I had the money spent before I bought the tickets. That's how sure I was that my friends and I were going to win the Mega Millions lottery Tuesday night.
They sent me to purchase them — not because I am lucky or have dreams involving numbers, but because I live in Annapolis and we thought a change of venue would get it done. The tickets we'd been buying in Lutherville were, I don't know ... stale.
"We should buy the tickets in Fargo," I objected. "People from nowhere always win it."
But nobody had won it, not since January, and the lottery pot was filled with $363 million.
My share of the pool would be something like $3 million or $30 million. I couldn't quite figure it out. Like Barbie once said, "Math is hard." But either amount would be easy to spend.
My husband joined a pool with his friends, too. He did it to be polite and because he's a newsman with a newsman's keen sense of irony. He didn't want reporters interviewing him after the fact as the only guy who didn't join the pool. But he wasn't optimistic.
"It is like filling a football stadium with Skittles and hoping they pick your Skittle," he said.
Driving to my neighborhood wine shop with an envelope filled with dollar bills, I turned off the radio and thought about how I would spend my winnings.
I'd buy a beach house.
One with enough bedrooms so any number of friends and family could visit. And I'd hire one of those people who fills the fridge and the wine cooler and puts on fresh sheets just before you get there.
Paying off the mortgage? Buying a new car for my husband, whose driver's side window is stuck? Painting the outside of the house? Fund college for a loved one? Show up for work the next day anyway?
Bor-r-r-r-ing. And much too responsible. The only thing more boring would be buying long-term care insurance with lottery winnings.
Instead, I'd buy plane tickets for places that require a passport, and I'd take people I like with me.
My husband says he would give $10,000 to everybody he cares about, but I don't think that's a good idea.
If you win $363 million and you give somebody $10,000, the one thing they are not going to be is grateful. They are going to wonder what you are doing with all that money that you could only spare 10,000 lousy bucks for them.
Nothing but trouble down that road, is what I think. Just lend them the beach house for a week.
One of my friends knows an accountant who says he has handled several lottery winners, and they are always in worse financial shape two or three years later than they were before they won.
Urban myth, I say. It should take much longer than that to spend yourself into a hole after winning millions and, besides, I'd like to be the one person to prove them wrong.
Of course, I didn't win.
If I had, there'd be a blank space right here and I'd be best friends with a Realtor in North Carolina by now.
I wasn't one of the two people in Maryland who won $250,000 either, and that would have been good for a one-bedroom condo in Ocean City, at least.
That's the bad news. The good news?
The pot is up to $500 million for Friday's drawing, the largest pot ever. That's a one-time payout of something like $359 million, or $19.2 million a year for 26 years.
I don't know about you, but I'm in.