Every February 1, I go through one drawer of a chest of drawers I reserve only for bills paid the previous year. This is my method of sorting these bills: taxable and non-taxable items, getting them ready for my income tax returns federal and state.

It may not be the perfect method, but CPA Larry Scripter had all the information needed to proceed with the yearly financial confession to the IRS and Santa Fe. By Feb. 8, the sorting was ready and turned in.

My wonderful drawer also yielded up an appliance manual I had been searching for ever since I bought my Hoover upright vacuum cleaner in 2001 at Wal-Mart. I had delayed using the new cleaner for months and dragged out my 25-year-old, wheezy old Eureka every week. Changing bags on the old venerable veteran was a major operation, which I took out to the backyard to spare my sinuses.

The dear thing used to belch a little dust into my face even after the cleaning; but it always had expert attention from a locally owned and operated vacuum center whenever it needed a new belt. It’s a real housewife’s helper and has kept my 25-year-old relic in tip-top shape.

These little repair shops are few and far between; and Patrick deserves all the praise he can get.

I am not going to turn in my old Eureka and that’s a terrible frugal Yankee trait from my New England past.

Now that I’ve found the manual for the new Hoover “with twin chamber system,” I’m going to read it from cover to cover. The new appliance is bagless, which surely will improve my sinus condition, but I really don’t think it’s going to be any better.

The first time I used it, I had a dickens of a time getting the “chambers” back together. If my son Rick hadn’t shown the re-assembly, I’d have consulted Patrick. And get this: the manual has instructions in English, Spanish and French. What a bonus! I can read all three languages, but not well, due to the technical terms.

Wish me well with the new vacuum cleaner. So long as its “cleaning effectiveness per amp equal 20.0” doesn’t rip my old rugs to shreds, I’m in business.

(Editor’s note: Elizabeth Bernier Gilbert writes reguarly about life in her part of the world.)

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Elizabeth Bernier Gilbert