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Meet the Columnist

Columnist, Sheila Moss, is humor writer from  Tennessee. She writes  a weekly human interest column about daily life and the funny things that happen to everyone.

   She has written for  the Daily News of Kingsport,   Griffin Journal, Oakridge Now, Atlanta Woman Magazine, Aberdeen Examiner, Angleton Advocate,  and Smyrna AM, a supplement of the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal. She has been published by Voyageur Press, McGraw Hill, and the good folks at Guidepost Books.  Her articles have appeared in numerous anthologies and other publications, both in print and online.

    She is a former board member and past  Editor of  the, website of  the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, the oldest and largest professional organization for columnists. She is the Web Editor of Southern  and  a founder of the Southern Humorists writers' organization. She is writer, editor, and webmaster of

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The Vacuum Cleaner...

The Vacuum Cleaner

What can I do? What can I do? The vacuum cleaner is sitting there waiting for me. I hate to vacuum. It is one of the best bad inventions ever. I've tried all kinds of vacuum cleaners, but it doesn't seem to matter what kind I have, they are all basically the same. They suck.

They seem to have a mind of their own about what they will eat. Oh, sure, as long as the floors do not have any loose objects on them, things go well. The vac will hum along okay and pick up the loose dust and deposit it inside its paper belly.

But, what about the occasional tiny piece of debris on the rug? No matter how many times you run the vacuum over it, nothing happens. It just sits there until you finally have to bend over and pick it up. It seems the vacuum cleaner is selective about what it eats and doesn't eat.

There are some things that it definitely should leave alone. But it turns into a silver demon, sucking up all manner of objects that it knows will become stuck in its fan, make dinging noises, and refuse to go into the bag.
Take paper clips, safety pins, or hair pins. Ever hit one of those babies while vacuuming? Inevitably the cleaner will suck it up before you can stop pushing the machine. The noise is deafening. It would be okay if it would just go on into the bag and then shut up about it. But it sticks in the fan.

By the time you finish taking out the roller, breaking all your finger nails, and retrieving the hateful object, you don't care whether the rug gets cleaned or not. And where does all that thread wound around the roller and brushes come from? Is it collecting string?
I don't get it. It can suck up a throw rug or plastic grocery bag in two seconds flat. It can eat the draperies from across the room. It can terrorize the cat, drown out the touchdown from a football game on TV, blow a fuse, and set off a round of sneezing that all the allergy pills in the medicine cabinet can't cure. But it can't pick up dust that is too close to the baseboard in the hall.
There are all kinds of these machines. I've never looked it up, but I'm sure the variety is overwhelming. In my lifetime, I've probably owned most of them. The one I have now cost a small fortune. The more the horsepower, the better it is supposed to suck. The only difference I've seen is that it can find the pennies and marbles quicker.

Yes, I've tried the canister style as well. I used to swear by them. However, after using a wire coat hanger to pull out wads of dust stuck in the hose, I finally decided I could no longer deal with it and went to an upright style. I still use the canister once in a while as it gets into cracks and hard to reach

Not only do you need one of the monsters to clean your house, you really need two.

And there are those paper bags to empty. Now that's a job for a sanitation worker, not a woman.  You can't believe all that gray stuff came out of your house. You resist the urge to look inside for stray coins or diamond rings and deposit the entire mess in the closest trash bag.

Did you ever have a bag come loose inside the vacuum cleaner letting the dust accumulate outside? Oh, my gosh, that's another whole story. On a day like that, I simply want to retire from house cleaning forever.
What did they do before the vacuum cleaner was invented? No wonder wall-to-wall carpeting is going out and hardwood floors are making a comeback. 

Copyright 2009 Sheila Moss


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