I should start by saying that I had heard that a good one makes all the difference. (Use an overhyped one at your peril.) It was not that I doubted that advice, but simply that I lack motivation. Sometimes it just is not easy to get your (read: my) ass to the store, and then there is the deliberation (read: dilly-dallying) over what kind to get, but finally I decided this was the weekend for action.
After looking on Consumer Reports, finding a "best buy" (read: most suckage for your suckage-buying dollar), I decided on the Eureka Smart 4870DT. I am not sure what makes it smart, but I can tell you what about it makes me happy: pushing it around my carpets and listening to the detritus of my life being swept away into its little paper bag. And being able to tell at a glance which parts of my floor it has cleaned, and which remain besmeared. And seeing that it could even suck away the pressed pattern from the bottom of my hamper. And all the little claw remnants that were stuck in the upholstery of my comfortable (but rather faded) red chair.
I should note that this is not exactly a product endorsement: I imagine that any vacuum cleaner that was made as recently as the last half of the twentieth century would similarly have impressed me. I have, since I moved to South Carolina (6.5 years ago) been using an old rose-hued Hoover, inherited from my great aunt. Don't get me wrong: I am sure it was a fine piece of domestic technology in its day. But over time and after decades of use, it does seem to have lost some of its strength. And the duct tape holding the hose together probably has not helped. I have known that I needed to make a change, and not just because of the large chunks that my old vac would miss.
But at the same time, I am such a happy homeowner (read: mortgage-owner)! My carpets still do not look new, and frankly the hallcarpet is still screaming out for replacement, but the improvement is really remarkable.
How is this for proof: after I finished, and I only have carpet in three rooms and a hallway, the brand-new bag in my brand-new vac is three-quarters full.
Side note for those of you who care: The Italian word for "vacuum cleaner" is aspirapolvere, which means something like "dustbreather." And that, my friends, is me no more.