RIP Mr. Sucky

Some people go through shoes quickly. Some people burn through smart phones.

I am not one of those people. I  have clothes that I bought with my employee discount when I worked for JC Penney in college and I have to finally just break up with a phone when I want to get a fun new one and hope that it doesn’t take it badly and throw itself under a passing bus.

But one item doesn’t stand a chance around me.

A vacuum cleaner.

I don’t know what it is. You know people who have those weird magnetic fields and they can’t wear a watch or time stops or they get sucked into an 80’s Madonna video? Well I have the equivalent when it comes to vacuum. These things don’t stand a chance around me.

I have killed no fewer than five vacuums in my adult life. And for the longest time I didn’t bother buying one because I was a broke student and I had a broom.

Seriously. I swept the carpet.

It looked clean.

But let’s be serious. If you’re trying to put yourself through college when the hell do you have a spare $149 lying around? And don’t talk nonsense like I could have just saved $5 a week and had a vacuum in a few short months. How would I have bought my boxes of wine then, huh??

I finally scraped together enough cash, plus these weird bonus stamps I got at work, plus my employee discount (I so wrung every perk out of  the JC Penney work experience) and bought a vacuum.

It was green. Somehow in my memory this is significant.

Now let’s be clear – I lived in a one bedroom apartment. I had maybe 500 square feet of carpet to clean. I had no pets.

This was a vacuum’s dream job. This vacuum should have held onto this position for ages. That Hoover Sucky Upright should have been planning to draw social security out of that gig.

Nope. Dead in two years. Apparently seven minutes of action  every two weeks was too much for it and it just up and went postal on me in a fit of angry dust right before my dad was coming to visit. Which was good cause nothing impresses a parent like pan-fried salmon dredged in carpet dirt.

Similar scenarios repeated every couple of years. I forgave the red Bissell for gasping for its last breath early because I had an Australian shepherd in the house and you could use their coats as stunt mats they’re so thick.

When Husband 1.0 and I separated we briefly had joint custody of the vacuum and it would come to my house every other week which, given my history, meant it was really taking its life in its hand…er…nozzle twice a month. But it held in there for a while and that system seemed to work until I got a cat.

Then the weekend custody thing just had to go as I was ankle-deep in Abyssinian fur. So I bought myself a new vacuum.

I killed it a year or two ago.

But it was ok, because Himself and I had joined households and HE had a vacuum too! So we just pulled out his.

But now I’ve killed that one as well.

I don’t know how I do it. I think it’s a pretty crappy super-power, if you ask me. Who the hell wants to see that on the Justice League Roster? “Anti-Suck Girl: Able to choke powerful wind-tunnel action vacuum cleaners with a casual glance. Also causes streetlights to burn out and can touch her toes to the back of her head. Secret weakness: Bees and fuzzy things touching her when she sleeps.”

Although I bet there’s a kick-ass costume.

How many Martha Points do I lose for being a serial vacuum killer?

Dyson, anyone?


  1. I have killed so many vacuums (both high priced and cheap) that I now only buy the cheap ones and just throw them out when they’re “done.” Vacuums have become a disposable commodity at the Hoody Household.

  2. What you need to do with whatever vacuum you buy, get it somewhere where you can also buy an extended warranty, like Sears. Then if you break it in a few years they fix or replace it. In fact I have a friend that cleans houses for a living . She bought a vacuum from Sears and has returned it for repair numerous times and they’ve gladly done that for her. She just never told them what she does with hers. You’re not suppose to use them commercially I guess. Or if you don’t want to do that get a Kirby. I use to do the same thing to my vacuums until I paid an outrageous amount for the Kirby and now I’ve owned it for 33 years, no problem.

  3. Uhm, might I point out, that the machines did just fine and dandy with the other owners. I vote for simply banning you from this chore, then the machine will live and mostly everyone will be happy! (and one less chore for you, unless in trade you have to do something gross)

  4. One contractor husband, one three year old boy, a cat for a while, now just the two dogs, New England weather, and my own questionable housekeeping skills… have yet to defeat the Dyson I got nearly four years ago. And do not be fooled. I do not “take care of” this Dyson. I have never cleaned its filters, never washed its parts, and I bash it around the house like the new girl at a roller derby. Hell, I’ve even punctured the hose trying to suck up a bamboo skewer.


    I’d love to see what you could do to it!

  5. I honestly think that Dyson might be willing to sponsor you…the one person who can kill any vacuum is the perfect test subject for their “perfect” model. Although if you did that one in, there may be no hope for you.

