When we moved in to our new house three years ago, a Kenmore central vacuum was already in place. It conked out just after two months using it. We tried not to miss vacuuming and see if we could live with it. So, for the next two months our carpet has not been at all hostile to dirt and dust – till I could not handle the guilt anymore… I phoned Sears. To have a new central vacuum get install, Sears told me, I am looking at around 500 bucks. My wife told me just to get a handy cheaper vacuum under hundred dollars. To save us a few dollars more, I brought in the vacuum motor to Allen Motor shop at Agnes to get it repair.
The motor shop was dark, although lights were open. The whole place was stacked by piles of greasy motors and armatures from floor to ceiling gathering dust and cobwebs. The shop smelled like stale sweat doused with the odor of rusted iron and used oil. I was not impressed of the shop being open for business, had it not been for an old man came out from nowhere wearing an overall coated with soot. Surprised of my presence, I told the old man my problem. He exited to the other dingy room and when he appeared again, he said, he could do it for seventy five. Two days after, I got my repaired motor back.
Our central vacuum worked. My wife was happy. I was leery. I had feelings of doom coming. Two weeks after, our vacuum conked out again. I brought it in again to Allen’s to claim its job’s warranty. The shop was closed for business! The doom started to emerge. My wife warned: further escalation cost of the vacuum could get my bi-monthly allowance chopped off. In our household my wife took care of our finances.
My wife and I went to Canadian Tire, to check on those cheaper vacuums. We settled for the Dirt Devil. The Devil worked fine, although it took longer than usual to clean up the whole house. One day, the Devil stopped running. I consulted its manual. Oh, I have to check the dirt bag. I laid down the vacuum – seriously looking and studying which part I should open. Common sense told me it was the flap. I heard a click sound when I opened it up. And there, the dirt bag looked bulky. I didn’t have a new replacement bag, so I went to the Canadian Tire. The guy there asked what model is my vacuum. Oh, do I need that, I asked. Yes. The guy said. So I called my wife. Where’s that model number located in the vacuum? My wife asked. Just look in there, or look for the manual it must be lying there somewhere. My wife found the manual.
When I put the bag in, the flap didn’t want to snap. It wouldn’t want to close. Oh…Shoot…What happened. I checked it out. The two hooks to close it were chipped off. So, that was the clicking sound I heard when I opened it up. I used an inordinate force. I thought of two solutions. One was to use the duct tape winding up the flap, but duct tape is tightly sticky, unwinding it to change the dirt bag would be stupid and tedious. Second, this analogy of dressing up a kid popped out in my head. I would have an elastic band as the dress and the vacuum as the kid. So, I’ll get this elastic band run through the kid’s neck which is the vacuum’s handle till it reached the kid’s torso which is the flap. That was it. The elastic band would snap the flap securing the dirt bag.
The Devil’s handle cracked at another time. The handle was brittle, that with constant lifts and bumps, it gave in. So, when I vacuumed now, I hugged the Devil in squatting position pushing it against the carpet. It was hard. I was beginning to hate this Devil. How can I get rid of it? My wife couldn’t be convince to just buy a new one or throw it – not until I exhausted all the remedy, or it became totally incapacitated. Not wanting to get my allowance chopped off, I rummaged through the phone book. I checked every vacuum repair shops in Winnipeg and asked if they have a spare of this kind of Devil’s handle. One East Indian shop at Ness Avenue, said they have. I bought it for twenty five bucks.
The Devil’s motor continued running, but the outer parts disentangled one by one. I was just doing band aid solutions to make it work. But really, I had to get rid of it. An opportunity came when our basement got flooded because our sump pump got busted. I drained out all the water on the floor but the water in the tank remained. Only upon emptying the tank, I could get the sump pump replaced. But to get the water out, I need a bucket to scoop it, transport and throw it to the toilet sink. That would take long. Thought occurred to me that instant. It came in blinding speed, the same as that of what hit St. Paul at Damascus … yeah, maybe my Devil, could drain the water quick. So I sat the Devil up… with the Devil’s nozzle dipped into the water, I switched on the vacuum. The Devil whirred. It got me electrocuted. I survived, my Devil didn’t. That was good.
We went to Regent Casino one time, and my wife saw this sign from a parked SUV truck. She pointed it out to me. The sign read: “We repair what you’re husband fixed” I knew what she meant. Trying to replace our sump pump, I left it undone in midstream, and double the cost my wife paid to the licensed plumber.