Joe thinks about fixing dinner. He's got a box full of recipes and sifts through them for something to make with the leftover chicken from Saturday's party. He settles on fajitas.
When the kids return home, the mood changes. Logan's going back to elementary school, Sydney will start high school, and Joe will begin community college with Ry.
Joe raised Ry as his own and adopted him formally after Ry told him he wanted Stoltz as his last name.
Ry moved out of the house after high school but came home in December after dropping out of college. Joe and Becky convinced him to give it another try, especially now that Joe was going to start for the first time.
This is an important Sunday for the Stoltzes. If anxiety were like rain, there'd be a downright downpour.
Logan takes out his backpack, untouched since the spring, and discovers an uneaten bag of Goldfish crackers.
"Ry," he says. "My summer ends in five hours."
The first day of school means many things to Logan. Among them is having to return to a strict schedule that includes a school-night ban on video games.
"Am I going back to PlayStation on weekends?" he asks.
"Yup, even if you don't have homework, I want you to focus on school," Joe says.
Logan's wearing his school uniform polo shirt to make sure it fits.
"Hey, Dad, will you measure me?" Logan asks. He's almost 5 feet tall now.
"Quit growing," Becky says.
Again, the pager screams from her purse.
"Bye. Should be a quick one," she says. "It's a temporary pacemaker."
Joe is left to handle the kids by himself.
"Dad, how sure are you that we'll have homework on the first day?" Sydney asks, carrying a basket of laundry into the garage.
"Pretty sure," Joe says. "This is serious. You're in high school now."
When the clock strikes 9, he shoos Logan and Sydney to bed.
"Five more minutes, Dad," Logan says.
"No. Now. I'll have Mom come say good night to you when she gets home."
Becky doesn't get home until midnight. Before the kids have woken up the next morning, she has already gone back to work.
Joe thought he would have to coax his children to get up for school. Maybe even shock them awake with ice. No need. They are so nervous that they've jumped out of bed and are raring to go.
"Are you nervous?" Joe asks.
"They should make summer longer," Logan responds, pacing the hallway.