If I Had A Million Dollars: Episode 2

I have a very important announcement: I did not win the lottery. I do not have one million dollars. But, it’s fun to spend imaginary dollars anyway, zero guilt and zero product depreciation and no buyer’s remorse. One of my favorite day dreams is generating a list of what I would do or buy with the following sums of money, were they to magically appear in my wallet/off-shore account: $100, $1,000, $10,000, $100,000, and $1,000,000. The last time I wrote this list was almost two years ago, it was interesting to see what would stay the same and what would change.


I am embarrassed to say that this is the exact same thing as it was two years ago: all new underwear. Have I bought new underwear in the last two years? Um, yes? At least, I’ve bought a few, and I tossed some of the more threadbare ones…but I still feel like I have grungy underthings. That is a very very sad state of affairs to face every morning for TWO YEARS. To my credit, I did invest in two new sports bras, no cheap purchase for necessary job requirements (hello, bazoomas!).


I’d absolutely spend this on things for our yard. I’m talking citrus and pomegranate trees, leafy palm trees, oleander and jasmine, and bright bougainvillea everywhere. I want some grass to relax on, a fire pit, and some patio furniture so we can spend time out there without resorting to camp chairs. I realize that in just a few short months the temperature will be in the triple digits almost constantly, so we’ll probably need one of those mister systems as well so I can sit in the shade and be misted with cool water and have someone fan me with a palm frond and feed me grapes. I’m gonna need more than $1,000 for this, aren’t I. Hmmm.

A note: Blue Eyes and I upgraded to a California King sized mattress a few months ago, and it is heaven. This was my $1,000 wish from two years ago, and hey, look at that, wishes do come true! So, by the same logic, in two years my backyard should be GORGEOUS!


A new master bathroom. Now, the room is not nearly as offending as the yellow-tile monstrosity I lived with for almost 10 years in Salt Lake, but it certainly is in need of an update. The shower is fiberglass and permanently stained and mucky around the edges. The tub is hardly deep enough to cover my nickles when I get into it. The vanity drawers are wonky, the counter top is yellowing and stained, the faucets for the double sinks don’t match, the lights aren’t hung evenly, and the whole thing is just a little too creamy for me. I did paint it all a brighter gray instead of the sad brown it was, and that did wonders. But I would love a free-standing claw-foot-like soaking tub, a shower with a seat in it so I can easily shave my legs, and a shelf to hold all my bath potions. I would like to update the vanity and have the counter top raised about 6 inches to prevent crouching whilst negotiating my mascara wand or toothbrush. I want more than one outlet (!!! WHY?!) and better storage options and I want everything to be a lot brighter and cleaner. Don’t worry. Every single time I go to Home Depot I walk through the tile and vanity section swooning over anything that isn’t standard builder’s fare, circa 2002.


How would I spend $100,000 right now? Well, the beauty of this list is how easy it is to change, and how often you can re-imagine your shopping list. And, my list doesn’t have to be at all practical or rational, so, here it goes: I would quit my job and take a series of international adventures. I want so desperately to go exploring, I want to go to Iceland and Scotland and Scandinavia. I want to go to Turkey and Greece and Jordan and Morocco. I want to spend a month, at least, wandering around China with a jaunt up to Mongolia and another over to Japan. I want to hike Mt. Kilimanjaro and the Inca Trail, I want to visit Antarctica and the Galapagos Islands, and I could spend a month in the museums of Paris, or Rome, or Cairo (or Moscow or Beijing or, basically, any major city you can imagine). Can I live in a village in Nepal? And wander around New Zealand? I want to go SCUBA diving in Belize and take the Trans-Siberian Railroad from Moscow to Vladivostok. I’d take the longest North American road trip that ever was planned and see everything and everyone I possibly could. I’d visit all the US and Canadian National Parks, including the ones in Alaska and Hawaii.


