Pengda Adventures

The adventures of an unusual creature living in our home

This is a weird story

We don’t expect you to believe what we’re laying down here. That’s fine. But we wanted a place to keep track of our crazy adventure with the creature we’ve come to call “Pengda.”

Here’s what happened. As usual, I was out of town on business. I travel a lot. Not every week, but many of them I’m somewhere other than home for a night or two. Sometimes more. On a recent trip I was late to get to the airport for my flight home and there was no room for my suitcase on the plane, so I had to gate check it for two flights. It’s not my preference, but sometimes you just have to go with the flow.

Hours later I was waiting at baggage claim for my suitcase. In a hurry to get home I didn’t stop to inspect my bag and hustled on to the shuttle bus to get out to my car. When I lifted my bag up to stow it I noticed it was heavier than I remembered. But still distracted by texts from my family and trying to remember where I parked my car (almost always D4) I pressed on.

It was when I arrived at home that I knew something had happened to my suitcase. Lucy, our family dog went NUTS. Normally she enjoys a long, but calm sniffing session with my bags after a trip, but this time she was barking and pacing all around my bag. Everyone stirred to see what was happening and together we opened my suitcase to find Pengda.

Of course we didn’t have a name for it right away, but there’s really no other way to talk about him (?). A creature, appearing to be a penguin in general size and shape with the exception of black furry ears, much like those of a panda, was on top of my clothes in the suitcase. Bags of (formerly) frozen tater tots were packed around him and a bottle of that rooster-label hot sauce was under his left flipper. (Or is it a wing?)  He blinked at us, exclaimed “Maaaaaaaa!” at Lucy and hopped out of the bag.

You can imagine for yourself the fracas that ensued. Probably not unlike some sitcom episode you’ve seen. Chaos, arguments about what to do, me lamenting the loss of my favorite suitcase (a penguin-like creature still smells more like penguin than anything else and that’s not great for business-wear or expensive cases), wondering how to feed it (but not what) and, finally (after convincing the adult in the house to hold off on a call to Animal Control) where it would sleep.

Suffice to say, our family includes a father, a mother, three daughters, a dog, a horse that lives elsewhere, and Pengda. Stay with us. There’s more to tell.




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Pengda must be independently wealthy

or so it seems by the amount of Amazon packages he (?) receives each week. At first I was scouring my bank accounts to see if someone (or something) had hacked in to fund the seemingly endless collection of things that arrive addressed to our new friend.

I’ll explain more about all of his treasures another time. There’s one that really cracks us up. It’s a Roomba, this one, specifically. We have a lovely Dyson which we use to vacuum up Lucy’s black hairs. At first I thought maybe Pengda (or whoever sent him) was implying that we weren’t keeping things clean enough (and maybe that’s true).

Grace and Maddie really love coming home from school to see what the latest packages contain. They help with the unpacking and sometimes assembly. Grace was quick to take on the Roomba and figured out how to get it charging up. The morning after it arrived we understood its true purpose. The Roomba is Pengda’s ride!

I’ve said from the beginning, this story is weird. I know I’m skipping over a lot but honestly, between managing all of the new stuff Pengda is having delivered and my own personal commitment to recycle all of the blasted Amazon boxes there’s not much time to sit and think (or write) about all of this. Gracie is helping. You’ll see her posts here from time to time.

The good news? We don’t have to vacuum now. Pengda seems to like contributing to the household.

Feeding this thing is a pain in the butt

When I learned that  a strange animal, was staying at our house I had mixed feelings about this new chapter of our lives. There was a little bit of confusion but I was mostly happy about this situation.

As he wiggled his way out of the suitcase he was mostly stiff. I reached to grab one of the now thawed out  tater tot bags figuring out that he had to be hungry. I threw the tater tots out on a pan with the oven preheated at 350 degrees as usual. I threw the food in the oven.

While the food was cooking, I inspected the mysterious creature and I soon started calling him “Pengda”. I glanced at his flipper and it looked like he was carrying something. I lifted his arm, he just waited there patiently. Something soon rolled out and hit my knee. It was a bottle of sriracha. I suspected that it went with the tots.

The oven timer went off and I pulled out the tater tots and got the sriracha. I grabbed a plate and put 10 or so tater tots in it and drizzled the sriracha on like you would do with chocolate syrup on ice cream. I put the plate next to him and he shook his entire body like he was saying no. I inched it towards him but he tapped his foot and shook his body no. I learned that one tap is no and I’m guessing that two taps means yes.

I repeated the process and this time instead of drizzling the sriracha on the tater tots I made a splotch of it on the side of the plate only touching one of the tater tots. I gave it to him and he only ate the one that had little sriracha on it.

Third time around I was somewhat mad and I stood up each of the little  tots and added one dot of sriracha to each one. I gave it to him and he ate them all  gulping them down one at a time. I soon learned that I would have to repeat this process two times a day.

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