For some reason I have, since I was married to my first wife, been the default vacuum cleaner operator in my various households. I don’t really mind because, even though some might see vacuuming as a female task, I see it as a chance to use power tools, which has traditionally been a masculine prerogative.
I like vacuuming because it is one of those tasks like cutting a lawn, painting a room, or even shaving, in which one can see agreeable results that have improved on what went before. I like the look of the room after the old Electrolux has been run over the carpets.
Now, speaking of the old Electrolux, I have a very venerable Electrolux that has accompanied me in three marriages. When we got it back, I don’t know, maybe in the late 1980s, the brand was considered kind of the BMW of cleaning machines. And I have absolutely cherished it down through the years and try to treat it with the respect it deserves.
Once, when my stepdaughter was about 13 she decided it was time to vacuum her bedroom. Good idea, because I suspected alien lifeforms were growing under her bed so long had it been since she tended to that chore. But, she went down to the utility room, on the ground floor, retrieved my cherished Electrolux and proceeded to take it up the stairs to the second floor where her room was situated. What she did was drag it up behind her. ‘Bump-bump-bump’ it went, much like Christopher Robin dragging Winnie-the-Pooh upstairs. I was, needless to say, aghast at her basic disrespect for the machine and so admonished her. Not harshly, but I pointed out that the Electrolux warrant respect always. She muttered (I know not what, which is just as well) and carried it the rest of the way.
Anyway, time and tide wait for no one and no thing, including vacuum cleaners. So, through the years the old girl has demanded a lot of tinkering just to keep it functional. First thing to go was the light. No big deal. I don’t do a lot of vacuuming in dark rooms or down in coalmines. But, next to go was the switch that controls the various functions. I tried to pull it apart to fix it. But, it was a bit complicated with all sorts of minuscule contact points to be tended to. “Gotta take that in and get it fixed, one of these days,” I said to Wendy, and realizing I sounded a lot like Pa Kettle.
Meanwhile, I got my little soldering iron and accompanying solder and decided to just weld the wires together. That meant I had no on-off switch any longer, but what the hell. All I needed to do was plug it in to operate and then unplug when I was finished. Worked like a charm and I was back in business minus the switch, which has never been replaced, I might add. I have an extremely illogical distaste for taking anything (other than my car) in to be repaired. I always believe I should be able to do it.
Anyway, a couple of times I pulled too hard on the cord and separated my connection. No biggie. Out with the soldering iron again and I was back in business.
The last glitch came about when I broke the drive belt. Shit! That was one I couldn’t repair. I would have to get a new belt for it. Fortunately, there is an Electrolux shop in our town so I knew it should be a relatively simple matter, other than the actual fixing part. But, then life intervened and I went for many weeks without my cherished vacuum.
I was forced, in its stead, to use our secondary vacuum; one we got when we had to maintain our second residence in Victoria when Wendy was working there. That cheapshit vacuum sucks, and not in the way it’s supposed to. Right from the beginning (the brand shall remain nameless just in case you have one, you poor souls) the vacuum that I christened the Yugo, has been an inefficient and irritating pain in the ass.
“I think we should splurge and get a Dyson,” Wendy said, in reference to the flavor of the moment cleaners that are supposed to be wonderful. You have heard of them. They are the ones advertised by the Brit with the irritatingly plummy voice who is, I believe, Mr. Dyson himself.
That was the spur I needed No Dyson in this house! Not so long as we have our trusty Electrolux. I went out and bought me that belt. The installation, to my satisfaction, was nowhere near as peril-fraught as I was afraid it might be. And now the Electrolux is back in business.
I think I deserve an award for keeping it going long past its sensible expiry date. But, gee, it outlived two marriages and continues to prosper in a third. I think that says something. I mean, it’s part of my persona, I guess.