Today in my stats class I discovered that my calculator was not in my bag. I'm not talking about a little crappy dollar store calculator, but a $100 TI-83 Plus that isn't even mine (mine does all sorts of weird shit, so I think it's possessed), it's my boyfriend's. Oh yeah, and I have a test tomorrow, and besides the fact that I suck at math, it's mandatory to use the calculators. I started freaking out and called my dad to check for it at home, and it wasn't there. My mom told me to try the lost and found at school, even though it probably wouldn't be there, so I did, and they had it! It's a miracle! So whoever turned in my bf's TI-83 Plus, I owe you a mega pizza toast. Because of you, my boyfriend will let me live, and my dad will not be $100 poorer.
Because of that, I'm going to do one of my favorite BSC books, The Baby-sitters Remember. I was saving this to do on my birthday, but oh well. I always liked prequels (as long as they're done correctly), and loved all the Portrait Collection books and reading about what the BSC did before they were the BSC. Plus Claudia misspells her own name, how funny is that? I remember being so excited when the Book Fair sheet came out in grade school, and this was on there. Ooh, and my copy came with a chilly BSC necklace that I'll have to locate. But don't worry guys, even though I honestly love this book, I'll still find some things to bitch about, trust.
So the BSC is just starting their summer vacation, and the entire Stoneybrook Middle School was given an assignment on the second to last day of school - write an essay on what they did on their summer vacation. Why do teachers care about that shit? I never understood it. Plus isn't the point of summer vacation to not do anything? Whatevs. Anyway, I would wonder why the eighth graders are assigned this when they are going to high school the next year and will be unable to turn it in, but this is the BSC, they'll just be in eighth grade again next year. Kristy has a sleepover on the first day of summer vacation, and Jessi asks them what their most vivid memory is, so each club member decides to write about the sleepover and their most vivid memory for their essay.
In the background info of all the members, it actually didn't say that Jessi was black. I was so shocked, but then I found it at the end of Mallory's description, so no worries, guys.
Kristy: Kristy's most vivid memory is about baby-sitting, of course. But this is the very first time she got to baby-sit, when she was 10 years old. Their housekeeper sucked and kept on saying she couldn't come in all the time, so Kristy's mom needed someone to watch David Michael after school. Kristy thinks it's sad that the only housekeeper her mom can afford is a not very good one, but I think that if you can find me a single mom with 4 kids that has a housekeeper at all, I'll give you a dollar. Not really. Anyway, Sam and Charlie each have after-school commitments, so Kristy begs her mom to let her watch David Michael. I don't know why her mom is so reluctant to agree, because it's not like David Michael's a tiny baby, he's 4. Plus it's just a few hours, from after school until she gets home. Oh yeah, and free baby-sitter! Come on!
So Kristy's mom finally agrees, and says that they can't answer the door for strangers or play with the stove and all sorts of other stuff that possibly a 4 year old and definitely a 10 year old should know. Kristy is hella excited, and meets Mary Anne out front to walk to school and tells her the great news. I think Mary Anne's impressed, but maybe she's too busy being creeped out by the fact that her father watches her from the door until she crosses the street. She's not 5, Richard!
After school, Kristy races home in order to get there before David Michael (who is being dropped off from day-care by Mrs. Pike, since Nicky has kindergarten there, too), and is pleased that she makes it. She starts fixing David Michael a snack consisting of apple slices, graham crackers, and juice boxes, when Mrs. Newton calls and asks what she's doing and makes sure she's not using the stove. What's she going to cook, a gourmet dinner? Kristy reassures her that she's not, and Mrs. Pike drops David Michael off. Kristy's mom calls, and Kristy has to tell her that everything's fine, and then Mary Anne calls and wants to come over or have Kristy over because her baby-sitter is weird. Kristy says no because she's baby-sitting. Mary Anne says tsk because she's 80, and hangs up so she can help her baby-sitter, who is studying to be a beautician, with some pin curls. I think it would be fun to have a baby-sitter who is studying to be a beautician, but I am a huge makeup whore.
Kristy and David Michael, with Louie for protection, go play outside. While they're out, Mimi drops by, Mrs. Pike calls, Mrs. Newton and Kristy's mom call again, and Mary Anne's baby-sitter comes over to see how they're doing. Couldn't one of those people (minus Kristy's mom) have watched David Michael for a few hours since Kristy's mom is so worried about them? I mean, Mrs. Pike may be busy popping out more kids, but Mrs. Newton or Mimi could have taken him. Anyway, Kristy's mom comes home and finds out everything is okay, and fires their shitty housekeeper. Kristy says it'll mean that they'll all have housekeeping chores, but that's okay. Aren't they old enough to have chores anyway?
