With Plans For My Winnings, I’ll Need A Ticket


So somebody in Zephyrhills has won the Powerball lottery, and even though I own a home nearby, it wasn’t me.

This is my second near-miss since the Powerball started. The first time, my friend Dottie sent me $2 to buy myself a ticket for my birthday. I had it in my pocket when I passed the lottery window at the Wellington Publix, but I had ice cream in my cart so I didn’t stop. The next day — my birthday — that very same Publix had a winner. Granted, it was not for $590.5 million like the single winner in Zephyrhills, but it was for millions of dollars nonetheless. The end result is that I never buy ice cream anymore. It’s just too costly.

So, the third time being the charm, I am charting out my upcoming life as a multimillionaire.

The first thing I will do is buy a Powerball ticket. The second thing I will do is go online to see how much I’ve won.

Then I will call my accountant, whose fees, I betcha, will suddenly go up.

Then I will call my lawyer and have him rewrite my will. The lucky people who were going to inherit my stainless steel cutlery set and my ceramic pig collection will now get $500,000 apiece instead. Well, OK, they can have the pigs, too.

Then the real fun starts.

My husband, Mark, who has been with me through thick and thin and has the wonderful gift of not being able to differentiate between the two, will finally get that live-aboard boat he’s been wanting. We will chart a path toward Greece, and I will put all thoughts of pirates and walking the plank behind me. I will focus instead upon eating fine cuisine, drinking fine wine and exploring 200-year-old shops.

Once that’s checked off the list, we will visit Austria and Paris and Prague… and Paducah, Ky. Why Paducah? I don’t know, but the town has been calling to me ever since I was a teenager. Now I have the time to go there and find out why.

When I’m all tuckered out from traveling, I will buy a couple of houses — maybe 10. Over the years, I’ve been fortunate enough to own several homes in several places, and this proved to me that I am not one of those people who likes to hunker down in one spot called “home.” I’d rather flit between different houses in different cities, sort of like snowbirds but with even less of an attention span.

I’d keep my Florida house for winters, the Missouri house for summers, buy a “leaf peeper” house in Vermont for autumns and maybe something back in Wisconsin for springtime. I’d get one in California, one in Colorado, and then I’d look beyond the United States — perhaps in the Keys (that’s a joke). I’d decorate them all in different styles and ask each of my friends if they’d like to stay in one for free to keep an eye on the place while I’m gone.

I’d also spend a great deal of time deciding how much money to give away. This seems to be a big hassle for a lot of rich people. There are tax considerations, of course, and strangers who ask you for money just because they need it so badly. Oprah Winfrey once said on her show that she was starting to feel like “The First National Bank of Oprah.”

I think I’d do a reality TV show. People would send in a form with their name, phone number and request, and I’d put them all into a big metal drum, turn the handle and pull out four names. Those four people would be flown in for the next show, in which we would air a video of their family and hometown and tell their story. Then there would be some kind of contest between them to see which three get $250,000 each and which one gets $500,000. Maybe let the viewing audience vote. One week we’d do Needs and the next week we’d do Wants.

The fifth winner would be drawn from the studio audience, and that person would get $500,000 as well. But to get into that audience, you have to be invited. And to be invited, you had to have voted. It would be a terrific show.

Yeah, I have big plans for when I win the Powerball.

Now all I need is another $2 from Dottie.