The Day My Computer Died

broken computer.jpgThis weekend my computer died. Or, more accurately, the computer used by my husband and kids died. I have my own, which I do not allow anyone to touch for reasons that will become clear.
We weren’t completely certain as to the cause of death, but most likely it had something to do with the gallon of ice tea my daughter dumped on it and neglected to tell us about.

Late Friday night as Kevin went around the house preparing for bed, he heard a buzzing sound emanating from the basement. He went down to investigate, and found the fan in the desktop whirring like no fan should ever whir. The computer was engaged in a battle for its life.

Cautiously, Kevin approached. As he neared the computer he noticed amber splotches splattered across the keyboard, sticky smears along the desk and suspicious wadded-up paper towels strewn on the floor. He stepped closer to examine the desktop, and when he reached to pick it up a tsunami of ice tea poured out of the little white box.

I place the time of the crime around 5:30 p.m. when my seven-year-old son ran through the house searching for me to report the assault. I probably should have investigated myself when my daughter repeatedly sought copious amounts of paper towels, but she insisted she merely dripped water on the keyboard from the homemade ice pack she created to relieve her of the heat on that steamy summer day. She simply needed to wrap the ice cubes in more paper towels.

Either way I didn’t, and by the time the crime scene was discovered it was 11:00 p.m. I was already in bed and immobile even with a computer in its death throws. Conversely, my husband, the appointed IT guy in our house, was livid and ranting. He stormed in and out of the bedroom, in between attempts to resuscitate the soggy computer. His failed efforts only further infuriated him, and he raged on until he decided the best action to take would be to wake Sasha and scream at her.

Half asleep, Sasha was still alert enough to maintain her innocence. She claimed the liquid saturating the computer was just drips of ice melt from the few cubes in her homemade ice pack. At that Kevin became enraged. Given the condition of the crime scene, Sasha’s commitment to her lie was incomprehensible. The overwhelming evidence pointed to the big gulps of ice tea Sasha liked to pour against our continual advisement to limit liquids to a safer level.

Unable to revive his beloved Mac in the morning, Kevin and I tried to decide on an appropriate punishment. How does one punish a 9-year-old for destroying a $1000 item? Is there discipline severe enough?

We decided to hit her where it hurts – in the desserts. If there is one thing in this world that matters to that kid (besides T.V.), it is her food. And seeing as how our T.V. has been broken for weeks now, we couldn’t take that away from her. She lost dessert and pool privileges for a week. We did not, however, force her to watch her brother as he loaded up his waffle bowl with several scoops of ice cream, a tower of whipped cream and a sea of chocolate syrup and then proceeded to stuff his face. That would have been a more just punishment.

And we plan on having Sasha cover a portion of the cost of a new computer just to make a point. Since she doesn’t receive a paycheck or anything, her money is more like our money anyway.

What has your child damaged, destroyed or otherwise ruined in your home? And what course of action did you take: A) disown them; B) inflict corporal punishment; C) sentence them to a life of solitary confinement?

(Photo: Flickr: waffler)

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  1. When a child is awoken at night to be “screamed at” because a parent can’t control themselves to wait until morning, it is easy to see why they felt the need to lie about the accident – which this was – in the first place.
    We don’t punish in our household for accidents, we also don’t ignore when we see a large amount of paper towels being used. Your daughter spilling the iced tea was an accident, you ignoring her need to clean up something was deliberate. Why is she the one being punished for anything?
    I can only imagine the lies your children will come up with when they are teenagers to keep private the details of their personal life.

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