The death of a vacuum cleaner

Scott trying to fix the vacuum

As with many things I own, my vacuum came with my apartment. My grandfather bought it at the hardware store that used to be around the corner (it moved into a storefront across the street from my building about two years ago). I remember using it to erase the marks that a rented hospital bed had made in the bedroom carpet after my grandmother died and I have spent quality time with in on my hands and knees, reaching for the dust in corners and out from behind doors.

The first year the vacuum became mine, it stopped working. The motor turned on and the headlight shined bright, but it did not suck. And, in opposition to most things in life, when it comes to vacuums, it is actually better that they suck. There was a vacuum and sewing machine repair shop near my office, and so one morning, set out with the vacuum cleaner in tow. I got a series of strange looks from the people I passed as I walked my vacuum down Chestnut Street and into my office building. It sat with me in my cube until lunch time, when I walked it over to the repair shop. Several days later, I picked it back up, good as new.  It worked for a while, until the belt that the I had paid $19.75 to have replaced burnt through.  I was actually able to fix it on my own, and it sucked happily until last month.

Towards the beginning of February, I was cleaning up and pulled out my trusty vacuum cleaner.  Plugging it in and starting it up, almost immediately the room filled with a burning smell and the vacuum started making a sound that was out of its natural range.  I turned it off and tucked it away in the hall closet, thinking that I would deal with it later.

Tonight, Scott and I took it apart and attempted to install a new belt, thinking that that would solve the problem.  It worked for about 30 seconds before burning through the fresh belt and grinding to a halt.   My run with this trusty bagged vacuum has come to an end.  I feel slightly guilty getting rid of it, not only because my grandfather bought it, but also it feels environmentally unsound to throw it away and get another.  However, my vacuum repair store is no longer and my need to remove all the media stand packaging on the floor is starting to overwhelm me.  The new vacuum will be here on Tuesday.  I can’t wait.

6 thoughts on “The death of a vacuum cleaner

  1. julie

    Did you read the article in the NY Times about slow food and the slow movement? The way you write sort of reminds me of that and by that I mean the attention to small details normally overlooked. And, the repairing of the vacuum cleaner also seems to fit with that.

  2. Marisa

    Thanks Julie. I do like to pay attention to the small details of life.

    Saul, thanks for the tip! I was feeling really guilty about just tossing it, so that’s an excellent option.

    Diane, well, I haven’t been able to buy much of anything in the last two years. The new job is making some acquisition possible, which is quite nice.

  3. howard

    This reminds me a little bit of the 35 year-old Kirby my parents still use. It isn’t what it used to be (prompting a new, but lower-class, Hoover from us kids this past Christmas), but it’s still a tank of a vacuum cleaner, and my father still swears by it.


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