On Husbands and Vacuuming

Disclaimer: I have a wonderful husband.  He is a magnificent provider and family man.  He is the handiest man on the planet and if he ever disappeared off the face of the earth I’d rather burn my eyes out with hot pokers than pair up with a non-handy man.  Or any other man, really (but for, maybe, Jon Snow); this man is too good.  Except for one little matter……

Jon Snow. Say no more. Image sourced from www.gameofthrones.wikia.com

Jon Snow. Say no more.
Image sourced from

I’m not a fan of housework…..who is, really?  We have a dear old house set in the middle of picturesque paddocks in the lovely mallee district.  Set just metres from our humble abode is a large dam, surrounded by agapanthus plants, banksia roses and lanky gum trees which house possum families, herons, kookaburras and other assorted wildlife.  Idyllic.  In summer time, this dam also becomes a meeting ground for millions of miniscule flying insects.  They find the warm glow of the lights of our house irresistible.  They slip neatly through the screen doors with incredible ease. They die in the most convenient of places.  Around all internal doorways in droves, on the kitchen benchtop; wherever they darn well feel like it, really.

In summer time, the big black spiders which hide away for the rest of the year decide to show themselves around the cornices in the least used rooms, spinning their decidedly sticky webs – the equivalent of fortified castles, impossible to remove without a fuss.

In summer time, the hot mallee wind stirs up the dusty paddock topsoil and carries it for miles.  That mallee dirt loves coming in for a cuppa and a chat.  It graces the floors and window sills, reminding us always of where we live.

In summer time, the dog and the cat (yes, we’re soft, they are inside dwellers) get hot and decide that their fur coats need to be reduced by half.  With an air of don’t care and great nonchalance they roll around in every perceivable corner of the house, eliminating these coats.  I’m sure they only shed their black hair on the white furnishings and vice versa, so immensely talented are they.

Yes. I'm talking about you.

Yes. I’m talking about you.

In summer time, the kids are home.  School holiday grime. Need I say more?

By now, I can picture your thoughts.  “This woman is a saint to put up with all this!”….or “She is slightly unhinged”. Finally, “Boy, she must have a great vacuum cleaner!”

Here are the answers to the above:

A. Yes, she is most definitely a saint! Naturally.

B. Yes. I’ve always been unhinged. I prefer it that way, it’s how I roll.

C. NO! I have the crappest vacuum cleaner that ever existed.

Several years ago, things weren’t so dire.  We had a cat ‘n’ dog style vacuum which did an adequate job, along with my pride and joy, a Roomba robot vacuum cleaner which daily saved my bacon. He (yes, we personified him!) sadly had a major health scare when we renovated the house and his battery was allowed to go flat for several months.  He has never been the same since.  Mind you, he had a hard life and was pretty shagged prior to this.  Anyone trying to keep our place clean is bound to suffer some form of mental health issue.  Poor little blighter, we only call on him occasionally as he is most certainly semi-retired.

So, the cat ‘n’ dog vac eventually exploded, and the $69 Aldi vacuum was purchased as a quick fix whilst I perused the vacuum ranges on offer.  Trouble is, that Aldi vac did a bloody good job for quite a while there.  The quick fix vacuum turned into the regular vacuum.  Only complaint being, it made a deafening sound, really requiring industrial earmuffs when in operation.  Several years down the track and the darn thing is still going strong.  The helpful, handy hubs has made sure of that. Only there are a few more minor quirks and issues. This, my friends, is what a regular day vacuuming looks like for me.

My nemesis. I swear, looking at it here, it has a little smirking face. Like a chipmunk.

My nemesis. I swear, looking at it here, it has a little smirking face. Like a chipmunk.

1. Wrestle machine out of cupboard and insert hose.  Straighten out the end bit that has been silver gaffa-taped together where said hose is disintegrating. She’ll be right.

2. Plug in. Place industrial strength earmuffs firmly over ears, gently tucking in pearl earrings. All glam like. Push that ON button, hear the engines revving, and with fingers crossed do a quick test run over the carpet. Bugger. Switch machine off.

3. Take the barrel out to the backyard compost heap and empty contents. Extract missing Lego pieces and hair clips from  pile of matted dust, spiders and daughter’s blonde hair. Leave that for the birds to come and find for nesting purposes.

Yeah, gross. Help yourselves, birds.

Yeah, gross. Help yourselves, birds.

4. Journey on to the 40 foot shed. This whole vacuuming adventure is starting to feel like a progressive dinner with none of the perks. Just a few stray chooks and the hound for company. And no food. Hound departs at this point as he knows there’s to be more noise. Turn on the industrial sized air pressure cleaner. Wish that you hadn’t left ear muffs inside.

