Posted on November 20th, 2012
Did you ever play “If I won the lottery” when you were a kid? Or a grown-up?
My best friend and I played it pretty often when we were kids, despite the fact that we didn’t buy lottery tickets. I still play the game sometimes, even though my only lottery participation is through scratchable cards in my Christmas card from my principal.
We have friends who play the lottery, though. In fact, we have friends who won.
A while back, our friends who split a lottery ticket every week won a million dollars – for real. So two young families we know each had 500K all of a sudden. It’s not the kind of money where you retire immediately, move to the tropics, buy a mansion and a Corvette, and blah blah blah. If you win half a million dollars, you still need a day job.
BUT, it takes away some stress. All at once, our friends could own their homes outright, and make sure they had funding for their kids’ education and for retirement.
With all that taken care of, your regular income can go a lot further. Sean and I enjoyed thinking about that. We still don’t play the lottery, but it’s fun to imagine what you’d do with disposable income.
If it were all up to Sean, I think he’d end up with one of everything Apple makes. Plus one of those bags that can survive a croc attack, and one jillion skeletools.
I mostly think about what I’d do with our home. I’m not overly acquisitive – I rarely shop for recreation, and I don’t often spend time looking at (or for) stuff I want online. I grew up Quaker, which had a big influence on my habits (living simply is a major Quaker goal, even if we don’t always manage as simply as we could).
But if I had the freedom to do what I wanted with my home, I can think of MANY things I would spend money on.
We would move to a different neighbourhood, one of the ones we covet (preferably close to our babysitter).
My ideal home is not big. (I adore Sarah Susanka’s Not So Big House books.) I have no desire whatsoever for any house so big that I couldn’t hear my kids if they cried or called to me… or a house too big to clean myself. I would want my dream home to be cozy.
I mean this literally as well as psychologically – I would insulate the crap out of it (or into it) and get kick-ass windows with NO DRAFTS. We would have R-value out the wazoo. (Can you tell I am presently living with drafty windows?)
I would have a yard with a deck – preferably cedar or something sustainable – with a hu-normous (as E would say) umbrella for the table. Also, some real shade. And a cherry tree that actually bears cherries. (We had a cherry tree in our front yard when we moved into our present house, but it was in the process of dying by the jaws of carpenter ants. We cut it down, and now the neighbours always mention how the whole neighbourhood used to partake of those cherries. I think they thought we cut it down just to be churlish.)
There would also be a garage, so the bikes and strollers would have someplace to live. I wouldn’t want a fancy car to go in there – although a solid minivan with really good mileage would be prudent right now.
I know Sean would be on board with getting a Dyson vacuum cleaner, so that vacuuming would become a joy.
That being said, our floors would probably be mostly cork or bamboo.
My kitchen would ROCK. It would have a sunny breakfast alcove and a proper island, and a stone-tile backsplash. And by God, it would have a dishwasher. (How I wish I had a dishwasher right now.)
But the best thing about my house would be the windows. I would have clerestory windows, bay windows, and especially skylights. We would bathe in natural light every day. It would be AWESOME. (And no drafts.)
Other than that, I would pay some visits to people I love in places like Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Alberta, North Carolina, Texas, Massachusetts, California, and Washington DC. And Costa Rica. And the UK. And I would finally hike some mountains in British Columbia.
I would only buy good-quality comfortable shoes that would last me for years.
And… maybe I’d get a banjo.
Huh. I think I might need the whole million, after all. Good thing it’s only a game.
Want to play? What would YOU do?