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Archive for March, 2011

Move over Dyson Animal! I have the strongest vacuum in the world!! And yes, readers, I realize this post has nothing to do w/the wonders of an Antarctic-like climate or the “fun” of hiking among the bears, but I feel my vacuum is a household tool that bears explanation…it’s like its own being anyway and since I got it from my landlord, who, incidentally, just happens to be Canadian, we’ll consider this yet another legitimate “adventure” being evaluated by the transplanted Phoenician. ­čÖé

First and foremost: a bit of history. When Danielle and I moved to our newly rented place (not the first one, the second–yes, we’ve had quite a time up here!), our landlord showed us where the vacuum attachments were located. I say vacuum attachments because we are lucky enough to have central vac–the greatest invention if your occupation just happens to be: The Official Stay-At-Home Mom, Chef, Secretary, Courier, Treasurer, Chauffeur and lastly, House Cleaner. A rewarding, yet busy career, but if you have central vac, well then, life is just THAT much better.

Where was I? Oh yes. The attachments. Well, the attachment that mattered the most, the one that looks like an actual vacuum (great for hardwood floors, carpets, even tile) ended up being a dud. Didn’t work at all. So we had it replaced.

The day our landlord dropped off the seemingly innocent, shiny black vacuum, with its stylish red “Hoover” across the top–I didn’t think anything of it. Just thanked him, placed it with the other attachments and moved on.

A few days later (to be truthful, it was probably a few weeks later), I grasped the new vacuum with cat-like reflexes and tremendous dexterity (two traits you must have to be a Stay-At-Home Mom, House Cleaner, Chef…you get the picture.) and attached it, expertly, might I add, to the Mustang of all Vacuums (referring to its sleekness of course).

Do you recall my story about the Great Pooper Scooper? Well, the moment I plugged in the central vac, this same feeling crept over me. It was unbelievable. The vacuum fired up, sounding like a well-oiled engine (see Mustang comment) and off it went! It wasted no time! It vacuumed and vacuumed–leaving no prisoners, not one speck of dust or dog hair or pebble or crumb!! I was amazed! It was incredible!

You might’ve noticed I said when I plugged it in that the vacuum just “went”. When I say it “went”, I mean to say the vacuum cleaner literally went off on its own, dragging me behind it, telling me who was running the show. It didn’t matter to Hoover who I was or what my title in the Household Hierarchy, it started up and wasted no time! Desperately, I attempted to control it, but I ended up looking like a Muppet being dragged from one end of the living room to another–Hoover in the lead, Hoover obviously in charge.

Nowadays, when I fire up Hoover, the color drains from our dog’s face, his eyes open wide and he makes a quick getaway, his nails sliding on the hardwood floor as he runs in place, trying to claw his way out of the room. Fear overtakes him as I’m certain he imagines Hoover coming for him like Freddy Kreuger. Sometimes I get the same look, but I haven’t got a choice…I just hold on tight, make sure Jack is out of the way and let Hoover do his magic. I often think about what it’s like for the other attachments, I bet when Hoover goes back to his place…he arrogantly casts a look at all the other attachments and says: And that, my fellow attachments, is how its done.

Until next time: Don’t forget to replace or empty vacuum filters.

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Dude, Nice Coat!

I’m sitting here watching the mercury drop and wondering…are we all just going to freeze solid? Is this normal? It can’t be.┬áThe roads are white and icy, the sky is clear and blue, the houses are snowcapped and the trees are coated in a powdery frost. It’s cold outside!

Even the dog tossed me a look like: “Can’t I just pee in the house for today?” when I held the frigid screen door (with the ice cold metal handle that if I’m not quick about it, will claim the skin on my fingers) open for him to go outside this morning.

Which brings me to my topic of discussion for today: ever wonder what the dog is thinking about all this? I pondered this question a few weeks ago when I was traipsing through the dog park, chin tucked deep inside my scarf, my gloved hands covering my mouth so I could feel my warm breath…as I followed my dog Rocky through what he probably calls the Disneyland of Dog Parks. There’s nothing that even remotely resembles Walt Disney’s fantastical amusement park–but to Rocky, the fact that there are at least a thousand trees, one fire hydrant, ten wooden posts and a few dozen dogs–it’s Disneyland to him.

As I walk the path down the center of the park, Rocky runs at top speed, like he’s meeting his mother for the first time or like there’s a pound of ground beef in a dog bowl just waiting for him–his ears flap in the chilly air and the extra Sharpei skin on his face pastes itself against his skull like he’s hit Mock 10 in a fighter jet–he runs and runs and runs and suddenly he stops! For what? To poop. To deposit his own poo on the park grounds, to make his own contribution of $250 poo (please refer to previous posts where the Calgary bylaws were reviewed: dog poo is worth $250! okay, so it’s a fine, but still…). Dogs!

That’s what I saw: here’s Rocky’s perspective: pant, pant, pant, I see it! There! There it is! A perfect place to poo! It’s not even marked yet! It’s clean and MUST be marked! pant, pant, pant, I must get there and fast! pant, pant, run, pant, run, pant, run….Aaaahhhh! Mom! Come and pick this stuff up! It’ll cost you if you don’t….(even the animals are aware of bylaws)

Back to my perspective: After poo-ing, Rocky runs, again at top speed, to greet a pack of dogs obediently walking on leashes beside their dog walker. I know it’s a dog walker because all the dogs are wearing light blue bandanas. The dog walker is calling to all of them by name like Santa’s reindeer. “Buster!” “Claire!” “Mikey!” “Bones!” “Mr. Bowjangles!” (I’m serious.)

Rocky saunters up to the professionally-walked group and casually sniffs a labrador’s bum. A springer spaniel wags his tail upon seeing Rocky and begins to sniff Rocky’s bum. Rocky, in turn, sniffs the spaniel’s bandana and moves on.

Rocky’s perspective: Hey guys! How’s it goin’? What’s up with the bandana?

Just then, a long haired terrier comes bouncing along, he’s wearing a wool coat that makes him appear sophisticated. He’s also got matching boots. Rocky canters happily to meet the terrier. He sniffs his bum, but then moves on to the coat.

Rock’s perspective: Dude, nice coat! Aren’t you a dog? The Terrier: Doesn’t your mother love you?

We reach the end of the path aka “as far as I will go in this blizzard” and turn around to go back to the car. All the while Rocky is sniffing the ground, eating sticks, eating other things that i can’t identify (and beg for him to drop so that I don’t have to touch it), greeting other dogs by sniffing their bums, greeting people by sniffing their bums (he’s not a discriminating dog) and lastly, he lifts his leg against the fire hydrant before gracefully leaping into the back of my very dirty car. He lays down, adding more of his shedding fur to the carpet of dog hair he is currently weaving in the back of my Rogue.

Just as I close the hatch, a great Dane with a red coat walks by. Rocky barks: “Nice Coat!” ┬áThe Dane hangs his head in shame: “My mom made me wear it.”

Until next time: take your dog out for a routine walk, it reduces their anxiety and makes them happier animals!

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