the memories of stuffed dogs.

The real Luff Pup Pup is not a puppet.
He's also bigger and dirtier.
And his eyes are gone because
a little beloved dog of ours chewed them off,
along with his ears & tongue. 
The real Luff Pup Pup is a hideous mess.
The irony of that in connection to MY mess
is not lost on me.
Messes = Real.
Holy moly, Internet. I had a DAY yesterday. Every time one of these occurs, I have to remind myself what sweet friend Becky, who's been there/done this, told me: this is normal, all the feelings are normal, this too shall pass.

So my P.O.S. washer has broken. It's either clogged or the shipping rod the installer guys forgot to remove (despite the fact there was a very large red sticker on it that read REMOVE BEFORE INSTALLING) did, in fact, break the drum. Normally, this would just be an inconvenience and I'd schedule a time for them to come out and look at it, tell me it's unfixable, and then I'd schedule a time to go to HH Gregg and tell them their illiterate goons broke my $600 washer and they need to give me a new one and then I'd schedule a time to be home for the arrival and (proper) installation of new said washer. 

However, I'm going back to work next week and - non-teacher people don't understand this because they simply don't have this problem - I can't just...LEAVE. I have to ask for permission. And then I have to find someone to watch the children so they don't kill themselves or burn down the building. Next week, there are no children just teachers sitting through endless meetings of overwhelming information. But some of the meetings contain critical overwhelming information I can't afford to miss (I'm a leader this year, remember?). 

At any rate, the nice GE lady I spoke to had a mom who was a teacher and she made a big note telling them to make me their last stop. But I know they aren't going to be able to fix it; I know I'm going to need a new washer and it's going to...because...well, this is just me overthinking things and worrying them to death and this is partly why I end up in tremendous, emotionally overwrought situations like yesterday. Situations in which, literally I take to my bed and pull the covers over my head. Situations in which, literally I lay there just focusing on taking one breath after another and practicing every single self-soothing technique I can think up.

But I'm better now. All better. Until the next time the washer breaks I suppose.

In the midst of this, my uncle called. My dad's brother. He went to a family reunion and got both my landline and mobile phone numbers. He called the landline first and I hung up on him, because the only people who ever call that number are trying to sell me something or begging for money. It is for emergency purposes only, in case my mobile is broken or the Zombie Apocalypse has begun and the satellites are all down. Also, my cable/internet company gave it to me for 1 penny per month, and that's actually why I have it.

Then he called my mobile. I saw it was the same number I hung up on from the landline and it was from Pennsylvania, so I decided to answer it. It was a shock; a happy shock, but a big surprise. I haven't spoken to my dad's brother for years and years.

The thing about talking to my Uncle Joe is that I can hear my dad in his voice. His voice is different than my dad's, but I can hear my dad; his speech patterns and way in which he speaks. In addition, the Samson men are all TALKERS. I mean, seriously. Don't sit down with one unless you've had a bathroom break and some free time. I couldn't even tell you what Uncle Joe and I spoke about yesterday, but he did a lot of the talking. (For the record, in person, I'm not much of a talker, but when I'm behind a screen typing? I can really feel the Samson DNA gurgling.)

When I saw him last in person, I just drank him in, because I can see my dad in his face, particularly around the eyes. And I miss my dad horribly, reader(s). I don't know if I can convey how deeply I miss my dad, but I deeply, deeply miss my dad. Most of the time I'm living my life, just going along happily (or, you know, under the covers carefully breathing), and then suddenly BAM. Something will happen or a memory will pop up or I'll smell a smell or...something. Someone who was closely connected to him will call for no real reason. Things like that. And then the inability to pick up a phone and call my dad or meet him for dinner or drinks or whatever will hit me. And then the longing pain takes over. If you've lost someone very loved and dear to you I know you understand this. 

And so. Yesterday was a bad day. Not just because the washer broke; just because...I just woke up feeling sad for no reason. And discontent. And scared. And just basically like: what the hell am I doing? Just really, really, really all-around-weird. And THEN the washer broke. 

And then my Uncle Joe called. 

Uncle Joey, who was a long-haired hippy when I was little, who I was terrified of because of his shaggy beard. Uncle Joey, who had a big loud laugh and still sort of does, though the years have worn it down. Uncle Joey, who gave me Luff Pup Pup for my 2nd Christmas, a big stuffed dog I still have who's the very personification of what the old Skin Horse told the Velveteen Rabbit would happen to you when you were loved by a child so much you became real. I slept with Luff Pup Pup (whose brand name in 1974 was Love Pup, but I couldn't say that, thus he became what I could say: Luff Pup Pup and remained this forever) until I was about 21. And even after I officially stopped sleeping with him, sometimes when I was most afraid and alone-feeling, I would pull him out and sleep with him because the love inside of him was, and is, really Real and it seeps out of him. 

Yesterday, when Uncle Joe called, I felt like my dad was checking on me. It felt like my dad was there, somewhere, and when I feel his presence around me it's always comforting but also very very sad because I long for him to really BE there. And so I sat talking to Uncle Joey on the phone hiding the tears streaming down my face, because (a) his call was so out of the blue and I did worry that maybe something else is going on and he's just connecting because of that but also (b) it felt like my dad was there. Swirling issues of longing and hope and loss. 

Which is one big reason why I left my apartment and took Miss M to spend the evening with my brother and his family. We swam and ate hot dogs and cupcakes and maybe there were some beers involved, just to take off the edge. For the adults, not the children of course. Children don't even know what "an edge" is, and half the time are the cause of them. 

And as I drove home from that, it occurred to me that, the next time I have the overwhelming need to lie under the covers carefully breathing away inexplicable pain, I should do THAT instead: go make contact with my people, the tribe to which I've been born...or maybe the tribes I've cultivated and continue to cultivate. Which is the whole point of why humans create tribes, I think.

Or I can go find Luff Pup Pup at my former house, pull him from his storage spot, bring him home, and then weep into his tattered, worn, beloved stuff body. Beds are just not as comforting. You know?


  1. First of all - go and get Luff Pup Pup! You can't leave your love behind! Secondly, "yeah!" for tribes, and phone calls from uncles, and hotdogs and beer (well, maybe not so much hotdogs...). Thirdly, sometimes the bed is the best choice. It seems like you are finding some balance (whether you believe it or not), so be proud of that step. Good luck with the washer - does your complex have a property manager that could let someone in?

    1. I didn't think about that - having somebody let somebody in. But probably not; they weren't very helpful with the satellite dish people. And also I want to be there if/when they tell me I just need a new washer so I can go: "I knew it, I KNEW it! Those goons messed up the other one!" Should NOT have given them a 5 rating on the follow up phone call. Things you learn.

      I will go get Luff Pup Pup. And I will hug some more Realness into him next time. :) ILY, B.


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