Otto picked up a handful of lottery tickets last week. The Powerball or whatever it’s called was up to… I don’t even know what. 250 frajillion? It was a lot of money. And while I firmly believe lottery tickets to be a tax on people who are bad at math, we could spare a few bucks for the fun of what-if-ing for a few days.
Spoiler: We didn’t win. My dreams of lounging on a divan all day—eating bon bons and directing underlings to peel grapes for me—have been dashed. (Related: We don’t own a divan.)
Lately it feels like Otto and I talk about money a LOT. Part of this is the looming college thing, and gearing up to complete a FAFSA so that the government can tell us that if only we were to stop paying our mortgage or eating, we could certainly afford to send Chickadee to any college she likes. Part of it is the fact that both kids will be licensed drivers before we know it (pardon me while I breathe into a paper bag…) and will we want another car? Another two cars? WHY DO WE HAVE SO MANY CARS?? And our car insurance recently got confused and sent us a bill which covered having a licensed teen driver (neither of them are licensed yet) and said bill caused my face to melt off and me to suggest a number of high-earning but not entirely legal career paths to said expensive teenager. Part of it is that some dear friends of ours are about to begin a kitchen renovation and OH ENVY UPON ENVY, happy for them (for real), but we would like to redo OUR kitchen, and should we? Could we? The only thing that costs more than a kitchen renovation is, I don’t know, a combination face lift/tummy tuck/breast implant surgery, and Otto’s boobs are already beyond reproach.
We have enough money for everything we truly need, and then some, because “need” is not the same as “want.” I get that. No complaints; we are lucky.
This is all preamble to saying that I thought more than I should probably admit about what we would have done if we HAD come into a giant pile of cash. It’s ridiculous, because part of the reason we’re able to live as we do stems from my ability to out-cheap just about anything, and in general my wants are simple. Take the kitchen thing, for example. Strictly speaking, we could afford to do a kitchen renovation. We could come up with the money. But I am (at this point) unwilling to spend that money because… the kitchen works just fine (mostly) and there are plenty of other things we may need that money for AND I require a certain cushion in savings to prevent me from feeling like the sky is falling.
Similarly, every now and then, Otto tries to talk to me about my “next car.” This conversation stalls out the same way, every time, because my current car is paid for and 1) I refuse to take out a car loan 2) if I was going to spend a big chunk of money, I’d rather spend it on a kitchen renovation. COULD I afford a decent car? Yes. Am I comfortable upgrading when my current car works just fine? Not really. (He keeps trying to talk me into a lease on an all-electric car because “the rebates and tax credits make it practically free” but I think I might be allergic to leases.)
This is all reality. In fantasy-world—we-just-won-the-lottery-world—I can make different choices. Ridiculous choices, even.
So here it is, the preliminary list of Things On Which I Would Cheerfully Blow Cash If We Ever Won The Lottery:
Not for me; for the kids. Not that we won’t help the kids pay for college, because that’s the plan, but instead of “let’s look at the costs and the endowments and available scholarships” it would be more like, “Bring me an acceptance letter and write me a persuasive paragraph on why this is the right college for you and we will fund you as long as you continue to work hard and pass your classes.” And that would be it. No comparing/contrasting/number-crunching. You want it? Awesome. It would be my privilege to make it happen for you.
I think Otto’s feeling is that if we came into a ton of money we should just buy our “dream house” (whatever that is), but I really like our house for all sorts of reasons (both logical and not). So yeah, I’d do that kitchen renovation in a hot minute, plus I’d have someone update all the bathrooms, and instead of constantly talking about how I keep not finding the time to paint my office, I’d just… hire someone to do it for me. WOO!
Poor Otto made a lot of compromises when we moved here, chief among them that every house HE liked was, like, 800 square feet of living space, but had a 4-bay garage (and then he would try to convince me why we could TOTALLY MAKE THAT WORK). We do have a garage, but it is utterly average-sized. I love Otto enough that if money were (nearly) endless I would totally grant my blessing on the building of the ridiculous garage he truly wants. Or maybe we could just buy the house next door, raze it, and let him have a whole complex for his stuff. I bet he’d like that. Whatever. WE CAN AFFORD IT in fantasy land, so what the heck.
I’m a homebody by nature, but Otto would happily take to the road on a moment’s notice and keep going. The logistical barriers to his wanderlust are plentiful (apparently I am supposed to take care of these kids and send them to school and stuff…?) even beyond money, but WITH money, well, I believe a second honeymoon is in order. And I am not even just saying that because our first honeymoon lasted two days and I was sick the whole time. I might even take the kids on a trip, too.
Fine, a new car
The conversation went something like this:
Me: … and if we win, I can totally buy a Volt!
Otto: If we win, you can buy a Tesla.
Me: But I would be afraid to drive a Tesla.
Me: Yes! It could be stolen! Or scratched!
(Moral of the story: Fantasizing, I’m doing it wrong.)
You know how some people are all, “Oh, even if I didn’t HAVE to work, I would because I just love it?” I think those people are deranged. There are a lot of things I love about my work. There are a lot of things I do today for money (get your mind out of the gutter) which I would happily continue doing NOT for money just because I love doing them. But if I didn’t have to work for money, I wouldn’t. Full stop. I would write only for the love of it, not for income. I would spend whole days doing nothing. I would volunteer for causes I believe in and exercise more and read a whole book every damn day. But I would retire from this whole “working to put food on the table” thing IMMEDIATELY.
I would buy all of our groceries at the hippie crunchy grocery store and YES, I would pay three damn dollars for a single organic avocado whenever the fancy struck. I would not clip coupons or track sales, I would just buy delicious foods based on what I felt like eating. (Related: I’d probably end up weighing 400 pounds. But I would be an ORGANIC 400 pounds.)
Truly ridiculous shoes
I have no desire to become the next Imelda Marcos, but if we had unlimited money? I’d go buy these and wear them to every. single. school. meeting. Yes.
I feel like my dreams are fairly modest (except maybe for those shoes…). Tell me what you’d do if you won the lottery? This has become my favorite game.