I’m too tired to unpack all of this but I thought I should share so you can learn from my mistakes:

Empty out your filters, y’all.

115 thoughts on “THIS IS WHY I DON’T CLEAN, VICTOR.

Read comments below or add one.

  1. Yikes. Good to know the fire didn’t burn down the house. I remember living in a place with a central vacuum. It sucked poorly. It was easier to use a portable vacuum cleaner.

  2. Damn it! I can’t breathe. I don’t know if it is the smoke from your fire or that I’m laughing so hard at the situation. (Ok, I AM glad your house didn’t completely burn down – seriously – and I do kind of have a warped sense of humor #Schattenfreude)

  3.         Wow, a central vacuum....I have no idea what that is, I still use my mom's old Kirby and my cat isn't even scared of it.  He just cat punches it as he walks by, my cat has some huge balls. lol        

    (It was really popular in the 90’s, I think. There are holes in the wall that you put vacuum hoses into and your house becomes a vacuum. Sort of. Honestly it doesn’t really worth very well. ~ Jenny)

  4. My roommate once tried to vacuum his room up without clearing off the floor first. A hoodie got stuck in the mechanism and he almost burned down the house. You’re neither alone, nor the worst. Hugs!

  5. When not doing housecleaning chores saves the planet -or- new chapter for book, outlined?

  6. That is so very funny in a very “it could’ve been me, but wasn’t” sort of way! I’m sorry it happened to you! Reading this made, for a minute or two feel almost normal! Thank you! Jan Barkhurst

  7. Wow this is totally something that would happen to me. Just totally oblivious to that kind of stuff. Thank got our house doesn’t have that, there is enough confusing stuff to figure out now liviy in a different country I can’t imagine having a confusing vacuum too.

  8. You know that a lot of that stink is also from all the dead skin cells from you and your family, right? Don’t be blaming the cat entirely for the stink. A lot of it is burnt human, too. Is it even legal to have a crematorium in your garage?
    P.S. Glad you are all okay!

  9. Our house was built in 1977 and at one point had a central vac. The little holes in the walls are still there but the actual vacuum was long gone by the time we moved in. My husband, being from New England loves old things and old ways of doing things. He’s always kind of wanted to replace the central vac unit and I’ve always resisted. Thank you for this vindication. And good luck getting the burnt cat smell out. Glad you’re all OK.

  10. I was having a pretty rough day and this made me laugh til I cried. It seems like I’m not the only person to be having a rough day. Hang in there!!! Glad you’re all okay.

  11. Clearly this is due to a failure to provide adequate documentation when you bought the house. The real estate agent should have to come clean it up. All of it. Otherwise they will never learn.

  12. I tried to post, but apparently it didn’t work,so…
    Thank you for sharing this! It is so very funny in the “it could’ve been me, but wasn’t” way. I’m sorry it happened to you!

  13. Sorry but I think this is the funniest post ever. Yeah, I’m not sure I would have known there was a lint reservoir either but it seems like you would have a warning of some kind…lost suction. lol. Glad everyone’s OK.

  14. I, too, have resorted to using a vacuum to clean a vacuum. Glad I’m not the only one! Try burning a bag of popcorn in the microwave to get that burned hair smell out of the house. Plus, it will give your smoke detectors another good workout. They’ll be totally buff!

  15. What’s a central vacuum? Glad you didn’t burn the house down. I bought a vacuum cleaner which didn’t need bags. In my head I thought that meant you didn’t need to empty it. I learned my mistake when it went on fire. Surprising how dangerous housework is.

  16. Public service announcement; clean out your clothes dryers too, people! Dryer fires are totally a thing. It’s not enough to empty the lint trap; vacuum out your dryer, disconnect the foil flexible connector between the dryer and the house’s dryer vent (my son calls these flexible foil-ish things ‘robot arms’), and dump out/vacuum the lint out. Marvel at the amount of fuzz in there.

