Monday, October 31, 2011

Vacuums Suck, and Other Realizations of Failed Domesticity

Wednesday lunch, I had a very fun, spirited conversation with some women I (*sigh* used to) teach with. We were exploring the differences in our homemaking styles, but the mood was light and amusing. We're professional, working mothers, with passions and careers.  Bright and multifaceted women, we.
But at at some point we'd moved on from all that, and we were discussing sheets.

My lesson for the day:
Turns out you're supposed to fold them.

What?You're going to sleep on them. You need your sleeping surface to be unwrinkled while you're unconscious, Princess Pea? 

Honestly, however the heck anybody wants to run anything in their house is fine by me, as long as "no children or animals are harmed in the making of this" ...bed.
Me? I stuff them inside one of the pillow cases for the set, all neatly packaged up, and shove them in the linen closet. That is, when I don't wash them and throw them right back on the bed. I stated my strategy to my colleagues, sure that they'd agree this was the sensible way to store linens.
My teacher friends stared incredulously.  Either they thought I was joking, or their pity for this poor inept girl was setting in.
The conversation continued, and then, I feel, a bombshell was dropped: One of them, one I will always consider a brilliant teacher, a loving, involved mom to her young children, a role model, and an all-around nice, non-crazy lady? She ... I can't say it.
She IRONS her sheets.

Some women will never cease to amaze and startle me. 

I'm not a domestic goddess. My house is a mess. On a good day.
But while the layer of toys, dust, or mixed vegetables does bother hubby and I, we're finding ways to make it work.
My new arrangement with husband, children, and house is this: hubby takes the munchkins to church and I stay home and clean. I crank up music that my children are not allowed to listen to because they're little repeating parakeets, and attempt to get things in order while my children are at Sunday school. Yes, we involved God, and I've informed him that I'm now the cleaning lady. He says he's cool with it, I think. I couldn't hear over my playlist.
Yes, I am terrible.
Yes, so far, it's working great.

So this past Sunday morning I'm using the vacuum hose, picking up the pieces (and crumbs) of a crappy-ass, busy, and stressful week. And the hose isn't picking up.  Those crumbs are just sitting there, mocking me at every pass of the Hoover.

Now, Hubby is the mechanical one.  I do not take apart the vacuum. I do not take apart anything, aside from pulling the mozzarella off pizza.  But I think that morning I decided that I needed a bit more control in my life, and damn it, that vacuum was going to cooperate. I probably also just had something to prove. Since I don't fold sheets, and all.

I saw in the little clear tube the good people of Hoover have provided that there's a yellow circley-looking thing blocking the path of the suction. Thinking it's one of the foam alphabet discs from my kids' bath toys, I attempt to dig it out by hand.  I succeed in cutting my finger on a safety pin that was sucked into the hose back when the hose actually sucked. So I carefully detached the hose from the vacuum. That alone is big for me, just so we're clear. At this point, I'm already proud of myself. I started trying various plastic kitchen utensils from the kitchen set, to poke the yellow disc through. I could see it there, but I couldn't reach it. Neither with the mini plastic spatula, nor the handle of the 4-inch frying pan will do the trick. On to the closet to find a wire coat hanger...

I unbent it and jammed it into the tube, thrilled to see the yellow disc moving at last.  I attempted this for a good 15 minutes. I bruised my fingers, bent my thumb nail back, and wasted valuable no-kids-in-house cleaning time. However, I could now kind of flap the disc around. Progress was made, but I couldn't detach it and get it out. It was almost like it was purposely stuck in the tube, right at the base of the vacuum.  It seemed to want to pivot up and down when I poked it, as if it were closing and opening up the tube and OH MY GOD IT'S THE FREAKIN' HOSE VALVE.


The vacuum hose had not bee sucking up crumbs because the dial that opened and closed the valve that allowed air to suck through the hose was still on "Vacuum".  If you want your vacuum hose to suck (or rather, NOT to suck) just leave it there. It'll frustrate you beautifully.
Otherwise? Best to actually turn the dial to "Hose", and save your injured fingers and precious time.

That's all I'm saying about that.


Jacquie said...

My grandmother swears by ironing her sheets. I may never invite her to stay at my new apartment because I would then feel obligated to iron the sheets, which is just never going to happen. I'm lucky if I pull the iron out two or three times a year for clothes (I like the douse a sock or washcloth and throw it in with the wrinkly item and do something productive with the next five minutes of your life theory of wrinkle elimination).

Ha. Silly sheet ironing women. So many better things to do than ironing sheets.

Also, I just came across your blog flipping through the 'next blog' button randomly. Freaking hilarious. I totally commiserate with the Weight Watchers (goodness, I need to get back on that boat). Thanks for the entertaining read! I will definitely add you to my regular reading!

Brenda said...


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