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  • Pamela S

Suck It Up

I bought a new stick vacuum cleaner to quickly suck up dog hair that gathers by the stairs. It has caused nothing short of a revolution.

The moment I turned on this new vacuum, a row of brilliant LED lights lit up its path, exposing a shocking truth. Every square inch of what I thought was a clean floor was covered in dog hair. The vacuum head judged critically in every direction, and we worked together tirelessly to reverse this ubiquitous situation.

Another feature of this vacuum is that it has a small clear canister. I've had that before, but never when I had dogs. I filled up one canister, and then another, and then another. I continue to gather the contents into a trash bag outside and I hesitate to toss this bag of bounty. It has started to have heft, and I have to say, it's a weird flex on my part, but okay. I'm proud of my accomplishment, woman-and-machine together, ridding our home of filth. But I keep the bag right outside, checking its weight whenever I add more, sure that soon there will be enough for a third dog.

The last feature is that the vacuum is cordless. My other vacuum did not quite reach all the ends of my home, and I was usually too lazy to replug it. So there are areas of my home that have been vacuumed about 10% of the time of other areas, which were vacuumed about 10% of the time they should have been. The master bathroom was one of these areas. My hair would form small critters that would dance as we walked past.

So I bought a vacuum, whatever. Except that I have vacuumed every single day since I got it last week. Every single day. I am a woman obsessed. This is not me. I usually vacuum more on the order of biannually, but only if company is coming. And here I am, pushing this stick around the entire house until the battery dies (that part is a compulsion) every single day. The shock of the initial ubiquitous hair is repeated on a daily basis. At the landing of the stairs where my old dog Bosley lands with a clacking thump (or sometimes with a loud thump-a-lump when he misses the last step), there is a new layer of hair each and every day. Everywhere he walks, he leaves a trail. And I can see it now. I vacuum in the dark so I can see it even better. Every day I partially (or even fully) fill a canister and it gives me such satisfaction. Who am I?

My family is loving my new hobby. My husband, who cannot abide dogs of any kind because of what they produce, is thrilled with me. My daughter loves that the floor now feels like a floor, and she does not even mind when I go into her room loudly when she is sleeping. But I do this for myself. I do this because I am aware now of what is around me and I see it now instead of looking past it. I see the clean look and I like it.

My mother always said a clean floor is a clean room. There's a lot of truth to that, I realize now. Then it is said that cleanliness is next to godliness. I never understood that one until I realized I was taking it too literally. Or maybe not? When my desk is a mess, I cannot focus until I straighten it up. If our personal environment (or lives, or schedules, or relationships) are a mess, how are we able to focus on what is important? If we cannot focus, how can we think deeply, let alone pray?

The windshield may seem clean until we turn towards the sun. I think that is the key to my most recent obsession. It took some LED lights and a clear canister to let me know that my life has been a bit out of balance as to where I need to give my care and attention. A clean and peaceful home reflects our minds, and our minds reflect our home. Taking this further, I could shine a light on other areas of my life, and to give a bit of extra care and attention. Maybe after I vacuum one more time...

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Nov 15, 2020

Oh, I understand what you mean both in the literal and figurative form. My Siberian huskie shreds so much hair during the summer that I have to vacuum twice a day on most days. Most importantly, I feel more relax when the house is clean because I can focus on more important things without thinking about the mess around me.

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