The REALLY important stuff

We’ve all been asked in Myspace surveys (YES, I said Myspace), “What five things could you not live without?”

Everyone generally lists kids, spouses, pets, computers, and cell phones. Men will often add video game consoles to their list.

I’m certain I’ve answered that way in the past. But today I’m aware of the things that REALLY matter. Aside from people and pets, the three things I’ve come to truly value are:

1. My Dyson vacuum

My Dyson. My precious.

I purchased this little gem in 2004 after my son was born. Dina is a fabulous dog, but sheds like no one’s business. I’d read how great it was for picking up animal hair (it is the Dyson ANIMAL, after all) and I had to have it. I was convinced my current vacuum wasn’t picking up any dirt.

My then husband didn’t get it, my parents thought I was nuts. But I bought it. And I’ve NEVER regretted it.

Just for kicks, I vacuumed my whole house with my old vacuum, and then with the Dyson. I was disgusted by what it picked up that the less than 2-year-old vacuum didn’t pick up.

Now that I live in a house with dark brown Berber carpeting, dark wood flooring, two light-haired dogs, an 8-year-old boy, and my own blond self, I’m using the Dyson at least every other day and it’s still working like a champ.

There will be great sadness when it passes. But there will be no question as to what replaces it.

~$480 well spent

2. My Hoover Steam Vac

I remember my dad saying, “Why do you need that thing?” Why? Because I wanted my carpets to be clean. Again, my then husband didn’t get it. He also didn’t care that much.

Over the years (purchased circa 2000) it has cleaned the carpets in three apartments and two houses. It has done a damn-fine job, too.

But this past week it was a SUPERSTAR! (Picture spirit fingers here)

When a pipe broke in the shower wall, water streamed into JJ’s room to the point the floor was squishy. Berber carpet ….squishy. When the mess was discovered, I was just stunned and took a minute just standing there not sure what to do.

Then I got out the steam vac and started sucking up the water. I filled the reservoir almost four times, and everything was still wet. I’m so glad I had it. Without it, I would have had to call cleaning companies and hope they could come out sometime later that day. As it is, I’m meeting with an insurance inspector Monday to get an estimate on the damage to the shower tile, drywall, and flooring. If I hadn’t been able to get that water out of the carpet quickly, I know the damage — including mold — would be worse.

~$220 well spent

3. My home warranty

• Week 1 in the new house: A/C dies. It’s a 25-year-old A/C and it’s 111 degrees outside for a solid week. Motor burned out. Warranty replaced it.

Cost: $60 service call.

• Week 5: Broken pipe in shower wall. Plumber came out on a Sunday and fixed it. He also looked at the leaky bathroom and kitchen faucets and recommended to warranty company that they be replaced. I picked the cash-out option so I could pick the faucets and not just get the cheap ones. So I’m getting $200 from the warranty company for the faucets (which cost $32 & $54) and get them installed ( estimated $70).

Cost: $60 service call. Considering the busted pipe, I came out ahead on that deal.

• Week 6: Ceiling fan brace breaks and the whole effing thing falls to the floor in my son’s room. I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried. I’ll pay $60 for the guy to come out and tell me it broke. I’ll take the cash-out option ($150 for ceiling fans with lights), head to Lowe’s to pick one out, and have it installed. While he’s here, he’ll look at the other ceiling fan where the light isn’t working and either fix it, or I’ll be getting a new fan there, too.

$370/year well spent. WELL SPENT.

So looking at the past few months … yeah, these are the things I will never again be without. Note that I’m also thankful for my homeowners insurance. Even though it has a $500 deductible (ouch), I know it will be more than that to fix all the water damage to both rooms.

And as much as I love my iPhone, the only thing it could do for me in these situations is dial my dad.

*rolling my eyes and moving forward*

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