This morning, I bought a vacuum cleaner. It occurs to me, at this exact moment, that I have never owned a vacuum cleaner before. How is that possible? When I was in university, I could not afford a decent vacuum. Then, I lived in smallish apartments where a broom and mop were all I needed. Later, I lived in Colombia and Mexico where a succession of tiny but fierce cleaning women – Lilia, Martha, Dalia – dealt with my dusty/dirty floors and stairs and bathrooms while I was at work. God bless them all… I think of them often.
The Director of our school is moving to China and is selling some of her things. I was delighted to see, on the list, her pair of Chinese chairs, made in the Philippines and shipped to Spain. Snapped them up, I did… along with an area rug and her vacuum cleaner. The hoover, as our British friends call it, was a practical purchase, the adult thing to do.
At 9:30 this morning, while the streets of Gracia were still silent and deserted, I met the Director and her husband just outside my building; they were kind enough to offer to deliver my purchases. I hauled the items upstairs in the ancient, badly misbehaving elevator (a friend gasped with fear at its antics just last night), trying not to let the doors bang shut too loudly as I knew that everyone in the building was still asleep. In truth, a few of them had probably arrived home just a few hours earlier. The people on the fourth floor, for example, are vampires. I often hear the clickety-click of the woman’s heels on the floor above our bedroom in the middle of the night… and sometimes, at 2:00 a.m., the whirrrr of her washing machine. So, at the very least, they are well-heeled vampires in spotlessly clean clothes. In two trips I got everything up to the apartment although I did have to think like a man to get the chairs through the narrow door of the elevator. (It’s all about the angles… ask me anything)!
Sweating, I contemplated my pile of new possessions. I moved a small read Ikea table into the bedroom and placed one of the Chinese chairs in its place in the corner of the living room. I set the other one against the wall between the dining room and our bedroom. The seat of this chair was so inviting to me that I sat for a while before coming to the conclusion that they are not as comfortable as they were in my head.
As I was sorting that out, I noticed the little blue vacuum cleaner in the middle of my living room. Please understand that, given the size of the living room, I would have been hard pressed to simply forget about it. It’s a very European looking machine, this little vacuum cleaner… compact and built for business. I plugged it in, turned it on and was, immediately, off to the races. The miraculous thing is that, with almost no work on my part, this machine picked up dirt and bits of potato chips and lint from under the bed. I walked around the apartment, holding onto the nozzle thingie (I have no idea what the word is… I shall have to look it up), and the magical vacuum cleaner whipped my small apartment into shape. This vacuum cleaner already knows corners of our wee apartment that I have never seen. I was done… or rather the vacuum cleaner was… in 10 minutes. Bedroom, living room, dining room, kitchen, and front foyer. Done, done, done.
This is a kind of miracle for me. I must have been in denial about how much I hate sweeping (not just the sweeping but the horribly inefficient dustpan bit) but I REALLY, REALLY hate it! I think DP must not hate sweeping the apartment out quite as much as I do because, over the past week, I have noticed that the place is MUCH dirtier than it was before he returned to Canada. In retrospect, I believe that he was sweeping in secret far more frequently than I knew. (Thanks)!
I am IN LOVE with our new vacuum cleaner. I feel just like a 1950s housewife. (Okay, I acknowledge just how ridiculous that statement was… how in the world would I know what that felt like?) What I would really like to say is that if you have been putting off the purchase of a vacuum cleaner (new or used), procrastinate no longer! It will make you and your house MUCH happier!