    Donit twice a year (or more, if you wear lots of linty stuff?) and be glad your dryer won’t set your home on fire.

    One bonus to using laundry mats; no dryer to clean (or no dryer to ignite your home!)

  17. When we bought our first house 50 years ago we had the dreaded ancient avacado green high low wall to wall carpeting. Our so called vacuum cleaner was a drag behind you canister type that was a hand me down from my aunt that had zero suction. Hence the following “poem” penned by my darling husband: Ode To A Vacuum Cleaner by Bob Cook. “The rug sucks and the vacuum cleaner doesn’t !! “ We now have hardwood floors through out…. Swiffers are amazing inventions and fun for cats!! Glad you are safe!! Your story only reinforces my opinion that housework can kill you!

  18. This whole thing reminds of when I was a kid and I thought that bodies were hollow inside, and that when you ate something it fell all the way from inside your mouth down to the bottoms of your feet, and once you ate enough food that it filled up both your legs to the top, then you pooped.

    I’ve mostly come along since then.  Mostly.

    You should see if you can get Victor to rig the vacuum so that it just blows out all over the neighborhood like cat hair snow.  It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

  19. So sorry Jenny. If it makes u feel any better apparently the vacuum bag slipped off the thingy a couple months ago and we didn’t know it until my mother n law was vacuuming yesterday and went to empty it and the whole inside was filled to the brim with hair and dirt n grossness. Needless to say she was very upset with us as she was vacuuming out the vacuum. And I can appreciate the gesture but maybe that’s what u get when u start cleaning someone’s house without asking… Like quietly shaming me from afar. Karma n all that…

  20. That is awesome! Terrible, but so very funny too. Side note: must ask husband if he empties the central vacuum in our garage…We’ve lived here for 11 years and I had no idea it needed to be done.

  21. Yeah, but at least you punctuate! Imagine if you had left the comma out of the headline, although I would suppose it would still be true, just a different story. 🙂

  22. Really glad your house didn’t burn down! Did the burning-animal smells freak your pets out?

  23. Good Gawd!! That sounds disgusting. So why were you in the vicinity? When things go wrong, I just call The Viking and vamoose – I can only add to the problems at that point. I go eat some cheese or something and pretend I don’t hear the cursing and name-calling.

    Also, you shouldn’t feel too bad about it. I blew up a brand new oven once, making Yorkshire Pudding (which is delicious), but there was no one around to fix the mess. Ask me how much I enjoyed cleaning greasy baking soda out of the oven. And it kept leaking greasy baking soda for a year! I feel for ya, Sistah!

  24. If I answer “of course” to your question, does that make me a dick? So be it. Glad your house didn’t burn down, though.

  25. Really needed to read this today. Also really glad that I did not have to smell the resulting mess, but even more glad that everyone is okay.

  26. Firey cat molecules! Will this be on the evening news?!
    So sorry you suffer … and we laugh. But we need laughter.

  27. We have a whole house vac AND a regular vac. Checking the house vac is Geoff’s job. I just showed him this post and he remembered that he needs to check the house vac. Your suffering has not been in vain, Jenny.

  28. I laughed till I cried. Made my husband come in here and read it. He chuckled all the way through. That is a TRIUMPH, Jenny. He has a great sense of humor but constant chuckling – very, very rare. BTW, I hope you hosed off outside before you took a shower, otherwise your pipes will get clogged up from all the cat fur and dust. You don’t need anything else spewing stuff at you. Or hey, maybe that could be tomorrow’s blog.

