When cleaning really sucks

EVERYTHING in my house sucks. Everything, that is, except the vacuum cleaner.

It doesn't help matters that the vacuum is about the same age as my stretch marks and has had to perform more than its fair share of the housework in a household with two grotty kids, one hair-shedding dog and a hubby with a fetish for double-cheese corn chips.

Some days I'm just one cramp away from getting RSI in my arm from pushing that thing over and over on the same spot of carpet.

It's not easy attempting to pick up a rogue fluff ball with a vacuum that has all the strength of a toothless pensioner sucking soup through a straw.

In all fairness my vacuum has been a good work horse for a long time.

It didn't complain too much when my eldest dinted the pipe while using it as a Star Wars laser sabre, it has doubled as a useful limbo pole at sleepovers and, when I found out the hard way that you can't vacuum vomit, it was surprisingly forgiving.

The only thing still holding the cracked hose together is layers of duct tape (give my hubby a couple of rolls of duct tape and he'll save the world and every last appliance in it) and, as for the retractable cord, well, let's just say the days of me having to stand clear are well and truly over.

There was a time when the suction on my vacuum cleaner was so powerful I was scared to aim it at anything that wasn't nailed down, including the dog.

But sadly nowadays even a single M&M chocolate on the lounge room floor presents the enormity of an Everest climb for my little Hoover.

Of course, all the attachments are still like new - because, like everyone else in the real world of household cleaning, I've never actually used any of them.

Oh sure, it sounded like a great idea when the salesman said, "And this attachment thingy is for drapes, this one is for getting into corners, and this one is for upholstery", but in all honesty I'm a plug-it-in-and-point-it-at-the- carpet kind of girl.

Vacuuming is mind-numbing enough without stopping every five minutes for a pit stop to do an attachment adjustment.

So this week, I finally had enough and went shopping for a new vacuum cleaner.

I didn't muck around.

I went for one of those super turbo high wattage suck-the- shag-pile-right-off-the-floor models.

I couldn't wait to get back home and see what this baby could do (yeah, I know, don't tell me, it's a sad life in the suburbs when the highlight of your week is a new appliance).

My new turbo cyclonic vac is totally see-though.

I'm still not sure if this is a feature that is going to work in my favour.

For years I've never questioned the clunking sound in the hose.

As far as I was concerned once something had been sucked up that hose it had gone to God.

Now I'll have a lot more explaining to do when the jigsaw pieces, earrings and Nintendo DS game chips start showing up under Perspex like some sort of macabre dust-covered exhibition.

The only disappointment with this new and improved vacuum is that I searched the instruction booklet from cover to cover and, just like every other household appliance that seems to come into my home, there were no instructions on how to get other members of the family to use it.

Now that really sucks.

Family Taming is a weekly humour column by Wendy Andrews.

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