This last week went by in a blur. So much going on and not a lot of time to reflect on anything. We'll pick up right where I left off last. I was in the hotel in St. George, gearing up for my Monday line-up.
DAY 1 - I woke up early Monday morning and attacked the phone, only to remember that I had asked for a wake up call. They really need to put a warning on those things especially for people that suffer from disturbed sleep. I think I was dreaming about hunting some exotic bird and then it started squawking at me in that horrible voice... "This is your wake-up call. Have a wonderful day and thank you for choosing us." Or something like that. I got up and headed out the door with my printed off google instructions. Should be a piece of cake, seeing how the first school was within a 3 minute drive from the hotel. Um... yeah. Fifteen minutes later and a frantic phone call to my wife and then to my contact at the school, I was still doing doughnuts in the parking lot of the Taco Bell. Luckily, there are people out there that know how to read a map. I'm not one of them, but rely heavily on those people.
Valor Hall was stop number one. I was met by Tena Raleigh who got me all pumped up about the school and it went awesome! Lots of great kids, some of which had already read Hashbrown and were eager to participate. Tena also helped me find the next school which I was very grateful for, since I no longer trusted my maps. I was off to Sandstone which had a pretty big assembly. I then hit Trinity Lutheran and of course got lost again. I barely made it in time and by now I was dripping with sweat. Plus, St. George is well, hot! Trinity had a smaller assembly, but there was one kid there that really made me laugh. He kept calling everything I said disgusting. I guess it was disgusting. The whole part about the diaper, but afterwords I asked him if he had fun, to which he replied. "That was disgusting!" I love kids! Brutal honesty no matter what! I took a short break with my family to get some lunch and got pulled over for having expired tags. A $40 ticket later and a very warm farewell from the friendly officer and I was off to Coral Cliffs.
One might think that having such bad luck with directions coupled with the ticket might sully my experience. I was getting a little discouraged, but Coral Cliffs brought me back up! They were fantastic! There's just something about screaming and laughing kids that just makes me happy. 4 schools was quite a line-up, but I wasn't finished. I headed off to Costco to where I spent the next 4 hours sampling my book. I even wore a hairnet. Day 1 in the books. Memorable character created during one of my assemblies: HOT HEAD LUCY LOU (Brilliant! Simply Brilliant!)
DAY 2 - I kicked off the morning with East Elementary and found the school with hardly any issues. That's saying a lot! So already my day was on the up and up. I puttered around the area going 10 miles under the speed limit and I even double signaled (meaning I stuck my arm out the window to signal when I was turning left) and I about lost my arm by the Red Cliffs mall. Look, I was not getting another ticket in St. George and that was final. I should've taken a long lunch, but instead I went back to Costco and hung out for an hour and a half. Sold some books, ate some granola that the nice old man offered me that said I was looking squeamish and then I was back on the road headed to Santa Clara. It was just a great day and I learned something interesting. There are a lot of plastic cows in Santa Clara. I bet you didn't know that. And now I know why... I think.
Anyways. Santa Clara rocked as did Arrowhead. That school was in a beautiful neighborhood and I think it was built just last week or something. It was sparkling! Back to Costco for an hour, then over to Barnes and Noble for 2, swung by and poked my head in at the Deseret Book and then it was on the road for 4.5 hours to home. We pulled in at around 1 a.m. and collapsed. My kids were troopers and my wife saved my life. If it wasn't for them, I wouldn't have made it. Day 2 was done. Memorable Character Created - Moustache Polly (I know!)