  29. Ok, Jenny – even if you’re not feeling up to it and Victor is still covered in house vacuum spew, one or the other of you better check the lint screen on your dryer – because I’m sure you know there is one, right? If it makes you feel any better, I have accidentally set no less than three stoves on fire in the past ten years – two because my late husband left CARDBOARD pizza boxes in them without telling me (who DOES that?) and one because I didn’t know my Mom’s broiler was too close to the steak. The firefighters have fans that will get the smoke out of the house. And there’s no question, it is definitely the cat’s fault. Because if they look at you like that, all superior and smirky, they must be up to something. Yours with love and BTW regular vacuuming counts as exercise…

  30. As a teenager, I babysat for a friend of my mom’s who was not a stellar housekeeper. When her vacuum quit working, she had the repairman out to fix it. He couldn’t see anything wrong with the motor, so reversed the switch and flipped it on. Out of the hose shot a mouse and the very fluffy home of scraps and debris he’d dragged in there for months. He ran around the house. Dog chased the mouse, kids chased the mouse… It was a circus!

  31. Ah, a new addition to my “blessings you didn’t know enough about to count” list.

  32. I’m glad I’m not the only one who had to google what a central vacuum is. This easily could have been me.

  33. We had one in our last house and those tanks are big. It was always my job to empty it. It is great for allergens because it vent outside instead of into the house. Someone needed to train you, it was not your fault. I blame whoever sold you the house.

  34. When my sister and I were growing up we had to vacuum and dust the house every weekend and the bag needed to be changed out every now and then. Fast forward 40 years later and my sister’s vacuum blows up after living in a studio apartment for 20 years. She forgot that vacuum bags needed to be changed. This is an intelligent, educated women.

  35. I was having a day where I thought I was going to have to give up. Thank you for this

  36. Look on the bright side. It has been over a decade since you put the wrong detergent in the dishwasher and nearly shampooed your entire house. A disaster only once a decade – I should be so lucky.

  37. We thought about getting a central vac a while ago and I talked my husband out of it and got a nice little canister vac. I am so glad that I did after reading your post. I mean, really, where do you store that huge long heavy hose?

  38. Omg I didn’t even know that was a thing that’s some bougee shit right there. Plus o wouldn’t of known either. Also when the garbage expodid on you two I wouldve said merry Christmas to Victor because that story is a gift.

  39. I have actually met people who didn’t know about cleaning the dishwasher filter!!! Can you imagine how bad that would be?

  40. For those of you who say central vacs dont work well, either your systems were clogged (like hers), was old and needing replacement, or too small for your house. I’d never heard of it before moving to Canada. It’s pretty much a standard feature in Ontario and I’ll never go back! I LOVE LOVE, LOVE my central vac.

  41. Ask any fireman/woman how many fires they are called to for people who have no idea they need to empty the lint traps and check the hoses on their clothes dryers.

  42. For those of you who say central vacs dont work well, either your systems were clogged (like hers), was old and needing replacement, or too small for your house. I’d never heard of it before moving to Canada. It’s pretty much a standard feature in Ontario and I’ll never go back! I LOVE LOVE, LOVE my central vac.

    And as to where to store the “big heavy hose”. I find it lighter and easier to store than a typical vaccuum. We have a double hook in the closet it hangs from.

  43. I am very very subtly reminded of your escalating plumbing leak. Harriet Homemaker you decidedly are not.

  44. I love shop-vacs. Next time, get the big, industrial sized one. We have one at work. I call it the R2 unit, though it sounds more like Chewbacca screaming when it powers down.

  45. Wow, a central vacuum….I have no idea what that is, I still use my mom’s old Kirby and my cat isn’t even scared of it. He just cat punches it as he walks by, my cat has some huge balls. lol

    (It was really popular in the 90’s, I think. There are holes in the wall that you put vacuum hoses into and your house becomes a vacuum. Sort of. Honestly it doesn’t really worth very well. ~ Jenny)

    I’ve never heard or seen of this but now I imagine your house like a grade school science project where someone hooked up hoses for robot arms. You live in a vacuum-armed house Transformer.

  46. I just learned that the new central vacuums have the hoses built into the wall and you just pull the hose out. Not that it would help your filter issue. But it would help when I can’t find the hose.

