Friday, March 23, 2012

Frivol Freitag oder frivolous Friday: vacuuming

I have to vacuum soon. I don't like to vacuum, especially here.

I have a really nice vacuum. It's one of those Dyson, sucks up anything in sight, please God keep it away from your eyeballs or one might get sucked in, vacuums. It sucks up crap like nobody's business and has a self propeller function and it doesn't even have icky bags to change, just a plastic cylinder that all the dirt goes into and then I dump out once the suction will only get hairballs from 6 inches away instead of a full yard. It's a really good vacuum.

Plug adapters
The problem is that, as Americans who occasionally live in America, most of our appliances are 110 volt. In Europe, the voltage is 220. There are some things that you can just put a plug adapter onto, like lamps and electronics, if they are dual voltage, but everything else that has 110 voltage, you have to run through a transformer in order for it to actually work and not explode in a shower of sparks. My husband learned this lesson last time we were here after he ruined an alarm clock and the coffee pot. The clocks won't keep time anyway because of some other electrical mismatch between America and Europe, so they are kind of useless.

Transformers are not cool robots from another planet that look like cars. They are actually boxes that you plug into the wall and then plug your American appliances into. The small ones aren't too terrible to use. The big ones are super-duper heavy and a pain to lug around. They are also really expensive. Typically a 300W transformer is about fifty bucks, while a 2000W is more like $200 if you buy it new. I, however, am a thrifty gal, so I bought mine from the thrift shop on post. The only problem with this is that the sockets in the transformer are really loose, so I have to wiggle the plug in the transformer's socket until the appliance comes on. Then, I have to be very careful to not jostle anything while I go about using my appliance. Sometimes this works, but more often, I have to go wiggle the plug several times while using the appliance on the transformer. This kind of made me feel sorry for DH the other day, as I think he sometimes faces a similar challenge with me.

A Guide to Vacuuming in the Sinking Household

  • Get the vacuum from upstairs, then get the transformer from downstairs and bring them both to the main level. 
  • Plug the transformer into the wall, and then the vacuum into the transformer. (You can see some interesting pyrotechnics if you plug the appliance into the transformer first, and then the transformer into the wall, but then you have another set of complications on your hands.) 
  • Commence wiggling, making sure the vacuum is turned to the on position. Wiggle. Wiggle. Varooo...dead.
  • Sigh. 
  • Wiggle, wiggle. Varooooooooooo. Success! 
  • Try not to bump anything and commence with the vacuuming. 
  • Do not turn on the self propulsion because you are vacuuming expensive area rugs instead of boring old carpets. 
  • Slowly drag the vacuum over the rug. 
  • And back. Back and forth. 
  • When the vacuum dies, go back to wiggling the plug. 
  • Congratulations, you got two whole feet of the carpet clean and it's only been half an hour! 
  • Take a break to check facebook. 
  • Repeat for eternity or....
  • Give up and continue the process of slowly destroying the rug by using the beater brushes/self propulsion. 
  • The fringes of the carpet get stuck in the vacuum. Dammit! Jiggle the cord to stop the vacuum. 
  • Curse the whole process, leave everything out in the living room to mock you while you have a cookie. 

photo credit:

Now you have a step by step guide. Anyone who wants to come and vacuum will get a free cookie.

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