Friday, January 04, 2008

Even A Vacuum Can Be A Teacher

Lessons come from the most unusual places! Recently, I discovered that my vacuum cleaner was broken. A couple of small pieces had broken off and left my fancy, hi-tech machine totally useless.

I took the machine to the vacuum cleaner hospital to have it repaired. I was informed that the repairs would be done for free, under warranty. A nice surprise indeed! As the mechanic inspected my vacuum he told me that I had another problem he should fix. It seems that my hair gets sucked up into the roller/beater brush and winds around the bearings at each end and messes up the bearings. Who would have guessed. I got a long lecture on how important it is for me to take this entire assembly apart every 6 months and clean out the hair! Seems I've been neglectful of my vacuum. I had to pay for the repair, and felt properly 'schooled' on proper vacuum maintenance for the future.

In a related tale, my hi-tech fridge recently started flashing me a message each time I open the door. "Vacuum Condenser" it keeps saying. Another problem to solve. I sometimes get weary of these little annoying problems! I finally looked in the owner's manual today to see if they could shed more light on this part, the "Vacuum Condenser" and direct me to an authorized service center. The book had no troubleshooting information, but there was a section on routine maintenance. In that section they presented step by step instructions on how to remove the front grill from the refrigerator and vacuum the condenser! I had misinterpreted the message. I was taking vacuum as a noun and they intended it as verb! I laughed at my error.

Once I got the vacuum cleaner home from the shop, I followed the instructions and vacuumed under the fridge all around the condenser. The light dutifully went off. I thought it was going to be an expensive pain in the backside, and it took all of 5 minutes to handle it!

I got two valuable lessons from my "vacuum" issues. The first, was a reminder to make sure I understand the message I am receiving! Faulty interpretation could lead to an ineffective, unnecessary and costly solution!

The second, was the importance of properly maintaining things in our care. Whether it's our body, our spirit, our cars or other possessions... wise use involves proper maintenance. I could have avoided both of these problems if I had simply done what was necessary to keep things up properly. Nothing functions as it should without proper care. Whether from ignorance or choice it does not matter. If we neglect things they malfunction and don't perform as we need them to. It's as simple as that.

I'm thankful today for the 'vacuum' lessons. Even a vacuum can be a teacher!

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