*** True Confessions of a So-So Housekeeper ***

About nine years ago, we purchased a Dyson vacuum cleaner because we had been buying — and burning through — crummy $100 vacuums every couple of years and were tired of the cycle. It wasn’t cheap, but we figured it was worth a shot. It came with a five-year warranty, and of course the “never-lose-suction” guarantee, so what the heck.

Five years ago, the dog chewed through the power cord. The vacuum was still under warranty, so while they were replacing the cord, they cleaned and serviced the entire machine. That being said… that was the LAST time that any maintenance (beyond emptying the canister) has been done, because I forget. Or get lazy. Or just… meh.

Over the last couple of months, I began to notice that the vacuum wasn’t picking up all the little bits that it used to, and last week it became evident that I was really only pushing the vacuum around as a form of cardio exercise because absolutely no actual cleaning was taking place. So I bit the bullet and called the vacuum service shop. They quoted me $150 to clean and service the machine, but I’m cheap, and I thought that after 9 years, there was a decent chance that we’d just need a new vacuum, anyway. So I took drastic measures.

I decided to have a go at maintaining the vacuum ON MY OWN. I know it was an insane thought, but hey… some of us have to be pioneers.

I turned to the google for help and — lo and behold — apparently there are filters that can be easily removed and cleaned. Who knew? I did this bizarrely simply task, then sat down and cut off all of the hair/yarn/string/ribbon/miscellaneous detritus from the beater bar. By this point, I figured I was the Queen of all domestic goddesses, and I turned on the vacuum…

Only to hear the same rattly motor sound and see that there was still no suction. Bummer.

I turned the machine this way and that, hoping to spy some offending hunk of flotsam clogging the works. I did, in fact, find a bobby pin, a piece of shattered mechanical pencil (the entire eraser end) and two crystallized fruit snacks. Success!

But no. Still the rattle. Still the lack of suck.

Just as I was about to accept defeat and pay out the hard cash to have a profession do the job, I noticed a button that I’d never seen, before. (Perhaps because I’d rarely ever actually looked at the vacuum in any in-depth manner.) Intrigued, I pushed it, and a small hatch opened to reveal what resembled nothing other than a dead rodent. (It wasn’t, thank all the Gods! Though I’m not sure how surprised I’d have been, if it had turned out to be a mouse corpse. It was really only a tightly woven blob of pet-hair, safety pins, paper clips, a juice box straw, and beads.)

Cringing, I removed the carcass of filth, replaced the secret door, and VOILA! That puppy sings like Old Blue Eyes, once more.

In closing, I cannot recommend the Dyson vacuum cleaner enough, if you — like me — have a tendency to vacuum up any and all clutter that gets in your way, without thought of consequences, while refraining from even the most basic level of maintaining your machine. Because hey… here’s to another nine years of half-assed housework! Cheers!

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