The story begins with Paul's family on move-in day. When the family arrives in Tangerine, they realize that the location of the house is a drawback due to the constant thunderstorms, termite infested base, and Muck Fires. Because of this, Paul's mom is angry that Paul's dad hasn't overlooked many things before moving. After they unpack, Paul goes for a tour of his school, Lake Windsor Middle. Paul and his mother are greatly distressed at the school's appearance, because 7th and 8th graders have classes in small wooden portables connected by wooden walkways. Paul does not mind; he is annoyed with his mother for filing an IEP. Later on, Mike Costello, another football player on Erik's team, is introduced into the story after Paul plays a game of soccer with Mike's younger brother, Joey Costello.