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Out for a walk

Out for a walk Out for a walk

Guest Column

Kevin O’Brien, editor The Tribune-Phonograph

Sometime last year, Linda and I got an unwelcome visit from a pair of shady door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesmen. Because we are too nice, we allowed them to put on a little demonstration of their high-end machine in the middle of our living room. Actually, it turned out to anything but “little,” as they kept extending their visit by finding more surfaces to swipe with their vacuum extensions.

We eventually got them to leave without giving them one dime of our money, but we vowed then and there to never allow another salesman in our door. Fortunately, it has not been an issue again.

My memory drifted back to these two solicitors recently when I was taking a closer look at our Hoover WindTunnel vacuum. As part of their sales pitch, the duo had done a comparison of our plain old vacuum and their super-expensive wonder vacuum. Of course, theirs picked up loads more dirt, dust and other “microbials.”

I’m not really certain how long we’ve had our Hoover, but I’m sure it predates our marriage by several years. Like many old vacuum cleaners, it makes a lot of noise and doesn’t always seem to do much vacuuming. In recent times, I’ve noticed it ejecting little clumps of detritus, like a cat hacking up a hair ball (sorry for the imagery there, but that’s the best way to describe it).

A couple Sundays ago, I decided it was time to perform some investigatory surgery on our Hoover. I grabbed a screwdriver, laid the cleaner down on the ground and started removing as many pieces as I could so I could access the very bottom of the tunnel where the dirt starts its journey into the plastic tub.

Sure enough, the hole just behind the roller brush was packed solid with lint, sand and I don’t-know-what-else. If it were a heart patient, he’d be seconds away from a massive coronary. The question was how exactly to remove the clog. I was able to scrape a fair amount of it out with the screwdriver I was using, but I just couldn’t get as deep as I wanted.

Next, I busted out a can of compressed air, which I normally use to blow away old food particles from my laptop computer keyboard. Shooting air into the vacuum tunnel turned out to be very effective, but also extremely messy. Before long, I had a mounting pile of gray crud on my living room floor. That was followed by a small jar’s worth of sand. Linda was starting to wonder if it would ever be OK to walk through our living room again.

The finisher was a straightened-out clothes hanger (thank you, YouTube video). Before long, I had my mess cleaned up, and our vacuum had a new lease on life. I’d like to see those two sales people come back and challenge my Hoover now...