destination turn my hair gray

Tomorrow brings with it the city-wide competitions for Destination Imagination. For those of you who don't know what that is, it's Odyssey of the Mind with a new name. For those of you who don't know what that is, it's a problem-solving challenge that kids join in teams of seven and work for months on before they compete at a city-wide level, with the possibility of advancing to state, nationals, and then world levels. It's a lot of fun and a ton of work.

Kids are given 5 challenges to choose from. This years' included creating a functional aircraft, writing and solving a crime scene using the visible properties of light, researching and delivering and improv skit on 3 of 6 random countries' traditions, building a weight-bearing structure out of only playing cards and glue and the one my kids chose, theater in the round.

The kids are giving a stack of monstrously complicated rules and must follow them all to solve their challenge. They must work alone, without interference from teachers or coaches or what have you. For example, if my kids wanted to build a table, I could teach them how to measure and saw and nail, but I could not teach them how to measure or saw or nail THEIR table, nor could I help them with measurements. Oh, and we have a $125 budget. That included glue and nails and the saw and the nail gun and the wood.

For our challenge, it was my job to teach them the concept of theater in the round, which not one of my 8 year olds have ever seen before, and steer them in the direction their story needed to go without telling them where their story needed to go. They had to come up with a hero who had to overcome a personal challenge and they had to integrate a technical set piece or prop into their story.

This has been grueling. They have worked their little tails of and, actually, they came up with a charming little story and cute props and set pieces. I'll tell you what they did later. The point of this post is that as of yesterday, none of the kids had lines memorized and our technical prop didn't work.

I almost died. I turned into Mr. Grumpy Lady and flat out yelled at them.

It worked.

Today, with less than 24 hours before go-time, my kids pulled it together. They know their lines (and, more importantly, they know the ONE kid who just will not know his lines and they know how to work around his lazy ass) and the have their blocking down and I think they are ready.

With less than 24 hours to go. Talk about cutting it close.

A few years back, one of the teams from our school made it to World. Since then, our school as a whole has taken this thing very seriously. Based on our enrollment numbers, we send more teams to DI than any of the schools in our district. It's hardcore.

So, tomorrow, wish our little team luck. And wish me cocktails. I think I'm going to need them.

Oh, there is one other thing that happens tomorrow. One other very big thing, indeed. But we'll get to that later.