The Glory of Wednesday

We’re looking forward to Wednesday. Not for the reasons you’d assume either. It is not the 53rd anniversary of Bill Mazeroski’s home to win the ’60 series. That was Sunday. It is not the 36th anniversary of my first college football game. That’s today. It is not the 28th anniversary of A-Ha hitting #1 in Billboard’s Top 40 with Take on Me. That’s next Sunday. Wednesday is the day when we no longer will have daily cross country practice or softball practice. Last softball tournaments of the year are this weekend while the last cross country meet of the year is Tuesday.

Cue Handel’s Messiah.

I might be engaging in a tad bit of hyperbole but it feels like freaking Christmas Eve and the last day of school combined. Or that feeling you got when the Bears Dave Williams took the opening kickoff of overtime back for a touchdown against Detroit Thanksgiving Day in 1980. Or when you see Steelers GM Kevin Colbert walking along the sidewalk outside Jack Trice Stadium at the Iowa State-Texas game and you go all fanboy on him asking him about scouting. All awesome. Last week we had 5 softball practices and 8 games, 4 cross country practices, 1 cross country meet, 4 afternoons/evenings with dance. I’d give the exact number of dance classes contained within those 4 afternoons/evenings but I don’t know. Rye has so many classes that drain our checking accounts, I don’t really care to know the number. If I were to give you an estimate, it would be…a lot.

My point, if I have one, is that the schedule is catching up to us. And by catching up to us I mean in the overwhelming sense similar to what Hans Guderian and his panzers did to the French in the spring of 1940.

The elementary school the girls attend have a program called Challenge of the Books for 4th, 5th and 6th graders. Every month for about five months, kids in the program are assigned a particular book to read. Within each grade level the kids broken down into several reading groups comprising about five kids. The 4th grade groups all read the same book and so on. Once a month each group gets together to discuss the book. And, by the way, this reading is in addition to the normal assigned reading they get in the classrooms. So its more homework. But Rye did it and Kinsey has been doing it since 4th grade. This is Bailey’s first year in the program. We totally believe in it. The girls reading levels are a testament to the extra work. And after reading Outliers, I’m a total believer in more practice is always good. Anyway, the books were assigned in early September and they were supposed to get together last week for their first meeting to discuss the books.

Sounds straight-forward enough. Kinz had no problem getting her book, reading her book and preparing herself to discuss her book. Bails path to her first meeting was a bit more rocky. And by rocky I mean like running the ball on the ’76 Steelers using the ’76 Buccaneers offense to do it.

She never actually obtained the book she was assigned to read. Which was a complete breakdown within the sister teamwork processes. Kinsey’s teacher has all the books for all the Challenge of Books groups in her room. She’s like the Challenge of the Books quartermaster. Kinsey, even though she was asked to do it, never found the time to walk the 8 or 9 feet over to the shelf in her room and get the book for Bails. However, Bails, despite knowing the date of the first meeting was coming up displayed absolutely no sense of urgency when it came to acquiring the book. Much like the current administration in regards to anything John Boehner says.

Anyway, I get an email on Friday, October 4 reminding us that the first meeting is the following week. I of course ignored this email because I had taken the day off and was home watching Pirates future pitching ace Gerrit Cole mow down the Cardinals. Too bad the Pirates couldn’t duplicate his effort against Wainwright on last week. Regardless, the email says that Bails’ first meeting is Tuesday Oct. 8 and she’s supposed to bring a cold lunch to school so they don’t waste valuable meeting time waiting in the lunch line.

Well the only email I had checked was the original email containing the book list which was sent around Labor Day. That email also said that the first meeting was to be held the week of Oct. 6 without specifying a day. I asked Kinsey when the meetings were held. She said Wednesdays. I believed her. Which in retrospect is a lot like the US Navy believing that the Japanese didn’t have the technological expertise to develop plane launched torpedoes capable of running the shallow waters of Pearl Harbor. I should have done a bit more checking.

So last Monday afternoon we suddenly realize, albeit erroneously, that Bailey’s first Challenge of Books meeting is Wednesday and she not only hasn’t read any of the book but hasn’t even bothered to secure a copy of the book. Our reaction? I asked Mom to download a copy onto her Kindle, Baily would read as much of that downloaded copy as she could Monday evening and Tuesday and then she’d go to the meeting.

Naturally a copy is not available for download.

Okay, so how about we find a nice detailed summary so at least she’ll be able to partially participate in the discussion. Then we’d have her read the book afterwards while also reading the next regularly scheduled book.

After all we still have Monday evening and Tuesday.

Except we didn’t. Once we got home from softball practice, took a shower and did her math homework it was time for her to go to bed. So we’re down to Tuesday to get everything done.

Except we weren’t.

While at work on Tuesday I find the email from Friday the 4th and learn that not only is her meeting on Tuesday and not Wednesday but she was supposed to bring a cold lunch to the meeting. As I finish the email I feel with absolute metaphysical certitude that Bailey, upon learning that information while at school, either refused to go the meeting in the most stubborn and obstinate manner imaginable or she went to the meeting under duress and misbehaved so badly that we’ll need to move out of the school district and send her to a private military school on Iceland.

So I’m sitting at the kitchen table when Bailey gets home from school.

“Hey Bails how did your Challenge of Books meeting go today?”

“We didn’t have it.”

“What? Why?”

“Nobody in my group read the book. Well, nobody read it except for one kid. Everyone thought we were supposed to start reading the book today not finish it today.”

“Huh. Cool.”

So now we not only have a copy of the book courtesy of Kinsey’s renewed efforts but we also have another month to finish it. Plus we have next Wednesday coming up.

Not a bad start to October. I mean if you ignore the Steelers record.