When Charlotte A. Fletcher checked her Maryland lottery ticket on Sunday, things got a little blurry.
"I had to put my contacts in," the 46-year-old federal employee recalled.
After the ticket came into focus, Fletcher saw these numbers: 2, 12, 29, 32, 40, 44.
She had hit pay dirt.
"I may have to get new carpeting over where I've paced the floor," Fletcher said, of the two sleepless nights she spent in anticipation of cashing in her $8 million ticket.
Fletcher appeared happy, but fatigued, as she picked up the first installment of her booty -- a check for $390,629, before taxes. She will receive $384,000 annually for the next 19 years, lottery officials said.
Fletcher, a Northern Virginia resident, is the fourth winner of a state lotto jackpot worth at least $8 million so far this year, said Carroll Hynson, lottery spokesman. Fletcher also is the 19th jackpot winner this year and the 40th Virginia resident to win a Maryland lotto prize since 1983.
Fletcher describes herself as an impatient lottery player, or one who plays only when there is no line at the lottery machine.
Last week, she purchased five random-select tickets at Daydreams, a shop on the Eastern Shore, during a pit stop on the way home from a visit to Wilmington, Del.
She said that after she saw the lucky numbers in the newspaper and realized she had a winning ticket, she decided to quietly wait until after the Veterans Day holiday to claim her prize.
When she went into work yesterday at the federal Office of Personnel in Washington, joyous pandemonium broke out when
she announced her new fortune.
The scene was "complete chaos," she said. "I still can't believe it. It hasn't sunk in yet."
Fletcher's immediate plan is to get in touch with a financial
analyst and reset her priorities. She said she plans to continue working as a personnel administrator, and this year she'll be presenting her husband and two children with "a good Christmas."
"I am not an extravagant person, not materialistic," she said. "This was a good stroke of luck. I don't think my life is going to change right now."