Though Pythagoras and I are ignorant about children, we had a sneaking suspicion at least one of our guests might be inclined to grab fistfuls of pet fur from under the sofa and eat them.
My money was on my cousin.
No matter, we needed to clean. I spent yesterday changing the sheets in the guest bedrooms and tidying bathrooms. When Pythagoras came home, he surveyed the place.
“The floors should probably be cleaned,” he said.
It was a task I’ve been avoiding for, oh – a year.
You think I’m kidding, but I’m not. When we built this house 5 years ago, I chose to cover nearly all 2,300 feet of floor surface with a tile the vendor called “African Batu Gray” and I called “dirty concrete.” It looks the same whether it’s coated with three inches of dirt or immaculate enough to eat ice cream off the surface.
I love this tile.
But Pythagoras was right. It probably needed to be cleaned in case our guests – operating under the mistaken assumption that we don’t live like cave dwellers – might attempt to walk barefoot, resulting in a foot fungus not treatable in the western hemisphere.
“Tell you what,” Pythagoras said. “If you corral the pets in the bedroom, I’ll do all the vacuuming and mopping in the rest of the house.”
I stared at my husband for a few beats, wondering whether he’d been drinking, and if so, why he wasn’t sharing.
“Let me get this straight,” I said. “You’re going to clean every floor surface with the exception of the bedroom, which is where I’ll be hanging out surfing the Web and napping with the pets?”
Then I saw the unmistakable twinkle in his eye. “Oh,” I said. “You’re going to use the Shop-vac?”
My husband’s affair with the Shop-vac is legendary. If he spills a teaspoon of salt on the kitchen counter, he will retreat to the garage, lug in the hulking black appliance, select the proper hose and nozzle, outfit himself with a pair of earplugs, and fire it up.
“Wouldn’t a dishrag be easier?” I’ll shout over the roar of the machine.
Doesn’t matter, that’s not the point. The Shop-Vac is technically a power tool, and power tools are cool.
Last weekend, I caught him vacuuming the driveway with it. He’s used it to drain my aquarium several times, and once I found him vacuuming cat fur off our sheets.
“We have a washing machine,” I informed him.
Well, I tried to inform him. He couldn’t actually hear me over the roar of the motor.
I really can’t complain. I hate to clean, and if the Shop-Vac gives Pythagoras a reason to enjoy it, I’ll happily stand aside and let him drag it through the house while dragging his knuckles on the floor and occasionally scratching himself.
Though I’m a big believer in the notion, “why use a sledgehammer when a scalpel will do?” I can also respect the need to occasionally pull out the sledgehammer anyway. Whether you’re cleaning a house or editing a manuscript, there’s something infinitely more satisfying about revving the motor and powering through it with a vengeance.
Are there any areas in your life or your writing where you use a Shop-vac when a scalpel will do? You’ll have to write it in the comments. I can’t actually hear you right now, what with all the ringing in my ears.
|The lovely Shop-vac, the centerpiece of our living room.|