Sssswwwwwwussssssssssssssssss!!!!! SSSWwwwwuck!!! SSSssweet!!!

I did go today.
I did vacuum.
Well, I plugged in and pushed and dragged the appliance shown above all over my apartment for about half an hour.
I did not use the hose and attachments to go under things. I got hot and sweaty enough earlier, was my excuse.
I can do that on Saturday was my second idea.
And I probably will, because this Hoover is a mighty fine Hoover.
This appliance picked up two canisters of fur and dirt. I think it picked up fur and dirt from the last three tenants, as well as everything neglected by my other vacuum since October. It emptied easily and cleanly.
Also, it is red and shiny.
There was a lavender coloured vacuum cleaner at the store. I was becoming enraged just looking at it.
Red and shiny is good.
Finally, I believe that the furry dog pictured on the box was reduced in size seven times by close proximity to an operating model, and is revealed almost bald.
There is hope yet.

KA-BOOOOOMMMM!!!!

What did I ever do to the Bissell Vacuum Company? Hmn? What have I ever done to anyone to deserve this fifty-six-year-long fight with carpet cleaning and carpet shampooing appliances? And, more importantly, how is Bissell allowed to design, name, produce and sell a "pro" vacuum cleaner that works as well as me shaking a stick at the pet fur on my wall-to-wall apartment carpeting? EH?
I am all sweaty and mad.
I always get sweaty and mad when I vacuum. My mom used to make me clean the house with an old "floating" globular Hoover when I was a kid. It flung particulates everywhere. My dad was a matchstick shredding, tobacco-shedding, ash-spreading slob. I bump walls and furniture in completely unsublimated rage to this day, thanks to him – less the coughing, thanks to air filtering. I have had many vacuum cleaners of greater and lesser worth over the years, but I suspect the entire world would agree with me when I say that the MINUMUM REQUIREMENT from such a machine would bloody well be SUCTION.
I am, today, finally admitting that I am broken. Broken, hopeless and forlorn.
"Oh," you say. "Dyson!" you say. I hate that Dyson guy. He is so smug. He sells $700 vacuums. $800 vacuums. And a pet fur specialty vacuum that I can order from amazon.ca for $900. I wish he would have devoted his life to perfecting a toaster, because I have to toast my bagels and bread in two steps to get them right. And I love my toaster. No one understands the need for perfect toast, so I work around it.
But vacuum cleaners? Vacuum cleaners should be easy! Jets in reverse! Make stuff GO AWAY! There are flippin LEAF BLOWERS destroying everyone's piece of mind all over the damned place! Men LOVE THEM! Turn the motor the other way!!!

Why are there useless $100 vacuums and divinely perfect $700 vacuums and nothing but wretched gambles in between?

I knew it wouldn't be easy. It is never easy. The cat and dog take off to the furthest walls. The cord gets yanked to its utmost length. I push the power button. Dust and fur go in and then
SONOFA
that infuriating sliiiiiiiiithhh sound when a glob of dog hair throws the vacuum into a state of shock and I have to shut her all down, open the hatch, pull out the tangle, shut the hatch, click the canister back on, plug in the machine, touch the floor and
SONOFA
that infuriating sliiiiiiiiithhh sound when a glob of dog hair throws the vacuum into a state of shock and I have to shut her all down, open the hatch, pull out the tangle, shut the hatch, click the canister back on, plug in the machine, touch the floor and
SONOFA
that infuriating sliiiiiiiiithhh sound when a glob of dog hair throws the vacuum into a state of shock and I have to shut her all down, open the hatch, pull out the tangle, shut the hatch, click the canister back on, plug in the machine, touch the floor and
SONOFA

KA-BOOM!

I'VE HAD IT!

If I were one half of a millimeter closer to being a slightly different kind of person, there would be an assortment of busted pieces of a crappy, useless household appliance littering the little concrete paved patio six floors below me.
As it is, I see Walmart, the retailer I hate but can actually afford, has a highly rated Hoover in stock. I haven't had a fight with a Hoover for a long time. Shark was okay to me for a while. Bissell makes me cry. My Bissell "Pro Heat" "power steamer" sits here beside me in the living room. Dead. It lead me along for two years. YouTube advises I open it up, as I might be able to discover a part that I might be able to remove, order, and replace.
I am, at heart, a simple consumer. I wish to purchase a thing and use it for a reasonable length of time that I measure in years and years. I don't want a noisy pile of plastic, wheels, and tubes to exude heat and not ingest anything remotely resembling household dirt.
I am not going today, but when I do, please, little Hoover, please, be good to me.

No Food, Wonders of the World, Art, No Food, Food

I tried to buy lunch today. I got this brainy idea yesterday – I’d visit the newly-opened restaurant on the corner, visit our famous museum, visit our famous art gallery, and enjoy ice cream for supper sometime around 7:30 this evening. President’s Choice Vanilla mixed with Breyer’s Dark Chocolate Truffle. I have enough left of each for one big bowl of it. I have saved it as a kind of a reward. For enduring a “webinar” I should listen to for professional purposes. That I’d rather not.

I live in a small town. People correct me, correctly, to advise that it is, in fact, a small City, Capital “C” – but it is really a town. And I – along with a large portion of the downtown populace – have been watching the dismantling of a failed culinary adventure for some months now, hoping, eagerly, for a different eatery to plunk down, prosper, and stay. Downtown took terrible hits years ago, I am told, losing commerce and all to the outskirts mall. Slowly, it’s been coming back. Each piece of the core propping up and encouraging the others. Two days ago, through the new, massive dark windows of this renovation venture, we could see booths and mops. Yesterday the signs were up, lights lit, the windows were rolled open and the happy hubbub of satisfied diners emanated out to those of us walking dogs and the like.

