I’ve just won the lottery! (what next?)

April 12, 2011 — 23 Comments

Lottery Winner

Winning the lottery has taken up its fair share of my leisure thinking time over the last 2 years – not that it didn’t before but since the economic slowdown, a lot of other things that generally require my brain power have made room for daydreaming.

I was at a party this last weekend and was asked by two different people from two different conversations what would I do with myself after I won the lottery – suggesting that there’s no way I would still work and certainly not in architecture. Why would I submit myself to unnecessary pain and suffering since I would no longer need to work for a paycheck? The short version of my response is – I don’t work for a paycheck now.

Wow! – that kind of makes it sound like I am rich  (I am … not) but I’m not hurting, at least not until I have to live off my savings (gulp!). So what would I do if I truly didn’t have to work anymore? So I made a win the lottery bucket list:

1) Still work.

Surprised? You shouldn’t be … nobody can have a rewarding life when their “job” is spending money. I wouldn’t work in the same capacity as I do now but I would still be an architect and I would find a way to fill my days with the creation and construction of the built environment. I imagine I would get into development and act as my own client since hustling for work is the least exciting and rewarding aspect of this job.

2) Find a hobby

Are you surprised to hear that I don’t have a hobby? I don’t know many architects that do – at least not ones in my age bracket. There are things I think I would like to do – really perfect my ability to smoke barbeque, get a kiln and make raku ceramic things.

3) Pick my daughter up from school at car line and not from aftercare

4) Pay for the college education of my sister’s kids

I have 5 nieces and nephews and they are all amazing kids – all that more incredible since I know their moms (my older sisters) really well. I doubt they would do the things to their children that they did to me (sobbing as I remember being tied up in the laundry hamper and forced to eat summer sausage with fruity toothpaste on it – oh yes … I remember). Despite my education from one of the premiere architectural programs in the country, my sisters have better salaries than I do but I would still have to do something … fruity toothpaste notwithstanding.

5) Take jazz piano lessons

I can read music. I have a piano in my house. What is stopping me? Oh yeah… priorities set the order of things and I run out of time before I can get through the list.

6) Travel extensively to Japan and China

7) Hire a daily maid

This may sound silly because (shockingly) we keep our house in pretty orderly fashion – but you don’t know that. No, the reason I want a maid is so that I can have fresh sheets every night. And so I don’t have to empty the dishwasher, my most despised and hated chore ever!! I’m pretty sure that emptying the dishwasher was the first chore I ever had (that or setting the table … or both, my parents were slave drivers) and I used to have to climb up onto the counter to reach the upper cabinets – i.e. I was 4 YEARS OLD!!! Yes, I broke some dishes which I am painfully reminded of because I covet those old plates and still use them myself.

8 ) Design my own house #1

Yes, it’s true. Every architect wants to design their own house – and I am no exception. Chances are that this would really be the creation of my wife because designing with no rules in place is almost impossible for me – I need something to work towards and I’m sure my family would provide the guidelines for the actual house.

9) Design my own house #2

Am I being greedy? Maybe but hey! I won the lottery and can indulge a little. I have long wanted to have a “country” place. The idea of leaving the city and retreating into the country to a weekend home makes my crazy with happiness. The thing that interests me the most is not designing some monstrously large house but rather something small and open. The idea of one large room and several individual sleeping rooms sounds most appealing.


The question for this post was based on the premise of if I could stop the world for one day what would I do with that day. Almost everything on this list – my lottery bucket list – goes out the window. I certainly wouldn’t go to work and there is no way I would make my daughter go to school. No, my one day wouldn’t allow for any of these items and as a result, the answer is really short. Being completely self-serving, my one day would find me spending it with my wife and daughter, sitting in our backyard, ribs in the smoker, cold beverage in my hand and hopefully some time for all of us to lay in the hammock, gently swinging … and sharing with each other what we think the passing clouds look like….

