Stacey's dad has good news; he's being promoted to vice president at the company where he works, and they're throwing him a big dinner party to celebrate. He wants Stacey to be there with him, as his "date," and spend the rest of the weekend in New York. When she tells the club about it, they decide to schedule a shopping trip for that weekend to help her find the perfect outfit for the occasion. They find it at the ever popular Zingy's (which has, apparently, relocated from Washington Mall to downtown Stoneybrook), and celebrate with a trip to the Rosebud Cafe for ice cream and diet soda. When Stacey gets home, she notices that her mom seems awfully tired. She's actually seemed tired for awhile, but Stacey has just chalked it up to the pressures of being a single parent who's also looking for a job while doing temp work.
Two days later, Stacey is pulled out of class and told to collect all her stuff on the way to the office. When she gets there, the school secretary tells her that her mother collapsed during a job interview and was taken to the hospital. As soon as Mrs. Pike arrives to get Stacey, they're off to Stoneybrook General. Maureen is still in the emergency room, conscious but clearly not well. The doctors run some tests, and it turns out to be pneumonia. Luckily, Maureen doesn't need to be admitted, so Stacey and Mrs. Pike take her home.
The next day, Stacey stays home from school to take care of her mother. Since she realizes that staying home every day until Maureen is better won't be possible, Stacey recruits her neighbors to come in shifts to sit with her. She creates a chart, so Maureen won't be alone at any time. Stacey also begins to doubt that she should go to New York to be with her dad that weekend, and eventually decides to back out and stay in Stoneybrook. After all, her mom wouldn't go out of town if Stacey got sick, and Stacey feels obligated to return the favor, so to speak. Needless to say, Mr. McGill is pretty disappointed. Finally, though, Stacey decides on a compromise; she'll go to New York on Friday for the dinner, and come home Saturday morning rather than stay the whole weekend.
Friday arrives, and things don't exactly work out the way Stacey (or her dad) would have liked. Her train is late, and her cab gets stuck in traffic on the way to her dad's apartment. When they get there, she discovers that her outfit is wrinkled, and needs to be ironed. They're late for the dinner, and Stacey keeps ducking out to call her mom. Then, since she wants to catch a VERY early train the next morning, she makes her dad take her home before the dinner is over. Mrs. Pike picks Stacey up at the station, and it's pretty clear that she's not happy. When they get back to the McGills' Stacey sees why. There were some slight problems with scheduling people to sit with Maureen; double bookings, NO bookings, etc. Mr. McGill had even hired a nurse to care for her while Stacey was gone, which no one new about. A definite breakdown in communication. Stacey realizes that she shouldn't have tried to do everything, and shouldn't have tried to BE everything to both of her parents that weekend, because she ended up disapointing and/or inconveniencing everyone.
In the subplot, all the neighborhood kids are into ordering free (or very cheap) stuff from the backs of magazines and comic books. They love getting so much mail, but they realize pretty quickly that they wasted their money on a bunch of stuff they can't use. They decide to become traveling salespeople to try and unload some of their stuff, but no one wants to buy. Lots of adults are so impressed with the show they create as a sales pitch, though, that they give the kids money just for performing.
Thoughts and Things
- This has to be one of my favorite subplots of all time. When I was a kid, I would have loved ordering random stuff and waiting for it to come in the mail. :)
- Maureen should have just stood up to Stacey and told her to go to New York for the weekend. She tried, and maybe she was too weak to really force the issue, but it really wasn't Stacey's job to stay behind and play nurse.
- I'm surprised that Stacey and Sam hadn't really been on more dates as of this book. They could barely stand to be apart from each other at the end of Baby-sitters at Shadow Lake.
- This is the last regular series book that AMM wrote, but it isn't the last one she wrote in the series (until Friends Forever), like I thought. Starring the Baby-sitters Club! was published a few months after this one, and I don't see any ghostwriter listed...