Now, most people, upon seeing this, would say "Huh, someone threw out a broken vacuum cleaner". I, on the other hand, said "Sweet! Potential free vacuum cleaner!" and hauled it out and brought it upstairs. (It was sitting on the top, and there wasn't much in the trash bin, and none of it was liquid. No, I wasn't hauling a stinky dripping rotting vacuum cleaner up the stairs.)
See, most of the time, when a vacuum cleaner dies, it's not really dead. It's just the little rubber belt between the brushes and the motor is clogged with cat hair or tangled or just flat-out broken. And I don't know how many people know this, but, you know, every person that doesn't know this is someone I can get free vacuum cleaners from.
So I looked at the bottom and yep, sure enough, it didn't have a little rubber belt where I'd expect a little rubber belt, so I decided to open it up and see what it would take to replace the rubber belt.
Turns out that it was a bit more damaged than I'd expected. The pulley on the motor side was completely missing, as was the belt, and the brush assembly was heavily damaged to the point where it wouldn't rotate properly. So after looking at part replacement costs online ($30) and the cost of buying an entire new vacuum cleaner ($60) I lugged it back downstairs and tossed it right back in the trash.
It's occured to me that, completely separate from the question of needing a vacuum cleaner, a lot of people wouldn't do that. Hell, I got a lot of fun just troubleshooting the thing. That was worth it. And many people just don't like solving problems.
Now my car's having interesting problems. Just started this morning. It acts like the idle regulator isn't working properly - take your foot off the gas and the RPM drops to zero and your car is no longer on. After it's been on for a few seconds (and it can be tricky to get that happening) it'll drop to 200rpm or so before heading up to its normal idle of 900. After it's been on for five minutes it no longer has the problem. So. Idle regulator problem.
Except I don't even know if there is such a thing as an idle regulator. I'm just pulling words out of my hat here. I don't even wear a hat and I'm pulling words out of it. But, you know, that just feels like what the problem is - and so now it's time to dig out the technical manual and figure out what it coudl be.
And then, you know. Repair it.
On my own.
For some reason some people would prefer taking this to a mechanic. I just don't get people.