As experienced parents and pet owners, Codex and I have experienced a fair number of emergencies. The key to surviving any emergency is to quickly assess the severity of the event and then live through it. With no special training or practice, I happen to be gifted in making rapid assessments.

Codex excels during the aftermath. I can see all the things that need doing, figure out how I’d do them, and then get bored. Codex doesn’t. Once unleashed, she is a force of completeness. Evolutionarily speaking, we are a successful emergency-handling couple in that we have complementary skills and are still alive.

Every so often, though, Codex has to make the initial assessments. That is how I found myself completely disassembling a Dyson vacuum cleaner in order to find the bat Codex had sucked up the night before.

“There was a bat,” Codex said, “And I didn’t know what to do, so I grabbed the vacuum cleaner. It went right in there. I then put it away, so it couldn’t escape. Then I didn’t sleep, knowing if the bat was still alive it’d not only be really, really, pissed off, but probably even more diseased from whatever germs were already living in there.”

“You didn’t think to open the back door and shoo it out with a broom? Or maybe wake me up so I could do it?”

“No. It was an emergency, all right?”

Not being weighed down by a biology degree has advantages. Bats are cute, cuddly creatures that use echolocation in conjunction with GPS devices to find their way around our homes. This one probably needed to use the restroom, or possibly watch television. If you hold a biology degree, however, they are disease-bearing, blood-sucking vermin trying to trade you Obamacare policies for your dry, comfortable, cave-like house. In most states, that is what you’d call “a good deal.”

I cautiously opened the closet door, half-expecting the bat to have retained an attorney. There was no bat. The murder weapon was charging in its chamber. I wasn’t sure how much power was depleted in the mammal-sucking panic of the previous evening, but it didn’t seem like the bat had chewed his way out. Yet.

For those of you unfamiliar with Dyson products, they are the most expensive pieces of household tech in the world. They are made up of precision plastic parts which must be assembled and disassembled in a precise manner. This doesn’t mean the parts fit snugly. In fact, as you whirl these inventions around your home they feel as though they’ll fall apart any second.

If you don’t hold a degree in Dysonology, you will do something wrong and your high-tech sucking device will no longer properly suck. Even worse, you’ll void your warranty. That will melt your credit card and induce what can only be called “Suicidal Wallet Syndrome.”

Dyson vacuums are designed to do a job and do it well. If the product is used outside the bounds of its design bad things tend to happen. For example, I once rolled over the cord for 5 seconds and the rollers ripped off the plastic sheathing. Rolling over the cord is not on the approved list of operations.

We happen to own two Dyson vacuum cleaners because they are designed for two different household-cleaning chores. We aren’t rich. CostCo has tremendous deals, especially if you can catch a “Black Lives Matter” sale in your neighborhood.

The main vacuum uses “ball technology” for turns and pivots. The base is a sphere with two stabilizing pegs. It is designed for people 4′ 2″ tall and turns perfectly smoothly if pressure is applied from that height and you have no interest in making 90Β° turns. Sadly, I am more like a six-foot tall non-yurt dwelling resident. This means that the pegs do nothing but foul the cord as I yank the machine around corners.

Stairs, by the way, render the ball technology useless. Fortunately, Dyson sells a cordless model that is easy to carry around and has enough juice to hit all the nooks and crannies on a staircase, and suck up bats. This handheld model was what Codex had used.

I was very concerned about the warranty. My thinking went something like this: whatever state the bat was in wasn’t likely to change in the time it would take to make a phone call to the good people at Dyson support. Fortunately, we don’t own Dyson phones. The call went through right away.

Support: “Dyson product support. How can I help you?”

Me: “Hi. My wife sucked a bat into your vacuum cleaner. Do you know if that voids the warranty?”

Support: Uncomfortable pause. “I’m sorry sir, but Dyson products are not designed for that.”

Me: “Yes, I get it. You might like to know it handled it like a champ. I just want to know if something goes wrong when I disassemble the thing if I can take it to a repair shop or should I look to unload it as ‘slightly used’ on Ebay?”

Support: “Our manuals cover disassembly. If you have trouble with a particular step, you can contact us with the part and page number and we’ll talk you through it.”

Me: “Got it. What if a wing is caught in an impeller blade? Do you think you can explain how to remove it?”

She paused. I got “the tone.” I used to work product support. I knew “the tone.” I’d used “the tone.” She switched to, “I will say anything to get you off the phone now” mode. I really can’t blame her.

Support: “Sir, Dyson products are not designed to suck up bats. The fact that you thought about it makes you unique and very special. I will pass your suggestion on to our lab. Look for our marketing department to advertise your cleaning suggestion in the next version. Good. Bye.”

Me: “Great. Can you have your lab try ‘can vacuum more than 2 inches under the bed before having to jack it up for the rest’, too?”

Support: “Yes. Sure.” Click.

I don’t think we can expect either of those features to be advertised any time soon. Codex asked me if everything was okay. “Dyson says you are unique and special. Now lets go find that bat.”

I proceeded with disassembly. I was grateful Codex had used the handheld. Every time I have to take the ball one apart I end up spending extra time in confession, and Glyph gives me a lecture about potty language. Kids.

The long tube-thingy was clear. There was no bat stuck inside it. The debris chamber – and now you know that I used the manual – was also clear. It is made of see-thru plastic. That was it. Two places where the bat could be decomposing but neither of them contained a poor, tiny corpse. You’d think that would have helped matters. It didn’t. Mushrooms.

In conclusion, and I’m dedicating that final paragraph opening to Glyph’s English teacher, any crisis you limp away from should be considered a success. We are also willing to test out household products should any company be foolish enough to send them our way. You’ll get a real, honest, evaluation of how your product fares in real-world scenarios. We have no serious complaints about Dyson vacuum cleaners. They suck.

Our new bat roommate, however, begs to differ.


The Spork Speaks β€” Tempest in a Teardrop β€” tempestinateardrop.com