Stacey: Stacey's story is about when she was first diagnosed with diabetes. Oh, Stacey's diabetic? I didn't know, just like I had no idea that Jessi's black. They should mention those details a few thousand times in every book.
Anyway, Stacey's eleven, and still living in New York. She says she's a native New Yorker, and that you can't say that about just anyone. Have you seen New York, Stacey? It's huge. I'm sure that there are more people than you who were born there. Anyway, Stacey is starting sixth grade, and wants to make it the best year ever. She has plans for straight A's, a place on the soccer team, and making some new friends. She's also drinking and eating like crazy. She runs outside to meet Laine to walk to their first day of school at Parker Academy, and Laine informs her that one of their friends is switching schools and must be replaced. I love Laine. She rules with an iron fist.
All of the other members of Laine's handpicked group meet in front of the school, except for one who is running late. Stacey says every now and then Laine gives the last person to arrive a hard time. Obey Laine, be there on time! As they go in, Stacey sees a girl who she is assuming is new because she is wearing a brand new Parker Academy sweater and carrying a brand new Parker Academy backpack. I thought they didn't have uniforms, and if they didn't, what kind of nerd wears a school sweater on the first day and has a school backpack? Not even Mallory would do that, and that's saying something.
Stacey introduces herself to the new girl, whose name is Allison Ritz and is from Texas, and invites her to sit with the group at lunch, even though Laine didn't approve it first. Stacey's got some balls. Laine was pissed, but Stacey didn't care. After school, her mom measures her and weighs her and finds out that she grew an inch and a half over the summer, but lost 4 pounds. Her mom says that her recent hunger and thirst are just her way of her body catching up to her height, and she should try to pig out on healthy things. Stacey agrees, and a member of the group, Deirdre, calls and invites her to a sleepover that weekend. Stacey asks if Allison can come, and Deirdre says she'll have to check with Laine first. Deirdre knows what's up.
Laine is pissed that she has been defied like this, and Stacey has to convince her to let Allison come to the sleepover. Laine tells Stacey that she's going to get fat with all the shit she's eating and drinking, and gives in.
Stacey feels all weird on sleepover day, but doesn't want to miss it. Allison basically pissed Laine off all night, first by having the nerve to get lost on the way to Deirdre's, then by asking for anchovies on her pizza, and for breathing. Stacey pulls Laine out of the room and gives her a talking to, and let me tell you, Laine was not happy. But she did start acting nicer to Allison, for Laine. The girls decide that Stacey and Laine would sleep together in Deirdre's bed, and the rest would sleep on the floor in sleeping bags. While she's asleep, Stacey does by far the most embarrassing thing ever, she wets the bed while she and Laine are in it. After reading this, I became mega paranoid and always made sure I went to the bathroom before I slept in the same bed with someone. Laine wakes Stacey up by screaming and calling her a baby, and runs for the shower. Stacey feels embarrassed and dizzy and weird, and calls her parents to come get her. She thinks Laine is being a drama queen for taking a super long shower, but come on, Stacey, you pissed on her! Cut Laine some slack!
At school all her friends ignored her, including Allison, and Laine made sure the bed wetting story got around. I don't know if I'd tell everyone that my best friend pissed on me, but whatever, Laine. Stacey's parents send her to a child psychiatrist, who asks her if she's hungry and thirsty all the time and sometimes dizzy. She says yes and the psychiatrist tells her parents he thinks Stacey might have diabetes. Unless this psychiatrist has personal experience with diabetes, I can tell you that as a psych major I have learned nothing about the symptoms of diabetes. Stacey's parents take her to her pediatrician, who diagnoses her.
Stacey has difficulty with her diabetes in the beginning, what with finding out the right amounts of insulin to take and stuff, and misses soccer tryouts because she in the hospital. She doesn't make any new friends because Allison Ritz told everyone she was a bed wetter, which Laine liked so much that she invited Allison into the group. Wouldn't Laine feel guilty for being such a bitch when she found out Stacey had an incurable disease? Stacey also didn't get straight A's, as every time she caught up with her schoolwork she got sick again and had to be in the hospital. Stacey's doctor tells her that she is a brittle diabetic, which means her diabetes is harder to control than others. Everyone at school either called her a hypochondriac for being absent so much and for fainting twice, or avoided her because they thought she was contagious. Her parents became mega overprotective, and then announced that they'd be moving to Stoneybrook. Stacey can't wait to go, and you know the rest.
