Sweet Surrender

I have surrendered my man chair to a Muppet. To the point: Rigby Floyd officially became a Schlenker in October. He is a Golden Doodle named after The Beatles’ Eleanor Rigby and the Muppet bassist for Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem (there is a remarkable resemblance).

Rigby came into our lives not long after our beloved Abbey the corgi—also named in honor of the Fab Four—passed away at age 14. Rigby has big paws to fill, no doubt, which is good because his paws are the size of bear claws (not the pastries so much as the bear that fought Leonardo DiCaprio).

Rigby will be a big boy. As of this writing, he is a 14-week-old puppy with razor teeth and a hankering for soccer (the taste of the ball, not the competition). He is growing fast and, by the time you read this, he may be bigger than the DiCaprio bear. But my, oh my, oh my, is he adorable. I call him a Muppet because he is joyful and floppy and hairy. Also significant: He is a he.

After 15 years, there is another dude in our house. Since the death of Taylor Wolverine the cat, the Schlenker home has been a big sea of estrogen from daughters to cats to dogs. There are a few dude trappings in our home, including an impressive Hot Wheels collection and a big, built-for-a-king leather chair, designed for watching John Wayne movies if John Wayne movies existed in the Schlenker home.

That chair was the subject of a column last year in this magazine because a few women in my life were determined to evict it and replace it with something prettier and more in line with things seen on HGTV. I paid $99 for that chair at a thrift store and the general consensus among the estrogen delegation is that I paid $99 too much. I love that chair. You know who else also loves that chair? My only son: Rigby Floyd. I would like to say he sits with me and watches movies with explosions and fast cars, but he’s really in it for the belly rubs. It fits both of us nicely—for now—yet his puppy enthusiasm and puppy bites sometimes send me to other areas. Recently, I found myself sitting on the floor watching football as Rigby slept in my man chair hugging a plush elephant that squeaks. I sincerely did not remember how this arrangement evolved. I just remembered thinking, “Why am I on the floor?” and “Will Dan Mullen be fired this week?”

But such is life: One moment, you are a single young dude with hand-me-down furniture that may or may not be ugly—who cares?—and the next moment, you are married to your high school crush with two brilliant daughters, two loud cats and a deliriously happy, floppy, funny, licky Muppet son with great taste in furniture. And that is as it should be in January 2022: One new dynamic. Several new messes. Same sweet life.

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