Mr. Vacuum’s bad day

July 31st, 2009

T’was a Sunday evening just tidying things up a bit for the new week. We were going into the bay area the next day, so we figured a little clean up wouldn’t hurt. Mind you, the place isn’t all that dirty. All we have to do is fold the laundry, vacuum, do the dishes and the kitchen floor.

Since no one else we know has a heat pump for heating and cooling, you all should know that when the outside temperature drops, heat pumps lose efficiency. Moral of the story, heat pumps air condition pretty good, but at times, don’t heat well. Old heat pumps are worse. Ours was old. Hence the high tech wood stove.

This wood stove had an automatic fan that blows hot air from the stove casing. It turns on when the stove gets hot, even has three speed settings for when you really get it cooking. It also had this really nifty “ejecto-log” feature. When you load this thing with wood, you had to be really careful when you open the doors. If you’re not, the damned logs would fly out all over your living room. Burning logs. On the carpet.

By now you’re wondering how cleaning house on Sunday night deserves a detailed description of the wood stove. I’m getting there.

MB has (MB is my wonderful wife) done the dishes. I’ve folded the laundry. Now it’s time to dust and vacuum. MB notices the fire is almost out, and casually mentions to me to throw some wood in there. Knowing about the ejecto-log feature, I’m super careful. No logs fly out, new wood goes in, the doors get shut, and I move on to the dusting.

MB fires up the vacuum. First the entry hall, now the family room, and on to the living room. By now, National Geographic had this cool show on about the raising of the Monitor (Civil War famous ship), and I’ve forgotten all about dusting. I’ve also forgotten those two little embers that fell out of the stove onto the little lip on the stove that catches these little buggers so you don’t burn down the house. Evidently the manufacturers didn’t know about the ejecto-log feature or they’d have built a bigger lip.

MB goes on to the living room, vacuums up all those little log leavings in front of the beautiful white brick hearth for the stove. She takes the vacuum nozzle and sucks the stuff up on that lip. The embers, of course, were now black and looked very much like dust.

Until of course, they got sucked into the vacuum cleaner. You know what happens when you blow on embers? The same thing happens when you suck on them. Vacuums suck.

MB continues on behind the sofa. About then she notices all this smoke coming out of the vacuum. I hear something like, “Uh Bob!”. By now there’s LOTS of smoke coming from the vacuum, and all the smoke alarms in the house are telling us all about it.

MB takes the vacuum to the door, still vacuuming all the way, bless her heart. We get it on the deck, open it up, and, by God, the bag’s on fire. She yanks it out, throws it on the ground, where I douse the thing with the garden hose. I ask her why the heck didn’t she stop vacuuming. Her thinking was that this was the last chance to vacuum until we could afford a new one, so she had better get the stuff at the front door. Now there’s an example of keeping one’s cool under pressure.

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July 2009
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