Play Ball!

Our vacuum started smelling. With 4 dogs and 4 kids in the house it's not all that surprising. Nevertheless, it's discouraging to say the least when the house smells worse than wet dog after I've just spent the last 20 minutes sweeping up the remains of the family. (Okay, that didn't sound good.) Heaven forbid the place actually be clean and odor free at the same time.

We've learned that sweeping a 20 year old carpet that is trod upon by a family of 6 and their pets will, indeed, make your vacuum smell. It's the bits of carpet that come up every time you sweep. They get lodged in the great sucking machine somewhere, never to be found. And then every time you turn on the vacuum the smell eminates like a bad air freshner. But that was in the old dwelling. This house, carpet included, is only 2 years old.

I try to ignore things like this. Yeh, it's frustrating but what choice do I have? I keep thinking that it'll go away if I pretend it doesn't exist. That smell? What smell? Are you sure you smell something? Maybe you stepped in something before you came in. I'll go check the baby's diaper.

My hubbs, on the other hand, refused to ignore this smell because this was my brand new Dyson. We're talking just-got-it kind of brand new. So he started with the obvious. He dumped out the canister containing the family's dirt and checked the hoses for something dead. Nothing. He then proceeded to completely dismantle it. I was right there, making sure he didn't do something to my new toy that shouldn't be done, so I got roped in. As he was calling Dyson customer service to see how to clean the filters, I was in charge of cleaning every square centimeter of every part. After the filters dried overnight on the windowsill, he reassembled it just the way it came. (He's usually pretty good that way, but one can't take chances.) The smell is gone! What a hero. I was frustrated, however, that it smelled in the first place. A new vac and a new carpet should not smell that quickly. If that's what I had to look forward to with my new toy, I was very disillusioned.

But here's where it gets interesting. As the filters were drying the kids came home from school and were all "what are those things?" And as we were explaining why we had to take the vacuum apart, we got the real story.

We'd left the kids alone one night to go out on the town. By this I mean we met an out of town friend for a quick dinner as he was passing through. (My parents live just across the road, and my sister is just up the road. We totally trust the daughter to babysit, and she knows what to do in an emergency. But we don't do this very often, either.) As they were alone and unattended in the house, they got into a rousing game of Diaper Ball. (When the baby is changed, you roll the diaper into a ball, close it off with the velcro tabs, and gently toss it at someone. Whoever gets tagged is in charge of throwing it away. Hey, after 12 years of changing diapers every single day you've gotta make things interesting.) Only, with kids, things get out of hand quickly. They failed to follow the rules. It quickly became an enthusiastic game of Dodge Ball, and diapers just aren't designed to take that kind of abuse. As you can guess, it exploded. My daughter wanted to keep her babysitting privileges (and hide the evidence) so she swept up the urine filled gel balls with the new Dyson.

Yep, that'd account for the smell.


Melissa said...

Oy, your poor Dyson!! I'm glad to know you got the smell out for future reference. I love my Dyson and would never have a different vacuum, now that I know I can clean it hopefully I should never have to!!

KIDZMAMA said...


But she gets the credit for bringing out the Dyson.

As you can imagine we have a similar game for the same reason. The only one who doesn't play the tossing game is our seven year old. He just stands there and lets the diaper plop in front of his feet.

Karen said...

Kidzmama - I'm so glad I'm not the only freak that plays with diapers. We do have rules. Dirty ones don't get played with, only wet ones. And it gets tossed GENTLY.

Anonymous said...

We don't play 'Diaper Ball' and we haven't had a babysitter, and I still can't figure out why my Dyson smells! I have even gone so far as to replace the filter. Very frustrating. I think I am going to have to break out the tools.

(Although, in all reality, I would be willing to bet anyone $5 that my husband ran the vacuum over a still-wet patch of spit-up from the baby.)

Karen said...

Driving - I can testify that running over still-wet puke smells way worse than leftover diaper ball. I've tried that. It was not my finest hour.

Cecily R said...

Ohhhhhhh Jon would FREAK! He is a great dad and a great husband, but bodily fluids make him want to run for the hills. He practically throws Evie at me if she makes the spit up sound (you know what I'm talking about).

If he had been taking that thing apart for who knows how long and THEN found out that it had vacuumed up peepee sludge he would have a heart attack.

Hope the vacuum survived...

Colleen said...

that was freakin' hilarious! I think I might just chuck a diaper at my husband and see what he does.

Burgh Baby's Mom said...

Um, yeah, that will definately leave a mark. A stinky one.

You'll have to keep me updated on this whole Dyson thing. We just bought a new vacuum but I couldn't convince myself to cough up that much money. So when my cheap piece of junk surrenders in a few months, I'll be looking for advice from people who have actually lived with animals before making the next purchase.

Deb in OPKS said...

I can't believe my husband hasn't dreamed up that game yet! I thought it was so funny I had to share it with him. That might have been a mistake. I can just see my eldest if we tried the game. We can hardly get her to change her sister's diaper as it is. Glad to hear you have some rules.

I'm getting a little jealous, though. A new washing machine and a Dyson!

Rachel said...


That would do it!

Spammon said...

This is definately one of those success stories that you should send into Dyson. Ya know, tell them how your vacuum inhaled a whole diaper, poop and all, and still never lost suction.

Karen said...

Cecily - I have this visual image of Evie making noise and Jon tossing her around like a hot potato until he gets to where you are. It's cracking me up.

Deb - don't hate me. I invested in the Dyson because of allergies to dogs. I figured the dogs werent' going anywhere so I'd better get the best vac I could find.

Spammon - there was no poop involved. (That we know of.) And I'm not sure I want Dyson to know the abuse we put his equipment through.

BBM - This actually happened this spring, so I've had my grand new toy for a while. It's performing to my standards and that's saying a lot. We upgraded from a Hoover Wind Tunnel and although I love that (and still use it on the upper floor) I did get frustrated when it lost suction. True to it's word, the Dyson does not. I'll vac dog hair, pine needles, or sand all day and it just keeps sucking. Even with a full canister! Here's a tip: get a 20% off coupon from Bed Bath & Beyond and purchase there. If you can ever catch this on sale (this time of year is good) and combine with 20% off it's about as cheap as you'll ever get. And another tip: we researched extensively and every single model has the exact same suction. The only difference in the pet model and the regular model are the attachments. Quite frankly this mattered not at all to me and I went with the base model. It still has onboard attachments, just shaped differently.

Wonderful World of Weiners said...

I hate trying to hude the evidence and then getting caught by urine soaked gel balls!

Btw, just wanted to be clear that I NEVER said my first PRIZE contest would be the DAY Shmoops comes home. He's home for 2 weeks so you just never know.

(and you thougth you were som smart threatening to ignore Wiener World for 4 days and then swooping back in for the contes!)

As if I'd make it THAT easy!!!


Hallie :-)

Andrea said...

Yep that would be a horrible smell!! Oh my I bet it was a project, I bet the Dyson people didn't test that vacuum with diapers. Ha!! LOL!

Madame Queen said...

That is hilarious! I'm still quite surprised that they fessed up.

That would have made me sooo nervous to take the Dyson apart. I probably would have had to leave the room so I wouldn't keep making "suggestions" about what to do next.

Kellan said...

Yep - that would do it and may I say ... that is not way to treat a DYSON! Hope you had a good talk with the kiddos - have a good weekend, Karen.

suburbancorrespondent said...

I was wondering....I mean, we've never had the smelly vacuum problem, even with 6 kids. I guess I should be glad that my kids refuse to touch a used diaper.