Hey Southwest, I want a refund…

Did you parents ever talk to you about the way you treated your stuff as a kid? I remember one pretty consistent theme growing up regarding the way we value our belongings. “You always take care of something better you bought with your own money.” She, my mother, was implying that I didn’t treat the things they, my parents, bought me as well as the things for which I had to work and save money. Simplified, if I worked for it, I took better care of it and was thus more concerned of it’s whereabouts and wellbeing. Okay, so maybe as a kid this was true, but what do you think? Is this something that sticks with us through adulthood?

Last Wednesday I was pretty upset that my stupid flight home didn’t have wifi. What a silly, entitled, and embarrassing sentence. Let me make that a little better- when traveling, I use the idle time to catch up on emails and content creation. But on the leg of my journey, I left my computer in my backpack and very agonizingly watched my fiancé play an iOS game for just over an hour. This was the absolute worst for me because:

  1. I  purchased wifi for the whole day on the last plane.
  2. I was slightly nauseous and needed a real distraction.
  3. I have a mild, irrational fear of flying.
  4. I was not allowed to play the game, only watch.

It was over. We landed in Portland unscathed. With heavy, tired eyes I grabbed my designated personal item from under the seat and put it over my shoulder. My back was wet. What? Why is my back wet? Does your stomach ever drop when you know something absolutely terrible has happened but you don’t know it yet, but you kinda do?

There was a water bottle in my backpack. There was now an empty water bottle in my backpack. There was a fully functional laptop in my backpack. There was now a dripping with water laptop in my hands being ruthlessly shaken. “It’s not that bad, it’s not that bad. It will be fine.” You know, those little lies we tell ourselves when we know something absolutely terrible has happened but we don’t know it yet, but we kinda do.

I had two more days to tie up any necessary loose ends for the Mississippi Street Fair. I had no open days to take my computer for damage assessment and so there it laid upside down over a towel and  fan. I had to just ignore it and get through this really important weekend.

Ugh, but my laptop- the third most expensive thing I have ever purchased; third only to two cars. Might not seem like a big deal, but think about the third most expensive thing you have ever purchased, damage it, and we will just see how big of a deal it really is.

I can’t really work without having a computer. I really, really tried for about 3 days to use my iPhone as my main means of productivity. My thumbs hate me and I should have bought the 6 Plus. So what did I do? I went to Apple, said no to paying $755.00 and bought a keyboard. Turns out I can still use my computer with an external keyboard. Turns out this is the best news amidst the slippery slope that is water damage. Sometimes music will start playing and my use of obscenities has certainly increased since Thursday, but it works. I have a few more options to explore in the way of repair and I certainly welcome all advice and or input.

Uh what does this have to do with anything? What does this story and my mother’s haunting theory have anything to do with allowance and early financial education? Well, I’ve spent long hours just trying to educate myself on those two subjects. Hundreds of financial articles, parenting blogs, and a whole lot of sorting through varying opinions. Opposing viewpoints, the right way, the wrong way, the no way; it’s quite cumbersome. For the most part, it all comes down to how you’re raised and the role parents play in your financial upbringing (or lack there of).

But I really do think my mom hit the nail on the head with this one. Did you catch that? Mom, you were right. My appreciation and experience of pride towards something I had worked for is greater. Yep, this one stuck with me. And I wonder how many of us think this way, or don’t, or just have the means to fix a water-logged computer. Maybe I’m wrong, but I’m sure glad I was taught to work hard for what I wanted, to never throw in the towel. It’s a good thing too, because I really needed it to dry off my laptop.