woman with caulk gunI’m not handy.  Handsy?  Yes.  Handy with things around the house?  No.  So whenever I purchase something that says “assembly is required” that translates in my mind to “liquor and cursing is in your future.”  Actually, almost everything translates to that prediction.  Don’t judge.

I have a friend who just got a new place and needed help setting it up and getting settled in.  Can you believe he shot down my suggestion to do the entire apartment in a dog theme?  Some people just don’t have good taste.

So in getting him set up, a group of friends got together and bought him a new vacuum.  Not only did he need the vacuum for standard upkeep in his apartment, he also needed it to clean up the crumbs I regularly leave behind at his place.

I’m like the Hansel and Gretel of South City, only the crumbs I leave behind don’t serve as a road map to find my way back, but rather, a road map to warn people of where I’ve been.

presentRecently, The Nanny (not her real name), picked me up and we headed to our friend’s place to give him the gift of suction.

We arrived and he was excited about the gift, although he was not so excited to see I was in Pajama Jeans…again.

We headed inside and figured it wouldn’t take us long to put the vacuum together.  After all, we were 3 somewhat intelligent people and a brain trust like that wouldn’t take long to decipher some instructions.

We got out the pieces, and The Nanny started reading the instruction manual. Nerd alert!

I looked for the pictures in the manual, noticed they weren’t colored in, and immediately began coloring in the drawings with a pen.  What’s a world without color?

The Nanny worked diligently putting the machine together, while I looked diligently for different colored pens to complete my masterpiece.  My friend really needed to spice up his life with more than just black pens.

I colored away, unaware that my friends were doing all the assembly work.  I looked up and realized I wasn’t being overly helpful, aside from adding some pizazz to an otherwise boring manual.

I decided to do my part to assist in the construction.  I grabbed one of the hoses and found another hose that looked like it fit with the other hose.  I pushed them together and heard a nice “click.”

success failureSuccess!  I was helpful! The two hoses connected perfectly and were connected by a plastic piece that was about 6 inches wide, and had a delightfully colorful sticker wrapped around it.

Finally, the manufacturer realized color is the spice of life…yeah, it’s not variety.

We turned on the vacuum and clapped with joy, as we realized we successfully put together the machine without any problems.

I was also happy the manual was now appropriately colored, with a few inappropriate drawings that my friend would find later when he had a question about the machine.

I’m such a good friend like that.

We discovered the attachment worked well, thanks to the wonderful connection of the hoses.  However, we wanted to see how it worked as a vacuum, so we decided to disconnect the hoses and see how that baby performed on the floor.

I had high expectations of floor performance, as just a few days prior to that, I witnessed some serious strippers working the floor.  Strangely enough, those same strippers probably would have benefited from a vacuum such as this one…and a strong round of antibiotics.

I offered to take apart the hoses, as I was the genius who figured out they went together.  I grabbed them and tried to pull them apart.  They didn’t budge…at all.

Not even a little.  I used all my strength, which was a lot, as I have a personal trainer and have been working out.  Occasionally I work out, when I can’t think of an excuse not to go to the gym.  Despite my massive arm strength, I was unable to get the hoses apart.

My friend said he would try, and I didn’t want to disappoint him, but I knew if my mammoth biceps couldn’t get the hoses apart, there was no hope for him.  I didn’t want to burst his bubble, so I let him try.

He too was unsuccessful in getting the hoses apart.  Duh.  Had he bothered to look at my upper arms?  Obviously not.

The Nanny said she would give it a try.  Cha.  As if she was such a miracle worker.  But since I’m such an amazingly supportive friend, I told her to give it a try.  Big surprise:  she couldn’t get them apart either.

vacuumBecause I’m super resourceful (and I didn’t want to leave the comfy chair I was sitting in), I decided to call a friend of ours who recently purchased this vacuum.

I got her on the phone and asked if she had any problem getting the hoses apart. She said she hadn’t tried the attachment pieces yet, so she wasn’t sure.  Obviously she didn’t take as much pride in cleaning her furniture as we did.

After hanging up with her, and making a mental note not to sit on her couch the next time I went over there, I decided to grab the (now) colorful instruction manual, and call the help hot line.  I wanted to get to the bottom of this immediately, and I was ready to give the agent a piece of my mind.

If I couldn’t get the hoses apart, what hope was there for the regular population?

instructionsShe answered and I cut to the chase immediately.  I explained that we couldn’t get the hoses apart, but we knew they were supposed to go together.

By now, we read the manual and reaffirmed my genius idea to connect the pieces was correct.

“Is there a sticker over the connecting piece of the hose?” the woman asked, in a cheerful voice.

Of course there was.  It was the only component of the vacuum that was colorful and bright.  It really made the machine pop.  I replied and told her the sticker was present, and that we didn’t remove any instruction stickers during the assembly.

After all, we followed the rule book.

She then told me to remove the sticker on the connector part.  I wasn’t sure why this chick was so consumed with that stupid sticker, but I did what she suggested.

As I pulled the sticker away, I noticed something…something important.

There was a button hidden under the sticker.  Interesting.

I asked the woman for further direction, and she instructed me to push the button.  When I did, the hoses disconnected immediately.  Well, who knew?! Apparently she did. I wasn’t sure if I should laugh or cry, so I did the first thing that came to my mind; cussed.

After dropping a few f-bombs, I thanked the woman for her suggestion.  Before hanging up, I asked her how many times a day she received a call with this same issue.

She laughed and said that I really didn’t want to know the answer to that question. I  couldn’t figure out if she was suggesting it was a large number or a small one.  I decided the former was the case.

press hereWe put the rest of the vacuum together and took it for a test drive around the room.  It worked beautifully, and my friend was happy with his gift.  I stood back and admired my handiwork.  I was happy, not just because I did a nice thing for a friend, or because the vacuum seemed to be a great product.

I was happy because I knew my upper arm strength was no longer in question.