  47. You probably don’t want to set fire to the house after already firing up the garage or else the fire inspector is going to suspect arson and that goes on your permanent record – or so I’ve heard.
    Also may I suggest you use the vacuum holes in your house as like random holders of things. Like stick a vase in one and have flowers protruding from the wall or OHH RORY COULD BE LIKE EMERGING FROM ONE! That would be cool.
    I would like to see what kind of inventive and amazing things you could come up with. Next rainy day project?

  48. I’ve never had a central vacuum, but I assume if you actually emptied the canister from time to time it would probably work a lot better.

  49. I didn’t realize for about 15 years that my dryer vented THROUGH THE ROOF until I started smelling hot lint. Didn’t manage to burn the house down (yay, roof tiles) but it took the guys almost 3 hours to clear out the clogged vent. Housework just sucks all around.

  50. I’m feeling pretty blessed that I’m not fancy enough for a central vac because that would be my life too.

  51. We had central vac in the house…..I live in Ontario, and they are awesome!
    We had 2 hose types, depending which vacuum head we wanted to use. My Dad put up water hose hooks on the wall in the basement to hang the hoses on. I always got my brother to empty our canister for me. That tank was heavy!
    Now we have an upright, and I hate it! So I went and got myself a hand held one and just spot vacuum when the cats’ furballs go floating by!

  52. It is definitely time for a wine slushy…or 3 or 5. I’m sooooo sorry. I’ve not been so thankful for my ancient Eureka upright in a long time.

  53. Once upon a time I congratulated myself for coming up with the ass-kicking idea of heating my socks in the microwave, so that my feet would feel warm during our first wet-cold PNW winter.

    I wondered why I hadn’t heard of anyone else using such a brilliant, yet simple solution to comfort cold tootsies.

    Sparks and fire is why. Singed a hole the size of a quarter in each heel.

    And we will not speak of the smell.

  54. My sister was so proud that she had one in her new house (many years ago), I had never heard of it. We grew up.with a squarish canister Kenmore vacuum that rolled around and followed you from room to room.

  55. Glad you and your house are okay but do have to admit I laughed at the imagery about a giant vacuum repository spewing it’s contents at you two… and I also apparently just learned that there is a filter in my dishwasher that requires cleaning. Who knew?!? This is the first dishwasher I have had (ever in my life) and I’m almost 49 years old. LOL

  56. You do know to empty the filter on your clothes drier, yes?

    Because that is another way to set your house on fire AND a good reason for Victor to do the laundry!

  57. I had no idea that central vacuums needed to be emptied. I worked with one briefly at a part time job at a bed and breakfast, but never had to clear it. However, my husband thought that vacuum cleaner bags will be obviously full from an exterior view and only need to be emptied then. I discovered this when I tried to use ours, and it was STUFFED TO THE BRIM including about 8 inches down the hose. I changed it, but there was swearing.

  58. I blame Victor. He should know by now that you are not to be trusted with complex machinery. Like vacuums. But if he didn’t learn after the dishwasher incident, he’s hopeless.

  59. Our new house has a central vac, but I haven’t even attempted to use it because I’m hopelessly devoted to my Shark. Thanks to you, I never will. 🙂

  60. My husband tried to use our shop vac to blow leaves out of our gutters. The hose seemed sort of clogged up until the mouse nest (and mouse) blew out.

  61. My parents built a house when I was a kid, and this was the brand new thing my mother thought would make life a breeze. Then we moved in and my toddler sister discovered the magical little elf doors that magically made things disappear. Every time we heard UH OH!!! something had to be excavated from the magical well of dog hair and dirt in the basement.
    Later I read that if a small fire burns one of those trap doors, the vacuum can turn on, sucking the fire into the rest of the system. They were a great idea, until they weren’t. Get yourselves a big drum air filter. It will clear the air now, and later, and they’re worth every penny.

  62. Yikes.
    This makes me SO glad I don’t own much carpet anymore. Only the bedrooms are carpeted…the rest is hardwood laminate and ceramic tile. Because fuck carpeting.
    I’m glad your whole house didn’t burn down. That would really suck.

