December 29, 2008: Kirby Day

I have apparently adjusted already to having the house a lot warmer than I am used to because waking up this morning it was very, very cold.  Oreo and I were very snuggled trying to stay warm.  I have the house set to sixty-two degrees and the warm air vents in the bedroom closed off so as not to heat it unnecessarily.  Brrrr.  There are no extra blankets or anything on the bed because it is kept so warm when Liesl is here.  I had forgotten about that before I went to bed.  So now I am quite chilled.

I got up before nine to get to work.  I went down to the office and Oreo followed a few minutes later.  He made it down to his pillow but didn’t get a chance to lay down before he got his look of panic and suddenly had a big accident on the floor.  I hate when this happens because I never know if he just drank too much or if something is really wrong or what.  It might be nothing more than he was cold and hadn’t moved in a really long time and then didn’t have time to figure out that he needed to go outside.  So my first job was to clean that up which is very hard in the basement, I have learned, because of the poor lighting and the type of carpet that as have which doesn’t allow anything to sit on top at all.  Within seconds I was unable to even determine where it had happened!

So I decided that one of my first projects is to get a serious floor cleaner.  Dominica and I have been talking about it for two weeks now and I figured out this morning that Kohls has a sale on them going on right now.  I hope to be able to run over to Kohls today to see if they have one that will work well for us.  I prefer to shop at Kohls over Walmart if at all possible although it isn’t relatively rare that they have the types of things that we need.  This will actually be my first time setting foot into a Kohls if I actually make it out.

Work was incredibly slow today.  I was expecting there to be much more to do than there was.  It is good as it gives me a chance to do other things around the house that need my attention.  There is much that can only really be done when I am home alone so this week is my chance.

I set about re-enconding the first episode of LieslTV this morning in the hopes of getting a copy that will work correctly with the AppleTV.

Here is an interesting bit of news, Josh Silver from the UK has invented a new type of eyeglasses, designed for the third world (at this point,) that use water instead of glass for the lens.  Instead of going to an optomitrist the wearer can self-adjust the lens until everything is crystal clear and then “set” the lens at that point.  In the developing world there is very little, if any, availability of eye-doctors and the cost of seeing one (no pun intended) is prohibitive even if the cost of custom-ground lenses was not.  These spectacles are very inexpensive to mass produce and need to special training to use.  Very, very cool.

I managed to get the last of the Christmas pictures edited (in Picasa 3) and uploaded to Flickr this afternoon.  Not too many new ones, about a dozen.

I did pretty well at getting household chores done today.  Obviously the big task was just moving boxes and items around the house, up and down the stairs, mostly from Christmas stuff.  Liesl has a ton of stuff that has to be moved up to her nursery and stored in the closet plus there is a lot of stuff that just has to be readied to be placed into the attic the next time that I take a trip up there.  I did some basement cleaning getting boxes emptied and stuff put away.  Wires being the biggest obstacle down here.

I did the dishes, cooked me own food (I know, everyone thinks that I am forced to order in when I am home alone,) unpacked delivery boxes, sorted mail, cleaned the kitchen, unpacked stuff from dad’s house like our “new” Midnight Sun servering stuff that Dominica bought from Pfaltzgraff like a year or two ago but that went to dad’s and directly into storage.  So this is the first time that we have unpacked them.

I worked until five thirty.  I spent a bit of the afternoon on the phone with Andy.  It was the perfect day to talk to Andy since Dominica wasn’t here to be ignored while I was on the phone.  I put on my hands-free headset and walked around the house doing cleaning.

While I was on the phone with Andy I thought that I heard the doorbell ring so I went down to check the front door.  There was a woman asking if the Kirby demonstrator could do a free carpet shampooing with the Kirby to demonstrate the product.  I decided that it was awfully fortuitous that the Kirby demonstrator showed up just as I was about to get off of the phone to head out to Kohls to buy a carpet cleaner so I decided to take her up on the offer.  This was around six in the evening maybe just a little later.

She came in and we talked a little about the Kirby and the demonstration.  She called and set up the appointment and vacuumed the upstairs using our existing Eureka vacuum which I had just gotten out to do some vacuuming myself.  This really was good timing.  I spent a few minutes moving boxes around so that there would be room to clean.  Then she left around six thirty to go set up another appointment and I had some time to make sure that work was all set without me (they were) and to get the floor cleared up for the demonstration.

At seven, her husband, Kelly, came by with the Kirby vacuum system to demonstrate it for me.  We spent several hours first vacuuming and then shampooing the living room and dining room areas.  I have to admit, the system was incredibly impressive.  The vacuum portion of the display really pulled an amazing amount of dirt and grit out of our disasterous living room carpet (this was a vacuum demonstrator’s dream assignment – this carpet was a mess even after being vacuumed just half an hour earlier.)

