Saturday, April 14, 2012

Retirement What Ifs — Lottery Dreams

All the mega-million-dollar payouts have put the lottery in the news lately. When the jackpot passes $300 million, Jagdish and I usually throw $5 or $10 at it. We have no expectations of winning, nor have we expended energy discussing, or even thinking about, what we’d do with the prize money. A recent quote that caught my ear has changed that. The winner interviewed hit one of my hot buttons when he said the first thing he’ll do is buy a Dyson.

I realized that I, too, would buy a Dyson. Until recently, I had three vacuums, but the bagged Hoover upright (Hoover1) finally fell apart after about thirty years. It was a shame, because if I held it just right, lifting the rear about 2 inches off the rug, and pulled it toward me instead of pushing it forward, it picked up the best of the three. R.I.P., my friend.

The canister that I rescued from my mother’s house (also a Hoover and decades old) is great for nooks and crannies, but the power head meant for rugs is long gone. Jagdish burned out Hoover2 in a protracted battle (with motor still running) over who would get the rug fringe. The rug won.

That leaves Hoover3, a bagless upright. I’m not as brand-loyal as it seems. It was on super-sale and light enough for me to lift easily. Turns out it doesn’t pick up as well as Hoover1 did and its hepa filter needs replacing about once a month. Not the bargain it looked like. I would definitely try a Dyson if I had bucks to spare.

One of the main things I’d do with my winnings is set up the Daisy and Tulip Foundation, named for my first two cats, and a longtime dream of mine. It will provide financial support for elderly folks who have difficulty keeping their pets as they age. That includes helping them pay for a place to live that allows pets. And of course, food and vet bill subsidies. I’ve added three more cats since Daisy and Tulip, so the foundation (especially its name) is a work in progress.

Herewith, my other lottery dreams. I’d buy all my groceries at Whole Foods. I love that store. I love just walking around in it, which is pretty much all I can afford, now that I’m retired. I love it so much that I wouldn’t even have my groceries delivered, except in winter. Which in Vermont probably means about six months of the year.

While I’m on the topic of food, I’d hire a personal chef, so Jagdish and I could eat healthy meals. We’d try out all sorts of special dietary changes that we’ve talked about, like going vegetarian. Not vegan—we’re not fanatics. But lots of beans and lentils and non-carnivorous sources of protein. We’d also try a gluten-free diet to see if that does all the good things my niece claims for it.  If, after all of this, I didn’t lose weight, I’d throw caution to the wind and hire a pastry chef and join an artisanal cheese club.

Of course, I’d spread some of my lottery winnings around to friends and family. How deep I’d go into those lists would depend on the size of my jackpot. And on who continues to admit they know me now that I’m retired and have entered my gypsy phase. (Bonuses to those who refer to me as “artsy.”) I suppose I’d have a means test, too, to decide who really needed my lucre. Or maybe a contest. A contest could be fun.

Assuming I’ve won big bucks (highly likely, since we play only when there’s large pots), I’d do all sorts of crazier things. I’d go to a spa and get my first-ever massage and facial. I’d have my elbows buffed. A friend has that done regularly and I’m in awe. I’d get the fat sucked out of my double chin and the goat hairs permanently removed. (TMI, I know. Sorry.)

I’d buy condos in a half dozen or so wonderful places where friends and family could visit (even if Jagdish and I were somewhere else). Piedmont or Tuscany. Provençe. Maybe somewhere out West. On a beautiful lake in central Switzerland. On an island—Kauai or Antigua or Barbados; I hear Costa Rica is beautiful and island-like. Submit your suggestions now. BTW, if you invite us to your dream condo before we win the lottery, you’ll be on the short list to come to ours after we win.

I could go on and on, but that would really be dreaming. Which is what winning the lottery is all about, isn’t it? Sweet dreams!

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