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THIS PAST SATURDAY I was vacuuming the living room when the powerhead suddenly turned itself off. I turned the vacuum off and that’s when I noticed the Belt Protector Reset button. So I pushed it and turned the vacuum back on. It ran for a few seconds, then turned itself off again.

Maybe it’s clogged I thought. So I…

  • checked the vacuum bag, and yeah it was full. I put in a new bag.
  • spent an hour learning how to take the vacuum apart and checked all the hoses and bits for dirt. Clean as a whistle.
  • I checked the brush roller thingy and it did not move. It was stuck. I noticed lots of hairs and fibers and tried to pull them out. No go – the roller brush thingy would not budge.
  • So I tried to take the powerhead apart. On the flip side I read, “Flip powerhead and read manual for further instructions.


I’d bought the vacuum secondhand. I have no manual. Not that I ever read them when I have them.

So there, I sat cross-legged on the kitchen floor.

What would Onkel Karl do?

Onkel Karl was an old friend of Dad’s. In fact they hung out together as teenagers in Wittenau, Berlin.

They did normal teenage things with about 52 other teenagers, or so I’ve been led to believe.

Cute things like lifting people’s cars over their pretty fences with cute little walk-through gates .

There was no way these car owners could get their cars out of their yards without taking their fences down.

Yeah cute things. They did cute things like that.

Years went by and Onkel Karl emigrated to Canada, as did my parents.

Upon the blessed event of my birth, Onkel Karl and Tante Stella were asked, and agreed, to be my Godparents.azfwvudhswrvvt2qdcdu

I loved Onkel Karl.

I always thought he looked a little like Jackie Gleason, you know, the ‘to the moon Alice’ guy from that show The Honeymooners?

In fact, the only two men I loved back then were Dad and Onkel Karl. Onkel Karl had a trained German Shepherd. A would-be burglar could walk into his house, start loading stuff in his loot bag while dancing a jig, and good ole Rex would just lay there, barely even looking up.

But when the poor unsuspecting thief would try to leave, Rex would spring into action, pin him down, baring his teeth and holding him there until Onkel Karl got home.

I used to love visiting Onkel Karl and Tante Stella because they lived on 120 acres of land and there were lots of fun things to do. Onkel Karl taught Mike and I to drive his skidoo. Once while I was driving, I hit a bit of a bump and Onkel Karl went flying off the back of the Skidoo.

On his land, Onkel Karl also had a landing strip.


He owned a 4-passenger plane and took us up for a ride every now and then. Once when I was about twelve, he let me take the controls – Woo Hoo!

As well as all of that, Onkel Karl was a businessman. He owned and operated a secondhand vacuum/repair shop. My parents always bought Mom’s favourite standup Hoover vacuums there.

So there I sat on the kitchen floor looking at the pieces of my vacuum and wondered what Onkel Karl would do.

And I swear I heard his voice telling me, “Take it to that vacuum repair place on 11th Ave and 14th Street.”

Reasonable advice I thought, especially since I don’t really have a good track record of being able to put stuff that I take apart back together…

…like that hot summer day when my floor fan died and I thought maybe I should clean it and sat on the living room floor cross-legged with a screwdriver and took it apart and there were so many pieces on the floor and I was unable to put it back together and it was so hot that sweat was dripping from my hairline and a blue cloud of cuss words escaped my mouth as I picked up the stupid fan pieces, put them in a stupid cardboard box  and carried them out to the stupid dumpster in the back and headed out to the store to buy a new stupid fan…


Are you a Mr./Mrs. Fix It? Or like me, is it just best to call on a professional?