"UNCLEAR OF THE CONCEPT..."
Having recently retired from the Armed
Forces and having time on my hands (according to my wife, golf and
playing on the computer don't count), I have now been "volunteered"
to help with the house chores. We are officially classified as
"DINKS" (Dual Income, No KidS) as both our sons are now out on their
own, my wife teaches and I have my pension. While appearing at first
blush to be a very satisfactory arrangement, it does mean that I have
no kids on whom to foist the "mediocre" chores. Nevertheless, I did
not consider this a problem as I had performed most of the chores at
one time or another (maximum) with, if memory serves, minimum stress.
However I guess memory can be selective as I don't remember the
difficulties one can encounter when employing supposed "labour
saving" appliances, obviously developed by sadistic engineers who are
totally unclear of the concept of house cleaning and are more
comfortable designing nuclear power plants and space
For example, our new vacuum cleaner is best
suited for cleaning the red carpet laid out for visiting royalty -
and that's it! Anything other than a straight and uninhibited path
and its about as useful as non-opposing thumbs! As I soon found out,
vacuuming a house from top to bottom employing this totally hostile
"appliance from hell" made peacekeeping look inviting! To start with,
all the written stickers on the machine are warnings, not
instructions. I determined from this plethora of printed safety
policy that I could not take the beast swimming with me if it was
plugged in, nor use it as a sump pump, but nowhere did it advise me
how to open the damn accessory container so I could get at the
Another nifty feature is the electrical
cord which is almost but not quite long enough when pulled out of its
hiding place and which continually tries to mate, snake like, with
the hose. When it decides it has done enough, it retreats to its nest
with a speed and ferocity seldom seen by this observer, snapping and
grabbing things along its frenzied flight path. The vacuum hose
itself is a work of wonder. Its design is such that one immediately
senses that it can only be operated comfortably by the hunchback of
Notre Dame. When accompanied by its various attachments, it cleverly
ties itself in knots while the tools delight in catching in the
corners of every object one wishes to get behind or under. The
powered carpet cleaner works on a rather unique method in that while
it definitely cleans the carpet, this is only temporary until such
time as the dust that its thrashing has thrust vertically into the
immediate vicinity settles.
But the piece de resistance has to be the
basic mobility of the machine. As any experienced home maker knows
intuitively, if you have to drag something after you all over the
house (children exempted), the best shape is round so that it will
slide easily around corners, chairs, etc. Our machine is rectangular
which ensures it will snag without prior warning, on just about
anything at which time a tug of war occurs guaranteed to frustrate
the most benign individual.
Finally, did I mention that this device is
wheeled? Yes it has three wheels, each with its own idea as to
direction, usually compromising on a path bearing little resemblance
to the one the operator wishes it to follow. Their minimal diameter
is just perfect for not clearing the simplest obstructions including
the power cord, again leading to another tug of war and the
inevitable premature cessation of work. Then, while trying to
extricate the beast, the hose and power cord renew their love making!
I will not cover the "changing of the bag" as it is not a pretty
scene, especially for inclusion in a family publication.
I guess the ideal would be to have an
experienced, unemployed mechanical engineer who is well versed in
both house cleaning and the shortcomings of existing appliances,
design a new line of "user friendly" devices. Hmm, those
qualifications sound vaguely familiar!