Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Price Of Service

I started limping along towards payday almost a week now.

I covered a lot of mileage with the last paycheck, and I think on Sunday I noticed I had two dollars in my wallet. My mom had to float me a Lincoln on Mother's Day to make sure I had enough gas money (I won't even comment on the virtual armed robbery going on at the pump) to get through to Tuesday.

But I digress.

As soon as the paycheck comes in - the money goes out. It's a fact of life we all cope with, some better than others. I, unfortunately, struggle with the One Week Feast, Next Week Famine philosophy. Some weeks are better than others, depending on the frugality and the crisis of the moment I'm forced to weather.

Today I forked over $251 to the Junior League of Cincinnati. 30 bucks for the annual dinner (free beer and wine so I guess all's not lost, right?), $170 for my annual dues and then $51 for three cookbooks (to fulfill my $100 annual fundraiser contribution requirement).

The financial obligations pack a punch for a girl who struggles with money management, but I think I'd pay almost anything within reason to be a part of such an incredible organization.

The League has given me a wonderful opportunity to meet new people, explore some of the civic volunteer possibilities and discover and cultivate my leadership skills.

I've had some opportunities to volunteer at a YWCA battered women's shelter. This is a place where women take their children to run away from a dangerous, violent relationship. These children leave behind clothes, toys and books and are forced to make do with what's available at the shelter. The children there shine when they're showered with a little attention from volunteers - it's the most awe inspiring experience. I am left to reflect on how easy and heartwarming voluntarism can be.

It's pretty remarkable, actually.

And the friends - they are the crown jewels of this Queen City. These women are brilliant - they're scientists, high powered attorneys, incredibly nurturing stay-at-home mothers. They care about politics and like to backpack across South America. They are passionate.

They are born leaders.

Yeah, I think $250 is a bargain for what I'm getting in return.

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