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Vacuums suck
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I love those commercials on television that have a man impersonating an appliance. The dishwasher licks the whip, and the refrigerator complains that he must work every minute of every day while the blender sits in a cabinet and does nothing for most days of the month.

My appliances probably get the normal amount of wear. But the one that I have the most trouble with is the vacuum cleaner. Of all the household chores, I think vacuuming is my least favorite. That fact may, in part, be the reason for my dicey relationship with the vacuum cleaner. Another is the fact that aif it is on the floor and looks small enough, I figure it is fair game and try to vacuum it up. Sometimes the machine does not agree with my estimation.

I know since I have lived in this house I have had three dish washers and I am probably due for another one soon. But I cannot tell you how many vacuum cleaners I have had, from upright to canister and back again. You name it, I can kill it.

With a canister vacuum I tried to vacuum up a large assortment of straight pins on my kitchen floor after a sewing project. I got them up, but I also put a million little holes in that snakey plastic tube from the beater bar to the main vacuum. Wrapping duct tape around the hose does not help. That vacuum bit the dust.

I do remember standing at the top of the steps on the back porch and screaming at my husband and throwing another vacuum cleaner down the steps while he was standing in the drive way. I was not mad at him and he had absolutely nothing to do with the troubles that the vacuum cleaner was giving me. I don’t even remember what was wrong with the vacuum cleaner; I just remember the feeling of frustration and his look of total consternation.

I would buy a new vacuum and buy the bags that went with it, and then when I ran out of bags, inevitably I would have to search several stores to find the correct bags or the bags that said they would fit such and such number vacuum. Sometimes they did and sometimes they didn’t.

I thought bagless vacuums would solve the problem. Well, I don’t have to go searching for bags, but I do have to take out the filters and wash them occasionally. If that occurs while I am in the middle of a project, I fume because I could not put the wet filter back into the machine. I have been known to blow dry the filter with my hair dryer. It’s a little time consuming and hot on your hand, but it works.

Then there are those belts that go with the beater bar. One of those came with each new vacuum. But then it would break, due to my propensity to vacuum up everything that doesn’t move. I was back to the same routine of visiting every store I could think of to find a belt that fit. I would even take the broken one with me to compare to the belts hanging in the store in case one that didn’t fit such and such a vacuum number actually might fit.

Just recently I discovered that the store in Covington that repairs vacuums also carries belts for any machine, and the very nice man there will install the belt for you for a very small price. A project that requires that I sit down on the floor with several screw drivers and my machine and takes me 15 or 20 minutes, he does in two or three minutes with a smile. I do have to carry the machine to him, but I have been there so many times lately that I know the exact amount I will owe him. He told me the vacuum belts need to be changed every three months. No problem with my vacuum. I break the belt with regularity.

A friend of mine recently brought to my house a salesman of a very elaborate and expensive vacuum cleaner system. I say system as it had more attachments than I have underwear. Boy, was that a waste of time.

Paula Travis is a retired teacher from the Newton County School System. She can be contacted at