From Country Song to Rock Anthem

Mr. F2P and I have had an interesting few weeks to say the least. It made me think of the themes you might hear in a sad country song:

  1. Dog got hurt
  2. Computer crashed
  3. Wallet was stolen

Here's what happened.

1. The Belle of the Bawl

On Canada Day, our greyhound Belle came with us to the celebrations as she always does. Everything was fine (she doesn't mind crowds) until we were walking in the park and a misstep lead to blood and a lot of howling and limping. 

We didn't know what happened and we brought her to the vet when we noticed she still had a limp. After two opinions and an X-ray, the final verdict was a badly broken nail that needed to be removed. The final bill? $323.06. 

2. The Great White Screen of Death

Our five-year-old iMac gave me a white screen of death when I tried to reboot it on July 5th. I tried every reboot sequence I could find on geeky help forums but nothing worked. I brought it in for service and it wasn't good news. The video card was fried and needed to be replaced, to the tune of $982.67!!! I called Apple and after a bit of back and forth, it was confirmed that this was the fair amount I would have to cough up.

3. Wallet Worries

Mr. F2P is getting into sailing. I know, I'm shocked. The prairie boy likes to sail. This activity does involve the water and learning how to capsize, which means wallet, phone and car keys need to stay on dry land. Well, while he was out doing his sailing thing on July 19th, his wallet grew legs. 

This meant calling various financial institutions to cancel or suspending our debit/credit cards and the prospects of having to replace a driver's license, medical card and various loyalty cards, among other things.

Time to Change the Tune

We could certainly have done without these experiences. The tune wasn't to our liking but it did start to sound pretty good, despite it all.

There's always a silver lining:

  1. Dog's Got Good Bones
  2. It Does Compute
  3. Nothing Lost

1. Good Bones

The vet visits were not all lost. The X-Ray revealed that nothing was broken, that she had great-looking bones and that the solution would be a simple one (though one that Belle would not appreciate at the time). That meant that:

  • It could have cost a whole lot more
  • We found out that Belle's in great health (some greyhounds we've known have had bone issues later in life)
  • She didn't need constant care and would be back on all fours in no time

And we could afford it.

2. It Does Compute

I did my homework and the amount we had to pay to fix the computer was:

  • Fair
  • A better value than replacing the computer, both in money and effort

And we could afford it.

The biggest benefit was that the hard drive was not fried, which would have been more expensive and extremely time consuming to deal with. Luckily, we had a back up of the data, but still it would have been a real pain in the butt. What made it even more manageable was the slow but usable MacBook Pro that I still have kicking around. It allowed me to keep working during the repairs. 

A little added bonus: I guess my calm yet disappointed self exhibited good behaviour despite not having a computer for ten days because I ended up rewarded with two additional memory cards thrown in for free. That certainly was a nice surprise.

As long as this computer lasts us another two years, we'll have made the right decision. On this last one, time will tell. (It does make me want to upgrade my laptop's memory again though, just in case.)

3. Nothing Lost

When it comes to the wallet situation, yes, we went through the pain of cancelling the cards and such, but here's the way I'm looking at the stolen wallet situation:

  • We have my cards to address anything we need to buy during the time it will take to get new ones
  • Mr. F2P's spidey senses told him to leave most of his cash at home, so there was only $20 available for the taking, which reduced our potential for loss
  • We had access to online banking via smartphone and could see real time that nothing was being charged as we made the necessary calls (and the client I was working with was gracious enough to let me take 15 mins to make said calls)

The icing on the cake? The wallet was miraculously "found" the next day, intact (ah, the power of a guilty conscience).

[S]lack provides a hidden efficiency. It gives us room to maneuver, to reshuffle when we err. Slack gives us room to fail.
— Sandhil Mullainathan and Eldar Shafir, "Scarcity", p. 82.

And Now the Rock Anthem

Every step of the way, I kept thinking how grateful I was that we could deal with all the unfortunate events that occurred over the last few weeks. There's more to money reserves or "emergency funds" than meets the eye. Knowing that we have the "slack" we need to manage the inevitable bumps in the road that we encounter from time to time is precious in more ways than one.

It's precious from a:

  • Financial perspective
  • Psychological perspective
  • Emotional perspective

None of the above was a catastrophe, to be sure. But if we'd not had the means to address any one or all of the $1,305.73 we needed to cough up, it certainly could have felt like one.

I like a sad country song just as much as the next person but, in this case, I'm much happier to report that we rocked it.

Image credit/copyright: Chai25182518 /

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