Claudia: Claudia is in first grade, and not doing so well in school. Her teacher seems like a ho who hates children and yells all the time, so I can understand how this environment would not be conducive to learning. Claudia does excel at art though, and loves her huge box of Crayolas with the sharpener in the back. Word, Claudia. You weren't cool unless you had the sharpener.
Janine walks Claudia, Mary Anne, and Kristy to school every day, and reads a book while doing it. Claudia is impressed because she has trouble reading while sitting. Richard does not let Mary Anne wear pants to school, and I think he's crazy. If she has to walk to school, she's bound to be cold during the winter, and needs some pants. I went to a private school in first grade and had to wear a uniform, and I was so cold during the winter that I'd pray they wouldn't make us go outside for recess. Let her wear pants, Richard!
Their day consists of Mary Anne crying because it's gym day, their teacher yelling at everyone, Kristy beating Alan Gray up, and then it's time for art. They have a special art teacher, Miss Packett, who tells them that they have a homework assignment. They must draw a self portrait, and Claudia, who totally has A.D.D., misses out on the explanation of a self portrait because she's thinking about what she'll draw. She brags to Mimi after school about her homework, and then runs upstairs to work on it. She draws a huge butterfly using tons of colors, and spends hours on making it perfect. She hands it in to her teacher next day, and waits for the next art time so she can see her art teacher's reaction.
Art day comes, and the art teacher starts unrolling all the pictures and showing them. They are all pictures of themselves, and Claudia starts to get worried. Finally the teacher gets to hers, and after Claudia saying she drew it, because she didn't put a name on it, the teacher proceeds to rip her a new one for not following directions. Claudia is super upset, and cries to Mimi after school. Mimi takes Claudia back to the school and tells Miss Packett that Claudia understood the directions better than anyone, because she sees herself as a wild beautiful free butterfly. No, Mimi, she just didn't listen to the directions. Miss Packett apologizes to Claudia, and gives her back the drawing. Present day Claudia says that she still has the drawing and she added her name - Caludia - to the bottom. I can't believe she misspelled her own name.
Jessi: I wish Jessi's story was about the first time she found out she was black, but it's not. It's about Squirt's birth. Jessi had just finished fourth grade and Becca had just finished first. Her mother's pregnancy was a big deal because she had miscarried twice before, but Jessi did not want a baby in the house because they cried a lot and smelled. Also, she and Becca would have to share a room. Lame! All of Becca's furniture won't fit in Jessi's room, so they have to take a bunch of shit out, including both of their armchairs. Have you guys ever noticed that the BSC members always have armchairs in their rooms? Well, Claudia doesn't, but Kristy probably ordered her to take it out to make room for the director's chair. Anyway, they smash everything in and Becca's old room looks like a disaster because the wallpaper is all faded and Becca stained the rug with markers.
Of course Jessi's mom has to be all inconsiderate and go into the labor before the room is fixed up. Shouldn't they have fixed it months ago, when the baby wasn't so close to coming? The girls are supposed to have their Aunt Cecelia come and watch them, but she's not home, and Jessi's aunt and uncle and grandparents left for vacation that morning, so their crazy neighbor Mrs. Jasper comes over. Aunt Cecelia makes it over that afternoon, and Mrs. Jasper goes back to her thirty cats.
Jessi's dad calls and tells them the news about Squirt, and they go to the hospital to see him that night. Jessi is not looking forward to Squirt coming home because he's small and ugly. She also thinks Squirt is a dumb nickname and she and Becca say they're never going to call him that. Aunt Cecelia spends the next day cooking, cleaning, shopping, and being a drill sergeant, and then it's time for Squirt to come home.
Squirt cries all the time, because he has colic, and Jessi is pissed. Becca stays at the cat lady's to eat steamed cauliflower. Yum! One day Squirt is crying, and Jessi picks him up and starts singing Tomorrow to him. The BSC sure likes Annie. Squirt calms down, and Jessi decides that he doesn't really smell and that she can live with him.
