Well, it looks like we won't be doing our civic duty after all. Just before I opened the box containing the new vacuum cleaner we bought last night, Jeremy and I decided to give the old vacuum one last look to see if we could fix it. We'd already followed all the manual's instructions to clear blockages, clean filters, check possible problem areas, etc., and nothing had worked.
What we learned is, sometimes you have to break the manual's rules to diagnose and fix a problem.
Upon further investigation, we figured out that there was indeed a blockage somewhere in the hose that was causing the vacuum to lose suction. But the part of the hose that we suspected was clogged was, in another brilliant feat of engineering, un-take-apart-able.
So of course, Jeremy got out the hammer and screwdriver and started whacking away at the portion of plastic that was in our way. We had nothing to lose, really - the vacuum was broken already, so if he broke it in the process of fixing it...well, it seemed to make sense at the time.
He finally wrenched out the part of the hose we needed to access and got some long dowels to stick through it and push out the blockage. I had the scary and suspenseful job of waiting at the end of the hose to see what would come out. And in a burst of dust, here's what it was:
That's a collection of accumulated vacuum trappings and one of Miriam's blocks. There was even more stuff in the hose that came out after this. Yuck! For some reason, I found this to be really disgusting, if not for what it was, then for what it could have been. I'm not even going to mention the possibilities. I'm sure your imagination can take care of that.
Remember how I told you that this vacuum had never been quite the same since Jeremy used it unsupervised? Well, I wonder how this block got in there?
We almost broke the vacuum again trying to put it back together, but eventually I turned it on and it works as well as it ever did. And to my surprise, I felt happy to have it back. I'm sure I'll feel even happier when I return the new vacuum we bought to Costco and get our money back. Talk about an economic stimulus! To our savings account, that is.