So I tried to download the iOS 8 update 14 times and they all failed. I tried reseting the iPad. I tried going through iTunes on my iMac. It was total frustration. The load times looked like I was back on a dialup modem. It would run for hours and then fail.
I then found this thread in an Apple support group. It turns out I was not the only one having this problem. And it turns out that the common theme with all that reported the problem is that we were all on FiOS!. Go figure.
So I started up the hotspot on my phone, connected the iPad to the phone network and BINGO! The update downloaded in about 10 minutes.
Now I am staring at a screen that says "Preparing Update...".
This is probably a big mistake anyway. But I am committed now.