Filling a Vacuum

I like to vacuum.

Not every day; in fact not every week. But every two weeks I feel the need to clean our carpets.

Having two Persian cats in the house makes this mandatory. And, Dyson, our purple vacuum cleaner is a pretty heavy machine to push around so I get that this honor.

In my moments of vacuuming, there is something strangely calming in thinking about the many years of memories caught in the places and space I whirl past. The girl’s rooms, the stairs, the family room around the kitchen table all have more than orange and black fur embedded. Along with the dust bunnies and a little litter, there are the sounds and squeaks of our daughters when they were younger. I can hear their voices over the whirr of the motor. Although the carpet has been changed due to extra curricular activity by our feline family, there are still deeply embedded memories as I walk and wander from room to room.

Like using a time machine, it’s as if I am bringing back moments of joy and laughter as I try and pick up the fur and granola that finds its way into nooks and corners of the spaces. Sucking up sounds of sweet memories brings a smile to my face. I sense my daughter’s energy and love as I clean up; their sweetness still circulating throughout and around the walls and halls of our home. I’m flooded with feelings about the time we lip synced music and videotaped the performance, the hundreds of garlic rosemary roasted chicken extravaganzas that perfumed the house with savory smells and the bumps and bruises of each day. I remember playing games with the girls like animal basketball where we toss stuffed animals into a trash can. I can almost hear their voices as I asked yet another silly question at dinner so I'd always remember who they would want to have dinner with and as they revealed their special secret super powers.  Moments like these were pulled up from memory and as I keep filling my vacuum.

We have lived in this home for 21 years and I realized last week that I have resided here longer than any other place in my lifetime. I lived for 18 years in my parent’s home and a few years here and there at college and graduate school and apartments. We had another home but lived in it for less than 10 years. This home space has a richness of memories that for me revolve around love and my feelings of fortune to have a loving family. I am so blessed and a by product of my happiness are clean carpets.


It’s an ordinary chore many people do every day without thinking about it. I don’t truly dwell on housework although my wife and daughters will tease me on occasion. A few weeks ago we were on vacation visiting our older daughter in Hawaii where she lives and teaches. We were on the north shore at on a magnificent day at Waimea beach. I leaned over and whispered to my family how happy I was to be together at that moment - but I missed Dyson. Vacuum humor…my family understands.

I like walking through the house pushing the purple Dyson in and out of feelings that have piled up in the pile. It somehow refreshes me and helps me preserve seconds that have passed that still linger in the rooms. As I clean, I feel cleansed realizing that I don’t have to think as I do this- I just suck up the moments.

I like to vacuum.

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