May the Odds Be Ever In Your Favor.

I rarely play the lottery, and yet I now have two MegaMillions tickets and have jumped in the office lottery pool. I know the odds are negligible that I will win anything, and to be honest I feel like I’m in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Do I hold a golden ticket? Probably not. Do I expect to win? Absolutely not. Have I been thinking about what I would do with $500 million all day? You betcha! (Side note: If you match all 6 numbers but don’t have the multiplier right, you only win $150 for matching 4 numbers. Wah wah.)

Charlie's Golden Ticket

I'll have to hire an Uncle Joe to sing to me if I win.

That’s what is fun about playing the lottery — not the realistic hope or explanation that by 7 PM tonight I’ll be halfway to the billionaire’s club (that exists, right?), but the suspension of belief it allows you to think about what exactly you would do with that money.

Here is my list:

  • Buy a lake house and pay my parents to be its caretakers.
  • Pay off my student loan debt, then pay off the student loan debt of my siblings and siblings-in-law.
  • Set up college funds for my niece and nephew.
  • Take care of The Mister’s debt (and finish the New House, with my name added to the title!).
  • Get the Ford Edge I’ve been drooling over for the past few months.
  • Donate to some of my favorite organizations – Planned Parenthood, EMILY’s List, and Girl Scouts of the USA, just to name a few.
  • Break the piggy bank and buy the Burberry trench of my dreams! And maybe some Chanel.

That’s my initial list. All things considered, it’s not really that unreasonable. And all of this is after talking to lawyers, financial planners, and all that fun, responsible stuff, of course.

What about you? We all know you have the winning ticket, not me. What would you do with your jackpot?

Busy Busy Busy!

Despite both of us having The Longest Cold In The History of Ever (alternate title: The Death Cold) for over a week each, The Mister and I were able to find time to start on our “Moving Katie In” checklist.

Somehow, we were able to muster the strength Sunday to rearrange his house to make room for my ridiculously over-sized clothing collection (my weakness, followed closely by red wine). My clothes were going where his office area was, the desk was going where the plants were, the plants were going where the kitchen table was, and the kitchen table was going into the New House to be stored.

The Mister's stuff

For someone who hates clutter, he has a lot of it.

After we both moved the kitchen table over, we tackled the bedroom. I was in charge of packing up the books and clutter, while The Mister (who has a decidedly greener thumb than I do) pruned and moved the plants. It took a lot longer than we anticipated (possibly because we were both still super sick and inhaling all sorts of dirt and dust), but six storage bins of books and stuff later, everything was rearranged. Instead of a dining nook, we now have a green house.

Plants in the living room

After all our hard work, I had caught a second wind and was ready to drive over to my apartment and start hauling things back, but The Mister wisely stopped that idea before it really even started. However, I have to pack and move my stuff at some point, and we decided we would do it bit by bit instead of all at once.

Have I mentioned that I hate packing? Almost as much as I hate moving? But, it has to be done, so my apartment is now a disaster zone of storage totes and piles of clothing and stuff.

Packing Totes

Multiply this by 4 and you have my life right now.

Since this first move is temporary(ish), and we are only living in The Mister’s house until we can finish the New House, I’m trying to only pack a limited amount of stuff to actually unpack; everything else will go into storage. It’s a lot of clothing to sort through and store, but it will be easier in the long run, and eventually will be like unpacking an entire new wardrobe.

I still have a long ways to go until my apartment is packed up, but I’m hoping to be most of the way moved in with The Mister in the next three weeks. I don’t know if this goal is super attainable, but it leaves an extra two weeks of breathing room to get everything else done. This is becoming even more real, and I couldn’t be more excited.

That One?! But You’ve Read It Twice!

Cover of "The Hunger Games"

The book that started this discussion.

I have always known that there were two types of people in this world – Readers and Non-Readers. While Non-Readers baffle me, I understand that not everyone loves to read. I also understand that there are subcategories of my exceptionally scientific classification. There are Readers-Who-Don’t-Have-Time-To-Read, Non-Readers-Who-Become-Readers-But-Only-For-A-Certain-Book/Series/Author, Readers-Who-Refuse-To-Read-Certain-Books/Series/Authors, and so on. Recently, I discovered another sub-genre of readers: Readers-Who-Don’t-Reread.

