Cutting the Cord

Anyone who knows me on any level at all knows that I am not the “domestic” sort. Occasionally I document some of my domestic shortcomings on this lovely website, and almost daily discover yet another household task that I am incapable of performing without suffering what a panel of esteemed experts has come to call a psychotic episode.
Why, just a few weeks ago I proved myself yet again. That time, it was the vacuum cleaner. It seems that the vacuum cleaner was quite the cannibal and had absolutely no qualms about devouring its own cord. I was mortified by the depths of my ineptitude, but bravely confessed my misdeed to the DOG. He laughed, we discussed options, and decided to take it to a vacuum cleaner repair place on 23rd Street.
We were happy with the friendly service we received, and my mood lifted considerably. My mishap cost about $50. This meant that I would have to go without dinner for two nights, but I figured it was worth it. Who needs food, anyway? I could eat the errant popcorn and raisins that I hadn’t been able to vacuum while the cleaner was in the shop, and there were enough cookie crumbs on his side of the sofa to mold into a rather decent-sized cookie composite!
So today I was trying my hand at vacuuming again. I was in the living room, vacuuming under the cushions of one of the sofas. Marvelling at my improved skill with the hose attachment. (I had only recently started using it. I was branching out. I am nothing if not ambitious.) Wondering why there was no loose change under the cushions. (Answer: Because it is all in the washing machine.) (Am I starting to sound like Erma Bombeck yet? What’s next? Will I start writing about how someone left a lone peach pit in the bottom of a big bowl in the refrigerator, or how my teenaged son drinks directly from the milk carton?) Things were proceeding smoothly.
All of a sudden, the vacuum stopped working. I thought, “What a nice feature. When it gets tired, it shuts itself off! Sort of like a little siesta!” Then I noticed the smell. The same smell I’d smelt the other time. I turned the vacuum off. I didn’t want to start a fire. Mainly because I wasn’t properly dressed and didn’t want handsome firemen to see me in such disarray.
So this time it was worse. Everything. The smell, the severity of the severed cord. This time the cord was not only frayed, it was frayed in one spot (it looked like a dog chewed on it) and completely severed in another. I didn’t realize that, just because most of the suction was diverted to the hose attachment, there was still a bit of pulling power at the base. I held the cord up to my face in dismay.
Scenes of the last vacuum cleaner episode flashed across my mind. The DOG and I walking into the repair shop to inquire as to price. He, taking it, in a cab, to the repair shop. Both of us returning to the shop a couple of days later to retrieve it. Its jubilant roar when we plugged its shiny new cord into the wall and flipped its switch. Even Taxi and Shana were there to celebrate the return of what they call “that green dog with the weird bark”!
Instantly I thought of hauling it to the repair shop again, before the DOG came home. I hoped he wouldn’t spill a 20-pound bag of cake flour on the floor, or coffee grounds, or a sack of mulch, or the jig would be up. And then, just as quickly, I thought of … Jan Brady.
Yes, Jan Brady, and the disaster that ensued when she failed to wear her newly prescribed “goofy glasses” and ran her bike into the kids’ portrait that they were to present to their mother. (If you’re not familiar with the episode, check it out here.) I remembered how disappointed Mr. Brady was when he caught Jan in a lie, and how Jan learned a very valuable lesson about owning up to your mistakes and taking responsibility for your actions. Lying, Jan realized, was not the answer. Telling the truth was!
So I did. I told the DOG the truth. Via MSN Messenger. “I suck!” I said, noting, of course, the bittersweetness of my verb choice.
And now … I am packing up my things. Because tomorrow, I will be moving back home with my mother, my father, my two sisters, three brothers, housekeeper, and dog.