  • I’d enroll in a Master’s Degree program as soon as possible, ideally one with major chops and a lot of research involved. I’d love to spend my days as a student again, or, really, for the first time. I worked all through college (like, 40-50 hours a week, not 10-12 hours a week) and to be able to just spend my days studying and writing and learning…well, it’s my Millionaire Dream.
  • We’d pay off our house here in Arizona and finish up the remaining projects (those listed above, and a few other tweaks here and there, mostly cosmetic). This isn’t our forever house, so I don’t particularly want to go overboard, and I doubt we’ll stay in Arizona for very long after Blue Eyes’ kids are in college, so I don’t really feel the need to upgrade to a different house either. But, a few improvements to make this house a little better and still maintain a solid resale value, that I’d definitely do.
  • I’d buy land for our forever house, somewhere with unobstructed views of stunning rocky mountains with year-round glaciers or snow-pack on the peaks. My dream house has a two-story library and plenty of space for a full-size grand piano. I want a hot-house for year-round tomatoes and limes and a big, bright kitchen for all my culinary messing around. Plenty of bedrooms for visitors, a sunny art studio for me, large garage and shop for Blue Eyes… I’ve been sketching some version of this house for at least twenty years, another ten won’t really matter too much in the end.

So, how about you? How would you spend such sums? And please, even if you would probably sock it away in a retirement account, or pay down your mortgage or put it aside for your kid’s tuition….give me something FUN to chew on, mmmkay? It’s imaginary money, dream big!

Harriet sig

0 thoughts on “If I Had A Million Dollars: Episode 2

  1. Jen

    I am 100% stealing this idea for a post. And between bathroom remodels, backyard sprucing, and world travel our lists look pretty similar. Although I’d probably also buy a pimped-out minivan, because my sedan is JUST NOT CUTTING IT these days. Oh, and lots of concert tickets. And a nanny.

    But if we’re just talking $100, I’d get new glasses. Mine are almost ten years old and that is just sad.

    1. Feisty Harriet Post author

      When I realized that this is something I’ve KNOWN needed replacing for TWO FULL YEARS I got super embarrassed. And then, you know, I published it on the internet because that’s my jam. (Related: WHY is underwear so expensive!? Good gracious!)


      On Thu, Mar 24, 2016 at 9:22 AM, Feisty Harriet wrote:


  2. Alice

    Oh man, mine would be kind of boring right now because we’re closing on a house in 5 days and right now categories $100-$10k would all go to house projects. Possibly even the $100k one too 🙂 But once we get that squared away? I’m with you on the travel one. I want to go EVERYWHERE. I want to go for longer, better trips than I can squeeze away while working right now. I want to spend a MONTH in a country, exploring more than just one or two cities. I desperately want to go back to Morocco with a real camera and more than $250 for an entire week’s worth of food/lodging/transportation money. I want to go to Cambodia and Vietnam. If I had unlimited funds (and, uh, less of a fetal situation) I would be on a plane in a heartbeat.

    Back when I worked @ the airline many moons ago, sometimes people would play “airport roulette” – pack a bag, go to the airport after work on Friday, and get on the very first flight that had a standby seat open. I would love to do that again too 🙂

  3. Saskia

    We have a hypothetical/fictional cave house. It’s built like an actual cave, but with the fake rock things they use at Disneyland. (don’t ask why, but Loel loves the stuff and would be a fake-rock-designer if he could.) It has a big library, and a concealed entrance so only people we like can visit, and we regularly add onto it in our imaginations. So that’s my million dollar wish. Or an endowed chair so I can just buy my way into a university and not have to deal with tenure track political nightmares and publishing stress.

    $100 would probably go towards bike stuff, because there is so much pretty and functional bike stuff out there! I saw a meme the other day that basically said you should make your children into bikers because then they’ll never have money for drugs.

    $1000 is definitely a new bed. We sleep on a queen turned sideways with an extra furniture piece at the end so it’s long enough (it sounds super convoluted but it’s actually not that bad), and we’re upgrading to a king soon.

    And $10,000 would go towards flights, so I can see my family, or fly my mom out to us, or whatever. Living in the US means I have a significant travel category in my budget that doesn’t go towards adventuring, but family visits. Luckily we amassed enough airline points in the last year through a credit card that I can go see family for “free” this summer.

  4. Pingback: If I Won The Lottery | When In Turkey

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *