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6:09 a.m. - 2005-01-25


Sometimes I question my own sanity.

It usually goes like this.

ME: "Hello?? Sanity??"

SANITY: "Yes? Whoooo iiiis iiiit?"

ME: "It's me, your owner. Listen ... do you think I'm retarded?"

SANITY: "Yes. Sometimes you are. It's not a permanent thing like with George W. Bush. Just ... sometimes."

ME: "That's what I thought. After that ignorant move yesterday, I think so too."

SANITY: "Anything else? I'd like to get back to sleep for a few months."

ME: "Nope. I'm cool. Thanks for answering."

SANITY: "Sure thing. After all ... it's all about you anyway ... asshole."

So yesterday Susie and I take the van in to the shop because ... well by golly ... it's shaking like Condoleeza Rice running in to Barbara Boxer in a dark alley.

Also the windshield wipers don't work.

Or the horn.

Or the cruise control.

Or the air conditioner/heater.

Sooo ... you know ... no better time than today to take it in.

We drop that off at the shop where the guy remembers my name which goes a long way in picking out a mechanic.

If you can walk in a shop and the guy behind the counter smiles and says "Hey (your name here)!" it may be a ploy for you to lay your faith in him ... but it's a damned good ploy.

So after that, we take our vacuum cleaner to a vacuum cleaner repair guy because one of the belts is broken on it.

Won't turn.

Which means the vacuum won't work.

That's how they work apparently. Belts turn and things get sucked in.

So we go there and the guy says "Ahhhh ... the fourth Hoover Wind Tunnel I've seen in the last week! What a horrible piece of craftsmanship!"

Look dude ... you can call my wife a filthy piece of used whore trash ... but do NOT insult my vacuum cleaner, you HOOLIGAN!!

So for about three minutes we stand there dumbfounded as the guy points out why we're complete fucking assholes for ever even deciding on buying a Hoover Wind Tunnel in the first place.

I ask him if he can fix it and he says he "might" be able to for $50 but more than likely he'll have to send it off for a week and it'll cost over $100 to do that.

But ... my little chickadee ... let me show you something.

Naturally, we both lean in ... all ears.

He's got this vacuum cleaner made by a company named Miele.

In hushed tones, he tells us that Miele is the Rolls Royce of vacuum cleaners and that every other vacuum cleaner is a compromise. It is made in Germany and if there's one thing that the Germans are known for other than stout beer and genocide ... it's vacuum cleaners.

Tell us more, o wise sage of vacuum cleaners.

He pours rice all over his carpet which leaves us gasping in horror. How in the world is he going to pick up all that rice??

Guess what, kiddies?

A Miele can get it ... no problem.

By this point, we're both salivating.

We must have a Miele because you never know when a bag of rice is going to spontaneously split open and litter your carpet like really lethargic maggots.

"How much how much how much how much?" we're saying in unison.

He's not ready to talk price yet.

In fact ... he's not even sure if we're the kind of people who deserve to own a Miele.

After much promising that we will take care, love and nurture the Miele, he decides to show us everything the Miele is capable of.

It can suck up dirt off the carpet.

Or even a hardwood floor.

It can clean your drapes.

And furniture.

And it stores neatly and efficiently.

Efficient storage?!?


Ten minutes and $465 later we had a Miele.

All the way home, we were babbling about how clean our house was going to be with our new Miele.

We even decided to name our Miele.

Dr. Steven Anderson III.

No significance there. But it seemed like a nice name for an inanimate German cleaning utensil (that can clean drapes).

We got home and assembled Dr. Steven Anderson III with ease.

We plugged Dr. Steven Anderson III in the wall.

We turned him on.

The gentle purr that Dr. Steven Anderson III emitted as he sought out dirt particles and rice in the carpet was music to our ears.

"This is great!" Susie shrieked as she glided across the carpet with the grace of an anorexic ballerina.

"Wait a second!" I said, shutting off Dr. Steven Anderson III. "An hour ago we were going to take the vacuum in for repairs. And now we're out almost $500 for a German vacuum cleaner with a strange name."

"Yeah?" Susie said, waiting for a point to be made.

"That $500 was supposed to go to taxes for this year since we don't really know what our tax situation is going to be this year," I reminded her.

She thought for a minute.

"You have a party in two weeks," she deducted. "The money from that party will cover the cost of Dr. Steven Anderson III."

"THAT money was going towards taxes as well," I reminded her. "All extra income was going toward taxes until we figured out what we owed. Remember?"

Susie stared at me for a second.

I stared back.

We stared at Dr. Steven Anderson III.

And wondered at what precise moment did this carnival barker of a salesman hypnotize us into spending so much money on a German vacuum cleaner.

In the end it doesn't really matter.

Because ... and I say this with pride ... we now have carpets that are 100% completely rice-free.

And in the grand scheme of things, that's pretty goddamned important.

P.S. We find out the damage done to the van today.

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