My old vacuum bit the dust a while ago. I should have upgraded sooner. I don’t know what took me so long. I kept cleaning the old one hoping it would re-gain suction but no luck. Eventually, I did some research and found a new one.
If you’ve never been over to theWirecutter.com I highly recommend it. It’s a review website with independent reviews of all sorts of things. It talks a lot about TVs and other A/V electronics but they have reviews of everything from kitchen shears to vacuum cleaners.
I went for the “best cheap Vacuum” reviews and picked one of the top three.
This vacuum was just $140 and arrived in 2 days. I LOVE Amazon Prime.
Once I received the vacuum, I went ahead and gave it a try on the dining room rug.
I have been sewing in that room and the vacuum managed to get all the little threads up and out when doing the carpet cleaning. It had great suction and the carpet bristle roller seemed to really grab the fibers of the rug and work them clean.
The first thing I didn’t like was the pedal for locking and unlocking the vacuum into the upright position.
It was hard to engage the pedal and I really had to stand on it and try a bunch of angles before it would release. I’m hoping with some use it will loosen up a bit.
The controls were easy to use once you figured out how they worked. There are 2 levers which is odd but one acts as a lock to really keep the bristle roller up when you’re on hardwood.
The labels are confusing on the dial. It goes from high carpet to low carpet with some in-between being labeled as bare floor. How does that make sense?
Another unusual feature of this vacuum is this knob.
Instead of the suction tube coming up so that it can disconnect to be used as a want, there are two separate suction routes. I suspect this is what makes this a great vacuum. The flexy tube can’t be optimal for suction and by having a dedicated tube for the floor vacuum, you can increase the suction in the standard operating mode.
The on/off switch is on the front which is not unusual but I’m accustomed to the foot pedal switch. I think I prefer a front switch since I can never find the foot switch without looking for it. I suppose that’s probably because I never vacuumed enough.
The final issue to note is the power cord. I prefer manual cord stowage to any automated nonsense: more fool-proof. But, I do like it when the clip at the plug-end actually fits on the cord. I ended up having to use a cord tie to tidy up the cord on the vacuum.
These are all minor issues and it’s those minor issues that keep this from being an expensive, high-end vacuum, unlike those of iRobot roomba 980 robot.
With some UX (User Experience) or UI (User Interface) Design work, this could be one awesome vacuum. The suction really was incredible. For $140, some odd interface choices are well-worth the trade-off.
Stefan talked me into getting a 50″ Plasma TV for the den. It fits just to the right of the door to the den closet. (The den used to be two bedrooms so there are 2 closet doors.)
Believe it or not, there is still room to the right of the TV for the built-ins we are planning for that far wall.
To mount the TV, we went with this giant TV mount:
Installation was fairly straightforward though it is absolutely a two-person job. One nice thing about this mount is the plate that goes against the wall has a wide range of hole patterns so even non-standard beam spacing is ok. In addition, you have some give in where on the mount the TV is placed. The center of the mount is located about 4 inches left of the center of the TV.
The mount moves surprisingly well and all-in-all looks pretty good.
You can see we haven’t quite finished our wiring but we are close to getting this project buttoned up and looking good.
Stay tuned for reviews of all the “toys” Stefan convinced me to buy and further speaker mounting plans.
I find you all have been sorely neglected. It’s been nearly 2 weeks since you’ve heard anything of the house! I’m afraid I have started many projects and finished none. To top it all off, I’ve been occupied for several weekends in a row and the coming weekend is no exception. On top of all that, our camera broke making it impossible for me to take decent pictures of anything regardless of the fact that they haven’t been finished!
As I walked back from dropping the poor damaged camera off at the post-office, I thought I’d take the chance to take you on a iPhone tour of Arlington center.
The post office is on a side-street from the main drag. It’s a neat old brick building. It was curiously built in 1935 perhaps as some depression era work project. It has big old wooden doors and a grand granite stoop. There is always a nice flag outside which I always appreciate.
I took this rather bad iPhone photo but Wikipedia has a better one. The building is listed on the National Historic Registry but my cursory web search yielded no more details than that. Perhaps I will do some more detailed portraits on some of the neat old buildings but for now, just a tour.
Once we come back onto Massachusetts Avenue, the main route in town, we can see the spire of the town hall.
Another royalty free photo on Wikipedia:
The town hall building was built in 1913 with a large annex added in 1955. It has a large and gorgeous hall inside and Stefan and I applied for our marriage license with the town clerk on the second floor. A nice article on the Town Hall and Robbins Library is available at this link.
Next to the town hall separated only by a nice park is the Robbins Library. First built in 1807, the original structure was torn down and replaced in 1872 with a size-doubling addition in 1994. It is now under construction again as some roof repairs are being done.
An interesting anecdote about the library. In 1835 a donation was made to start a children’s section at the library. This donation allowed for Robbins Library to be the longest continuous free children’s library in the nation.
If we continue on down the road home, we see a rather out-of-place clock tower. This tower belongs to the modern and frankly rather ugly Unitarian Universalist church. The clock does chime every hour as do some of the decidly prettier churches in town.
Across the street from the ugly church, there is a nice old bank building.
Red brick and pretty, the building is old but not super grand or ornate. What is cool are the banners flying in the street. Town Day is happening in just a couple weeks! The whole of Arlington Center is blocked off and there is a nice street festival right in the square. I’ll be sure to do a post on the Town Day since it just has such an idyllic small-town charm to it.
I should point out that thus far, all the sights of interest except the bank are on the south side of the street. Directly to the north of the ugly church is a row of neat storefronts.
To the north of the red-brick bank is an old house which is now an art museum with a neat little park out front. Once upon a time the train ran right through that park and there was presumably also some sort of train station in the vicinity. The rail path is now the Minuteman Bike Path and provides a direct route from Arlington Center into Lexington to the north and Alewife Station (on the Red Line) to the south.
I mention is little park because it has this sign:
Click the image to take you to the Wikipedia page regarding the hero.
Past another 2 blocks of restaurants and a cross streat which claims a used book shop and a cinema, you get to the firestation on a triangle bordered by Massachusetts Ave, Broadway, and Franklin St.
The fire house is octagonal and rather cool looking. The grounds of the station also have a veterans memorial with a revolutionary monument, civil war monument, and vietnam war memorial.
From Central Fire Station, we are just a stones throw from home. I pass an arts and crafts supply store, a baby boutique and a hair salon before I am greeted by houses. It’s a nice walk from the post office and it’s been nice to share it with you.
On our way back from Sarataga Springs, NY we stopped at the Yaddo Gardens. Just one more of the amazing places to see in Saratoga Springs, the Yaddo Gardens is GORGEOUS. There is also a huge mansion that has functioned as a private artist retreat since the 1920s. The gardens are open to the public and mid-June was the perfect time to visit.
The roses are in peak bloom.
There is also a more woodsy section of the gardens. Plenty of ferns and water features and pine needle paths.