There was a lot of moderately impressive stuff that I don’t really remember.  Lots of attachments, ergonomics, etc. that did not interest me very much.  There was an interesting demonstration on mattress cleaning that makes you think!  I, for one, will be vacuuming my mattress from now on, that is for sure.

Then the coup de grâce, the shampoo feature. This is what I was waiting to see.  I have always heard that the Kirby is a great vacuum but that was hardly going to sell me as we have two decent vacuum units already.  The attachments weren’t going to do it for me.  Today I am interested in a way to shampoo the carpets.  Our carpets are in desperate need of a good shampoo and I was about to go spend between $150 and $250 to get a halfway serviceable shampooer as it was.  If I was not impressed with the shampoo-ability of the system then it wasn’t even going to be a consideration as I was not about to spend crazy money twice in one day.  That and I gave up my only shot at the Kohls carpet cleaner sale to watch this demonstration.

The shampooing went really well.  I was really impressed with how well it dealt with our nasty, grimy, greasy carpets that were left to us by the previous occupants of our house.  The carpets were stained and disgusting.  We have become increasingly disgusted by them which is why I had decided that I had to get a carpet cleaner tonight.  It just couldn’t wait anymore.  I want Liesl to be able to play on the floor.  I want to be able to walk across the floor without making my socks all gross.  You know that it is bad when the carpet makes the bottoms of your socks more gross than walking around outside on the sidewalk does.

All in all the complete demonstration, following discussion, negotiation, agreement and wrapup took a total of six hours!  From the first doorbell ring a little after six until Kelly finally left at a quarter until one in the morning.  What a long day.  I can only imagine how tired he was as he does this all day.  We haggled for quite a while on the Kirby.  The “full” price (which I hope no one ever pays) is $2,495.  The price that I was going to get all discounts considered (we qualify for a lot of the stock discounts being a single income home, paying cash, etc.) was going to be $1,759.  Keep in mind that a Kirby has a lifetime guarantee so it is a home cleaning investment.  Ha ha.  Anyway, it is a serious cleaning device and competes with the best vacuums and shampooers and a good shampoo unit alone can hit $999.

In the end, after two hours of just discussing the price, I finally agreed to buy the Kirby at $1,215.  It is an incredible amount of money but I am figuring that $250 of that price is knocked right off by the fact that I was going to spend that much tonight anyway on a carpet cleaner that was only a fraction of the quality (long term and short term) and that I didn’t have to buy it until after Kelly had cleaned the entire main floor area and that I had seen that the stains had come out – the Kirby made our carpets look so much better.  And it has a lifetime warranty and is easy to store.  So I am planning on donating the Eureka vacuum (before the end of the year)  and maybe even the little hand-held shampooer that we have and reclaiming the amount of space that they were taking up as the Kirby is relatively small.

Was it a good decision?  I have no idea.  But I was impressed with the demonstration and I liked the sales guy.  I’ve read mixed reactions to the Kirby vacuum cleaners but got a lower price than what I have found people online saying that they have received.  There are tons of consumer complaints about the Kirby but all of them seem to be against devious shops doing the selling – which we will see if that affects us in this case.  The Kirby company definitely does nothing to protect its customers from bad distributors and since Kirby doesn’t deal with customers directly the distributors, for better or for worse, are the face and voice of the Kirby company.  So if one rips you off – it is Kirby authorizing you being ripped off.  The vacuum seems great but the real question will be about the ongoing service.  Overall reports seem to be very positive about the vacuum itself.  So I decided to be risky tonight.  Meh.  The carpets needed to be cleaned and that was done.  If it dies and we can’t get it serviced, well, at least I have a voice online and can let lots of people know about it (more than the Kirby company lets know about anything since they totally ignore the entire world online) and I can survive the loss of the money.  It would suck but hey, you have to take chances.  But tons of places say that the vacuum is a good deal at far higher prices than I just paid.  So maybe, in this case, I get to be the evil neighbour who got the really good price instead of being the one who overpaid.

Probably not.

It is one thirty in the morning and I am going to go ahead and post.  I have not even had an opportunity to get myself any dinner yet!  This was a much busier day than I had expected.  I think that I am feeling good about my massive purchase.  I didn’t really have a means of consulting Dominica and she wasn’t still awake when Kelly headed out so I will let her know tomorrow.  We had been talking about spending a bit and getting a really amazing shampoo unit and this really seemed to do a great job shampooing so that is all that I really care about.  If this thing can keep the carpets looking good then I am happy.  These carpets were really nasty before and now I feel good about them.

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