Wow, this week was brutal... it was awesome, but brutal. I officially kicked off my school tour on Tuesday in Layton and now I'm sitting in a hotel in St. George gearing up for week 2. Here's a recap:
Monday - stayed late after work and went over my presentation in front of Sheralyn, Cedar Fort's Public Relations, in my office. That actually was probably the hardest part of the week. It's one thing to get up in front of hundreds of kids and try to make them laugh, it's another thing to stand up in front of one adult, worrying that my employees might be listening in, and give a presentation geared for kids only to not get the laughs I was hoping for. Butterflies in the stomach doesn't really do it justice. Let's just say it felt more like an angry baboon dancing around in there.
Tuesday - Layton - King and Mountain View Elementary - This was it. My first day on the tour. Luckily Sheralyn was there to help me set up, but I was so nervous. Don't get me wrong, I've always loved the spotlight on me, and making people laugh is what makes me happy, but there's something about prepping for a presentation. Will my jokes be funny? Will they get my stories? Will I make any sense? Will they even raise their hands to answer questions and participate? All of these questions were swimming around in my head. I must've recited my speech at least a dozen times from Monday night to noon on Tuesday.
The first school went great. I was a little rusty and unprepared, but I managed to eek through the whole thing without crying. I do think I might've made a teacher or two mad at me. One of the schools was so well-behaved until I came in and riled them up. They were screaming before I even started. I have to give a big thank you to Rachelle and the Layton B&N team for letting me hang out Tuesday night. Thanks guys! It was fun. Oh yeah, memorable character name created by one of the schools: Pinky Toad Johnson
Wednesday - Orem - Ivy Hall, Aspen and Bonneville Elementary - Things were starting to get a little easier except for the fact I was losing my voice, coming down with a cold and could no longer remember the proper dosage of Robitussin. Thank goodness for the Netty Pot. Yeah, it got a little gross in my bathroom sink the night before, but that precious pot saved my life! Sheralyn helped me out again and we found the first school without too much difficulty. It was a great assembly and the kids participated and I think they had fun. I had to make a few adjustments to my presentation, but I was starting to feel a little more confidence with presenting on the fly.
Alpine was awesome, except for the fact that it wasn't Alpine it was Aspen Elementary and I was completely lost by some mountain with only minutes to go before I was supposed to be presenting. Somehow we had printed up the wrong directions and I was wandering through lands unknown. Luckily, I got back on track and booked it to the school. The kids were already filing in and I had to act quick and get my gear set up. Aspen was an awesome school and the kids rocked! I did lose about a gallon of sweat and I smacked the back of my head on the inside of the van door. Oh well.
Last school was Bonneville Elementary... HUGE! I was all on my own for this one as Sheralyn had to head to another appointment. At least 700 kids were there in a giant assembly. A big thanks to Vice Principal Borens for helping me out. One valuable lesson learned: Never mention Hannah Montana to an assembly of more than 700 kids. No good will ever come of it. I lost all control for a good 5 minutes. At the time I could've passed out, but now looking back, that was really funny! So loud! So much screaming! So wanting to crawl under the overhead projector and die... :) I can't remember the names created on this day so if there is anyone out there that was in the audience during my assembly please tell me what they were. I've started writing them down, but over the first day or so, I just couldn't think of it.
Thursday - Orem/Provo - Cascade, Hillcrest, Wasatch and Cascade Elementary again - What a day! It was packed full of events and I was still under the weather. Plus, I was all on my own. No one to help set up... no one to guide me to the right school. I was nervous yet again, but the day went smooth... well, almost. Cascade Elementary was awesome! They had a great separate gymnasium for the assembly and we had kids from 1st-6th. Mrs. Haymond, the school's librarian had all of the contest forms ready to go and I only tripped on the microphone wire like 4 times. I loved that school!
Next it was on to Hillcrest Elementary. Mrs. Gardner the school librarian has one of the coolest libraries I have ever seen. It was set up and decorated with tons of Harry Potter stuff. Plus, this was the first school where a student introduced me. Tyler did an excellent job and we all had a ton of laughs and just an overall good time. I even got to sign my poster and saw that James Dashner had a signed poster on their walls as well. I'm moving up I tell you! Moving up!
Next stop Wasatch Elementary. I actually had someone waiting by my table to have me sign their copy of Hashbrown. Serena, thanks for making me feel like a million bucks! Mrs. Mac had that school pumped and afterwords I got to sign a lot of autographs on tiny slips of paper, forks and one kid actually wanted me to sign his quarter. I wasn't successful in doing so and I apologize. It was just too small of a surface.
I booked it out of Wasatch and headed back to Cascade. The PM students were equally as cool as the AM students and I had a lot of fun retelling my presentation to all of the teachers that heard it that morning. Sorry guys, I know I need some new material. :) I then headed over to Costco and sold all of their copies to unsuspecting shoppers that thought I was sampling french bread pizza. Next, I hit the Orem Barnes and Noble and hung out with Brandy. We're old friends from the days of Authorpalooza. I was worried no one would show, but I was pleasantly surprised. Tons of kids made it out to the book signing and I walked away with close to 100 entries into the Create-a-Character Contest. I've got my work cut out for me. Oh, on a side note, I dented my van's bumper and a rock flew off the back of a truck and completely cracked my windshield. It's official! I now owe more money than I'll ever make from this book. Oh well, I'm still growing. Memorable character name created by one of the schools: Stink Bomb Beetle
So there you have it! I was exhausted and I handed out too many bookmarks and pencils to count. I took a break on the weekend, hung out with some good friends and watched some movies and now I'm 6 hours away from home starting to feel those jittery feelings in my stomach again as I get ready for this week. I don't know what I'm so nervous about. It's only 15 schools, 4 book signings, thousands of kids and one well-used netty pot. Ah, the things I do for Hashbrown. I love that little guy!