You Don’t Intimidate Me!

At least that is what I told myself before attempting to unclog the vacuum hose on my 8-year-old vacuum cleaner.

Recently, every time I attempted to vacuum, terrorizing the dogs along the way, the vacuum rollers would simultaneously collect and throw down the collections in neat little piles on the carpet.  This went on for a couple of weeks, until I finally gave up – it had lost suction.  It was dead to me, and couldn’t be fixed; at least that is what I told myself.  I didn’t have time to fool with it anyway, but in my heart, I knew.

Meanwhile, I dug out my 20-year-old vacuum, which was also broken, to clean up the surface dirt – no roller brush action going on with this one!  I found a broom works quite nicely as well.  But, eventually, Spring came, and like so many of us, I got the itch to really spring clean.  And the only way the carpet was going to get that spring clean feel, was to deep clean vacuum, so I had no choice … either purchase a new vacuum (I have my eye on that Shark), or fix the monster.  Unemployed workers don’t just go out and buy new vacuum cleaners, so I had to gird myself (isn’t gird a great word?) to just do it!  How hard could it be?

I realized immediately just how hard it COULD be.  As I awkwardly hefted the monster onto the kitchen island to work on it without back-breaking contortions (yet another reason), I scraped the skin off a finger, hit that ‘not-so-funny spot’ on my elbow, and somehow disengaged the buildup of dirt from the roller-well onto the kitchen floor.   So, I paused to ask myself, “do I really want to do this?”  I realized if I stopped now, I still had to get it off the counter and onto the floor again, so as far as I was concerned, I’d reached the point of no return!  After a deep breath and a few words of reward (yes reward!) to myself for getting this far, on to the next step – find a screwdriver.

The good news is, like many of us, I keep a screwdriver handy in the catchall drawer in the kitchen.  All I had to do then was locate the screws to remove the bottom roller plate and on I go.  That was an easy enough task, removing four screws, so the rest should be easy; or so I thought.  As I gently pulled the plate away from the bottom, I heard a ‘snap’ and a quiet ‘tink’ as something broke away and on to the floor.  “OMG” I say to myself, “what was that? Lord, I just hope I can get this thing back together enough to get it to the repair shop!”  What repair shop, I don’t know, because I haven’t seen a repair shop for anything in years!  I have no choice but to continue on.  Dang this throw-away society!

After a quick dig through the first mess, I find a very small piece of plastic that looked like it was a match for one of the screws.  So I attempted to refit it to the part (?) where the screw screws in, but it would not stick.  I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.  I pondered on it for a moment, thinking I could glue it back on, but the thing was so small, I was sure it would get clogged with glue, and at worst permanently secure the screw, which I was positive would need to be removed in the future.  Ah well, there were three more screws to hold it on, so I tossed the whatchamacallit in the catchall drawer, and moved on.

Now the screws are out, the plate is off, and the roller is hanging on by a thick rubber band.  I must remove the roller to get to the suction hole that is, I see, clogged with dog hair, a lot of dog hair and some unknown pieces of floor crud.  I’m oddly drawn to discover what that floor crud is, and wonder how did it get on the floor in the first place … hmmm.  But, I’m getting close now, and I decide to save that adventure for another blog.  What’s next?

I must find something to dislodge the backup.  I quickly decide on my dryer brush to get the job done – and it does; at least for the first few inches, as the brush won’t curl around the bend in the hose on the back.  Stepping back to get a good look at my work so far, I realize with a slight thrill, I’m close!  I will not let this monster get the better of me!   So think, woman, think!  Ah!

If I cannot reach the clog with the dryer brush, perhaps a hanger will do the trick!  I get the hanger, unwind it, straighten it out, and gently snake it through the hose, moving back and forth to try and snag whatever is clogging the hose.  A bit of dirt comes out, but I can tell from the movement of the hose, it is not getting the worst of it, and if I continue, I’m afraid I’ll damage the hose.  Ugh!  “I’ve come so far,” I think to myself.  “Now what?”

Now I get my older vacuum cleaner and try to vacuum out the clog.  I wheel the green monster (it is green) into the kitchen, pop off the nozzle, and onto the clogged hose.  It wasn’t a perfect fit, but it was enough to create a seal to suction out the remainder of the clog.  Voila, I’m victorious!

All that is left is to reseat the roller and reattach the plate.  Uh, uh, uh, not so fast!  As I reattach the plate, another ‘snap’ and ‘tink’; you’ve got to be kidding!  Yet another whatchamacallit has broken off, leaving another orphaned screw.  What now?  I need that screw to secure the front, so I attempt to screw it in, but no grip – it is too short.  Yet again, I step back, remain calm, and ponder.  I know, I’ll use one of those pointy screws that is a bit longer, and so I do, and so it works.

With renewed energy from a job well and nearly done, I easily hoist the vacuum off the counter and onto the floor, ready to terrorize the hounds once again!

Note to self:  believe in myself from the start; when things get tough, get creative; and more importantly, don’t give up!

Thanks for listening.

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