That’s what I should have said, when the Jeopardy showrunner asked me in March of 2017 what I’d do with any winnings.
I should have just said, “buy a sailboat and hire a maid!”
But I was too long winded. I stumbled through a long recitation of how I had always lived or vacationed near large bodies of water and I was embarrassed that I had never learned to sail. I saw the guy’s eyes glaze over after about 5 seconds.
And I know I missed a question on the quiz they gave us, out of sheer nerves – made the cardinal error of changing my answer, when we all know the first answer you give is usually the right one – or the rightest one you know, anyway.
So I blew my chance to be a Jeopardy contestant.
Today it is 91 degrees and humid, not a cloud in the sky, and we don’t have air conditioning. I have just finished washing the kitchen floor, cleaning the downstairs bathroom toilet, and doing two loads of laundry. This after my 6 am “30 minute total body workout with (8 pound) dumbbells” on YouTube (bodyfit by Amy) in the relative cool of the basement, then shower, making breakfast for and driving Angelic Daughter to and from work and then to obtain her salad bar lunch, stepping out into the garden at high noon to harvest enough lettuce for my lunch, and streaming sweat (again) for the five minutes it took to wash each leaf thoroughly.
I am my own maid service, and even though this weekend was the Mackinac race (a sailing race from Chicago up the full length of Lake Michigan to Mackinac Island – pronounced “Mackinaw”) there’s not a sailboat in sight. Although we benefit from the lake’s cooling breezes, it is two miles away.
On these hot, hot days, we used to just put on our bathing suits, soak ourselves in a cool shower, and walk around wet until we dried off, and then we’d do it again. Or, we’d go outside and use the garden hose to wet ourselves down with still ice-cold Lake Michigan water, and sit under a sun umbrella on the deck until we needed to soak ourselves again.
One excruciatingly hot summer, with multiple consecutive days over 100 degrees, Mike just sat on the deck in his bathing suit with a full bucket of that cold water next to him, that he’d dump over his head as necessary.
As I was toweling lettuce-and-floor washing sweat off, I noticed how it doesn’t bother me at all, to be streaming sweat like that, on a hot day. We’ve gotten used to it, and for years, when we go someplace that has air conditioning, it has been bone-chillingly cold and has felt artificial and weird.
The house was built in 1948, best I know, and has a remarkable ability to stay relatively cool, as long as we use our “close the windows and the blinds before 8 am” strategy, and keep fans upstairs set on “exhaust.” Strategically placed trees provide shade, and thick plaster walls, insulation. The new windows do a better job of keeping the hot sun out, too.
But none of this keeps me from dreaming of learning to sail, and guiding a small boat of my own to a calm and lovely place on a beautiful lake, dropping anchor and diving in.
I skipped the Jeopardy online quiz this time – didn’t have time to practice and my failure on the first round took the wind out of my imaginary sails.
The caliber of the contestants has gotten so amazing that I’d feel totally out of my league, anyway, even if I ever got on.
But it’s a more realistic way to get a sailboat (and a maid!) than winning the lottery.
And as I write, Angelic Daughter’s new bathing suit arrived in the mail, and she promptly put it on and headed outside, to frolic in the cold spray of the hose.
That’s better than a sailboat, and worth being my own maid.
Off to allow myself to be playfully drenched, I remain,
Your two-or-three showers a day until further notice,