From 11:00PM PDT on Friday, July 1 until 5:00AM PDT on Saturday, July 2, the Shmoop engineering elves will be making tweaks and improvements to the site. That means Shmoop will be unavailable for use during that time. Thanks for your patience!
The narrator's mother has stolen a few things from her office job to help with the preparations for her game show appearance: a big calendar, green markers, and rubber bands.
We learn that April 27th is also the birthday of Richard, Mom's boyfriend. He's German, tall, and blond. Mom calls him "Mr. Perfect" (2.6). He always taps his right knee, though, to remind her he's not perfect (his right leg is shorter than his left).
Today is 21 days away from the game show appearance, and the narrator (whose name we learn is Miranda – one mystery solved!) is alone in her room copying words on white index cards to help prepare her mom for the game show appearance.
Some stats: Miranda is in sixth grade and is a latchkey kid. That's a name for a kid who "hangs out alone after school until a grown-up gets home to make dinner" (2.2).
Mom arrives home and offers to slice up an apple for Miranda. Miranda, though, has already stuffed herself with junk food (a right, she says, of latchkey kids).
Mom tosses more rainbow markers to Miranda, also swiped from work. Miranda and Richard know that, the more Mom steals from work, the unhappier she is.
"Mom has to win this money," Miranda states (2.19).