Saturday, July 29, 2017

Love At First Sweep!

One of the things that's wonderful about being single is, well, being single! Much of the time, if you're retired anyway, life is on your very own schedule except for the inevitable and sadly the increasingly frequent doctor visits! You eat when you want; you sleep when you want, even nap when you want. You can even be a slob if you want. 
Black & Decker Dust Buster ... man's other best friend!
   Unfortunately for me, being a slob is not an option especially if you have a large black Labrador Retriever who could best be described as a big, black, hairy, fur ball. It doesn't seem to make much of a difference. You can brush her once, twice a day for 10 minutes or 60, yet when she comes back in ... within minutes the first tuft of black hair appears. People talk about carrying a cup of coffee around all day? I carry around my dust buster ... a dog owners best friend!
   However, its hard to tell which is worse ... tufts of hair that seem to multiply like mice or surfaces freshly clean suddenly covered with dust. Its a race around here, believe me.
   One of the first things I bought when I moved to Palm Springs last year was a vacuum. I knew hair would appear and I needed to keep it under control since it was just me and my dog Maggie. After a careful search on Amazon, reading Consumer Reports ... all the usual stuff for comparisons, I settled on a Shark vacuum.
   As a kid growing up, I can remember a canister vacuum that you had to drag as you sucked up the dust. It lasted forever and weighed a ton. Even as a first grader, if not before, vacuuming was one of my chores. Kids today, even my kids never had to vacuum. One of the agreements my wife and I made after she went back to work after our second child was born was that we would have a housekeeper. And while we had "hell night," the ruckus the night before the housekeeper came when I could hear my wife yelling and the kids whining and crying about cleaning up when I came home at night, other than putting things away so the housekeeper could actually clean, a vacuum was a mystery to them. Oddly my son, whose room was so bad you shuffled when entering as you didn't know what was under "things" on the floor, as an adult he was a neatnik. Who would have guessed?
You see the lady and the dog? ... it IS love at first sight!

   Since I couldn't afford a Dyson being single, and I never liked the one we had anyway, I  settled on a Shark. We had a hatred affair from the very beginning. Whoever designed the placement of that cord should be shot at midnight. I bent over to retrieve, vacuumed over, tripped and stumbled over the cord constantly. It has a long cord you were forever avoiding, but then ... not long enough. Because it was so awkward to use, I got a Dust Buster. It sits under a chair in the living room charging all the time. It's ready to use in the blink of an eye and during the day, often is.

   Now while I try to be a good housekeeper, because I hated the vacuum I decided maybe I needed a robotic vacuum. However, a Roomba was way, WAY out of my price range starting at what, about $400 and up! In  my investigations to see if maybe it was cheaper on Amazon than at Target, after reading less than stellar reviews of the Roomba I came across an O Cedar Robotic Vacuum ... for the unbelievable price of $25. What was better yet was that it was highly reviewed though one comment noted they only seemed to work for about 6 months before biting the dust ... I guess in this case, literally! For $25 I could buy even 7 and still be ahead of the game. (Oh, mine is about a year old now and works just fine.) It was not recommended for carpets but since I had tile and fake wood floors it does work just fine.
My floors were far worse!
   The real shock was what it turned up with! Even after vacuuming once and swabbing the floors, just after I got it, I gave it a spin to see what it could pick up. I WAS SHOCKED! It was covered with black dog hair. I realized that it could and did go under the bed, the chest of drawers, TV stand and there the dust bunnies were alive and well, up till then out of reach. 
   Deserts are dusty places and dogs are hairy ... it did its job very well. However, you still need to vacuum things you don't see or get with a dust buster or a red robot so, what to do? 
   Talking to my friend in China after he moved back from Hong Kong hearing his complaints of a new vacuum back when he bought his condo but hardly used ... it would work about 20 minutes, heat up and then shut down. An hour or two later, it was another 20 or so minutes. Tianjin, like Palm Springs is very dusty I hear so he was frustrated to say the least. He hunted around, found and bought a Dyson cordless vacuum. He couldn't stop talking about how great it was. Why a Dyson is cheaper in China than here, when everything else there is more expensive than here and made there, was a mystery but he convinced me to look for one to try myself.
Hammacher Schlemmer 89838 GRN Best Hand Vac
  I saw one for $180 in the Hammacher Schlemmer catalog. Not known for bargain prices I ordered one and was immediately notified it was on backorder. I would hazard a guess and note that I was not alone! It arrived this week and since I was expecting a visit from my daughter, decided I better clean my condo from top to bottom. I needed to start re-organizing and eliminating anyway so this was the perfect time to start.
   The first step? Vacuuming! They say it has a run time per charge of around 30 minutes. It lasted long enough for me. I'm in love ... with my vacuum. It could be a dust buster too I guess but I will use the long pole with the head, spinning bristles and light as a vacuum. I could both see those dust bunnies and it sucked them up ... every little bit. The head twists and turns into those tight spaces and it got every single thing on the floor... and, I didn't trip once! Good bye ... Shark!
   One more house cleaning hurdle solved now ... if I could just find something to replace my Swiffer. They may work well in the ads on TV, but the reality here is that it cleans the first tile well, the next one a bit less and after a few more tiles, not so well if at all. 
   The greater lesson though is that nothing, and I mean nothing cleans floors better than a bucket of soapy water, a strong sponge and you on your hands and knees!

Thank you for reading my blog. I invite you to take the time to read earlier blogs where the emphasis is to explore the ways art and design affects our daily lives ... and always has. I share with you what inspires me with the hope that it will inspire you as well. Comments are always welcomed! Be sure to check my re-opened ETSY store ... Many of the items talked about here are for sale there!


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