I remember the day Jeff came home proud as a new father, of the Dyson vacuum he'd found at Big Lots. He had read somewhere that the discount chain had scored a batch of the super sophisticated machines. So he’d gone off on a hunt.
I hadn't thought much about it. Seemed unlikely, but Jeff loves a bargain and so I kissed him goodbye and wished him luck. But then he actually found one. I had been saying we needed a vacuum for a while.
Our floors are hardwood, tile and linoleum and three of them are covered with area rugs. As the chief sweeper and floor caretaker, I felt qualified to judge. Jeff, as the chief ignorer of the debris that coats our floors, wasn't convinced.
But a BigLots value vacuum: this was a point of pride. And a Dyson! This was about 10 years ago. Since that time, Jeff's involvement with the machine is largely to drag it upstairs when I'm lazy and helping me remember how to dump the dirt.
Over the years, the only real maintenance I've done on the thing is to turn it upside down and use a steak knife to hack out what looks like skeins of red hair from around the beater/roller/thing that rotates when you vacuum.
This is the real reason we don't have pets. Between Ali and me,
we shed enough hair to knit blankets. It literally has brought the
Dyson to a halt more than a few times. It's disgusting, but if it actually were thread - like the embroidery kind -- you might think it's a pretty shade.
Anyway, the other day, I was preparing to suck up the last remnants of Christmas and New Year's Eve when the captain, my captain said, "Wait. Let me see if I need to do some work on that thing."
Now, the Dyson is battle worn. In addition to it's systematic strangulation by red curly hair, it also suffered some sort of crash and it's barrel/body has been held tight to its suction by a cobalt blue bungee cord for probably the past six years or so. I don't remember how it came loose -- probably as I dragged it up or down the stairs.
Sure we could get it professionally repaired but that "temporary" bungee cord fix works. And we'd have to actually take the vacuum in for the repair.
But I digress. Jeff flipped the thing over, saw the hair and asked for a screwdriver. I advised him of my steak knife method. He rolled his eyes.
He actually took off a protective shield, which opened up access to the roller bar. After he'd unrolled the hair, he spied another removable cover and unearthed a filter.
A filter. Who knew there was a filter? I think once it was white.
The one under the cheerful yellow disc, though, was coal-black. No hair, but pretty icky.
We considered trying to wash it, but I thought we'd suffered this
long with it, we should replace it and use it one last time. He
gingerly put the icky black round thing back in and away I went.
Within minutes, I'd sucked up the holidays.
Later, after a week of actual lawyerly work, without my knowledge, he attacked the Dyson again. He'd found the owner's manual, too. I found out when he rushed in to the bedroom where I was painting my nails.
"Did you know we were supposed to clean the filters on the Dyson every six months?" He asked.
I reminded him that the first I'd learned of the filter's existence was shortly after Christmas 2015. Doing the math, that
means we'd neglected at least 20 cleanings if we've only had the Dyson 10 years. I'd say that with only three rugs, we probably don't need to adhere to the biannual cleaning but the hair thing is hard to ignore.
"Huh!" I said. "Who knew?"
"Yeah. When I went to clean it, it disintegrated," he said.
"I've told you a hundred times that we live like pigs," I said.
He just looked at me and then, serious as he could be, said: "Do you think you can wait six days to vacuum again? That's how long it'll take Amazon to get us new filters."
I just looked at him. Considered reminding him of how diligent I am when it comes to vacuuming.
But all I said was, "I can commit to that."
The lesson you should take from this is that Dyson guy isn't lying when he tells you his machines are freaking awesome.
There is a part of me that fears if he reads this, however, he'll stage a raid and take ours from us.
So please don't tell him.
In other news, Ali actually agreed to take a walk with me in the snow today. It was fun. Now, I'm off to risk life and limb to get to Bunco. Wish me - and my fellow motorists - good luck.