Karma Crash

By , February 25, 2016

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!

4 Responses to “Karma Crash”

  1. angie says:

    “I benefited too much to claim any sacrifice on my part!”

    I think the point here is, it wasn’t a “sacrifice” for you, at least not in the same sense as it would’ve been for most other families; time and flexibility are something you have to a degree most of the other parents don’t. For them, chaperoning a long-distance trip would be a “sacrifice” in a tangible, quantifiable sense: the sacrifice of actual income or earned vacation days, as in “this trip cost me a week’s pay/vacation.”

    For some families, contributing a chunk of cash to a student event would be no sacrifice at all: They’ve got the money, it’s going to something their own kid is doing, and hell, they needed one more deduction on that 1040 anyway. For you, the donation of cold hard cash would be more of an actual sacrifice.

    Why, no, I haven’t had too much coffee. Why do you ask?

  2. Mark Zeiger says:

    I guess what I’m saying here is that by devoting a week to the trip, I left home at a time when I should have been cutting and hauling firewood, preparing the garden for the upcoming growing season, minding my own business as it were, as well as sleeping in my own bed. I can easily quantify what I gave up, postponed, and, in some ways spent that I wouldn’t have if I’d just stayed home and not volunteered for the trip.

    On the other hand, I’d justified all of that in the first place, before going to the school and volunteering to serve as a chaperone for school trips. And, I ended up having a great time, and getting some important things done in addition to keeping the kids safe and the coach relatively sane.

    So…what does this phrase “too much coffee” mean? I’m unfamiliar with it.

  3. angie says:

    Sorry, Mark. That didn’t come out quite like I planned. I had started that post with some point to make, shifted gears, deleted a few lines, and ended up with my original point forgotten. And me dissing you. I never meant you weren’t sacrificing, or that sacrificing time versus cash is a lesser thing. I think I’d started with some point about how much in this town is run on volunteer labor, (which started from an earlier, unfinished, never-posted comment fragment of mine about “self-sufficiency” and “community”) and the words that would’ve connected the dots fell by the wayside.
    Apparently the Stupid Check on my computer isn’t working.

  4. Mark Zeiger says:

    No worries, Angie! Even if it didn’t come out as you intended, you call things as you see them. If I can’t defend my assertions, I shouldn’t be blogging! Amazingly, through all the convolutions you described, it still came out as a coherent reality check for me.

    I paid big money for the Stupid Check software, downloaded it, but can’t figure out how to turn it on….

Leave a Reply

Panorama Theme by Themocracy