I recently had a Facebook friend with cerebral palsy post this sentiment to her wall, “I. Hate. Stairs.” I responded with, “We should start a club. Let’s especially hate stairs where there are no railings!” Stairs, at times, seem like the bane of our existence, an architectural annoyance separating one space from another. Sometimes just the mere sight of them can bring on a flood of emotions ranging from fatigue to disappointment.

When I purchased my townhome five years ago, I had to accept that two flights of stairs, separated by a landing divided my house into two levels.

There are days when I appreciate this feature. It allows me to have a private house upstairs where I can live my life without worrying about what it looks like and a public house downstairs that I can tidy in 20 minutes and happily entertain guests—even when the upstairs bathroom looks like a science experiment!

But, stairs are arduous in the morning when my legs are stiff from sleeping, and prove to be a challenge when laundry needs to be done. They are especially grueling when it comes to vacuuming.

For the past five years, I have attempted to vacuum my stars with a yellow plastic upright machine that my mom purchased for me while I was in grad school. Sometime last year it started to break, so I patched it together with blue painter’s tape. That held for a while, but last month it started to smoke.

I laid it to rest and started shopping for a new one. I was dreading spending money on yet another upright machine that I would have to lug up and down my stairs. I imagined that soon I would grow tired and skip cleaning my stairs altogether. After all, this practice of neglect was happening already.

Then…eureka! (Or should I say Oreck?) My colleague told me about the Oreck store in Maple Grove where I could purchase both an upright vacuum for my floors and a small, separate canister machine for my stairs. Really!? I had never heard of a canister before except for the custodians who clean the building where I work. They wear vacuums on their backs and walk around like the Ghostbusters!

My canister was only $100 once I purchased it in conjunction with an upright model. I happily took it home and went to work. For the first time ever, I cleaned my stairs without a struggle. My house doesn’t look neglected and I feel more independent. It’s a quiet little breakthrough that I wanted to share with you.