Moments of Extreme Emotion Series: My Marriage in Vacuum Cleaners

My Marriage in Vacuum Cleaners

My mom still has the same vacuum cleaner she’s had for decades, a blue, bullet-shaped machine with a snorkel hose at one end. Think of a mechanical Dachshund, a hot dog with a waist-line problem. “It still does the job,” she says.

We are not quite as frugal or married to a brand as Mom though. As newly weds, Cliff and I bought a Filter Queen, a squatty brown thing that rolled along the floor on four little wheels, a vacuum cleaner that came with a great sales pitch: It could suck up marbles and had a Hepa filter: Picture the cone-shaped spaceship that returns from outer space, splashing down in the ocean: that’s the Hepa filter. The salesman also said it was clean enough to use on a submarine. Cliff experimented with the suck-up marble trick, but I don’t think he ever tried it on a submarine.

Vintage Filter Queen vacuum cleaner: image via eBay
Vintage Filter Queen vacuum cleaner: image via eBay

A few years ago I was getting tired of my upright Kenmore vacuum, sick and tired of its spewing out more dust than sucking in. Usually we employ due diligence researching a good replacement, but Cliff was out of town on his spring tour, so I thought, “I can handle this myself . . . how hard can it be?” A woman with a mission, I went to Linens and Things, a chain store now defunct in Jacksonville, to check out my options. I totally discounted mainstays like Hoover and Electrolux sitting snugly side by side. Then I spotted a vacuum cleaner at 70 % off. (Going-out-of-business sale!) Overlooking its heft, I compared it to a cleaner parked close by in the showroom, a Dyson, my gold-standard at the time. “It would be perfect, sturdy and top of the line both,” I think.

When Husband came home, he just stared at my purchase open-mouthed and started laughing, then a wild guffaw. His comments: This thing looks like it can suck up the rug in one fell swoop. Why, it could even pull a red wagon with a child sitting in it around the block–a vacuum cleaner on steroids, that’s what it is. A turbo-charged Bissell beast!Blog_Vacuum Cleaner_drawing_300

I have to wonder: Can a vacuum cleaner help a writer find her voice?

Join the conversation. I will always respond!

Here is the link to my entry in the Gutsy Story Contest now in progress on the website of author Sonia Marsh:

My Gutsy Story: Rising Above the Pettiness to Focus on the Positive


16 thoughts on “Moments of Extreme Emotion Series: My Marriage in Vacuum Cleaners

  1. This story reminded me of one I wrote a number of years ago about my mother’s extensive relationship with vacuum cleaners (and no matter how I write that word, it never looks right). Since it is still available on some back pages of Third Way Cafe website, I share it for any amusement you may find!
    Myself, I am only on my third vacuum cleaner in 38 some years of marriage/keeping house. Kind of happy about that. 🙂


    1. Read your article Melodie about your “fixer-upper” vacuum mom. Reminded me of the last time I saw my moms’s vac. The hose was taped with gray duct tape. Whatever works! Enjoyed your article.


  2. You are the first to comment, Melodie–I assume you’re an early riser! Thanks for the link; I will certainly check it out! And, yes, you should congratulate yourself on being on only your 3rd vacuum cleaner in 38 years of marriage. I guess my history would be about the same.


  3. Cliff’s cartoon reminded me “I Love Lucy.” My mother also had one of those “Daschund” vacuums. No way could I talk her out of that heavy thing, she was a loyal customer until her death. I tried the “Rainbow”, and decided to stick with a light weight upright “Oreck.” Inquiring minds want to know… the super-powered machine doing a good job?


  4. hahaha! We just bought a Kirby on the payment plan. It’s paid off now and I love it, but it was like buying a small car. It not only sucks up the dog hair, it sucks up the dogs.


  5. I laughed while reading your post this morning! Holy Toledo — your mom still has her original vacuum cleaner? That’s a fantastic advertisement right there!

    With two giant dogs and a tile floor, we don’t have dust bunnies, we have dust buffalo! Hence, we also have “The Pet Lover’s Friend” by Oreck.


  6. I haven’t heard mention of the Miele–I have a shiny red canister vacuum whose most attractive quality is its quiet hum. I can still hear the TV when I vacuum the rug!


  7. You’ve got to love the sales pitch. Works great on a submarine! Will lift toddler elephants with only an attachment! Will eradicate blood stains right through the skin! Yes, but will it vacuum the floor?


    1. This sounds like Traci, mistress of metaphor and hyperbole. Ha! It does vacuum, in fact quite well. But I have to have help heaving it from floor to floor. What was I thinking?


  8. I attest to the veracity of this monster cleaning machine. It does do a great job of cleaning. I believe that’s where the phrase “Just suck it up” originally came from –a woman urging her machine to do its job. The negative about this machine is having to constantly rent a small crane to hoist it from its dark hiding place to the second floor.


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