Logan: Logan's story should be about hunting for raccoons and watching NASCAR in Kentucky, but unfortunately it's not. It's basically Logan Likes Mary Anne from his point of view, which is okay, I guess.
It starts off with his family driving to Stoneybrook from Kentucky, and Logan, Kerry, and Hunter coloring in the car. My cousin is a mega hillbilly, and his son is named Hunter. Just sayin'. Logan wishes his family wouldn't have moved at the beginning of eighth grade, because he'd rather have moved next year and be new with everyone else in the high school. Oh, Logan, you silly fool, you're just going to be in eighth grade again next year!
Logan's all nervous the day before school starts because he has a pimple, hillbilly teeth, and is worried that Stoneybrook boys won't like football. His first day doesn't start off so badly. Once he finds his homeroom, Stacey, out for fresh blood, introduces herself. He also finds some guys to sit with at lunch, and then sees Mary Anne for the first time. After stalking her for a while, he asks the guys how he can get into her pants, and they all tell him that she's super shy and part of the exclusive Baby-sitters Club. Logan stalks some more and finds out that the BSC needs some new members. He tells them that he's had plenty of experience. I'm glad that this is from his point of view, as I don't have to read, "Ah've haid plainty of expuryunce." Although now I think I shouldn't have skipped over the hick talk, because when I visited my friend at college in Kentucky I nearly got the crap kicked out of me for mispronouncing Louisville. Oh well, they said Illinoise, so I guess we're even.
Logan babysits for Jackie with Mary Anne. Jackie isn't as cool as he was in the movies, because he isn't played by Little Pete. We all know how the job went, because Jackie is a clumsy fool and every job with him ends up the same way. The job makes Logan like Mary Anne even more, and he silently thanks his parents for moving him out of the family trailer and into Stoneybrook.
Mallory!: Mallory's story is about meeting her favorite author when she was 10.
So Mallory loves Amelia Moody books. She only had one more to read, and put herself on the waiting list at the school library for it. The librarian tells her it's in, and Mallory follows her to the library and wants it right then. I can appreciate that, there have been times when I've been waiting for awhile to read a book and when I finally get a chance to have it I want it right then. She spends a few days reading it, but stops when Mary Anne and Claudia are on their way over to baby-sit, because she loves them. Mary Anne likes Amelia's books too, and tells Mallory to look at the publishing company's address and send a letter to Amelia Moody there. I wonder how many letters Ann M. Martin got after this book was released. Mallory writes to her, and gets a letter back a few weeks later telling her Amelia Moody will be signing books at the Washington Mall. Mallory nearly pees (not on Laine).
Since Mallory has sent Amelia Moody her school picture (I guess to give her inspiration to write a horror novel?), she decides to wear that outfit to meet her in. As I typed that sentence my dog, who is sitting next to me, started barking in her sleep. Coincidence? I think not. Mallory also decides to give Amelia flowers from her garden. She does a dress rehearsal and everything to practice what to say when she meets her.
When Mallory and her mom get to the book store they see that the line to meet Amelia Moody is super long. Mallory is worried that she won't be able to meet her in time. The line moves fast, though, and Mallory sees that Amelia is signing a brand new book, which is conveniently being sold at the book store. She begs her mom to buy it for her so she can have something signed (why the hell didn't she bring a book from home?), and starts reading while waiting in line. When she gets there she decides that her flowers aren't good enough, and can't remember anything she was going to say. In fact, she can't speak at all, and just starts crying, and her mom has to tell Amelia what her name is and how to spell it. Amelia signs the book, and they leave. Mallory says that she learned something important because she had seen the impact meeting an author can have on a reader, and decided to be an author someday. Don't worry, Mallory, even if you don't make it I'm sure lots of people will cry when they see you.
Shannon: Shannon is starting school again, and there's a new girl on her bus huddled together with one of her friends. Later on that day she is asked to take the test to join the Astronomy Club at school. Fun! She's super excited, but knows she needs to study hardcore.
The new girl, Sally, basically will be friends exclusively with someone for a few days, and then drop them and move on to someone else. Sally's supposed to be super cool, with a hairless cat and a horse and Bruce Springsteen tickets. The Boss! She finally gets to Shannon, and they hang out for a day, but then Shannon tells her the next day that she needs to study. Sally is pissed by the rejection, and moves on to someone else. She does this to everyone in Shannon's group of friends except for one, who is hurt because a younger girl got chosen over her. Shannon says that every since that experience she's been cautious of new girls, and that is why she was mean to Kristy when Kristy first moved into the neighborhood. The fuck? I don't get how Sally being friends for someone for a few days and then going on to someone else extends to being mean to Kristy, but whatever.
