Before I left for Anchorage as chaperone for the Haines DDF team I wrote about giving time to the community, volunteering on multi-day project so that others with more restrictive work schedules would not need to take time away (see Frugal Generosity: Time Vs. Money).
Yeah, well, I should have been more humble.
In order to make the morning departure time for the trip, I went to town the night before, and spent the night with friends who have a daughter on the DDF team. They drove out to the bay to collect me at the roadside, fed me dinner that night and breakfast the next morning, and gave me a safe, comfortable bed for the night.
They also assembled food for me to take on the trip! To make good time on the two day drive through Canada to the interior of our state, the team brought their own food to eat in the car. This allowed us to skip formal meals as needed.
The provisions my friends gave me qualified as a couch potato’s dream come true. They’d asked Michelle for suggestions beforehand, so I had two boxes of snack crackers I like, fruit, summer sausage, chocolate, homemade bread and cookies, and cheese. They also chose Dare Maple Cookies, a beloved treat that’s so rare in our home they’re completely off our radar.
In addition to the school’s per diem, my friends gave me Canadian cash. Right now, the Canadian dollar is very weak against the U.S. dollar, but along the Haines and Alaska Highways, merchants can legally exchange U.S. funds straight across, negating the advantage of purchasing in Canada. I could have used my credit card to battle this, but cups of coffee at small mom ‘n’ pop shops don’t justify that hassle.
I really enjoyed the trip! The six students on the team are intelligent, witty, and (relatively) respectful. I knew three of them beforehand, but only slightly. I grew to appreciate them in ways I hadn’t expected. I’d never met the coach before, but we discovered many mutual friends, and found we have a lot in common. I have become a hermit in the years since moving to the homestead, but living in close quarters with seven other people proved easy and fun.
At any rate, if I hoped to improve my Karma (if you will) by volunteering for the trip, it didn’t work. I probably ended up in debt, Karmically speaking. True, I helped my friends and the other parents out by going on the trip, I sought opportunities to make the trip easier for the team wherever possible, and I fulfilled the duties of a chaperone. Still, I benefited too much to claim any sacrifice on my part!