Why Vacuuming Sucks

Prologue: When a fat cat really is a fat cat

Off to the vet. I’m taking my nine-year old cat for an annual check up, which is actually an annual and a half. In that time, my little white and black fur ball has grown into a Sumo fur ball, gaining 2-1/2 pounds. For a cat 2-1/2 pounds is like 10 pounds in human years. Earlier in the week, my son noticed a wad of droopy skin hanging from the cat’s lower abdomen near her hind legs.

According to the vet, it was just a fat pocket — a love handle in human years. Poor fat cat has to go on a diet. A cat diet means less canned food, no dry food, and no more dining alfresco. Kitty will not be wearing a bikini this summer.

Doggone it!

Later in the day, as the humidity spawned more humidity, my son took the dogs to the park for a run, and I took the vacuum cleaner for a spin. Usually, a lady comes to our home twice a month to clean. After I lost my job, we reduced her visits to once a month. However, since over the past several weeks the dust balls began to look more like tumbleweeds, I took it upon myself to vacuum — a wonderful whimsical thing to do on the most humid day of the year.

What a strange, weird trip I’m on

If only I could find the vacuum. I searched high and low. Low finally won when I found the vacuum in the hall closet on the first floor. I stared at the strange-looking object in front of me, wondering how to turn it on. I studied the knobs that protruded from the neck of the machine. I counted one, two, three potential on-off switches. Since I’ve always been diplomatic in solving disputes between my left brain and right brain, I settled on the knob in the middle. I pressed the knob and subsequently watched the bottom-half of the machine drop to the floor.

Frankly, puzzles really puzzle me

I put the vacuum back together and pressed the next knob, which wasn’t a knob at all, but in fact a place to keep attachments for the long unwieldy tube that lurches from the vacuum (like a creature from the movie “Alien”). I must wrestle the long unwieldy tube, while standing on my tippy-toes, to vacuum the drapes and moldings in the nose-bleed section of the house. The long unwieldy tube usually pins me to the floor by the end of the second round.

Three is a charm

Last, but not least . . . the process of elimination led to the final knob that when pressed, awakened the vacuum that promptly emitted a loud whirring noise, an affirmation that I could count to three.

My back always finishes last

I decided to vacuum the upper-level, using fortune cookie logic, and “attack the worst task first,” as Confucius never said. I dragged the vacuum up the stairs, one step at a time, to the second level, with three rug peninsulas (or runners as they are called among carpeting aficionados) lying in wait in the hall. What I didn’t know about runners and vacuum cleaners. When the mouth of a vacuum suckles a swathe of detached carpeting, it wants to inhale the whole thing and makes a horrible noise because it can’t swallow it. Rule one: don’t vacuum runners with a high-powered greedy machine that follows an “all or nothing” philosophy.

Knock on wood

So I bypassed the runners and stuck to the wood floors and other immovable carpets securely fastened to the floors. All was right with the vacuuming world until the vacuum tried to take me hostage by ensnaring me with its rather lengthy chord. But I outsmarted it and was able to untangle myself before I had to call 911. After I dragged the vacuum back down stairs, I realized something important. I hated vacuuming and everything that vacuuming wrought, like breaking out in a sweat. Only three activities warranted sweating: aerobics, cycling and sex. Sweating while vacuuming seemed meaningless to me. I returned the vacuum to the closet and tried my hand at mopping the kitchen floor.

When leaving bread crumbs to find your way doesn’t work

Nowadays, mops aren’t really mops at all. They are sticks with disposable Maxi-pads at the other end. It’s brilliant, you see. A bottle filled with liquid cleaner affixes to a handle. The liquid flows down a tube to the Maxi-pad as soon as the handle on the pole is squeezed.

