Request: Buying advice for the techie who has tried it all and is not impressed

I need help. Yes, I mean that in whatever way you've just interpreted it.

I do not own a computer right now. I sort of need one, since I am a college student and I have a kid who should probably be comfortable with using computers. I was a computer science major for some time, but I had to change my major due to scheduling conflicts and commute times. Also, I just like having a computer for playing games, downloading media, writing crappy console programs, drawing, writing, and for entertainment.

The problem is, I don't want a Windows 8 machine at all, and Apple computers are too expensive. About seven or eight years ago I was very into Linux, but I got over it; After a few years, I grew tired of fixing things and wanting more out of it, so I went back to Mac OS and Windows (I've always dual booted).

I've had Android tablets, iPads, and even both Surface tablets as well. Tablets are great since they're so portable, lightweight, easy to use, and cheaper than most computers, but I always found myself wanting the functionality of a regular computer.

I like Apple computers the most, but I am a single parent on a student's "income" (i.e. financial aid) so I cannot afford a Mac. Over the years, I've tried buying used but each time was a disaster. Something was always busted, broken, dented, cracked, or stolen. Other times the machines were just outdated and couldn't handle demanding programs or high definition video (I don't own a television either).

Has anyone else found themselves in this situation? It's not a "problem" per se, since I have a roof over my head and have the privilege of eating three meals a day, but it's a thing that is effecting my day-to-day life. Is this what happens when a person becomes so fascinated and excited about technology that they have to try it all, and when they do they realize that none of it is perfect? Sometimes this makes me think I may be destined to create what is missing and offer something new to the world. But then I come back to reality and realize that I'm probably just an indecisive, insatiable fanatic.

Update: I just found out how great Outlook/Live syncs with iOS if it's set up as an Exchange account. It'll sync mail, calendars, contacts, and reminders. The reminders sync with Outlook tasks. I've been using Outlook as a backup/alternate but never took it seriously until they implemented two-step verification and app passwords, but I never bothered to set it up as an Exchange account on iOS. It's actually a great alternative and worth checking out.