Vacuum–according to the dictionary–is a space entirely devoid of matter.

Vacuum–according to the dictionary–is a space entirely devoid of matter.

It makes some sense then, why the household appliance we all wrestle with from time to time would also have that namesake.

My question is, why then does the stupid thing sometimes refuse to pick up the tiniest piece of debri on the carpet? No matter how many times you run the vacuum over it, nothing happens. It just sits there until you finally have to bend over and pick it up.

It turns into a silver monster whenever coins are in a three square foot radius of it. It seems the vacuum cleaner is selective about what it eats and doesn’t eat.

While it refuses to pick up a tiny bit of paper on the carpet, it will greedily gobble up hair pins, the children’s small figurines and the drapes across the room.

My vacuum and I have a simple love-hate relationship. I love it when it works and I hate it when it rips the curtains down from the living room window and then abruptly stops working.

This past weekend I dragged the monster out when I was preparing for my children’s MEA visit. I don’t think I’ve set foot in their room since they left Aug. 18 and I wanted to make sure the dust bunnies hadn’t taken over.

After carefully vacuuming the kids’ bedrooms, I moved onto my own. I was vacuuming in front of my vanity where I sit to get ready every morning and suddenly the beater-bar stopped working.

Not only did it stop picking up tiny debri, but it also refused to pick up two dimes and a penny that were nearby.

I knew something was terribly wrong when it didn’t even lurch for its favorite snack.

Approximately six months before I had to beg my dad to unplug my vacuum after a similar occurrence. He gave it back to me in working order with a stern warning that I  needed to watch what I  was vacuuming.

Upon returning my vacuum he asked me a strange question.

“Did you get a dog?” 

“No, why?” I asked.

He said there was a enough hair in there to make a wig.

“That’s her hair!” Hubby added.

It was soon forgotten that the reason the vacuum stopped working in the first place was because I vacuumed up a small, unseen plastic lid–not the amount of hair wrapped around the beater bar.

“How can you have any hair left after the wig I pulled out of the vacuum?” my Dad asked in astonishment.

“I know, right?” Hubby added. “We find her hair everywhere!” 

I took my vacuum, mumbled a thanks and swore I would never take it to my dad again if I had to endure that kind of cruel and unusual punishment.

When the beater bar stopped this time I thought I was smart enough to fix it myself.

As it turns out, I wasn’t.

Hubby wandered in the kitchen hungry after a football extravaganza night to find me pulling another wig off the beater bar.

“Whatcha doing?” he asked warily from across the room. I explained the story and added I was NOT taking it to my dad to have him fix it again.

“Will you please look at it?” I begged. “I’ll get you something to eat if you do,” I bargained.

He turned the vacuum over to find wads of human hair wrapped around the bar.

“I think this is your problem,” he said.

“But I’ve been cutting hair off the bar for the past half hour and it still doesn’t work. See?” I said holding up a softball size wad of hair I’d already pulled out of the bottom.

By the way, what’s with all the string? Does the vacuum collect that too?

After a couple minutes of giving the vacuum a hair cut, Hubby put it back down and the bar worked again. He gathered his food I had prepared for him and wandered out of the room throwing over his shoulder, “Maybe you should try brushing your hair more often. That’s probably what the problem is.”