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Multi-Tasking

January 12th, 2009 by Temple City Tribune

Multi-tasking … This term may be new to some people as its origin is from the Computer World and is defined as … the concurrent performance of several jobs by a computer.

However, in my wife’s case she may have been way ahead of her time and just not given credit for “multi-tasking her housework”. For example, she would vacuum the floor while carrying a fussy baby and to break the housework monotony she would watch an old movie or a TV soap opera, all at the same time.

Her experiences over the years while vacuuming have made her a real vacuum cleaner pro. She can use either hand equally well, while practicing a new dance step to the hum of the vacuum motor.

The vacuum has almost become a member of the family. While our children were very young one of them developed a fondness for the humming sound of the motor. Soon he would not take a nap without the whirring sound of the vacuum cleaner outside of his room to soothe him deep into dreamland. Yes, at bedtime too, instead of a night-light in his room or music playing, my “Cleaning Genie” would put him to bed with the vacuum cleaner

running. Even to this day when he visits, if my wife is vacuuming, which is an everyday occurrence, he gets that special glint in his eye, a slight curl in his lip as he begins to yawn.

My wife’s fondness for the vacuum cleaner is very evident. To her it is a very personal item. She buys a new model every two years whether she needs to or not. She is constantly swooning over the new models. She claims by trading her machines every two years or three thousand miles she gets a better trade-in. Not long ago, when I was trading in one of her old models, I told the salesman that it had very low mileage and belonged to a little old lady. He laughed and said, “yaa I know and she only drove it to the store and back.” Well, that was pretty close to the truth.

You see…it was late one Halloween night when we heard a knock at the door and giggling voices chanting the traditional “Trick or Treat”. Upon opening the door, I was greeted with a 5 lb bag of confetti. One half of the million particles launched into the house, while the other half was gently distributed by a slight breeze onto the breezeway and driveway. Shocked yes, but not nearly as much as the neighbors and passing motorists as they watched with unbelieving eyes, as my wife was meticulously vacuuming the driveway and the litter on down the street. Often, I worry about

her unusual affection for vacuum cleaners. Particularly when she looks so longingly at the lawn sweepers and pool vacuums while walking through the local hardware store. I really got worried the first time I saw her run to the front window of our house to catch a glimpse of the City of Arcadia’s street cleaning vehicle.

Now I won’t say this is unusual but the garbage man asked me if we were in the house cleaning business because we have so many vacuum cleaner bags in our garbage can.

Her diversity in use of the vacuum was apparent when I saw her blow dry our French Poodle after giving it a bath and the unusual art deco mural she spray painted in our bedroom with her vacuum cleaner attachments.

Her vacuum cleaner talents could easily become an idea for a new TV reality show, or possibly a TV sports show featuring the competitive racing of vacuum cleaners.

My experience with her quirky vacuum cleaner indulgence has not always been pleasing. During the early years of our marriage, perhaps I should call it marr-age as her coordination was not very good. A vacuum in her hands would dent and scar everything in its path.

Today other problems have surfaced. Lost socks, missing underwear and occasionally “whoosh” my necktie will show up in the garbage tattered from the days cleaning.

Her most unforgettable incident occurred while baking bread as somehow she knocked the bread dough batter onto the floor. Calling on her ingenuity…you guessed it, slurp slurp and the gooey dough was safely hidden in the vacuum bag. Now the gooey mess was carefully laid to rest in the land of vacuum fuzz, where the dough could rise in peace. Somewhat later,
I was startled when I looked at the parked vacuum cleaner, to see the fattest vacuum bag purring in great contentment. What vacuum cleaner wouldn’t purr after slurping down my wife’s best cinnamon bread dough?

Today our vacuum cleaner requirements are numerous. We have a vacuum cleaner for the grandchild’s bedroom for when he stays overnight. Individual machines for the rugs, drapery and a sofa cleaning, a hobby craft paint sprayer machine, dog drying tank type model and the usual garage wet and dry multipurpose vacuum.

Our three-car garage has been reduced to parking one vehicle and 7 vacuum cleaners. Our vacuum cleaner purchases and repair costs have really soared. Fortunately we receive a special rate from our vacuum cleaner serviceman whenever we bring in two or more for repairs.

Recently she set up a work area in the garage for vacuum repairs. She claims that she is now saving me money by charging me half of the normal costs for vacuum repairs.

Well I really don’t mind relinquishing my garage parking spot to her evening vacuum cleaner repair work, but the constant whirring sound coming from the garage puts me to sleep on the sofa during my evening TV viewing. So, now I guess you might say I am multi-tasking also.

My wife’s birthday is coming up soon and since she has been looking longingly at the latest model Robotic Vacuum Cleaner, iRoomba 580, with the new Wireless Command Center that allows her to effortlessly steer the robotic iRoomba while sitting across the room. It’s the perfect gift for her, and in my garage, there will always be room for … just one more vacuum cleaner.

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