright bagless vacuum called the Shark. It is not as fearsome as its namesake. It's one of those where you have to run over a paper shred three times while whispering encouragement. It did okay at picking up the flea powder that was left in the carpet when Kirby broke, and when I detached its hose it took care of the mouse poop in the linen closet, but it wasn't really good for much else.

So, when someone offered a Kenmore upright vacuum on Freecycle, I was on it like white on rice. I picked it up this morning, explaining about my broken Kirby and how if the Kirby was repairable I might just Freecycle the Kenmore once Kirby worked again, and they explained how the Kenmore still worked just fine but they'd upgraded to a bagless vac, and they had also been Freecycling extra vacuum cleaner bags from vacuums they'd owned in the past, and we generally parted with cheerful feelings about the process.

After lunch, I set about cleaning the living room, so I COULD vacuum. It took, I think, three fifteen-minute chunks of tidying before I felt like I could do it. But those three fifteen-minute chunks also included a bout of rationalizing the power cords, and clearing down my occasional table and my left-hand desk return to flat surfaces with only notepads on them, and a session of filing and shredding, so it didn't feel like pure yak-shaving, more "this all needed doing anyway."

The new vacuum? ROCKS. You don't have to coax it back and forth over minor debris, and its onboard tool system is simple enough to use that I had the brush attachment out and dusted the bookshelves as I swept past them.

Of course, I managed to eff it up within fifteen minutes -- I ran over a cord thing and it tangled around the beater bar. In untangling it, I managed somehow to drag the belt off the motor axle. And when I flipped it over to check out the guts, I managed to mistake a guide pin for the motor axle, so it still didn't work. However, that was the point where I actually looked in the manual -- and bless the donors for including the manual! AND a package of three extra bags. The manual explained my error, and I finished up the living room and felt awfully pleased with myself.

This new vacuum is so awesome that I'm encouraging eternaleponine to let me offer up the Shark on Freecycle, where it might make an okay dorm room vacuum for someone, and for her to adopt the Kenmore as nominally hers (the if-we-ever-split-the-household plan), for us to make it the primary vacuum, and, if Kirby gets fixed, retire him to the basement and only use him when we need a carpet shampooer or a kiddy-pool inflater or one of the other secondary tasks he does so well.

So yes. This is my fascinating life when I don't have a job -- VACUUMS.

But I've got a temp assignment tomorrow!


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