Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Through a glass, darkly

Ha. You read the title and thought this was going to be a philosophical musing. Or a faith-filled pondering. Not so much today, though it is certainly possible that my topics could veer toward prayer, as in "OMG." 

I am confused and bewuzzled by the behavior of my Shop-Vac. J, my indentured servant, has been bitching and moaning about the difficulty of vacuuming our carpeted stairs with our upright vacuum. We need a vacuum with a hose, he tells me. 

(At this juncture in the conversation, I go into the bathroom, smirk at myself in the mirror, and perform a happy dance, rejoicing in the concept of a son who wants to fully remove dog hair from crevices in the stairs.) 

Calmly returning to the conversation, I tell him that we have such a vacuum. Our long-dormant Shop-Vac sits in the basement, awaiting such a task. 

Except, it doesn't. We haven't used it in years and I can't remember why. So I traipse into the basement to figure out why. 

The first reason why might be due to the risk of frostbite every fricking time I spend more than a minute or two in the basement. So I jog through the basement, looking for parts. The foam part. The ring part. The hose part. The list of parts part. 

28 minutes and a load of laundry later I emerge, triumphant, with all parts in hand. The kitchen island is my workbench during the winter, and I spread the parts out, eager to hand a fully-functioning, appropriate tool for the job to my hard-working son. Glittery bright things appear on the periphery of my vision, and my little, distractable squirrel mind forces me to turn away. 

7 hours later, I notice a bunch of dusty crap on my kitchen island. Oh, yeah, I was going to fix that! Or, at the very least, put it back together and see if it needs fixing. Why wasn't I using this? Why had it lain dormant lo these many years? 

I wash the foam filter sleeve. I dedustify the vac itself and all attendant accessories. I read the mysterious instructions on how to apply the dry filter to the foam filter sleeve which rests atop the bag stretcher, inside of which rests a white plastic ball. 

Ah. Now I remember another reason that I stopped using the Shop-Vac. That god-awful white plastic ball. It's some kind of annoying leveling, balancing thing, designed to keep the engine machine thingy from getting flooded when using the Shop-Vac to vac up wetness. But what the white plastic ball really does is constantly stop suckage the second the vacuum tilts ever so slightly to the right or left. So, when you're on your hands and knees in the car, bouncing the damn Shop-Vac behind you while trying to get the damn Cheerios out of your damn car seats, the damn Shop-Vac stops vacuuming 5 times per minute, requiring you to turn off the machine to make the damn little evil white ball fall to the bottom on the vac so suckage can return and the world spin anew.  

Apparently I stopped using the Shop-Vac when I was sleep-deprived, short-tempered, and had children (now 22 and 27) in car seats eating Cheerios with their tiny hands. 

I digress. In spite of this memory, I finish putting together the Shop-Vac. I drag it to the den to show J that I really do love him and listen to his requests. He is appropriately excited. 

I commence vacuuming. I feel drawn to vacuum out the air return duct at the bottom of the stairs in the kitchen. If you have a weak stomach and eat in my kitchen, you might want to stop reading here. :-)  The amount of dog hair under this grate is astounding. So removing it would be, um, good. 

So I do. I remove a hell of a lot of dog hair. Very slowly. Because another reason that I stopped using this Shop-Vac is that it has very slow and weak suckage. That is the technical term, right? Suckage? This puppy just does not want to suck up anything. 

I start experimenting with different items. Walnuts? Nope. Crushed walnuts? Nope. Sugar? Nada. Dog kibble? Uh uh. 

But it does suck up dog hair and dust. Eventually. So I nudge the recalcitrant Shop-Vac into weak suckage action sufficient to suck up a bunch of dog hair. When it seems to get even less sucky, I decide to empty the thing out, figuring it must be full. Right? Because, when you vacuum up stuff, eventually the vacuum fills up with the stuff which you have been vacuuming. 

The vacuum tank is empty. EMPTY. There is nothing in it. I do not find this comforting. I look around the room for piles of dog fur. There are no new piles of dog fur. I completely take apart the various filters, figuring that somehow the sucked stuff must be lodged in the filters, or beyond. Nope. The little white plastic ball rests, pristine, in its cage, unmolested by dog hair. 

This is where that prayer stuff aka OMG might be coming in. Apparently a miracle has occurred, right here in my kitchen. My Shop-Vac doesn't simply suck things up. It sucks them up and makes them disappear. Into thin air. (What is fat air?) 

Perhaps my Shop-Vac is populated with an early version of Artificial Intelligence, and has taught itself how to mulch. Maybe it's not a Shop-Vac, but a Shop-Mulch. And it is now capable of mulching dog hair into thin (or fat) air. I believe that I need to run to the Patent Office today, as I clearly have something on my hands that needs to be shared with the masses. A vacuum that hardly sucks. But sucks. Yet doesn't. 

I remain confused and bewuzzled. And probably need a new vacuum.   


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