In "Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler", why was Claudia able to activate her plan sooner than she expected?
Claudia is able to activate her plan sooner than she expected because she finds "a ten-ride pass for the New York, New Haven, and Hartford Railroad" in the trash when she is doing her Saturday chores, emptying the wastebasket from her parents' room. Nine of the rides on the pass have already been used, "marked off in little squares along the bottom edge", but there is still one ride remaining. Claudia figures that the cleaning lady must have mistakenly thought that the ticket was all used up, and thrown it in the trash. Claudia didn't feel too badly about taking the pass, because "the cleaning lady never went to New York, and Claudia's dad never kept close track of his pocket change or his train passes".
If Claudia had not found the pass, she would have had to save up enough money for train fare for herself and Jamie from her allowance before she could make her final plans and put them in motion. Full fair to New York would cost one dollar and sixty cents, and even though she and Jamie are both under twelve and thus entitled to travel at half-price, it would have still taken her at least three weeks to save up that amount from her meager weekly earnings. Finding the train ticket in the trash enables Claudia to activate her plan a great deal earlier than she expected (Chapter 1).