I googled the menu. I counted the cash. I walked over. I rejoiced in the closed windows – hey, it’s over thirty degrees Celsius with the humidity today – and then I went in.

My rule is: five minutes or being ignored by six separate staff, and I’m outta there. This lovely space, which shall remain nameless, was full. Unfortunately, it has been designed with a large number of extraordinarily comfortable looking six-person curved booths, many four-person booths along the long window wall, and a large, disheartening collection of tippy-toppy high tables for four, with matching tippy-toppy bar stools. And that’s it. So parties of two monopolize more room than is otherwise necessary. And parties of one do not belong. Also, as I stood there, I decided that no matter what happened, the high chairs were not a prudent perch. I am tall enough to hop up. Visions of my rump accelerating all the way down to the floor under a broken stool preoccupied me for a while, though. I did have some time to think about safety, and spectacle, and the social aspects and psychology of seating and comfort. As well as the optics of being elevated among this crowd to eat a burger.

In a city, people eating lunch do not gawk at whomever comes in, and then they do not gawk again when that person waits for a table. As I took inventory of seating design, I made slightly too long, disconcerting (for me) eye contact with probably ten customers, at whom I smiled, because this is a small town, but not one of the five individual wait staff walking right past me standing there would look me in the eye. You know that swervy motion people make with their whole head when a big bee flies by their nose? That’s what I got. Five times. The owners have another version of this place in a town close by that is spoken of highly. Ostensibly, they’ve done this “service” routine before. They may have, in fact, encountered a lone person waiting for a table in a full place before. I can’t tell you anything about it or what might have happened, though, because in a city, a staff member would say, “Hi! We’re so busy today! We’ll have a table in about twenty minutes. Is that okay?” In a town, this big woman is, to those from whom I would’ve ordered a big meal and a pint, and tipped well, absolutely invisible. It’s Las Vegas, pay-per-view magical. Except to ten customers. Who’d probably would’ve watched me eat. And drink. And break a chair.

So they may prosper, but they’ll do it without me.

Off I went to the famous, privately owned Stones & Bones Museum. Entrance fee: $7 even. Stuffed with an alarming large and varied menagerie of taxidermy, fantastic fossils, information posters, preserved specimens of this, that, and the other, and possessed of an excellent gift shop. The best thing about the Stones & Bones, though, amid the walls of beetles and butterflies and shark jaws and gems and dinosaur pieces and hunks of copper and snake skins and bird-killing spiders and EVERYTHING is the ebullient banter of amazed, chattering, joyful kids. One of whom, unprompted, pointed out to me in particular more details about a specific iridescent butterfly than I was quite prepared to enjoy. But still. There’s something wrong with you if you forget how that was – to see something so wondrous for the first time, and to tell somebody about it. It’s a great place.

So off to the Judith & Norman Alix Art Gallery. All contents actually owned by this sliver of a gem. As you will be told three times – all contents owned, I mean – and will thus, in all likelihood, remember. Admission free, donations gladly accepted. Two Emily Carr works beautifully displayed, with illustrations of how one, in particular, was restored to its bright self. Respectable Group of Seven in small number. Modern stuff upstairs. Pleasant and knowledgeable reception, and two interestingly informative volunteers. Thank you. I’ll be back in a year.

And then I walked my heat-heavy ankles over to a pub that had its doors all open. In this heat! So I came home.

Supper will be cremini mushrooms in olive oil and butter, with garlic and spinach, on spaghettini. And a beer. I doubt very much that there is a webinar in my near future. There will be ice cream. My ankles have returned to happiness. A good day, even without lunch.


* GPS! in case you’re helicoptering in! (I told you it is cool for kids!)

Review of Books: TR Pearson’s “East Jesus South” and Ian McGuire’s “The North Water”.

I am reading a lot of books at the moment. Again. As usual. All at once. I own very few of them. I am a library gal. I paid amazon.ca to send me T.R. Pearson’s “Off For the Sweet Hereafter” and “East Jesus South” this spring, though. I finished reading the latter up at the leash-free dog park this morning and here I am, a tiny !pip! of a !squeak! in the Weberverse, to tell you how glorious the man’s talent is. If you do not know or think you might imagine satisfying the pleasures of fine crafted, funny, clever prose – and you would like a taste of some of the mannerisms of a part of the American south (satirized, yes, but cut from true cloth), just read T.R. Pearson. From the beginning, if possible. Now. Today. Life is short.

My public library hasn’t got a single one of his works. I hope to amass the entire oeuvre of the gentleman. With my own money. That’s love.

Yesterday I drank a quart (4 cups) of my very fine iced coffee, and sat in the afternoon and evening and drank another. Consequently, I spent the night sort of upright on my sofa, too edgy to lie down in bed, and too tired to read past 12:30 a book of astounding force. I am halfway through “The North Water” and what a ship into the hell that is people it is. Compelling, horrifying, realistic, sad and – hey, I don’t know what’s going to happen on this or after this mid-19th century whaling voyage, but I give the novel a 10 now. It will not let me down. I can just feel it.

It is a library book. It is excellent.

From the air conditioned oasis that is my apartment, I wish you happy reading!