I sold my Kirby Sentria this weekend. It cost me $1,200 in 2005, and I sold it for $100.That’s right, $100. And woe to the sucker who paid $100 for it.
Remember that episode of The Brady Bunch where they find the ancient tiki and it brings them bad luck? The Kirby is my ancient tiki. Tarantulas never crawled on my bed because of it, but they might as well have.
What is a Kirby, you ask? Well, it’s a WHOLE HOUSE CLEANING SYSTEM.
Oh, you thought it was a vacuum? It is, but it is SO MUCH MORE.
The Kirby comes with a myriad of attachments that do everything from blow up balloons to massage your scalp. I am not making that up. The woman who sold me the Whole House Cleaning System actually showed me them. And because she also sold her soul to the devil in exchange for supernatural powers of persuasion, I bought them. For $1,200.
How many balloon inflations and scalp massages have I performed with my Kirby since 2005? Why, zero, of course.
Two things you should know about a Kirby:
1) It weighs about 500 pounds. The soulless Kirby salesperson will make this sound like a selling point, because Kirbys are made of solid metal, “like real tools. Plastic is for toys.” As a matter of fact, plastic is also for 21st century vacuum cleaners and for people who don’t like to lift 500-pound machines.
2) While a Kirby does offer many exciting and useless attachments like balloon inflaters, if you want to actually inflate a balloon, or even use a tool for something legitimate like sucking a spider off your ceiling, you must DISMANTLE your Kirby and reconfigure it. This will not be a problem if you majored in mechanical engineering. I did not, which means that by the time I reconfigured the Kirby and got the extension hose in place, the spider would have disappeared, most likely to resurface directly above my bed as I tried to fall asleep.
The Kirby does come with a hefty instruction manual and a helpful DVD. I have watched the DVD three times, making it my third most-watched movie after Enchanted April and The Princess Bride. I know all the lines by heart. I still cannot properly configure the carpet-shampooing attachment.
Some of you may be wondering what the heck kind of vacuum requires an instructional DVD. I wondered that too, once the Jedi mind trick cleared and I realized that I had paid $1,200 for a vacuum. I mean Whole House Cleaning System.
I began to fantasize about creative, Kirby-themed retributions to spring on that sleazy saleswoman, should she ever pop in to see how the Kirby and I were getting along. She never did, because she was off enjoying the cruise she earned by putting the whammy on me. (Had I known that was her goal, I would have just paid for the cruise and still spent less than I did on the Kirby.) No, I had to settle for imagining her strangled in the generous 32-foot power cord, or bludgeoned with the handy extender wand. And then there’s the crevice tool… exactly.
If I sound a little bitter, I am. I have lived with that godforsaken behemoth of a vacuum for seven years. I kept it around as self-punishment, to remind myself not to be so stupid. Every time I vacuumed, which wasn’t very often because the Kirby is a bitch to maneuver, I mentally berated myself for being a sucker. “Dumbass!” I’d mutter to myself while cleaning house. “Why did you open the door for that Kirby woman? Who makes payments on a vacuum? Stupid!”
Oh yes, I made payments on a vacuum. I, a woman of very humble means, financed the Kirby. Each payment was a reminder of my exceptional decision-making skills. It occurred to me as I wrote those checks that I could have paid for a year of maid service for $1,200, and the maid would have brought her own damn vacuum.
Is this getting depressing? Sorry. I am getting to the happy part. But not yet.
You could say my life has been in a downward spiral since I got the Kirby. I was laid off three times in three years, lost just about everything I own and had to sell our family home. I packed up my daughter, my dogs and my cursed vacuum and moved to a dumpy apartment in Santa Ana.
Boy, has it sucked. No, I am not going to make the vacuum/ suck joke. I just mean my life has pretty much sucked these last few years.
But today, I finally put it all together: the Brady Bunch episode, the Whole House Cleaning System, the curse… and I realized, HEY! I am just like Peter Brady! If I unload the cursed tiki, everything will turn around!
We are going to change pop-culture metaphors now. Remember Dumbo and the magic feather? He believed he could fly because he had the magic feather. Of course it wasn’t the feather–Dumbo was a sucker, too–it was his belief that gave him the power to fly.
Well, the Kirby is the opposite of a magic feather. It is a magic brick. Magic cement shoes, if you will. I’m pretty sure that as long as it’s been parked under my stairs, it’s been weighing me down. That’s why I’ve been having all this lousy luck.
Ladies and gentlemen, my luck is about to change. The Kirby is gone. To be on the safe side, I probably should have journeyed to Mordor and cast the Whole House Cleaning System into a volcanic lake of fire, but who has time for that? I just sold it on Craigslist to some unsuspecting vacuum re-seller from Sylmar.
Bottom line: I have thrown off the chains of my overpriced vacuum. No longer will I call myself a gullible, poor-decision-making dumbass, but a strong, victorious, Kirby-free woman!
This is the voice of my empowerment:
Am I capable of getting my finances under control and saving money? Heck yes! I sold the Kirby, didn’t I?
Will I finally get in shape and lose these extra fifty pounds? Why not? I just lost 500 pounds of vacuum!
Will I meet the man of my dreams at last? Of course! I am so much more attractive without that dated vacuum and all its baggage!
See how it works? Anything is possible if I just believe.
Today is the first day of the rest of my Kirby-free life. Soon I will have a sleek, new, lightweight vacuum with tools on board, a lot more storage space under my stairs and a powerful mental placebo to change my reality.
That might even be worth $1,200.