Have you ever had one of those days where you have clearly mapped out everything you need to do that day, but Thing #2 depends on Thing #1, and Thing #3 depends on Thing #2, and everything is woven together in an interlocking chain of Stuff That Is Not Getting Done because you can not, for the life of you, figure out how to complete Thing #1? Well the other day was like that for me.
Normally this is entirely my fault, since Thing #1 is usually something like, “Put on clothes.” (Dammit, you mean there’s no naked grocery shopping today? Well, forget it. There’s no point in even showing up for this day then!) But this day was a bit trickier, because Thing #1 was, “Make The Vacuum Cleaner Not Smell Like Poo”.
Having things not smell like poo is very important to me, but it can also be very difficult because we live with three cats. With humans it’s easy, because you almost never have to speak to them about this particular issue. Humans tend to take care of this themselves. But cats are a different story. And last week there was An Incident while I was changing the cat boxes, and it wasn’t pretty.
So as I was sitting on the floor and dismantling the vacuum cleaner, I began to think about how many pivotal moments in our marriage could be traced back to this particular appliance.
When we were first married and my husband received his first big bonus we bought…a vacuum cleaner. (Well we bought other things too, but I don’t have any funny stories about those items.) We were so excited about this vacuum cleaner. You would have thought we grew up in households without any electricity where we were required to clean the carpets every day by licking them with our tongues. We couldn’t wait to get home at night and vacuum things (and no, I can’t explain why that was, so don’t ask.)
I guess we were just excited to finally be a married couple, out on our own, buying “grownup” things. But man were we funny (as opposed to today, where we are a bastion of sobriety and maturity-NOT).
So we vacuumed, and we were happy, and then we moved into our new house, and we had even more space to vacuum, and we were happy, and then one day…we ran out of vacuum cleaner bags. Normally this would not be a problem, but my husband and I have completely different shopping philosophies.
When faced with the need to buy something my husband compares approximately 800 bongjillion styles, prices, sizes, locations, options, and, please, somebody, kill me now and end this misery! Whereas I decide what I need, go to a store that sells it, find something that meets my needs, and buy it. His method works great when you’re buying things like cars, washing machines, and computers, but it can be a real problem when you run out of something like, say, bread.
The tricky thing is that I grew up with a lot of messages that said, “If anyone ever tells you to do something, you MUST do it.” Especially if that someone is a man, and especially if that man is related to you. (Important Side Note: If you are my husband and you are reading this, you had better not be thinking, “Man, I really miss those days!”)
So my husband told me that before I was allowed to buy any more bags and continue my vacuuming, I had to shop around. And I tried, I truly did. But what I never knew until I became a vacuum cleaner owner myself is that, much like each human being has a particular blood type and cannot receive just any old type of blood transfusion, each machine needs its own particular type of bag. And apparently ours uses the AB- type of vacuum cleaner bag, because I could not find those suckers ANYWHERE.
So the pressure was building, and the carpets were dirty, and I wanted my husband to approve of me, and then one day…I discovered online shopping. I entered in our type of vacuum cleaner bag, and up popped this luscious list of bags, all ripe for the buying. And I thought, “I can’t take it anymore-I MUST be able to vacuum!” And I bought the first package on the list. And then I sat and waited for the earth to crash into the sun, because I had just made a decision to do something other than what my husband wanted.
Of course it turned out to be no big deal. So my confidence slowly began to grow, and I began to trust in my own abilities to buy things like closet organizers and crock pots all by myself. And now I have become such a Brazen Consumer Hussy that I recently bought myself an MP3 player while my husband was off in a whole other state, and I never consulted him once.
And fortunately the vacuum cleaner lives on, able to continue marking these important moments in our marriage. Because the odor turned out to be nothing that sucking an entire Lysol Sanitizing Wipe directly up into the hose couldn’t fix. (You know, just in case this particular issue ever comes up for you.)