Powerball.

You had a 1 in 292,200,000 chance of winning the 759 million dollar Powerball jackpot on August 23, 2017.

You’re more likely to get attacked by a shark or get struck by lightening. A Massachusetts woman beat the odds. She also landed into the 100% odds of the government taking its share, leaving her with $480 million.

Why are we talking about this?

Because every so often, a jackpot will get so big that you start dreaming. You buy a lotto ticket. You start throwing out promises of giving away money to Instagram followers if you win because you need their good karma.

Because if you want to see Scott and I fight – screaming, walking out of the room, and flipping each other off behind each other’s back because he’s so wrong about this –  then let’s talk about winning the hypothetical Powerball.

What would you do with $480 million?

I think most people are in agreement –  you would hire a financial planner. You would pay off all debt. Sell your house. Donate to charities. Go on a ridiculous shopping spree.

Scott and I would set up Emma and Kate’s college fund to be paid in full at Kansas State University. Maybe we would buy a building and name it Burton Hall.

Kansas City would be our “home base.” We wouldn’t move. We love our neighbors and schools too much. I’d call designers over to decorate for me. Every door would get a screen to allow a proper breeze. We would add a pool to our backyard. The fire pit and basement would be complete. I would hire a maid and hire a chef. I’m a simple woman. I don’t need a mansion.

We would buy a house in the Florida Keys. Scott grew up in South Florida and knows the area well. Jimmy Buffet would not be playing from our speakers. No, Jimmy Buffet would be live in concert in my kitchen overlooking the ocean. I would buy a boat and hire a captain and mate. We would fight sailfish, marlin, tuna, and mahi around the world. We would fly our Kansas friends out to come play with us. They could probably use the tan in December. Merry Christmas. 

We would buy a mountain lodge in Colorado. The lodge would be for me and anyone else that is normal and likes warmth in the winter. Scott likes sleeping in a sleeping bag at 15,000 feet in below freezing temperatures. He wants to be at one with the elk. Or maybe he thinks he truly is Jon Snow.

We agreed to take care of our parents and living grandparents with enough money to live with no financial stress.

But then our views differ: siblings.

Our siblings are the people that probably know us best. We would not be who we are if it weren’t for our siblings. Every childhood memory is shared with them. Every important event in our lives is shared – weddings, babies, vacations, tears of joy and tears of sorrow.

This is where Scott’s view of family equality really shines.

Scott has one brother. I have two sisters and a brother.

Scott’s view: His side should get half and my side should get half. Let’s say we agreed to $10 million going to our siblings. Scott’s brother would get half and my three siblings would get the other half, divided by 3. Five million dollars would go to his brother. My three siblings would each get a little over $1.5 million each, for a total of $10 million.

BACK IT UP, MONEY TRAIN.

My view: Every sibling receives $2.5 million each, totaling $10 million given to all siblings. All siblings are equal. Scott’s brother gets just as much money as my brother.

Our siblings are people, not his and hers towels. Just because I have two more siblings than Scott, does not mean Scott’s brother wins his own mini-lotto. I love his brother like my own brother but come on. My siblings should get the same amount.

The chances of someone in my large family winning the lotto is greater than Scott’s tiny family because my family has greater odds. I’m sure Scott would take lotto money from one of my siblings if they were to offer it. When you marry a person, you marry the family. When Scott said “I do,” he said “I do” to two extra sisters and an brother.

Of course, this is just a hypothetical argument. And worst case, I would totally slip my siblings an extra $3.5 million cash under the table at Christmas to make them equal to Scott’s brother.

Who wins the argument?

The odds of finding out the answer is one in 292,200,000.

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Hypothetical question.

What would you do with $540 million?

That is what the Mega Milions jackpot is up to. Oh, that’s a fun question – what would you do if you won $540 million?

Let’s talk real money, here. Uncle Sam will take half of that. So we’re looking at $270 million. Cool.

$270 million is a crazy amount of money.

I think most people are in agreement –  you would hire a financial professional. You would pay off all debt. Sell your house. Donate to charities. Go on a ridiculous shopping spree.

Scott and I would set up Emma and Kate’s college fund to be paid in full – at K-State.

Kansas City would be our “home base.”

