If I Had (Half) a Million Dollars

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.

Find this book. You will want a not-so-big house too.

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.

dyson ball vacuum cleaner
Steers like a dream, they say.

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.)

That would be me sitting there. (It’s not.)

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?



16 thoughts on “If I Had (Half) a Million Dollars

  1. Mama says:

    At this point? Split it between the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) and my kids. I can do what I want to do in the reminder of my days with what I have or am about to receive.

    • diblog says:

      Mama, I’m glad you are so content. Also, glad we live in Canada (so the recent surgeries haven’t been financially debilitating). Also, glad you already have skylights and bay windows I can visit!

  2. emerge says:

    BANJO, BABY. I would get one too and we could play together.

    I like your house a lot. I mean, I like the house I live in with you now pretty well, but that’s not actually what I meant.

    Let’s play: What if I found a winning lottery ticket for a kabillion and the catch was I had to keep half the money for myself. Because I was raised Quaker too and of course there’s a thing about how I’d have to do nice stuff for other people, which I would do with the other half… but that’s boring in this particular game.

    With MY half, I’d pay off my student loan, put my stuff in storage and go to Italy to pick olives and write my novel. I’d come home sometimes and spend half my time hanging out in your awesome new kitchen, cooking delicious foods (and dancing to James Hill who would be there playing ukulele because he would totally be your buddy when you were rich and played the banjo), and the rest of the time reading and knitting and biking on my super-awesome portable unstealable new bike.

    If it really were a kabillion, i’d also buy a flat in London and invent some kind of non-global-warming plane so that I could fly back and forth all the time without wrecking anything.

    And I’d take pottery classes.

    • diblog says:

      emerge, yeah, I obviously would donate some money (more than I already do)… but I didn’t really want to put that in the post itself because I agree it seemed boring. 😛 This sounds like a great plan – can I take pottery classes with you?

  3. Quinn says:

    First I’d get a washer/dryer. Then I would have my wedding without stressing about budget and have a kick-butt month-long honeymoon, pay off student loans, get a dog, be a full-time artist and designer, travel a lot to see the world and visit dear ones, throw a lot of themed dinner parties (but first we’d need a dining room table and dishwasher), and of course be philanthropic and generous as heck.

    • diblog says:

      Quinn, that sounds awesome – especially the month-long honeymoon! Yeah, I’d be philanthropic and generous as heck too – I just didn’t mention it. 🙂

  4. Quinn says:

    I forgot to say that I want to hang out in your kitchen, sit on your window sills, and take the pottery class too! And maybe a jewelry making class, while we’re at it.

  5. emerge says:

    Ooh, one of us should build a pottery studio / general crafty room onto our awesome house, where we can all make pottery and jewellery and knit and paint and all that stuff! Our moms could come too. And we could have big water slides connecting all our houses all over the continent. And it would always be summer, except when we didn’t want it to be.

    • diblog says:

      Ginny, I’m certain you were not alone with the horse-farm dream! A thirtysomething friend of mine is still hoping that’s in her future…

  6. Beth Lopez says:

    Oh yes, I play that game. Here is the house I designed a while ago. http://donnabetz.wordpress.com/2011/01/12/my-perfect-house/

    Since then, I decided I’d add a couple of extra houses like these prefab homes – cottage, one bedroom – as guest houses, or homes for my brother or sister-in-law or step-son if they need a place.
    http://pacific-homes.net/designs/plans/pacific-plans-download-library?wpfb_cat=3#wpfb-cat-3 check out the “cabin”

    • diblog says:

      Beth, I LOVE your dream house!! I love how everything is decorated differently, and I adore how you can find everything in your kitchen!! and the H-shape is very cool. Fascinating stuff!

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