5.Blast the living daylights out of the filter and the barrel. You don’t want to end up back in here again if you don’t do the job well. Get covered in dust particles in a mad rendition of Frosty the Snowman. Only you end up grey.  The new look won’t be wasted; it’s a hot day, therefore that crap will stick until you decide to shower and wash your grey tresses brown again. Remember to also focus on eyebrows.

6. Drag the whole ensemble back inside and try again. If you’re lucky, really lucky, you’ll complete your mission in under two hours.

The End.

P.S. The top of the pipe has just snatched it. Hubs has fixed it again. I’m off to the electrical shop. Today.

Is your hubby handy?

Have you any vacuum recommendations?

Is anybody out there as crazy as me?


On hot days and nudie runs

So at the risk of making myself sound like the class clown of Blog land, and of the ‘Raduates Class of October 2014 of Blog With Pip, I’m going to help you guys get to know me a bit more.  Tongue is planted firmly in cheek always, people….. These snippets, however, are true to form and not very embellished at all, I’m sad to say.


We have a pretty idyllic life, often interrupted by the crazy hound.

Let’s set the scene, here.  We live in the country, and I’m oh so glad that we do.  We have 16 beautiful acres of paddocks, cows and bird life.  I grew up and was educated in Adelaide before making my way with the hubs (about 20 years ago, when he was my hot boyfriend) in pursuit of the country life. We revel in our space and the freedom of neighbours being far enough away that we aren’t hindered or obliged to keep the noise down etc.  Now, there are some days when we still reckon we’re pretty hot, but the day in question wasn’t one of them; not in that sense of the word, anyway.  I was actually red in the face, quite unattractive and sweaty after picking up my little man from Kindergarten one putridly hot November afternoon.  Arriving home at our sanctuary, I flicked on the air conditioner, gave a cursory glance to the laden kitchen bench and the dishes that had been left earlier in the day…..it had been a particularly trying morning; judge me if you will…..and made the very easy decision to have a little sit down on the sofa with the local rag whilst the house cooled down. In a blink I whipped off the pants I had been wearing (who needs them!) and plunged into the comfort of the favourite recliner like a half skinned rabbit, devoid of much covering.

When you live where we do, it’s very rare to get people clamouring at your front door.  Even if somebody does arrive, we have ample warning, for our driveway is a good 400m long dirt road, and you can hear them coming from a mile away….long enough to have a quick stickybeak and attire oneself appropriately.  I had even shut the driveway gate this day, as I didn’t want the ninja pet ducks to go swimming in the adjacent channel, which they treat as their local pool when allowed.  I know you know where I’m heading with this, and it doesn’t end well.

There I was, telly on, pre-schooler happily engaged in ABC Kids after his tiring hot day, and me flicking through the paper, not a care in the world. Until I had the absolute living daylights scared out of me by the sound of the large glass sliding door in our open plan kitchen opening, and a man’s booming voice greeting me cheerily!  Just metres away from me was our neighbour, who agists part of our land.  He has NEVER come to that door before (and never will again, I know!).

The sofa has its back facing the door in question, and it was to an extent my saving grace.

“I’ve got something to show you!”, he said eagerly.

“I’ll bet it’s nothing like what I might be about to have to show you!” was my immediate thought!

I tried to do my level best to seem interested as my mind raced to figure out how to get myself out of this one.  A look of puzzlement descended over his face as I failed to get up off the couch, rather flailing around and attempting to do a casual lean over the top of it.  That failed.  There was nothing for it.

“Um Kevin……I’VE GOT NO PANTS ON!!!”

Well.  That poor man.  I’ve never seen such a double take!  He disappeared out onto our deck, his face hotter than a jalapeno.  I made a run for it, got those pants on and went to see what he had to show me.  (It was, in fact, pretty exciting….a huge dead brown snake which he’d managed to wrap up in a round hay bale in our paddock whilst baling….pre-schooler boy was fascinated).  No matter how I tried to make light of it, poor old Kevin couldn’t see past the embarrassment of it all, so I’ve had to leave it at that.

Just imagine the digs I get now from the family whenever we think Kevin might be at the door.  It’s ok if it’s his dad, Kevin Snr; he has cataracts.

You know what? I still do the same thing to this day.  I just keep some form of coverings at my fingertips!

Am I alone in this?  ‘Fess up, friends!

* I really couldn’t think of any good images to put with this particular post…..so just think about hay bales, ok?