I have made no secret of my love of Dyson products. Golly, Mr. Dyson was a Classics major. This Christmas I splurged for the new Dyson Hard, which lightly vacuums while it mops. You’d think the expense is extravagant, but I’ve gone through so many mops in the past few years–they don’t make ’em like they used to–that I think this may pay off. I loathe dragging out the bucket and the Murphy’s Oil and the mop, and dumping it all out afterward, and I have to do that so often; the two giant dogs track mud into the house, even though we dutifully wipe their paws when they come inside. I tried a wet rag on a swiffer, but that just spread the dirt around, really. So, yeah, the Dyson Hard was a family gift next to the Christmas tree.
The Dyson Hard runs on a rechargeable battery, but the charge only lasts for about 15 minutes. That seems brief, but it has proven enough time to do a pass-through of the ground floor of the house. That’s enough. It’s almost like it’s urging me to tidy up, then stop, recharge, do something else.
I need to be told that, actually. Apart from a few work excursions, I’ve pretty much been home with the kids over break. All this hanging around the house led to a whole lot of housework. I’d started with the deep clean of their rooms, and then I just kept going. I’ve hit nearly every room in the house, golly, nearly every corner and cupboard of the house. I peered into closets as if I were a home buyer, and got in there and got rid of the cobwebs in the deepest corners. I wasn’t even sure why I was doing this. It wasn’t manic, I wasn’t panicked, I’m not selling the house. I was just getting ‘er done. And there was a whole lot to get done.
I did this in Summer 2012, but it was different then. I felt overwhelmed by the stuff, by our prospects. I made five trips to the dump, countless trips to the thrift shop. Every once in a while the kids will wonder where this or that has gone, and they will recall The Great Purge, as if they’d been through a Stalinist march. This time, though, it was different. There wasn’t as much to get rid of. I’m just keeping house. During this break, I’ve taken charge of all this stuff, and all of this space, rather than feel like it’s controlling me. There’s a balance between being overwhelmed and trying to control your surroundings. I think I struck it, this time. I merely took ownership. This space is mine.
That all seemed good and healthy, but at some point, my other Dyson appliance, the pet vacuum, was flailing. It was time to stop using the vacuum to clean and, instead, pause, and clean the vacuum. I took the vacuum apart and found the dog hair that was impeding the suction, but then I kept going and disassembled the vacuum and cleaned all the parts. Once you rinse the filters, you have to give them 24 hours to dry. I laid all the parts out on a cloth and lamented the temporary loss of this loyal companion. And it occurred to me that this is all the part of the genius of the Dyson. Living without my vacuum for a day is not deprivation, it is Dyson’s way of saying. “There, there. You’ve done enough, for now. G’on get outa here.”
And so I did.