    I hate to say this, but we got a free vacuum with our carpet installation 11 years ago. And it’s still kicking. Sucking, actually. So maybe the problem is with the vacuums that aren’t free?

  6. I just bought my 3rd vacuum in less than 5 years. Granted the other two were under $50 pieces of crap that were just ‘filling in’ until I could get the Wind Tunnel we’d had for 8 year ‘repaired’. AGAIN. But I never did because the repair place said it would take weeks & it had taken weeks the last time & I didn’t want just a crap vacuum in the house for weeks, even if the good one didn’t work. (totally logical in some way)

    But two weeks ago I walked past the vacumm display & thought “you’ve lived under the tyranny of a hard to push, barely sucks vacuum for years. RISE UP and throw off your constantly melting rotar belts and just buy a nice one this time.”

    So I got a Bissel. I used it once, it worked perfectly. I’m thinking of building a shrine for it and never ever using it again so I don’t lose the joy

  7. My sister is on the same page as you– swears she kills vacuums. I must ask her how many she’s had in a decade. I’m going to go with 10, though. One for each year.

    Also, every time I visit the Daddy-o, I notice that he has a new one. So, I guess our family is vacuum killers.

  8. Nice. We have a Dyson. Just yesterday it fell down the stairs and I sucked up an earring & a ball-point pen (with the hose attachment). I recommend the Dyson. Plus? You can SEE all the cat fur you vacuum up. Which might actually disturb you when you find out how much was lurking on the floor.

    In our house? Hub kills blackberries (thankfully provided by his job…) and laptops. He’s totally killed his work laptop (meaning at least 2 days of intense recovery effort) at *least* 3 or 4 times in the 3.5 years he’s worked for this company. For someone who is such a gifted programmer? He tends to kill his equipment quite frequently. Perhaps his genius is just too much for them.

    …I’m glad he’s not that genius at being a sensitive man…hehehe

  9. I can tell you none of the boys at Justice League want “Anti-Sucking Girl” to join up.

    But you and I could form our own club. I swept my carpet for years (or crawled around on my hands and knees picking up little lint balls by hand) and I am the executioner of any vacuum that enters this house.

    I don’t think mine even make it six months.

    But I’ve never had a Kirby (2,500 dollars? for a vacuum? that’s a LOT of wine) or a Dyson. (Don’t know how much those cost, but probably more than knee pads for crawling around on the ground picking up lint balls.)

    Cheers to you “Anti-Sucking Girl.” This calls for a box of wine…

  10. I have one of those Kirby vacuums that cost 4 figures and I HATE IT WITH THE HEAT OF A THOUSAND SUNS. I could have bought a couple of Dyson Animal vacuums that would actually vacuum up the Aussie Shepherd hair, unlike the Kirby that looks at the pet hair with fear and confusion.

    1. Ugh, I feel your Kirby pain! My hubby had one when we got married & I hated that thing! I begged for a dyson (his reply? “but the kirby was so expensive!!”) I finally convinced him & I’ve been so happy!! Good luck.

  11. I once threw a vacuum down a flight of stairs and it still worked. (Yes, I THREW it. Don’t ask. It was not one of my proudest moments.) I also had a Bissel that worked for over 6 years. It was the lift-off style and we still have the lift-off part. It’s sort of our ‘shop vac’ now that we have a Dyson.

    You and I should be friends since I clearly have the ability to make vacuums last forever and would counteract your anti-suck ability.

  12. I can’t kill my vacuum to save my life! That thing has been dropped, kicked, thrown against a wall (all in the name of cleaning) and it won’t keel over. It just keeps going and going like a much less hygienic version of the Energizer bunny. I’m hoping that my unfailing hatred will eventually dampen its intense will to live. Hey. Maybe you could come over and, like, talk to it?

  13. I’m kinda like you, going through vacuums like water.

    This last one, though, I think it heard of my reputation as a Vacuum Killer because it’s been trying to get ME lately, wrapping that sneaky little cord around my feet, trying to trip me up.

    We both eye each other warily now before I flip the on switch.

    Damned machines!

  14. Kristian “accidentally” dropped the vacuum down the basement stairs a few months ago and destroyed it. I use those quotation marks because I’m pretty sure he just wanted a new one.

