I don't know what happened last night, but my stars were not aligned. Despite an eagerly anticipated family pumpkin carving time ahead, I was grumpy, out of sorts, and in need of a time out. It was right before dinner, but the chicken wasn't cooking fast enough for hungry kids, so I took our youngest upstairs to read a book, calm him down and kill time. But our daughter, who was in a mood of her own, joined the party on his bed, exuding thirteen year-old energy, and quiet reading time became supercharged and I couldn't cope. I thought, let's take some of this energy downstairs and get started on the carving, but said, "Right now we could be downstairs scraping the guts out of penguins."
Our son and daughter stopped dead. "What?!"
By then I realized what I'd said and wondered how on earth I'd malaprop-ized pumpkin into penguin, and how I'd ever live it down. The five year-old was chanting, "Scraping penguins, scraping penguins, scraping penguins," and our daughter was looking at me like I'd lost my mind, which was entirely possible.
The seventeen year-old said I was sick when informed, but liked it of course. Sick is good fun when you're seventeen, and while he didn't scrape the guts out of any penguins, he did help design a sinister visage for his brother's.
Scraping the guts out of pumpkins is a fun activity, but scraping the guts out of pumpkins labeled "round orange penguins" was even funner, and I think a family in-joke has been unintentionally born from end of the day fatique and a misalignment of the stars.
And the four gutless penguins will look fabulous lit up along the porch tonight. Happy Halloween.