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Wednesday, 31 March 2010

What's in a vacuum?

One of the first things we bought when we arrived in the US was a vacuum cleaner. Admittedly we don't use it as often as we should, but it gets at least a bi-weekly workout, especially since we now have two cats depositing fluffs of black fur on the tan carpet, plus bark chips from the flowerbeds outside, and Beth's long dark brown hair seems to drop out everywhere but never gets any thinner. The cats are scared of the noise it makes, so we try to time our uses for when they're having an outing, usually after dark.

After a little market research we invested $150 in a Bissell upright bagless model, with (allegedly) special  pet hair attachment. We had a bagless Dyson in London for our last year and it was great, but we had to leave it with the house as it wouldn't work on the different power supply here. After having a bagless unit once, I can't imagine going back to the nightmare of bags. The Bissell has a lift out section, so it can be hand carried for use on stairs, and the usual long sucky attachment thing for getting into edges and corners. Overall it's doing a good job. Until yesterday when it sucked half a plastic bag round the floor roller. Beth took the roller out and cleaned it, but we (i.e. I) had apparently burnt out the motor.

Beth immediately found the receipt and checked the warranty, then got online to check both  the manufacturer's and retailer's sites. Better still, she didn't once say I was a doofus for sucking up the plastic bag and then pulling it out without turning the machine off first.

Today we were loading the machine into the car prior to taking it to the retailer, when, on checking the instructions one last time, we discovered that the roller doesn't turn if the handle is locked in the upright position. We tried it one last time and bingo, it worked fine. No need to take it back to the retailer then, and we set off on on our outing to the cinema, followed by an early supper at Sizzler (unlimited salad bar). We also visited Sears, a large department store, and an anchor store of the Gateway Mall in Springfield, where I looked at the possibility of a second vacuum for my den. After examining several, it was plain that nothing suited my needs more than the unit we already had, so I'll stick with that and suffer the minor inconvenience of carrying across from the house when I need to use it.

Back home, cats out, so we do a thorough vacuum of the whole floor. The cats are in the habit of chasing each other around and leave little tufts of black and grey fur everywhere, so there was quite a lot to vacuum, but the Bissell did the job admirably.

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