  15. OMG is that hilarious! I have a GF whose like that with coffeepots. That’s kind of a sad thought, isn;t it? To kill something that makes COFFEE?! I love the post and for the record: hate to vacuum! XO

  16. I’ve done a little bit of research on this one, as you can imagine. The bottom line on a vaccum’s longevity? A metal roller bar. If you buy one that has a plastic roller bar, then it will poop out fairly quickly. In the last move I made, I decided to buy a small shop vac for BIG stuff, and to have one that is strictly for the weekly routine. For that vacuum purchase, I had a long talk with the guy who has owned and operated a vacuum sales and repair business here in the ‘hood for about forty years. He still makes house calls, and you can call and ask him a question. There’s a parking spot in his driveway that is easy to get to and it takes me all of two minutes to pick up extra bags. He didn’t oversell me, he represents a line of vacuums that are usually sold only in stores that specialize in vacuums. It was $299, and I can already tell it will have the lifespan of the Electrolux that was a wedding present to my parents that only sputtered out finally in my first apartment in Beverly Hills. So basically, it lasted about thirty years!

    According my Vacuum Man(as he will now and forever be known), you really do need a bag – he’s not a fan of Dyson, and he totally could have sold me one right then and there, as I was SO thrilled to meet someone who actually knew anything about vacuums. I opted for the upright with a bag. The model is called Riccar and I love it. It is is red and looks fantastic in my atomic age kitchen and it cleans my carpets beautifully. ;)

    1. Oh – I almost forgot to tell you how funny your post was! You and I had our priorities right in line with one another with regard to box wine being more important than a vacuum. Please.

  17. Dyson, shmyson. What you need is a Miele. Best vacuum ever, it’s like an obedient robot of cleanliness following you around. Also durable, I’ve maybe dropped it down the stairs. And vacuumed more playdoh and glitter than I’d like to admit.

  18. We have two vacuums. One because my husband is weird and asked for a high-end vacuum one Christmas. The other one I got as BlogHer swag. Can you last until August or December using lint rolls?

  19. When we first moved to Portland we were BROKE. My husband (then boyfriend), being the innovative type, wrapped duct tape around a large shoe box, sticky side out, and basically lint rolled the rug. Quite the catch – no?

  20. I think that anyone who takes the time to sweep their carpet gains points that last forever.

    Also, I have this slight (or if you ask my husband, very large, very strange, very annoying) neurosis that involves things rubbing on carpet, so I would only get in one sweep and then I would have a negative reaction that might involve me holding my hands over my ears and yelling.

  21. I bet a Dyson could handle you. And if not? You are the krytonite of all vacuums.

    My brother has this type of relationship with rockers. No joke, he’s broken the springs on La-Z-Boys so many times, the repairmen say they’ve never seen that kind of damage.

  22. Oh thank God, I thought I was the ony one. Vacuums suck. I’ve learned to stay away from ours, and we’ve managed to maintain it for four years now-twice the normal life expectancy. That could be because I put the kids in charge of vacuuming….Also, in our house, lightbulbs last two days and batteries about a week (if we use them sparingly). I blame BigB for that, though. He sucks all of the energy out of the air. Our vacuum cleaner should have the suck BigB’s got going on. But sadly, no.

  23. Bottom line- vacuums suck All of them. I’ve had numerous vacuums (Hoover, Orrick….to name a few), and none of them have worked well at ALL. I’m lucky to have a cleaning lady, and thank goodness she brings her own vacuum (brand unknown) which at least makes the house look clean. It’s not you, it’s them….

  24. I break glasses. A lot. It might seem like a really lame superpower (anybody can break glasses, right?) but I swear, I do it without even touching them. They break in the dishwasher or fall off a table while I’m halfway across the room. It’s very impressive, trust me.

  25. The fact that you swept the carpet cracked me up. I admit I’ve done that once or twice, especially when the kids were napping. But my real reason? I was too lazy to get the vacuum out.

  26. Upon moving out of her college apartment, my then-girlfriend refused to throw away her broken vacuum because “my dad bought it for me.” Also, she was Catholic and had guilt issues.

  27. I, too, have killed many vacuums. I love my Dyson, it’s held up for 7 years with dogs, cats, and toddlers!

  28. I have the same problem! I don’t know what I do to them, I just kill them! My mom wouldn’t let me vacuum when I lived with her as a teenager because I just destroy them.

    1. LOL…Ok, I don’t think I was ever banned from cleaning for my mysterious power.

      My mom played fast and loose with the vacuum’s life.

  29. I can’t keep a vacuum working to save my life. Since we’ve been married (which is 5.5 years) we have gone through 2 uprights (we are on our 3rd), and 2 little canister ones for the stairs. Seriously. THEY ONLY VACUUM OUR FIVE STEPS. why do they keep dying?

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