I blame myself, since I am the chief hoarder of stuff. From guitars to fountain pens to computers to Lego kits, I have some pretty fine stuff. Really though, when it comes right down to it, it’s all just stuff. That’s how Annie sees it all, I’m sure. Maybe she has different categories for our stuff. Perhaps Tasty, crunchy, soft and pointy might be some of her descriptions for our stuff. Maybe she sorts it by smell instead. In any event, she doesn’t seem to understand that it’s not all her stuff.
The stuff, if broken down into discrete items, would likely count in the millions. We have thousands of books alone, not to mention the tasty wooden shelves that hold many of them. Before kids, I’d say that 80% of the stuff in our house was mine. After kids, that has probably shrank to 40%. I would estimate that naked, broken Barbie dolls probably account for 20% of the stuff nowadays.
I read somewhere that you should identify the things that you would grab if you had five minutes to evacuate, then consider everything else you own expendable. People usually grab things like their photo albums and other mementos during this exersize. Having had a “get ready to evacuate” moment last year, I can tell you that amidst the endless stuff in our house, there are exactly four items of importance.
Though the fire department responded, they only put up cones to keep the stupid people away from the danger. Our house was inside the cones, so I was immune to any form of common sense. After getting some newsworthy pictures, I noticed the fire starting to spread to the woods. It hadn’t rained in some time, and I knew that the woods were very dry since the Smokey the Bear sign outside of town had said Extreme Risk of Fire for days. As the fire started to spread, I decided that we needed to prepare for the possibility of departure. It wasn’t an emergency situation yet, but from my excellent vantage point inside the no common sense zone, I could see that it could easily become one.
Ready to tell everyone to pack an emergency evacuation bag, I walk into the house and tripped over two stuffed pillowcases on the floor. The girls had decided for themselves that we might need to bug out, and they were ready to go. In the pillowcases were the four most beloved of possessions from our house. These four items were not photo albums, they were not family keepsakes, and they were not intrinsically valuable. These were babies. Four babies to be precise, named in order of acquisition: Winky, Blinky, Blinky and Fimbo. That is not a typo—there really are two babies named Blinky.
Meghan can easily identify which baby is which, but the rest of us are pretty much clueless. I do know that the two Blinky’s have different hair due to a hair-cutting incident many years ago. Winky, though, is just Winky; she’s special. Still, Winky and the Blinky with hair sure do look alike to me. I believe Meghan can tell them apart by the wonderful pattern of stains on their faces, but then again maybe Meghan just knows. A mommy always knows her babies.
Even though Meghan has always had her precious babies, I had started to wonder about Colleen, who even at the age of two had no special doll or stuffed toy that she adored. It didn’t seem right somehow to have a little girl without a dollie in tow. That all changed one year after I went to the United Kingdom for work.
During the summer of 2003, I spent three out of the four weeks in August building a call center in the UK. It was an exhausting trip, and though I managed to spend a couple of days in Ireland to wind down, our sightseeing was limited. Still, I made sure to bring something home for my girls that would represent the different culture in which I had spent my time.
The green one (green and yellow to be precise) was named Fimbo. The blue and purple one was named Florie. I learned that much from reading the boxes, but aside from thier names, I knew nothing about them. I was pretty sure they didn’t exist in the US though, and that’s what mattered to me at the time.
When I got home, Colleen chose Fimbo and Meghan got Florie. They were cute, but I had no idea how important Fimbo would become. Colleen, who had never before seemed to love a doll, latched onto Fimbo like nothing I’d ever seen. Fimbo went everywhere with Collie, and I do mean everywhere. We finally had to limit Fimbo’s adventures, because he kept getting left places. On about the 35th iteration of “I CAN’T FIND FIMBO!” just before bed, only to find him in the car, we made a rule that Fimbo had to stay home so that he would always be safe.
Babies and Fimbo have been everywhere the girls have slept, because there’s a difference between adventures during the day, and the security of sleeping with them. They have been to New Hampshire, Jamaica, and St. Lucia. They have been to North Carolina, to both grandmother’s houses, and of course, Fimbo has been to England and Ireland. Meghan actually left her babies on the plane when we landed in Saint Lucia, and Lauren had to run back onto the plane from the tarmac, much to the displeasure of the local security force. Rules be damned when Babies are lost!
As you might guess, Annie cares not for the rules of men. Or women, or anyone else for that matter. She seems to respect Guinness when he’s laying in the doorway, but he’s got bigger teeth than me, and he’s not afraid to use them on her. Actually he’s never bitten anyone, though Lord knows, she deserves it. Still, she won’t step over him or bother him. Babies though, they’re fair game.
Babies and Fimbo don’t often get washed, so I’m sure they smell heavenly, especially if you’re a ferret-dog with an extra-busy sniffer. Every now and then, when the kids have left their guards down, and Annis is feeling full of herself, she will pilfer a Baby and prance through the living room with glee. Meghan then screams and cries and one of us demands that Annie DROP IT! She knows we mean business and the baby is saved, if a little more drooled upon. More stains make them more unique anyway.
Annie has never hurt any Babies, or Fimbo, but we don’t know if she would. Certainly, we take great care when leaving the house to make sure that Babies and Fimbo are locked up or out of reach until we get back. So far we’ve been lucky. We’ve seen what Annie does to her own toys, which is pretty horrifying when projected unto the most precious of possessions. Eternal vigilance is the only solution. Babies must be stowed, and doors must be locked, lest the ferret-dog gain access to the beloved stinky babies whilst no one is home to stop her.
We never did need to evacuate after the tree fire in the road. Here’s hoping we never have to evacuate for any reason. The likelihood of serious disaster where we live is thankfully low, unless of course, you consider Annie as a force of nature.
Do your kids, grandkids, neices or nephews have babies that look like Winky, Blinky or even Blinky? Do you have or know of a beloved Fimbo or other Fimble? If so, Meghan and Colleen would love to hear about them, or even better, see pictures. Here in the US, Fimbles are scarce, so we don’t see them anywhere. Post your comments or pictures here for them to see, and gain the undying gratitude of two special girls.