Washing the kitchen floor was a snap. If only I remembered to wash the floor from back to front to avoid leaving unsightly shoe prints on the tile. Remember. Back to front. Not front to back, which leaves dark Impressionist-looking footprints scattered across the floor. Because I had to cover my trail, the process took twice as long. If only I had been lost in the woods, I could have used bread crumbs. But I was just lost. I should have realized that housework required organizational abilities of which I had none, unless a computer software program fit into the equation. As far as I know, there isn’t a software organizer for cleaning floors.

It’s all about the ka-ching

In conclusion, by doing housework and breaking a sweat, I realized something important. The sooner I was able to get a job, the sooner I’d be able to increase the frequency of the cleaning lady’s visits. But I couldn’t put that on a job application. Reason for applying for job: to get my cleaning lady back. I’d have to come up with a better response. Tomorrow I’ll attempt to dust, and hope I will not be trampled by gangs of wayward dust bunnies running amok throughout the house.

Low Fly Zone

Aeronautical Abstract:

Pilots with ADD (Altitude Dysfunction Deficit)

Ten Warning Signs that a Pilot has Altitude Dysfunction Deficit:

• The pilot radios ahead for you to move your lawn furniture

• You can read the part number beneath the plane

• The Cessna fights for a spot at the bird feeder

• You can identify the frequent fliers by their seat numbers

• Your microwave wreaks havoc on the plane’s navigational system

• The pilot asks you to turn down the volume on the T.V so he can listen to traffic control

• Your dog prefers chasing Prop Planes to Jeep Durango’s

• You’re on a first name basis with the pilot

• The pilot mistakes your wood shed for a tollbooth

• You sit down for dinner as soon as the food cart leaves the vestibule

For questions about Altitude Deficit Disorder, contact the Aeronautic Institute for Dysfunctional Pilots, where all they ever hope for is a wing and a prayer.

Jobless Purgatory

Out of work! Out of sight! Out of mind!
The unemployed exist in an alternate universe where Oprah lives and offers a world of possibilities, while Monster.com and HotJobs.com only offers virtual promises.

I Love the Smell of Wite-Out in the Morning

Wite-Out is one of those distinctive odors found in an office. I didn’t realize how much I missed the smell until I lost my job. I miss other office stimuli, like the ringing of a phone and the whirring of a copier. Even the banging of the front door in the reception area, when it slams shut, elicits a fond sigh of remembrance from my lips. Now, silence holds my house in a death-grip, with the exception of an occasional bark from one of my dogs. Barking is not a nostalgic sound from my days in the office,though the boss could often be heard spouting off four-letter words in a barking sort of way.

Silence is Deafening

Most of all I miss the murmur of conversation. In my silent domain, conversation only emanates from a television set or a YouTube video when I remember to turn on the speakers. Silence isn’t a bad thing for those who enjoy being alone with their thoughts, which I do. But I never realized that too much silence could be so deafening. These days I don’t mind when outside noises filter through the window screens, like the churning of the compactor in a garbage truck and the subsequent screeching of brakes as the truck slows to its next stop. Out here in the boonies, there aren’t many harsh sounds, other than the rumble of an airplane as it narrowly misses the roof of my house. Okay, so I exaggerated but sometimes the sound of the overhead engine rattles the walls of the house (so does the pounding of my footsteps on bare wood floors).

The Conversational Void

Most socializing I do now takes place at the supermarket with strangers, a quick exchange of words with the cashier at checkout and the inevitable “Credit or debit?” The drive back to my isolation chamber is dreary as I pass by the graveyard (another silent and disturbing place) along the way. Conversations are intermittent there with soft whisperings of sadness and regret. I have regrets, too, but I can still correct mine.

Boo-Hoo! Whenever the Spirit Moves You

Sometimes I feel like a ghost drifting from room-to-room each day I haunt this house, though ghosts don’t drink coffee or eat shredded wheat cereal for breakfast. I can even pinch my arm and it will hurt. The hurt is what is so significant while existing in a state of jobless Purgatory. Out of work! Out of sight! Out of mind! Unemployment isn’t just a transitory state of being. It is an emotional crisis of the soul, yearning for what once was.

