Thursday, December 13, 2007

R.I.P., Style 7 Driver Belt

When I was forced to move to Waco back in '04, I had to purchase furniture for the first time in my adult life. Prior to that I had lived a life of privilege (translation: my ex's job provided us with a free and fully furnished apartment).

I happily carried myself to IKEA in Elizabeth and bought the most comfortable sofa on the planet, with a very nice (beige) area rug to place in front of it in my ginormous living room. Ill-advised, I admit, but I'm stubborn. Seeing as this was my first ever furniture purchase, I cherished these items very much (demanded that I get them in the divorce since I paid for it with my own money), and no accessories were spared in sprucing them up. Including the heavy-duty vacuum cleaner I bought to clean said area rug. Never mind that it was the ONLY PIECE OF CARPETING in the entire apartment- I needed it.

Fast forward to last week.

While on the phone, I noticed that N was eating some damn Teddy Grahams on my bed- a HUGE no-no in my house- and ordered that she get the vacuum ASAP and clean up her crumbs (the nerve of that child!). So I'm on the phone and she's plugging in the machine and I'm getting the hose attachment ready. When we turn on the machine, it's working just fine until, OH NO, it's not.

All of a sudden SMOKE emits from the bottom of the vacuum and the stench of burnt rubber fills my room. N runs out, leaving me alone with the ticking time bomb, and I unplug the machine to inspect it, only to find one of my socks tangled in the roller. Curious, but nothing was on fire so I ignored it. 'Cause that's how I do.

A few days later when we attempted to vacuum my once-beautiful-but-now-grey area rug, I notice that nothing is getting picked up. Normally I'd say "fuck it" and sweep it clean, old school, but have you ever tried to sweep three heads' worth of dead hair out of an area rug with a broom? Did I mention I comb my hair in the living room?

And I guess this is where I admit that, although my dinette table looks like the US Post Office threw up on it, and my counter tops currently display every dirty drinking glass known to man, I cannot tolerate a filthy rug. My skin gets itchy just thinking about it. My nose gets runny at the sight of it. And the thought of sitting on it conjures up visuals of tiny carpet creatures crawling onto me and hanging on for dear life. I NEEDED to fix this vacuum!

I tried to replace the bag which, mind you, I hadn't changed since I purchased the machine (nasty, I know...), but still nothing. Then I turned on the vacuum and stuck my hand in it to see if the hose was working, and yes (OUCH!) it was. So no obstruction and an empty bag should equal a working vacuum, right? Wrong.

In order to solve this I had to dig deep into my repressed memories of being an engineer at Brooklyn Tech and being the "man" in my house growing up- needed something fixed, assembled, installed or hung from the rafters? Just ask Raquel! Never mind that she's a teenaged girl...- and recalled that sometimes things need to be taken apart in order to be fixed.

I pulled out the manual (I was THAT desperate to fix this damn thing), grabbed a screwdriver, and got to work.

First of all, the roller was filthy with hair and string. And I don't EVER remember having any string in my house..where did that string come from??

Second of all, the height adjustment didn't seem to want to work, and that was pissing me off. Why didn't it adjust? WHY?? I picked up my phone and called customer service. Surprise, surprise- an Indian woman answers (damn outsourcing!!!) but her English was pretty good so I let it go for the sake of my beloved Bissel. And she helped me solve the mystery of the height adjuster, ALMOST making me okay with outsourcing customer service jobs to New Delhi.

Finally, when I opened the vacuum up, out falls this ripped piece of rubber. The culprit to all my problems, apparently:

Me: Hmmm, this rubber thing just fell out, ripped in two. Do I need that?
Indian CS Rep: Um, yes, ma'am. That's your driver belt. You need that.
Me: Is it supposed to be in two pieces?
Indian CS Rep: Um, no. It's broken. You need to replace it.
Me: Oh. Okay, where can I get one?

So problem solved, store with replacement belts located on Seventh Avenue, and instruction manual detailing what to do to install the belt.

And although it still needs a deep, deep shampooing (because I refuse to get rid of it even though it's in the high traffic area right by the front door of a very small apartment) all of the hair and debris was removed from my nearly-black, used-to-be-beige area rug, thanks to my revived vacuum cleaner.

All is right with the world.

*smooches...showing off my DIY muscles*