We would buy a house in the Florida Keys. We have friends there and Scott knows the area well. A little Jimmy Buffet on the iPod with a pina colada in hand while wearing a bikini in December? YES. We would fly our Kansas friends to come play with us.

We agreed to set up each set of parents with enough money to retire and live with no financial stress. Easy, done.

But then our views start to differ:

Siblings. What would we give them? These are the people that probably know us best. We would not be who we are if it weren’t for our siblings. Every childhood memory is shared with them. Every important event in our lives is shared as well.

This is where Scott’s view of family equality really shines.

Scott has one brother. I have two sisters and a brother.

Scott’s view: his family should get half and my family should get half. So his brother would get half and my three siblings would get the other half, divided by 3. You read that right. Let’s say we decided $10 million to go to siblings. $5 million would go to his brother. My siblings would each get a little over $1.5 million each. STOP – Back up the money train.

This is so not fair on so many levels.

My view: everyone (or married couple) gets $5 million. Each. (hypothetical number, of course. But all the same number.)

How is Scott’s view fair? They are people! Not his and hers towels! Just because I have two extra siblings than he does, does not mean his brother wins his own mini-lotto. I love his brother like my own brother but come on. My siblings should get the same amount. If you think about it, the chances of someone else in our family winning the lotto is greater because my family is larger. I’m sure he would take lotto money from one of my siblings, if they were to offer it. Pook, you married me – but you also married into two sisters and an extra brother. Plus their spouses.

This is just a hypothetical argument. To my siblings – I swear he loves you too. Scott is just not thinking very clearly. He has learned by now that I am always right. Worst case, I would totally slip you an extra $3.5 million cash under the table at Christmas.

Whatever. I can’t tell if he’s serious or just trying to get me all riled up. I’ll very likely never find that out. Or more like 1 in 176,000,000 chance of finding out.

A new aspiration.

My new aspiration is to be a mechanic. How nice would it be if I could diagnose car problems? And fix them at cost? I would give an honest diagnosis. No pulling strings, no hiking up the price for friends and family.

Julie: the grease monkey.

The worst part about owning a car is when it needs repair. And I’m the worst at talking to mechanics. I am the complete stereotype when it comes to women and cars.

As a teenager, I would get an earful from my dad. I would take my car in for an oil change and come out with new wipers, new air filter, something to flush the gas tank, and the most expensive oil offered.

But he said my car needed it!!

When I married Scott I told him straight up, “do not trust me around mechanics”. Scott has pretty much taken care of all our cars. Sometimes he will need to be reminded when it’s time for an oil change or tires going bald. In the end, Scott is the one to take the car in.

Last night, my car battery light went on while Scott was driving Kate. They were on their way to meet Emma and me at my parents.

Just as he gets up to 70mph, my car completely goes dead. No lights, exterior or interior. No gas. Motor just stopped. Now, if I were in this situation, I would have screamed and slammed on brakes. But level-headed Scott, slowly put on brakes and made his way to the shoulder. Traffic adjusted around him as he moved over lane by lane. He said the scariest part was waiting on the shoulder with cars whizzing by. He was worried he would get rear-ended or side swiped on accident. He did happen to bring a blanket for Kate because she had no socks or shoes on. They kept warm until my dad came and got them. I got roadside assistance out there and got the car towed to the dealership.

So. This morning. I assumed Scott talked to the dealership already. I get a phone call from the service department. The guy told me I have a bad battery, need oil change and new front brakes. Ah! I run to find Scott and I couldn’t find him. What do I do? Panic and tell him to fix everything.

Whoops.

Scott learns of this and just rips me a new one. He told me mechanics are liars and never tell them to go ahead and fix everything. He said my brakes are fine and they overcharge on oil changes and they don’t know that the car stopped running while on the highway. He called up there but they wouldn’t answer. He slammed the door and left for the dealership.

$800 later…new oil, new brakes and new battery. But the car still doesn’t work.
They want another $800 for a new alternator! Long story, short: Part of that cost is my fault for telling them to go ahead. But the reason it stopped working is because of a recall…so they are adjusting the price as I write.

Lesson learned: I need to take some classes on car mechanics. It would save us a ton of money in the long run.