Worklings: Office Politics

Opie 1 is sad.

Boss’s Son now works (kind of) at the office.

Boss’s Son thinks he’s special.

So does Boss.

That’s why Boss gave Boss’s Son Opie 1’s biggest accounts.

To smooth things over, Boss takes Opie 1 to his favorite Chinese restaurant for lunch.

Opie 1 orders the most expensive thing on the menu.

Boss is not pleased and hands Opie 1 the check when it arrives.

Opie 1 buys Boss lunch and now is broke.

He has to borrow money from Boss’s Son to pay the rent and also has to pay him interest.

The moral of the story: Don’t eat Chinese food for lunch. In an hour, you’ll be hungry and broke.

Consider the source

What is the source?

The source is the beginning.

“What is next?” you ask.

“A four-letter word.”

“But what is the meaning of next?”

“It’s a tap on the shoulder. A step closer to the counter.”

A clerk then asks, “What can I get you?”

You stare at the seemingly limitless shelves in awe of the variety of items they hold. “But I came here for just one thing.”

The blank-faced clerk glares back at you. “This place is not for the weak. You need fortitude and persistence in order to choose from the shelves. If you possess neither, you must step aside.”

A chill strikes your spine. You shudder. “But I was looking for one thing,” you repeat with trepidation, while gripping the counter with both hands. You are ready to stand your ground, despite the clerk’s unwavering dark gaze into your soul.

“Next!” he cries out.

But you do not budge. Even the much feared tap on the shoulder doesn’t make you waiver. “I will not leave until I get what I came for.”

Grumbling from behind.

You glance over your shoulder and see that the line has doubled since you took your place at the counter. You shrug and turn to face the evil clerk.

The clerk glances across the room. A sheen of sweat covers his brow. “Okay, okay. Just relax.” His gaze settles back onto you. “Fine. Tell me what you want, then get out.”

A smile curls your lips. “Etc.,” you say.

“What was that?”

“Etc. is the thing I’m looking for.”

“The power of more,” the clerk mumbles. “My God. I didn’t think it was possible. Are you sure it isn’t a period or semi colon you are looking for?”

“Give me etc. then I will leave.”

The clerk’s cheeks blanch, as he whirls around to face the shelves. After searching from one end to the other, he turns with a hand balled up into a fist.

“Is that it?”

The clerk nods, pulls a plastic bag from beneath the counter, slips it inside the bag then staples it shut. “Here,” he says, shoving the bag into your hands. “Now. Get out!”

“But I haven’t paid for it yet.”

“Don’t worry. You will.” he warns. “No one chooses an etc. without paying for it.”

A lump lodges in your throat, as you follow the line out the door.

“You’re a fool,” yells a bulbous-shaped man.

You stop and regard him. “That may be so, but at least I have something to look forward to. Your thoughts stop at the end of a sentence. I have a continuation, an infinity of nexts.”

“We need boundaries,” says the man.

“Only if you can see them.” You walk away, clutching the bag that holds your precious etc., the three letters that blunt the power of the four that comprises next.


I sit in the darkness of daylight,
a shadow on the wall,
seeking colors while lingering in grays.
No one is here but silent enemies,
malice and doom,
fear mongers whistling away the day.
Outside, green glistens beneath a sky so blue
it hurts my eyes.
In the old days, a step into sunlight and warm
smiles muffled the mindless ramblings of gloom
before he could warn of murkiness ahead,
fraught with dread and isolation.
I did not see it then.
Darkness, hiding, waiting for a moment when
tears would dampen the ground beneath my feet.
No, I did not see it then.
Instinct left before checking in.
It was unfortunate, a result of a windy day.
I lost my grip on a weightless wish that floated away.
I could not save it or the spirit that once lived
in the folds of a new day.
Just a window framing sky is all that remains.