The thing about an exercise like this is that if you made your own list, you would realize that some things aren’t dependent on having a lot of money – just time. If I was willing to restructure my priorities, I probably don’t need to stop time in order to have my special day. Actually, I have been able to have that day twice already this year so I must be a very rich man indeed.


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  • larry

    i saw a comment of brian mccarthy of the internet saying that there is a voodoo doc who help win the lottery with spiritual voodoo from africa, The first question i ask my self was why will he say this one the internet!!! cause to me it was rediculous to let people know about such secret. But i am a person who believe in magic and spiritaul voodoo cause i have seen it work in my eye. all i could was to give a try and truly i won i do not care how i did it and what i go through all i do was to believe that if brain can win then i am also a winner the doctor cast a spell on a number and send it to me and i used it for the keno alantic lottey and i won $50,000 it does not matter if i do not win like brian but i still gat something to celebrate about. I cant give you money but i can show how to get money and this is it drsoula_b@live.com is the only way and secret i have ever since in my entire life

    Larry Mader

  • It would have to be a big one to do this, but it’s been a long-time fantasy: after the usual stuff (pay off mortgage, build an addition, buy a dream car, kids’ college fund) I would start a non-profit foundation that would enable me to design and build housing for low-income families and the homeless. Projects would be sustainable urban-infill and adaptive re-use. There are a lot of vacant lots in my town where gas stations used to be, so site remediation would be part of it, too. Ground floor commercial space would be included in appropriate locations. I would try to create an expandable, exportable business model so that the program could take root in other cities in my province, and eventually throughout Canada as well as in other countries.

    • and I would wish you good luck and good sanity. I have tried doing this type of thing before and in some cities, the zoning that would allow homeless shelters is so restrictive … and forget about seeing an empty lot and trying to put it there unless it’s surround by battery factories. Most land/property owners bristle at the idea of putting homeless shelters next to them.

      It was a completely soul-depleting process and made me tremendously sad at how hard the process was and how little progress and impact we made.

      • The homeless shelter projects would be a small portion of the overall idea. Quebec City doesn’t have a very big homeless problem compared to most cities farther south, even Montreal, so the need is smaller (but maybe more intense, because of the weather).
        Sustaining the foundation over the long run would require sales (and donations) in order to replenish the coffers, so most projects would be aimed at low income families. My idea is kinda like Habitat for Humanity, but with a more design-oriented approach.

  • ScrewedUp

    If there was a contest with a million dollar jackpot in which each participant had to do something outstandingly absurd and painful to themselves, I would enter and shoot myself in the face with an RPG, and win. 😀

  • Alpha Deus

    I’d design a house or have you design one that cleaned itself…that I could leave the house, press a remote and have a set of ceiling height heat runs that blast air that removes the dust but blows it downwards and then have smilar runs at groud level that vacuum it up…I would also have the air temp settable ..not powerful enough to kncl things over but reduce the cleaning to minutes and not days…spring cleaning would be an option on the remote and not a yearly chore

  • Alpha Deus

    I’d design a house or have you design one that cleaned itself…that I could leave the house, press a remote and have a set of ceiling height heat runs that blast air that removes the dust but blows it downwards and then have smilar runs at groud level that vacuum it up…I would also have the air temp settable ..not powerful enough to kncl things over but reduce the cleaning to minutes and not days…spring cleaning would be an option on the remote and not a yearly chore

    • A house like what you are describing was featured in one of the very early editions of Dwell magazine (I think it was #1 or #2). It was designed and built by a woman engineer in the fifties or sixties. The cupboards were actually dishwashers; you put your dishes away dirty and took them out clean. All exposed surfaces were washable. The whole house could be washed by ceiling sprinklers at the touch of a button.

  • Bob, thanks for inspiring me today to think about the things I want to take time out for but don’t because of other (maybe less) important priorities. Although I’ll guess that your list benefited you more than me! And did you ever spend that day smoking ribs and swinging in the hammock with your wife and daughter?

    But where is the part about the private jet and trip to the Bahamas?

