My vacuum cleaner has it in for me. If you’re familiar with the history between me and my appliances, this will not surprise you.
The old vacuum, may it rest in peace, was pretty simple. You just set the carpet height for “low,” “medium” or “shag,” plugged it in, turned it on and tangoed around the room with it. But you couldn’t use it on bare floors, only carpet.
This newer one has a permanently fixed hose for attachments and offers to vacuum bare floors, too. Add to that the expanses of tile in our house and two shedding dogs, and you can see why we chose it.
Ah, but “more versatile” also means “more complicated,” doesn’t it? This particular model has three different knobs/levers, all of which must be synced for successful vacuuming. (For a half-hour aerobic workout combined with strength training, right in your own home, just turn all the settings and latches to the correct positions for whatever vacuuming you want to do. The actual vacuuming job, once you’ve turned the thing on, counts as extra bonus points.)
The biggest knob and the easiest to turn, not that it’s all that easy, is located right at the top. It directs the suction either through the hose or from the floor. So far, so good.
Let’s say you set the first selector to “floor.” Then you turn to the base of the machine. This is where things get sticky. The Carpet Height Selector has nine settings, from High to Low. Inexplicably stuck in between Low and Kind-of-Low is the setting for Bare Floor.
A toggle switch to the right, marked “Brush Roll Control,” is deceptively easy to switch from Carpet to Bare Floor. I say “deceptively” because the blasted thing often pretends to go along with your choice, but switches itself once you turn on the vacuum. At that point it becomes almost impossible to switch back. Whichever setting you want, it will without fail revert to the other one.
Last, you have to press the handle release so the vacuum will unbend and you can push it around. DO NOT attempt this unless you have sturdy shoes on. Even Brent almost has to jump up and down on the release before it will… um… release.
But instead, suppose you set the first knob to “hose.” This is more fun, as you get to fix the attachments onto the basic hose, matching extenders and nozzles to the job at hand. Afterward, of course, you have to put all the pieces back into their cubbyholes on the body of the machine. Vague diagrams help a little. It’s like playing with a Transformer.
One day the pretty spring weather called to me. I went out and started pulling weeds in my veggie garden, which was still damp from the last rain. Soon I ran inside the house to answer the phone, without removing my gardening shoes (“my gardening shoes” = a technical term for “my oldest sneakers”). Hours later I noticed the kitchen floor was littered with little dried mud pellets which had fallen off my shoes.
“Boy, it’s a good thing I can vacuum bare floors!” my optimistic self enthused.
After ensuring that the vacuum was set to suck up from the floor and not through the hose, I wrenched the Carpet Height knob around and flicked the toggle switch up so that both were set to “Bare Floor.”
I was barefoot by this time, so I had to slip one foot into a shoe while I jumped on the handle latch until I could get it released. Finally I turned on the vacuum, which proceeded to fling dozens of tiny dried mud pellets at my bare toes. Yep, the brush switch had toggled itself back to Carpet.
It has Transformer capability, ninja skills and secret weapons. And that is why James Bond wants my vacuum cleaner.
Any ideas on how I can finally Bond with my appliances?