Saturday, August 13, 2011

Exceptional Schmutz

“If this was Heaven, there wouldn’t be dust all over everything.”
                                                          --Barbara’s Ghost, Beetlejuice
I killed the Dyson.  That’s right. I killed the Dyson, and it sucks – or rather, it doesn’t suck. Not anymore.
I did what any panic-stricken human being would do in such a situation.  I posted on Facebook.
“I killed the Dyson.”
My friend Elaine was horrified. “What the hell? You can’t kill a Dyson! Replace the filter! Let it cool down and then try again!  Clean the rollers!”
There was hope!  I replaced the filter. I cleaned the rollers.  I let it sit around a while. I flipped the switch.  Nothing.  Back to Facebook I went.
“I killed the Dyson.”
Another friend piped up. “Calm down. You cannot kill a Dyson. They have that ball thingy! They have that guy with the foreign accent!”
“Well, my Dyson doesn’t have a ball thingy, and I am pretty sure I killed it.”
“You should have gotten the purple one. You know, the one specifically for Homes Containing Animals.”
“That’s the one I have.”
Yet another friend felt sorry for me and tried to help. “What does it do when you switch it on?”
“Nothing. It does nothing.”
This revelation scares me.  Not because I have a half-vacuumed rug in my living room and a dead vacuum cleaner sitting on it.  It scares me because I am having serious misgivings about the nature of our schmutz.
Now, everyone’s house has schmutz at some level, except maybe Kim and Aggie, (and God only knows what’s doing with them now that their show has been cancelled).  But I am starting to wonder if my schmutz is somehow schmutzier that everyone else’s.
I have good reason to fear. Elaine has bigger dogs than I have.  Elaine has more dogs than I have.  She must be familiar with dust bunnies of greyhound origin, yet her Dyson is still intact.
I have always thought dirt had it in for me. No matter how many times a week I vacuum, the canister is always full.  The brush rollers are always clogged with thread and grass and hair.
Hair I understand. We have three dogs who shed. Until two months ago, I had waist-length hair, and I shed too.  The part I don’t understand is thread and grass.  I used to sew a lot.  When I was in college I made most of my own clothes.  I was always working on some theatre piece for which I was making costumes. Lately, though, my contact with thread consists of replacing the occasional button. The last time I sewed anything  of consequence was last Christmas when I made poodle skirts for my granddaughters.  And what’s up with all the grass? It’s been almost a decade since we’ve had grass.
I don’t think I am a pig –- and I know it's not schmutz of reality show proportions. We don’t have piles of junk everywhere, we take out the trash when it’s full and most of the time we remove stuff from the fridge before it turns into a science project.   I’m pretty sure we have no old pizzas or dead cats lurking under the beds. I have receipts from Target showing that I purchase Environmentally Friendly Cleaning Products on a regular basis, so I must be using the stuff somewhere.
You’ve all seen the commercials – there’s a nice neat line of confetti, coffee grounds and  Cheerios on the floor, and the advertised machine comes along and sucks it all up.  You know it wasn’t a trick because you can see the schmutz swirling around in the transparent bin.  Sometimes, you see someone chasing a cat off the sofa with the vacuum and neatly sucking the hairballs off the cushions.1
Here’s my theory. I am not a pig. The fault does not lie with me, but with the Dyson company. We have a Tassimo machine3, which means we never have cause to suck up any coffee grounds. The grand-girls are not toddlers anymore, and furthermore, they live in a different state. Suffice to say our Cheerio spillage is next to nothing.  We don’t have a cat.  And confetti?  Who has confetti problems on a regular basis?  Nobody, that’s who.
Clearly our Dyson was out of its element. Our schmutz is not the Dyson’s idea of schmutz.  When we brought it home, it was expecting a white carpet, chrome-and-glass furniture,  high rise penthouse, guy with foreign accent household.  What it got was  three big dog, three active grandchild, too busy to get a proper haircut, wind that blows the entire west mesa into the back yard chaos.
Conclusion?  I no longer berate myself for my exceptional schmutz. I embrace it, secure in the knowledge that I did not kill the Dyson. It committed suicide.
The new Bissell seems very happy here.

1 In my opinion, this person is not cleaning a mess so much as creating one. If you were a cat and someone came at you wielding a suckage device, your hair would fall out too.
2 Pun intended.
3 Rather, we had a Tassimo machine, until PNM thought Intel needed our electricity more than we did and killed it along with our dishwasher, but that’s a story for another day.

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