When my daughter Lily was 13, her friend shared a crazy incident that happened the previous week. We’ll call her Amanda for now.
Her dad, Don, was using the vacuum attachment to get rid of cobwebs. One cobweb was up high, so he lifted the upright vacuum cleaner toward the ceiling, but when he got it to a certain point, he felt resistance and couldn’t raise it any higher. This perplexed him for a moment, until he heard Amanda screaming, “Stop, Dad! Stop!”
She had been sitting at the desk working on the computer, and the vacuum had sucked up all of her long, thick brown hair that had hung four inches below her shoulders. The vacuum was flush with the top part of the back of her head.
Don quickly shut the vacuum off and told Amanda to lay down, but she couldn’t lay down because the vacuum was higher than her neck and it hurt too much, so he put a pillow under her head.
Eleven-year-old Vanessa had witnessed the whole thing, so she ran to the other room and told her 18-year-old sister Christie, “Amanda’s got a vacuum stuck on her head!”
“What?” Christie said. She hurried in and discovered her father tugging at Amanda’s hair to free it from the vacuum.
“Dad, stop!” Amanda hollered, her eyes filled with tears.
Her sisters laughed. “Oh, I need to take a picture of this,” Christie said as she ran to get her camera.
While Don worked on dismantling the vacuum, Christie tried to snap pictures of Amanda, who half cried and half laughed as she lay on the floor. She blocked the camera with her hands and feet and managed to prevent Christie from getting any pictures.
Finally, Don detached the roller brush and spent a good five minutes unrolling Amanda’s hair. Once he was done, Amanda was left with a nest of knots and tangles.
Relieved to be free, Amanda hopped in the shower to wash the dirt out of her hair. Fortunately, she had thick hair, so no one would notice the handful of hair she lost.
At this point, Amanda’s mom had finished showering. The girls were instructed by their father, “Don’t tell your mother!”
Of course, Christie and Vanessa couldn’t wait to tell their mother what she had missed out on.
Do you remember Flowbee?
Here’s a video that demonstrates how it works. Looks crazy. I never tried it. Did you?
Do you have a parenting or grandparenting story you’d like to share? If you’re not a parent, memories from your own childhood count, too. (Names can be changed to protect the guilty!)
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(The names for this post were changed.)
(A version of this story was originally published in the Highland Community News in September 1998.)