"I have one, too! It's great," she said. "But get the Lift-Away model - it turns it into a canister vacuum."
Well, that settled it. I knew which model to get and everything. I marched myself over to Target, confident for once that I could accomplish an appliance purchase with little effort. No agonizing for 2 years, like we did with the dishwasher. No multiple marriage-wrecking visits to Best Buy, the way we did when looking for stoves. Nope - I was just going to walk right into that store, select a box that had "Shark Navigator LiftAway" printed on it, and sashay up to the cash register with my Red Card in hand.
Folks, there are a LOT of Shark Navigator LiftAway models, all with lots of different parts. There was the professional model, and there was the LX model, and I don't know what all. I stood in front of that vacuum cleaner display for almost an hour, messing with the various displays and staring at the boxes, while Rachel and Susie continually circled back to me and asked, "Can we go yet?"
"No!" I told them. "I can figure this out. I just need a little more time, that's all." And the girls would head back to the stuffed animal display, or the Valentines Day candy aisle, or wherever children spend their time when they are trapped in Target by a parent's chronic indecisiveness.
Yeah, I did leave empty-handed. I couldn't HANDLE the choice.
As luck would have it, a few days later in Costco, I noticed a Shark Navigator LiftAway displayed on an end cap. It was 20% off. It looked okay. Most importantly, there were no other models to compare it to. I put that box in my cart and strolled away, trying to look as if I were a normal adult who could make everyday decisions. All the way through the store (and it is a BIG store), I agonized over whether I should buy that vacuum cleaner. Was it lightweight enough? Would I lose all those attachments? Was it too much money? Was there a better model somewhere else?
I managed to pay for it by telling myself Costco is great at handling returns. And, with Rachel due to babysit a neighborhood preschooler in our home the next day, I had no choice when I got home but to unbox my purchase and actually, you know, use it on the playroom carpet. The vacuum worked great, once we figured out all the buttons. I even tried out the special speed brush attachment to clean under the end tables. I figured I might as well do that right away, before I lost it. I'm nobody's fool.
So, yeah, decision accomplished. I'm sure my neighbor is happy that I'm no longer borrowing her vacuum cleaner. And, with any luck, this thing will last until I am too senile to care whether the carpet is clean or not. That's my only hope, because Lord knows I don't have it in me to keep making this sort of wrenching decision year in and year out.
You know, it's a good thing I had my kids when I was younger and able to make decisions more efficiently. Otherwise, they might have had to go without names for years, while Larry and I agonized over which ones to give them. Not that I don't tend to call them by the wrong names now, anyway, but still...
[Vacuum cleaner image: Vacuum Cleaner HQ]