Dawn: Dawn's story is about when her parents got divorced. Her mom and dad have tons of stupid fights, and her dad stays out late all the time. One day he doesn't come home at all, or let anyone know that he won't be home. Jackass. The next night Dawn discovers that her mom has been sleeping on the couch. Her parents have a huge fight in the middle of the night and her mom calls her dad a liar, and her dad leaves and doesn't come back for 3 days. What was it her dad did that was so bad? Did the Winslows have him over for some hippie lovin'? I wish I knew.
Dawn's parents sit Jeff and her down and tell them they're getting divorced. They are understandably very angry and upset. Dawn's dad decides to stay in their house, and her mom decides to take the kids and move to Connecticut. Strangely enough, her dad seems okay with that. Maybe he was having some tie-dyed filled orgies after all.
They move to Stoneybrook and have to stay with Dawn's grandparents until they can move into their house. It's January in Connecticut, but of course Sharon doesn't think about getting the kids winter jackets until the day before school starts. Dumb. The rest is basically a short version of Mary Anne Saves the Day in Dawn's perspective. I wonder if it was January in that book. Must check later.
Mary Anne: Mary Anne is 8 years old, and has lots of weird baby-sitters. Also, in her picture at the beginning of the section, she is wearing pants and has her hair loose. You can bet whoever the babysitter that was watching her then was fired. That hair must be braided!
Anyway, Richard is going out of town for a weekend, and uses a baby-sitting agency to find sitters for Mary Anne, and she hates it. How was Kristy's idea for the BSC so ingenius if Richard's been using the same thing for years? Mary Anne thinks all the old lady sitters she has smell funny and their mouths look like dried up apricots. Hee. She says it won't be so bad if she has Kristy and Claudia over for a sleepover on one of the nights. Richard surprisingly agrees.
Mrs. Tate, the baby-sitter for the weekend, has a rusty old car with waxpaper in one spot instead of a window. Classy. She smells weird and has an apricot mouth. She won't let Mary Anne have a brownie for a snack because the girls are going to have pizza that night and it would be too unhealthy, so Mary Anne goes over to Kristy's and tells her how mean Mrs. Tate is. Kristy decides to get her back by playing pranks.
Kristy's first trick that night after she and Claudia arrive is to put pepper in Mrs. Tate's salad. Mary Anne and Claudia distract her by screaming about a spider in the living room and Kristy does the dirty work. They watch from another room as Mrs. Tate eats it, makes a face, and then throws it out and makes another one. Kristy's pissed, so she decides to nail Mrs. Tate's slippers to the floor. Mary Anne and Claudia turn up the TV really loud to cover up the noise. However, Mrs. Tate, just takes the tacks out of the slippers when she finds them. So, Kristy puts a scary mask over the light in the fridge. Mrs. Tate congratulates her, and then tells them all about other practical jokes she seen, including putting Saran wrap over a toilet bowl so then someone goes to the bathroom on that. Gross! She gets the girls back in the morning by telling them their breakfast is a big pot of stew that contains old socks, a tennis ball, garbage, and other gross things. Daddy Stew?
Mary Anne said she learned it's okay to be silly every once an awhile, that most people have a sense of humor and it's important to keep it, and not to judge people by their appearances.
My brother's dog gnawed on my book when she was a puppy, so it has no front or back cover, and a bunch of pages are ripped. Here's a picture of the cover from http://www.dibbly-fresh.com/gallery/
You can't really tell, but it's a metallic gold color, which means it really is super special! Mary Anne looks about 40 or so, and Claudia has one of the Winslows' shirts on. Shannon should be there, but she isn't. I guess the illustrator figured that we already can't tell Stacey from Dawn most of the time, so why throw in another blonde and confuse us even more? My guess is that Stacey's the pissed off looking one painting her nails and figuring out how to wet the bed and blame it on Mallory.
Oh yeah, I also read With You and Without You by Ann M. Martin over the weekend, but I don't think I can do a post on it. It was a very genuine and heartfelt book, and I would have trouble snarking on it. I highly recommend it, but be warned that I cried super hard while reading it. Mary Anne would have been dehydrated.