Last fall I blogged about a neighborhood incident in which some jokesters placed a broken Kenmore vacuum cleaner on my front porch steps. Because I can be a terrible comment monitor, I didn't realize until months later that a sales rep from Sears had read my blog and graciously offered to send me a FREE Kenmore vacuum cleaner to erase any bad vibes the jokesters had inflicted.
It took me a few days to get over my suspicion before I emailed him to ask, "For reals, yo?"
And crazily enough, the answer was indeed, "For reals!"
Last Monday the brand-spanking new, totally FREE vacuum arrived on my front porch: a Kenmore Progressive canister with HEPA filter and pet hair attachment. Swoon! I had big plans for my darling new vacuum--I envisioned a "Spring cleaning!" blog giveaway / contest. Sort of a 'pay it forward' if you will, and I excitedly shared my idea with my mother...which she quickly squelched with:
"Well, you know your sister really needs a vacuum. I have to lug our vacuum to her place twice a month, an hour each way, up and down all those stairs..." Though I couldn't see my mother's face because we were on the phone, I knew exactly what expression she was wearing. We're talking about a woman who was once given a T-shirt for Christmas that read: "When it comes to guilt trips, I'm a frequent flier!"
D'oh. Ah, old Catholic guilt--I shake my fist at you!
Okay, my sister is awesome and her children have provided me countless hours of entertainment over the last three years, so she totally deserves it. My mother and I made the vacuum delivery this past Sunday. I had grand plans of photographing my niece and nephew posing adorably with the vacuum; unfortunately, Corbeau wouldn't cooperate. Grandma tried to show him how it's done:
At that point it occurred to us that my niece is too young to object to being photographed on a vacuum box, so my plan swung into action.
Of course, Corbeau's favorite thing about the new vacuum was the box. We spent (what felt like) hours packing him in the box, pretending not to know his whereabouts, and squealing with delight when he popped out. He called the game "butter," because who wouldn't associate a vacuum box with a pat of butter?
After we assembled the vacuum and took it for a test spin, it became apparent that Corbeau was not a fan. Crying and screaming commenced because when it comes to loud noises and vacuum-related freak-outs, my dog has nothing on my nephew. Brilliant Grandma figured out how to reduce the noise setting, and Corbeau finally calmed down enough to try the vacuum himself. When he discovered that the cats hated it more than he initially had, another fabulous game was born: (Attempted) cat vacuuming!
Because my sister is incredibly thoughtful, she'd wrapped a sort of 'thank-you' gift for me--something she introduced with, "Now don't get too excited, it's really lame." (It's too bad she missed out on a career as an event emcee--she could have done well, don't you think?)
My gift turned out to be an electric stapler she'd gotten free as a bonus with a large art supply order for her students.
And here she is, multi-tasking and cleaning the shazaam out of her dining room. My sister was incredibly excited about the vacuum, repeatedly exclaiming, "Yaaay!" and "This is so awesome!" and already making feverish plans about vacuuming the curtains in summer, so as to reduce her allergies. I didn't have the heart to tell her that curtains could also be washed in the washing machine, because there's just something so thrilling about a new vacuum.
On the drive home my mother remarked, "Remember how messy her room used to be? Piles of clothes everywhere, water glasses balanced on the edges of dressers and tables...You'd never have guessed if you knew her in high school how thrilled she'd one day be about a vacuum."
(Thank you Sears / Kenmore!! You made our month.)