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The Fed & the Prom. Sounds like a tale of adventure and intrigue. And it was.

Daughter has been studying economics like mad this past month or two as part of the Econ Challenge team at her school. Often the team had to stay at school past 8:00 p.m. in order to prepare for a couple of competitions. In addition, the econ teacher required all the students in his class to write a paper for the Federal Reserve’s annual essay contest in order to earn an “A” in the class. Papers he thought were good enough were turned in to the Fed for the contest.

Compared to other schools in the Federal Reserve’s 9th District, Daughter’s school was working at a disadvantage because many of the students hadn’t had a full year of econ, hence the mad studying. Daughter’s team didn’t think it had a chance when it came to competing in two Econ Challenge competitions, particularly one concerning personal finance. Teammates had decided to do the best they could, but fully expected to lose. Their econ teacher was particularly pessimistic about the personal finance challenge.

The two Econ Challenge competitions took place at the Federal Reserve building in Minneapolis within the past two weeks. Daughter’s team won both competitions, squeaking out the competition in a tie-breaking round for the personal finance challenge. The team will continue on to national competition for personal finance.

In the midst of the Econ Challenge activity, Daughter got word that her essay was picked as a finalist in the Fed’s essay contest. The essays of three of her classmates were also selected, including those of a couple of her Econ Challenge teammates. Being a finalist in the essay contest necessitated yet another trip to the Fed, which made for three trips in two weeks for Daughter.

For the essay contest awards event, Daughter was allowed to invite one parent. After discussion between Hubby and I, it was decided that I should go. Here’s where the vicarious adventure and intrigue I’d been experiencing through Daughter’s successes with econ became my own heart-palpitating adventure and intrigue. You see, I have not done much driving in the Twin Cities metro area, so the thought of navigating an unfamiliar place with loads of traffic induces an automatic white-knuckle, shallow-breathing response in me. To top it off, the day of the essay contest awards event, Daughter had her senior prom, so we had a tight schedule to keep

Between Google Maps and the directions given to us by the Fed, we headed south Thursday evening and made our way to the hotel. (Paid for by the Fed. Woot!) I managed fairly well, with only one person honking at me, and narrowly making one quick interchange with Daughter’s assistance. Parking at the hotel was a bit dicey. There was a public lot next to the hotel, where I’d been expecting a hotel lot. After a drive around the block and a call to one of Daughter’s teammates, we made the decision to try the public lot. It was a good decision because the hotel works with the lot to provide parking for its guests. (That wasn’t apparent until we pulled in and took a ticket.)

Daughter and I had a relaxing evening in the hotel, although I kept waking up briefly, anticipating my drive from the hotel to the Fed the next morning.

Daughter’s hair was the next challenge of our adventure. She got up early in order to style her hair for prom. The goal was to get her hairdo to last all day because she would not have time to do it later. I helped her with a bit of the curling, but knew that she wouldn’t be keen on me styling it any further. With the Fed event rapidly approaching, along with my drive to the Fed, I got panicky (Will we make it on time? Will I get lost?) and started gathering our things and taking them to the car. Meanwhile, Daughter worked on her hair, which was not behaving the way she wanted it to. (Does our hair ever do what we want it to do for special events?) We got testy with one another for a couple of minutes, but the mood didn’t last. Daughter managed to finish her hair and I had gotten all but one load of stuff out to the car. We picked up the remainder of our things and were out the door.

The drive to the Fed was easy enough, although I turned too soon and we had to drive down a street I hadn’t planned for. Daughter, having twice been at the Fed, knew just where we were going and told me where to park. (Yay!) We were early, but one of her teammates was already there. Because they had both been to the Fed, they knew the security process for getting into the building.

We had breakfast, listened to a couple of speakers, had a tour of the Fed, ate a delicious lunch, and watched and clapped as the awards were presented. Two of Daughter’s classmates won second and first in their division for the essay contest.

After pictures were taken, everyone from Daughter’s school had to bolt. It was time to get ready for prom. The kids had reservations at a restaurant at 4:00 and everyone still had to get dressed in their prom clothes. Incidentally, Daughter’s prom date was one of the essay award winners, so if they were going to be late to prom, they were going to be late together.

Daughter told me how to get to the I-94 ramp and we made our way north, pulling into a truck stop along the way so Daughter could put on her dress. (This was her idea, not mine.) We had extra time before she had to be at the restaurant, so I dozed while she put her makeup on in the car. Once again, we were off and got to the restaurant by 4:05.

While Daughter had dinner with her gaggle of friends, I headed back to town to pick up her flowers. Then I went home to unpack the car and pick up Hubby. It was time to go to a local park for pictures of Daughter and her date and the rest of the gaggle. After this, Hubby, Young Son and I ran to a local restaurant to inhale dinner so we could get to Grand March.

Considering everything that had to be packed into a 24-hour period and my general lack of navigational skills, I’d say we couldn’t have asked for things to go more smoothly. And Hubby and I couldn’t be more proud of Daughter.

Daughter, Prom 2010

Daughter, Prom 2010