DAY 3 - I really didn't get much rest and I was off to the Draper and Sandy schools. Summit Academy had an awesome auditorium where all the kids were seated properly and well-behaved. That was until I got involved. I apologize, I need the kids laughing or I don't like myself very much. :) I was late to my next appointment, sorry Ms. Shaw. To my defense, I just don't understand roads... er... yeah... roads. I swung into work for an hour, then headed off to Crescent Elementary and then Bell View. I was a little scatter brained that day, wandering around in circles in the parking lot, tripping over my easels, chasing after stray birds... you know the drill. Lack of sleep and honestly forgetting what a normal day consisted of had my head spinning. The kids were awesome this day and despite my stresses and continuously getting lost, they helped me remember why I do this. I realize now that the most important thing I can do going forward is to improve my writing and make sure I'm putting out the best stories I can possibly create. They deserve the best and I hope I can contribute to their love of reading. Sorry, sappy moment... (sniff)... had to share it...
Okay assignment time. I've lost my notes from DAY 3 and DAY 4's character creation. So I can't remember what we drew in those schools. Therefore, if you happen upon this blog and you were in attendance at DAY 3 or DAY 4's assemblies please chime in and remind me. I know they were good, but I want to have them logged forever.
DAY 4 - The end of week 2 rapidly approaches. First stop, Sunrise, tons of fun! Ms. Nocifora was a hoot! I'm so glad she was there because she really helped me get set up and the assembly was awesome. The teachers at all the schools I've visited deserve all the credit. They'll probably never know every value that they add to these kids' lives, but for a brief thirty minutes I caught a glimpse and immediately could see the amazing jobs they do. I'd feel safe to send my kids to any of the schools on my tour, knowing that their education was always top priority. Ugh! Another one? 2 sappy moments in one post? If I pull off a third one, I might just have to gag myself with a spoon. Remember that phrase from days of yore? Gag me with a spoon! Good stuff!
Next stop St. John the Baptist Elementary, or should I say, the Palace! Words cannot describe that school. First of all it was gargantuan! They had the biggest ceiling fan I've ever seen. Seriously, if you have a free moment and want to see the ninth wonder of the world, go get a hall pass from that school and just stare up at the ceiling. That thing could churn butter in a Silo! Did that actually make sense? If it did, I may use it in one of my books. Ms. Ward was awesome. She warned me not to rile the kids up like a previous presenter did the week before. I failed her. I was on a stage for crying out loud! A stage! With Hashbrown's huge melon on the screen behind me! I felt like a rock star! Last stop for the week was Draper Elementary. I still have one of the songs the school sang stuck in my head. "Oh me oh my I've lost my homework..." If you could've seen this choir with their two cool choir directors! It was a show I'd pay money to watch again. I actually got chills a couple times. The Dragons rocked! And I was there for two hours.
Finally, I headed to Barnes and Noble for my last signing of the week. When I walked into the building there was a line of kids and I immediately thought, Ah man! They have another person signing tonight? Boy was I pleasantly surprised to see that those kids were there for me. I almost cried.. UGHCACHUGALL...URL Sorry, that was my gagging myself with a spoon. I'm a man of my word. We sold out of books in a hurry and kids kept coming. It was the ultimate rush! One boy actually had his mom take him to another bookstore to pick up a copy so I could sign it because he didn't want to wait a week for the pre-orders to come in. I couldn't high-five him enough! Michelle was awesome! Thanks for the support and the amazing location to sign in. I definitely want to come back!
There, exhaustion, confusion, sweat transfusion... hey that rhymed. Well exhaustion doesn't rhyme with anything does it? Sticks Gosh Gun? Sorry, I just thought I would... I'm sorry. I have no excuses. Week 2 will leave a lasting mark in my memory for many years to come. Can I say I'm almost a pro at this? Not hardly, but I will say this. I now know with absolute assurance that this is the life I want. It's like I'm living in a dream and I'm so scared that at any moment I may... UGHCACGUGALL...URL Hey this isn't my spoon! What is this? Is that... is that mulch? Disgusting!
All right, whoever can be the first that can correctly give me the total number of exclamation points used in this post will win 5 signed bookmarks, a handful of marbles, and 5 color changing pencils. An unbelievable prize! Let the games begin!!!