Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tag Tuesday - Black and Orange; And a Story: HOLDING THE BAG

Today's tag requires the color combo of Black and Orange without it being about Halloween or Autumn.

(click for details)

For details on how I made this, or to join in on the challenge, please go to 

Holding The Bag
24th in the Tuesday Story Series

I was living on the Isle of Palms, one of the sea islands around Charleston, when my future husband moved into the old house next door. My roommate and I often had him over for dinner and he was always very good company. Right before he became our neighbor, there were three of us living in the upstairs of an old beach house, but as I related in another story, we lost our third roommate and with her also went a couple of items we needed to replace. She had the only vacuum cleaner between us, which was rather funny considering she did no housecleaning (see A Questionable Roommate) and after she left, we were reduced to cleaning the floors with a broom. When you are living in a sandy environment, it would sometimes feel that you never really got things clean at all!

We were bemoaning this fact one evening when John was visiting and he told us that we were welcome to use his vacuum cleaner. We were elated and arranged to get it the next day after he had returned from work.

John is a highly intelligent man who has a background in civil and environmental engineering and through the years he has had several papers published and as been asked to lead lectures at a national and state level. At that time, all we knew was that he was a smart and nice guy. And hey, he even knew how to clean a house - we didn't know too many men who owned a vacuum cleaner!

So, the next day, he brought it over and told us we could bring it back when we were through. Now, it may sound silly but we were excited to finally get all of the gritty sand off of the floors and rugs. My roommate used it first in her room, and I did some other chores. I finished before she did and waited for my turn with the machine so that I could clean my room. 

I could hear the vacuum cleaner running, and after a while it occurred to me that she was much slower than I expected. Finally, she came out with it and passed it to me. As I turned I noticed a somewhat perplexed look on her face, but I didn't comment.

I clicked the "on" switch, the little motor started up and I began to pass the nozzle over the floor. As I walked behind the hose, I could feel grains of sand under my bare feet. So I turned and redid the area, thinking I had skipped a portion of it. No, again there were still grains of sand, albeit not as many. Anyway, that's the way it was around the entire room- having to redo areas several times before it felt clean. After putting in more time than we had expected with the vacuuming, we both agreed that the problem was that it need a new bag, so we took it back to John's house. The ensuing conversation went something like this:

"Hey, thanks for the loan of the vacuum cleaner."

"You're welcome! I hope it helped."

"Well, we think it needs a new bag. There didn't seem to be much suction."

"uhhh, bag?"

"Yes, you know, the bag where the dirt goes - it needs changing."

Silence. Bemused look on John's face. Puzzled looks on our faces.

"Didn't you know you needed to change the bag?" I finally asked in surprise. 

"Well, no, not really....."

"But where did you think the dirt went??" I blurted out.

He shrugged, looking embarrassed and then we all burst out laughing. My sweet, bright, highly intelligent future husband had been given the cleaner by his mom when he had moved out of his parent's home at the beginning of Grad School. He had used the vacuum cleaner in the several years since then and not once changed the bag or knew he had to! After we had calmed down from laughter, we opened up the cleaner, and pulled out the bag - jammed to the brim and hard as a brick. He bought new bags the next day, but the poor motor had been strained and never worked very well.

My husband has had to put up with me retelling this story down through the years, and his good natured smile is a reminder that it's a blessing not to take yourself too seriously!



  1. Hahahahahaha, thanks for my morning laugh! Knowing John, that's hilarious. Love the tag and love you!

  2. What a story, Rebecca! I can only imagine what all that grit did to the motor! Your orange and black tag is a beautiful example for the challenge.

  3. HA! Funny story, Rebecca!
    I hope all is well with you and John in SC. Love, Andrea
    PS Love the background very much on your tag :)


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