Tuesday Slice of Life Story Challenge

Today is May 25, 2021, and I am participating in the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Story Challenge.

I heard the cart wheel into my classroom. “The books are here!”

Looking up from my computer, I watched as my assistant teacher stood next to two much-anticipated brown boxes. The distinctive black Amazon tape brought relief to my entire being. Somehow, 12 copies of Sarah Weeks’ Save Me a Seat and 25 copies of Sharon Draper’s Out of My Mind had not gotten ordered, and our sixth grade teacher was about to launch a sixth grade Social Issues Book Club unit for the very first time. And the books were not here.

Not good.

Realizing this the week prior, I had nervously approached our wonderful school office manager, Sue, on Friday. Was there any possible way we might be able to procure the books by next week? I had tentatively asked. “Yes,” she’d confidently responded. “Let’s see what we can do here.” Then she added, “We have Amazon.” While silently realizing that Amazon is deeply problematic in several invisible ways, I will admit to breathing a sigh of relief in that moment. I looked on eagerly as Sue began to work her clerical magic.

A few minutes later, the marvelous words arrived: “The books will be here Monday,” Sue informed me. “I’m out of school all of next week, but you should be all set.” All set, I thought. For only $14.07 rush shipping, we were all set.

Approaching the cart now stationed in my room Monday afternoon, I felt what might be described as mild exhiliration. What a world of technology and convenience we live in! I thought. This ordering oversight would now never have to be known- the books had arrived!

“Be careful, this one’s kinda heavy,” I heard my assistant teacher say, as she pointed to the larger of the two boxes. Having thrown my back out recently, I bent down cautiously to lift the two boxes up to a rickety table positioned near the back of my room. Yes, one definitely felt heavier. I decided to open the lighter box first. Nestled inside, like a dozen brilliant jewels, lay 12 copies of Save Me a Seat by Sarah Weeks. Fantastic. I shook my head in what felt like ecstatic disbelief, as a grin crossed my face.

Now to the second box. Tearing at the black Amazon tape, I pulled upward, revealing what appeared to be a white shrink-wrapped box hidden within the brown cardboard. “That’s odd,” I thought to myself. “I’ve never seen shrink-wrapped books before.” Clearly the box lay upside down, so carefully, I flipped it over.

There, now resting before me on the old brown table, lay 30 16-ounce cans of Zero Calorie Monster Energy drinks. No Out of My Mind. Energy Drinks.


Time to call Amazon customer service. And no Sue here. Yikes.

Author: Lanny Ball

For more than 29 years, Lanny has taught, coached, presented, staff developed, and consulted within the exciting and enigmatic world of literacy. With unyielding passion and belief in the possibility of workshop teaching, Lanny has worked to support students, teachers, and school administrators around the country in outgrowing themselves as both writers and readers. Working first as a classroom teacher, then as a coach and TCRWP Staff Developer, Lanny is now a literacy specialist, working and living in the great state of Connecticut. Outside of literacy, he enjoys raising his three ambitious young daughters with his wife, and playing the piano. Find him on this blog, as well as on Twitter @LannyBall. Lanny is also a former co-author of a blog dedicated to supporting writing teachers and coaches that maintain classroom writing workshops, twowritingteachers.org.

14 thoughts on “Tuesday Slice of Life Story Challenge”

  1. Oh my, I hear you pain and frustration with Amazon, a company we have all had to deal with this year more than we wish! I had a box of 24 Contigo, rainbow water bottles delivered to me recently instead of a copy of Interventions for Reading and Writing…sigh….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha! Oh my goodness, you DEFINITELY feel my pain then! Maybe the books are kept near the drinks and water bottles in the warehouse? Ha! Thank you for your comment:)


  2. Oh myyyyy! My blood pressure went up reading that last part. I have to say I’ve never experienced that kind of an eff up from Amazon before. This last year I made a concerted effort to avoid ordering from Amazon whenever possible because as you say they are “deeply problematic”. However, desperate times…
    Also, I recently heard Zephyr Teachout talk about how our avoidance of Amazon is not doing much to hurt them so we shouldn’t feel too guilty. ๐Ÿ˜…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your comment. Yes, this mess up was a doozy, for sure. And, as you said, times were a bit desperate. I need to move away from Amazon, I know. Thank you for your comment:)


  3. The build up to this disappointment was great. Hopefully you can get the books soon. Have you read Lisa Fippsโ€™ Starfish. If kids like Out of My Mind, I think theyโ€™ll also like Starfish. A great addition for a social issues bookclub too.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Did not see that coming! I had my own wonky Amazon delivery last week, when a completely wet box was left on my dry porch. A book inside was damaged, and I was about to keep it anyway…but my librarian voice shouted in my head “You would weed this from the collection in this state!”. So off I went to make the return for exchange. I truly hope you got the correct order tout de suite!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Good heavens – I cannot imagine how this goof-up occurred. Of course, Amazon IS monster energy itself with the volume it must do round the clock (has anyone besides me noticed that a good many of their vans are Mercedes? Electric ones at that). One day last week some young students brought foil bags of frozen Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to school for their snack – I didn’t even know such things existed (FYI the teacher has a freezer). The kids told me: “Mom orders it from Amazon.” I couldn’t verify that but like you, Lanny, my mind is boggled with what IS possible, and yes – it’s troubling, too. Out of My Mind is a book ALL educators should read, by the way – such an excellent choice for the social issues book club. I hope the needed copies arrive immediately (for we all know it’s possible, if ice cream can be delivered!) Such a captivating narrative and plot twist – you certainly keep the reader engaged! Hope you will let us know how the reading goes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ordering ice cream from Amazon!? Now I think Iโ€™ve heard it all! Thank you so much for your comment, Fran. I always appreciate your thoughtful feedback ๐Ÿ™‚


  6. Lanny, I loved reading this. Down to the very last sentence where I laughed so hard, at 5 am I should add. With the entire house asleep. I had to plug in my phone and recharge so I could read it all over again. The anticipation, exhilaration ( BTW, that is my ” one word” this year), the gratitude, the humor, I felt all this while reading your post. If I had to pull out a favorite sentence, I would be typing the entire post over! Thank you for finding the time to share this. I’m reading it again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. BTW, what did you do with the energy Drinks? And in rereading this a third time, I realized you didn’t receive the books, which I had thought you did in addition to the energy drinks. So apologies if my finding such humor in this post seemed a bit crass. Hope those books came in the next order swiftly!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for your comments, Kara! It was indeed a funny story. We eventually did receive the book order…twice! Oy! Now I have to figure out to return one set…Amazon-grr! Thanks again ๐Ÿ™‚


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