Not too far back I had a sudden epiphany that I was tired of living one level above filth. Now, as a dog walker/pet sitter, I get to see how people live and believe me, our apartment is not even close to the dirtiest/messiest/most cluttered among them. However, having grown up with a mother who was a nurse and had her own...um...standards of cleanliness (read: sterile), and currently cohabitating space with an obsessive compulsive cleaner (read: vacuums at midnight so he will be able to sleep without dreaming of furballs under the sofa) I have had it drilled into my brain that my place is messy.
A few months ago I purchased a fabulous book about housekeeping. Not a "handy hints" book, or anything like that, but a book about why certain routines are important, how to build your own rhythm and schedule, and how often certain things should be done. Now, admittedly I have been quite lax since the whole business thing spun to near-out of control speeds, but I still like to do a few little chores every once in a while to feel like I'm contributing.
Over the weekend, I decided it was time to vacuum our mattress. This helps get rid of the dust mites, and I'm pretty sure I'm allergic to those dust mites, so I figured it was a good idea. We had purchased a ShopVac-type vacuum (a store-brand one) to clean the work vehicles, and I figured "what could do a better job than this? It has superior suction power." So I stripped the bed, and got all the attachments ready and plugged the thing in. When I pressed "power" it made this really weird grinding noise, then a "PUK" noise, and smoke started coming out. I turned it off, checked all the hose connections, then took the whole thing apart (hose, filters, etc) and put it back together again to make sure everything was attached properly. It was, so I decided to try again. I pressed "power", it whirred in a very high-pitched manner, then another "PUK", then I saw fire in there.
That's right. Fire. In my house. Not on the stove.
I was surprised by how calm I was. I turned off the machine, unplugged it, and waved the smoke around so the detector wouldn't go off. Then for some reason I took the top of the thing off, even though the part where the fire was was then in my hand. But I wanted to make sure the filter was not on fire in the canister. It wasn't. I put the top back on and sat on the bare mattress.
That Shop-Vac-type vacuum is going back. And our mattress is still not vacuumed.