Prompt for 10 Dec: Money

Looking back at my 2011 Reverb posts, I noticed one that caught my eye.   So I copied it:

Sarah Rosemary at Sunny Side Up and DailyAngst were hosting Reverb11, a series of prompts on 2011,

Money.  Where did you spend your money this year?  Did you save it instead?  What, if anything, would you like to do with your finances this year?

I deplore talking about money, so again (in 2012) this might be a short post.

Senior year of high school back in 1982, I took a computer programming class.  Back then, we had a computer lab stocked with Apple IIe systems.  I took to programming like a fish to water.  I talked to my mother one day about the possibility of her getting a loan so we could buy one. Let’s just say that the proposal was not well-received and summarily rejected with extreme prejudice.

We lived in Las Vegas, somewhere between the poverty line and the middle class.   My mom was a medical assistant and my step-father a stage hand.  The two of them didn’t manage their money well.  They had issues that prevented them from being where they wanted to be… on many levels.

Notices to pay or move out were routinely posted on our apartment door. It was not uncommon for the power to be turned off at least once a year for anywhere from 1 to 5 days. If we had a phone the number was never in service long.  This meant that more often than not, if I wanted to talk to my dad, I had to walk down the block and cross the street to the payphone and try to call him collect.  He had no way to reach me.

On August 28, 1983, I arrived at college in a nice new car my mom bought me that morning.  While I was driving to Southern California, the credit company decided that mom was too big of a risk and wanted that they car back immediately.  Mom and my stepfather flew down that afternoon to retrieve and return it to the dealership.  Mom and Stepfather never delivered the funds to pay the difference between my tuition and my scholarships.  I actually was one of those Las Vegas lowlifes who had to borrow $500 from his girlfriend in order to stay enrolled in college. So needless to say, I’ve had money issues in my life.

In college, I double majored in Chemistry and English, but I worked in the computer center on the work-study program. The school ran a PDP-!! computer system which ran RSTS, a time shared operating system. My Sophomore year, the computer center purchased a half dozen Macs.  I fell in love with those systems.

In 1988, I went to work as a chemist in the real world, where they used DOS and then later Windows.  Early in my career, I did some programming in Pascal. I figured out pretty quickly in the late 80’s that there were many people who could program and that I was better off sticking to Chemistry.

In 1997 when my daughter was born, we decided it was time to by a computer so I could work from home.  I wanted to buy a Mac, but Apple wasn’t doing well, and a Mac wouldn’t do what I needed for work.  So we bought a PC.   Then a few years later we bought another PC.  And another.  When I started working on my MBA, I wanted to get a laptop.  Money was a bit tight then so I settled for a cheaper brand.  I still recall the day I checked my voicemail and I heard the message from my daughter, “Dude, you got a Dell!”.   It was a piece of crap.

We got into the PC cycle and it wasn’t until I bought my wife an iPad for Mother’s day in 2010, that we had an Apple product under our roof.   In 2001, my daughter wanted a MacBook Pro for High School.   Given my personal history, I bought it for her gladly.

In 2012, a full thirty years after I first floated the idea of getting an Apple IIe to my mom, I let it be OK to buy a MacBook Air for myself.   There was no good practical reason to buy this computer.  It was expensive, it was unnecessary, it was redundant and the purchase was completely self-indulgent.

I bought it anyway.  I bought it with money borrowed from our car fund.  I borrowed from myself, but I paid the good people at Apple cash.  I had plenty of financial reserves to make the purchase.  On my 47th birthday, I broke the PC cycle and the financial one all in one fell swoop of the debit card.


Prompt for 10 Dec: Money