This week is Spring Break for our kids, so Sunday after church my wife and two daughters decided to drive to Kansas City to spend a few days with their cousins. Since this meant that the house would be empty, I thought it was the perfect time to steam clean the basement carpeting.
In retrospect, it concerns me just a teensy weensy little bit that I was going to have the house to myself and the first thing that entered my mind was...ding ding ding....STEAM CLEANING. Seriously, my life is over.
Anyway, I rented a Rug Doctor and went to work. Step one was to remove any objects in the way and vacuum the floors. So, I carried a few things upstairs, moved other things out of the way of the area to be cleaned and went to work. Vacuuming the main walkways naturally picked up a bit of dirt and debris. Our vacuum is actually quite amazing at picking up stuff you can't see...until it is swirling around in the little whirlwind behavior. It's like your own little carpet-dirt tornado.
Yeah, it's cool!
So things went smoothly, actually picking up much less in the walkways than I expected, until I got to our girls' room. Knowing that they have a lot of tiny parts to go with various toys and dolls, I carefully checked the floor for any important parts, and only found a couple of things...plus a number of hairpins. I was actually pleasantly surprised by how little small stuff I found on the floor.
Then I started to vacuum.
I have no idea what they do in there that makes such a mess...especially since we either force them to clean up every day or Dianne just does it while they are at school. It sounded like I was sucking all the cereal out of the pantry, combined with a healthy dose of gravel, and maybe a number of thumbtacks. No doubt, there were a number of hairpins I couldn't see, too. As an aside, my wife and I once spent over an hour unclogging the vacuum from a serious number of hairpins. They managed to wedge themselves sideways in the hose and proceed to block all the rest of the dirt from getting through. We pulled enough twisted metal out of the vacuum to make a Yugo!
After vacuuming their room, I noticed that the little personal tornado wasn't really being much of a tornado anymore and there seemed to be a large amount of stuff jammed up in the vacuum, causing the tornado to fail. This was going to have to be cleaned out. I was already done with all the vacuuming so I took the vacuum upstairs, saving the cleaning out process for later.
The steam cleaning went off without a hitch.
HA! You were expecting some nearly unbelievable catastrophe, weren't you! Well, I'm not following the formula, suckers! A couple of days later, I couldn't put off the vacuum cleaning any longer because, well, we have a dog. A dog that sheds enough that you could weave a sweater from the hair we collect in a single week. I needed to vacuum, and bad.
So, I dragged the vacuum out into the light so I could see what was blocking the personal tornado area. I wanted my tornado back! It seems that I had waited just a bit too long to clean the vacuum out, because the dirt and debris that had blocked the personal tornado area had apparently begun to organize. By organize, I mean the junk had set up a hierarchical command structure and had decided it DID NOT WANT TO BE PULLED OUT OF ITS VACUUM HOME.
I tugged, it held firm. I scraped, and the crud organism avoided my scraping. I was starting to get just a little alarmed and, as you know, I was home alone. I did NOT have a backup, and my cell phone was in the bedroom. If there was trouble, I was doomed. I fought and fought the crud monster and seemed to be making a little headway. By now, my cats and dog were getting interested in my struggle. Never had they seen someone fight the Godzilla of Crud as valiantly as me.
My heart swelled with pride. I was the crud monster fighting hero! The pride was short lived, though, because that is the exact moment that the sentient crud grabbed a hold of my hand and started dragging me into the bowels of the vacuum. Wait! This wasn't supposed to happen in real life, just in those stupid late night movies that air on the independent stations! I MOCKED those movies, but here I was, being dragged into the vacuum.
Flailing, I desperately reached around, looking for a weapon. ANYTHING that could stop this demon crud. Looking around, I spotted my dog. Dogs are man's best friend! She would help me!
"Maggie!" I shouted in desperation. Her ears perked up. "Go get me a knife from the kitchen. GO, girl, GO!"
Lassie always understood EVERYTHING that was going and saved Timmy on numerous occasions. Well, Maggie is no Lassie and had no idea what I was trying to say.However, she DID pick up the stress in my voice, but she mistook that stress for excitement. Obviously, I was going to take her for a walk! She started jumping up and down and barking, wanting me to stop "playing" with the Crud Demon that was trying to pull me into the vacuum cleaner...probably never to be seen again.
It was clear to me that Maggie was not going to be any help. Our youngest cat had already lost interest, and had wandered off. That left the old cat, Tiffany (see yesterday's picture). Since I was fighting the demon in the hallway, I was very close to the closet that holds their food. Tiffany was just sitting in the hall, watching me closely. If only I could alert her in some way to my predicament, before my previously promising life was snuffed out by the host of dust demons in the vacuum.
"Tiffany!" I yelled. "BUGS!"
You see, in her younger days, Tiffany lived to hunt bugs. If you yelled "Tiffany! BUGS!" she'd come running and look for anything to kill. I hoped to leverage that killer instinct into an all-out attack on the small and dusty, yet powerful crud demon. Unfortunately, Tiffany is now deaf. Though she probably noticed my mouth moving, she doesn't read lips.
She looked at the closet that holds her food. She looked at me, thrashing around in the hallway fighting the crud demon. Clearly, Gregg had some free time and can do something for me, she thought. She meowed at me, quite loudly, clearly asking for some food.
The dog was now beside herself with near convulsions over the prospect of ACTUALLY GOING FOR A WALK. I think she might have peed on my leg, just a little bit. Man's best friend? HA!
Finally, the Crud Demon gave up, and I pulled it free from the vacuum. Thinking quickly, I grabbed a silver serving spoon and stabbed the vile dust beast from the netherworld. Hey, silver works on werewolfs, right? I was hoping it also worked on demons formed from the debris in my daughters' room.
Near exhaustion, I put the vacuum back together and finished vacuuming up the dog hair. I think this near death experience has taught me something, as such experiences do.
Here it is: I am never vacuuming the girls' room again!