And I thought Non-Readers baffled me.

I discovered Readers-Who-Don’t-Reread talking with my coworker. She is very much a Reader. Self-admittedly, she doesn’t read as much now as she did before she was a mom, but she is absolutely a Reader. In a discussion about The Hunger Games movie, I mentioned that I had reread the trilogy at least five times and was probably going to read it again before the movie. This shocked her, and that shocked me. It turns out the only book she has reread, ever, is To Kill a Mockingbird. A great one to reread, for sure, but still the only one.

I am a Reader, and most certainly a Rereader. I have been since I first learned to read. For me, books are more than another form of entertainment to be consumed. While I read a lot of what I call “brain candy” or “beach books” these days, certain books are more than something to read – the characters and the stories are old friends. They have become part of my life. When I first moved to Colorado, I knew I would be okay here because just like Laura Ingalls I was living by the banks of Plum Creek (and the house had real windows to boot!). Whenever I get a bad haircut, Jo March has already given permission for me to be upset (“My one vanity!”). A good cry is simply one Bridge to Terabithia away, just as reading Heidi feels like a great big hug.

Belle in Book Store

Belle: I'll borrow...this one.
Store Owner: That one?! But you've read it twice!
Belle: It's my favorite! Far-off places, daring sword fights, magic spells, a prince in disguise!

I love to read, and I love books. I can’t imagine simply putting them on the shelf and walking away, being done with them forever. My books are more than just paper and ink. The stories in them are living and breathing organisms, growing and changing as I get older and the context I’m reading them in changes. Many books get left in the past, but there are many I can’t imagine living without in my present: The BFG, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Number the Stars, Island of the Blue Dolphins, Pippi Longstocking, Mr. Popper’s Penguins, Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself, My Side of the Mountain, Lysistrata, Herland, Uylsses, Stiff, The City of Dreaming Books, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, The Bell Jar,and so on, and so on, and so on.

I know, I know. Just as some people are Non-Readers, other people simply aren’t Rereaders. For those of you who aren’t, do me a favor and give it a shot. Pick up a book you’ve read once, and make it something you really enjoy. Find some time, get comfy, and tear through it. See how it feels enjoying it for the second time. If you didn’t like it, that’s fair. For those of you who did? Welcome to the club. Pull up a chair and grab an old book of the shelf. It’s great to have you.

Life is Like a Song

My life is rarely like a movie. Or, rather, if it is, my life is like the beginning of a movie, where the harried 20-something rushes on her way to complete an obviously important task, along the way dodging taxis, getting wrapped up in dog leashes, then finally slamming into the eventual love interest, spilling coffee on both she and him. Right before she has to walk in to see her boss. This heroine is brainy, with an eclectic group of friends, and always has her hair up in a ponytail and wears glasses. At some point in the movie a guy will hit on her to win a bet.

Despite that opening, my life isn’t sad or depressing. If anything it is exceedingly normal. Which plays right back into the first paragraph, since people go to movies to escape the exceedingly normal, to see that the average gal can have a life that’s extraordinary. Spoiler alert: my life isn’t extraordinary, but it has its extraordinary moments.

Last night was one of them. After getting home from a day out with friends enjoying the sunshine, The Mister suggested we climb up on the roof of the new house. Once we got to the top, he hauled a ladder over to the newly completed trellis, and up we went. Everything about the atmosphere was perfect. The sky was clear with twinkling stars overhead, the city lights were shining in the distance, and there was a gentle breeze that helped create a sense of calm. Without saying anything, The Mister pulled me close and we began to dance. Suddenly, through the magic of smartphones, the air around us was filled with the majestic sounds of Etta James singing “At Last.” For once I was the heroine at the end of the movie, after she had given up all hope of finding the person she had thought all along was Mr. Wrong (only to realize in the last ten minutes that she was the one who was wrong) just to find him waiting on her fire escape. The only difference is that I’ve known The Mister was Mr. Right all along

As all perfect moments have to end, so too did this one. The breeze turned from cool to chilly, the phone died, and we realized we couldn’t postpone morning despite wishing we could. Climbing down the ladder and back into reality, the magic of the moment dissipated, but The Mister was still there. Maybe my life¬†is¬†more like a movie than I realize..