    • Enoch,

      Thanks for commenting and joining in the community! I have to pick up a new BBQ smoker this spring. I sold my old one in the winter but other than that, yes – I have been able to find some hammock time this year.

      As far as travel plans – first class is fine but I think I would hit up the Far East first since I haven’t been there before.


  • I had to leave this post and go read about your dishes. They’re so cool! ..and the daily housemaid sounds like a good idea. I hate matching my husband’s socks.

    • Thanks Cham,

      I love those dishes as well – probably nostalgic but what does the reason matter. Thankfully my mother picked those up in an era where it was only proper to have like 24 place settings. Despite dropping a great many things as a child, I can still set a large table (including relish trays and vegetable trays – there was a dish for EVERYTHING!!)

  • A hobby, to me, is something you do to fritter away time for the most part. An example might be those who make those outrageously detailed layouts for model trains. Years go by, and hubby’s still in the garage putzing around with the train station or details on the mountain and so forth. I have never cared to do such thing. I am a voracious reader (at the moment’s it’s a biography on Oliver Cromwell), but I have never regarded that as a hobby—it’s an education.

    Given the money for it, I would most definitely hire a maid because I am as tired as I can be of cleaning this house. As for the rest… Well, I have my own take on it. I just think people should spend time with the people they love. It requires no money, really, just time, but what better investment can we make?

  • dig it bob! thoroughly enjoy the sentiment — read the whole thing. :~) and does seem like a lot to accomplish in one day… if you in fact won the lottery I would expect to see some charity work on there… and surprised by this (think you’re like that) And . . . I would set up the contribution widget on my site just for that. great day my friend.

    • My wife has some grand ideas that include setting up endowments and the sort if we did actually win the lottery so I am free to just take on the things that interest me. I would probably become even more involved with Dallas CASA – the non-profit group that represents the interests of children kids that are in the court system through no fault of their own.

      Besides, I would be an anonymous donor (maybe I already am….)

  • Kim

    I’m not alone! I DESPISE emptying the dishwasher. When I win the lottery I will have you design me a house with a kitchen that takes this into account. And an electrical socket and switch for Christmas lights. And a half bath. And a sound proof room for my husband’s band. And a master bath with water pressure. And…

    • There are worse chores out there for sure but there is something about emptying the dishwasher that drains my life force.

      As far as all that other stuff on your list, I’m your guy – we already do the electrical sockets in the eaves for Christmas lights and I have the coolest product ever for sound-proofing a room (when your ready)


  • When I had some “extra” money about 5 years ago I decided to hire a cleaning person to come in every 2 weeks. I was amazed just how much it freed me up to work on projects that I never had time for. Unfortunately that luxary had to go after about a year.

    • We have tried a maid on a few times but have never been able to find one that doesn’t drive me crazy (as I wipe the top of the door jamb … ahhh, you need to get here too).

      Maybe I should lower my expectations and reclaim 3 hours a week of my life?

  • You DO have a hobby – it’s this blog! That, and perfecting that accent thing you have going. I would like to win the lottery because if I had more money, I’d know my boys’ future is secure. Then I could go off gallivanting!

    • Sorry – this blog is more of a creative outlet than a hobby. I get satisfaction from it but not self-indulgent pleasure. My hobby needs to be something that doesn’t involve anything even remotely associated with my job although I would still travel and look at buildings. (sounds like a conundrum doesn’t it?)

  • Alistair

    Time – the most precious commodity of all. It’s only Tuesday, and I’m already behind schedule – thank you to the person who invented the computer virus that wrecked yesterday. Ahhh, but if only I had the time I’d be off to the country with my family, sit below a tree with a picnic, sketch book and watercolours……

    • You day sounds pretty good to me as well – very similar except for the watercolour because I am terrible at it (even wrote a post on it … shudder).

      I think you will find one day this summer to go off to the country with your family and have that picnic – I feel confident now that you’ve taken the time to think it up and write it down, you’re not that far from actually doing it.

      Good luck