How I Spent My Vacation


I have two bank accounts: one is our home account and the other is for work.  I don’t use the work one much anymore; I have a corporate credit card for work use nowadays.  Both accounts came with debit cards.  Apparently our bank had a little security problem a few months ago.  I found out the hard way.  I had filled up the truck at the gas station and went in to pay.  To my surprise, my card was denied.  Luckily, I had cash on me.  I hardly ever carry actual money anymore.  I thought I might spend my first day of my vacation at the bank, trying to sort the problem out.  However, I got a new ATM card in the mail right before we left.  I didn’t have a lot of money left after my previous visit to the gas station, so I went out and bought a Diet Pepsi to test the card.  It worked.  Crisis avoided.

I rented a car on vacation.  Meka and I took Daniel to the zoo.  We had lunch out a couple of times.  We had dinner.  I drove all over Southern California which required a number of fill-ups.  On our second to last day, we all went to lunch and my debit card was rejected.  It was a Friday, near the middle of the month.  It was possible I had made a mistake in my math and our account was overdrawn.  A shaky remote connection back to my home computer and a quick call to the bank confirmed our home account was solvent.  I was told the problem might be the restaurant’s connection.  Perhaps it didn’t stay open long enough to get all the data.  We didn’t have too many other opportunities to spend money on vacation.  We filled up one more time before dropping off the rental car and bought my dad dinner after he picked us up at O’Hare Airport.  Meka paid with her debit card both times.

As vacations go, I felt this one was a success.  I met up with friends, I got to do some sightseeing and – best of all – I got to relax and forget about everyday problems for a week.  This warm afterglow lasted until I went through the mail.  It turned out the ATM card my bank had sent me was linked to my work account rather than my home one.  I had enough money in there to cover the original Diet Pepsi purchase, but not much more than that.  The entire vacation had been quietly racking up overdraft fees every time we filled up, had lunch, or bought a stupid T-shirt.  While I was able to avoid the bank on my first day of vacation, that’s how I spent my last day.

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