Everything Old Is New Again

Posted December 20, 2012 by jimhigley

It’s crazy when you stop and think about the life span of some of the gadgets around the house.

Like ironing boards. I received mine when I was a senior in college. And it still works fine. Sure, it creaks when I pull out the legs. But let’s be honest – my own legs do the same.

Then there’s my bicycle hand pump. You know – the thing you use to pump up the kids’ balls. I still have the same one that I bought when my oldest (who is now 23) was a toddler. True, I’ve gone through a couple hundred needles. But the pump is still good.

How about staplers? I took an extra one from my dad’s office when I went away to college. In 1978. The thing’s a tank. Install four wheels and an engine and I’m sure you could drive it to Tuscaloosa.

Then there’s my washing machine and dryer. Considering the daily wear and tear they get, their resilience astounds me.

Which brings me to my vacuum cleaner. Reagan was in his final year of office when my loyal electric sweeper came into my life. It’s seen the birth of three children, outlived two dogs, has sat in the front closet of four homes, has cleaned up mountains of dog hair, backyard dirt, spilled jars of glitter, a number of socks and more small plastic kiddie toys than I can count.

And all it has asked from me is to have its inner bag changed every month or so.

Truthfully, I don’t think much about it. And I don’t complain that it gets clogged a lot. And that the on-off switch is a little finicky. And I don’t mind that, when I use it, things on the “right” side don’t really get sucked up. It’s okay. With a few extra strokes I can get an acceptable outcome. And I’ve learned to never ask the kids to vacuum anything other than the main floor. You see, Old Faithful is apparently a little too heavy to carry up or down stairs.

But I don’t complain.

So, when the nice folks at Oreck recently surprised me with a Magnesium Oreck RS – I was certainly happy. But then again, we’re talking vacuum cleaners here, right? Candidly, my 16-year-old son was more excited than I was when he saw the two big boxes sitting in our hallway when he got home from school the other day.

“Christmas?” he questioned me with a look that suggested he had just stumbled into Santa’s workshop.

“Nope, sorry,” I explained to him. “It’s a vacuum cleaner.”

And before he could get his school backpack off of his shoulders, he had the larger of the two boxes open and – while I was picking up the wrapping paper – he had things clicked and snapped and ready to roll.

“Is this a real vacuum cleaner?” he asked as he was holding it in the air. “It’s so light!”

My son has obviously led a sheltered life having grown-up with a loyal – yet arguably aged – vacuum cleaner.

“Yup!” I laughed. “Welcome to the 21st century!”

And then we had one of those unexpected bonding moments that I cherish as a dad. Sometimes, those moments are in the car. Or while throwing a ball. We’ve had them on fishing trips or when I was holding a cold wash cloth on his forehead when he’s sick. But this moment came while I gave my son a crash course in vacuuming 2.0.

His favorite part of the Magnesium was its nifty swivel-steering handle. He thought he was driving a snazzy sports car.

My favorite part was realizing that we no longer had to slide and move nearly every piece of furniture. The Magnesium’s size and width fits perfectly under and around nearly every piece of furniture in my house.

“What are these buttons for?” my son asked as he pointed to the words on the handle that read “Low” and “High.”

Well, perhaps explaining the intricacies of vacuum power speed – and its implications on different floor types – is a little beyond the interest level of a teen. I, however, thought that feature was brilliant.

“So what’s in the second box?” he asked after our few minutes of fun netted me a clean first floor.

“That, my trusted helper, is a bonus gift for you,” I told him.


“It’s a handheld vacuum cleaner – it comes with every Magnesium.”


“Yeah, cool,” I said. “Why don’t you try it out on that filthy backseat of your car?”

Father-son bonding was never so clean.

This was a fun project! My thanks to the friendly folks at Oreck for not only my compensation and my terrific new Magnesium RS vacuum cleaner – but for also their kindness in providing me a second machine to share with a deserving charity!