  63. a Roomba? Heck NO. We had one and it needs tons more cleaning – gross! The dirt container is teeny tiny. I have a fool proof method…ignore the mess. It works so well that I don’t even see it anymore. Sadly my hubby likes to remind me it is still there. Why cant he just play along?

  64. I just bought a robot vacuum. It toodles around vacuuming while I pretend to do other things, and if it ever catches fire, it will systematically set fire to each room as it goes – so, two birds! Plus it entertains the cat – make it three birds!

  65. I bought a new vacuum at Sears once that had a filter that had to be vacuumed out (according to the sales guy, who said all this to me with a completely straight face). So I had to keep the old crappy vacuum to suck the new crappy vacuum clean. Terrible plan. Then there were the Roombas, that required pre-cleaning the whole house including putting up furniture on top of other furniture before running, and meticulous cleaning after every run. Now I have a Dyson and a teenager who likes to tinker, making the teenager took some work but it is so far the best solution to vacuuming issues.

  66. If you live in a condo or apartment check where your dryer vents. I assumed it was to the roof, like my house did. It actually was to my balcony. I wondered what all that fuzzy stuff coating my outdoor furniture was. I had to put a really ugly mesh bag over the vent to keep the lint from flying everywhere. Another thing to clean out, yay!

  67. You heathens! I have a canister vacuum that I empty after each use. The amount of dust and hair (my own, I can’t blame it on pets) is shocking. Of course the amount of dirt may have a direct correlation to vacuuming frequency.

    On a completely different topic, a crow has tried to land on the roof across the street that is covered in heavy frost four times now, but keeps sliding off. Points for effort!

  68. My mom’s house has(had) a central vacuum when she moved in, and we thought it was great fun to use until we caught my then-toddler vacuuming the inside of her Pull-Ups! She thought she was helping and was so proud of herself, and apparently had been doing it for a while!! So all it took was cleaning a shit-ton of shit out of the hose and the tank for my mom to get a regular vacuum, plus now we have a great prom or wedding story to tell!

  69. After I stopped LLOL (literally laughing out loud), it occurred to me to tell you to remember to check the lint trap in your dryer! Also Victor should have known about the vacuum tank.

  70. This reminds me of the time my brother started his toaster (and the cupboard above the toaster) on fire. Apparently, he didn’t know you had to occasionally shake out the crumbs and poptarts bits.

  71. Mercy Maude! Look at it this way. You can check that thing off your bucket list. Quick! Write it on the list, then strike through. Put it on Victor’s list, too. Same strike through. Positive experience for two! Glad it wasn’t worse.

  72. You should be PROUD… this is evidence that you vacuumed up enough crap to fill up the vacuum and cause a fire….. good for you =)

  73. When I first read this, I thought “what the hell is a central vacuum? That must be a new robot vacuum”. I imagined it to be a like central A/C but in reverse where the vents suck in all of the dust and dirt through massive suctioning power and I thought “I TOTALLY WANT ONE!!!”. Time to get my inventor cap on. 🙂

  74. So, in conclusion: the central vac sucks because it doesn’t suck; discarded cat parts smell bad when burnt, especially when they re-emerge from vacuum Narnia; husbands are for back-stopping disasters that could have happened to anyone, no fault at all. I’m on board!

  75. OMG. So glad no one was hurt! I find it hard enough to empty my vacuum cleaner bag. Can’t imagine a house-sized vacuum bag of crap.

  76. It’s posts like these that make me want to email Jenny Lawson some of my writings. Cause I write like she does. About ridiculous shit I do because I can’t sleep. And I’m mostly harmless… and struggle with a few different mental illness diagnoses. Or maybe someday I could have coffee with her and share just one ridiculous story. Like how I accidentally brought medicinal weed back to MN from CA in my vest pocket on a plane and didn’t get caught cause I forgot I had it. Yay adhd! Yay anxiety! Yay leagal pot and accidents!

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