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It was just a little island in Lake Champlain, with a nice house on it's highest elevation, and it had a functional boat dock.  She wanted to get a Paris penthouse.  She dreamed of spending every morning eating authentic, fresh croissants.  The kind that melt in your mouth and give your taste buds so much pleasure that you know you deserve to be  much richer than most everyone else. But the kind of digs she was angling for would cost three times more than the island, and with the extra millions left over I could transform the existing house into a real castle, with actual towers with turrets and nice decks where we could sun bathe high up, out of sight of the punters tooling around on the lake in their twelve foot motorboats.

It was a great location too, with views of both the Green Mountains and the northern Adirondacks.  If we tired of our isolation we would be only a thirty minute boat ride away from rubbing elbows with the select northern elites and fine restaurants of Burlington. And my wife could always get a renewing dose of urban culture and croissants after a ninety minute drive to Montreal.

So I was lucky, as usual, and she didn't stay mad for long.  Even though her inheritance was several millions more than mine she didn't lord it over me, or use it as leverage when we committed to significant expenditures or investments.  Especially since I was able to double our wealth just a few years into our marriage because of the family connections I had in high finance. Sure I broke a few insider trading laws, but hey, I knew I wasn't a big enough fish to get caught in any SEC dragnet.

She actually got more accepting of the island as getaway when I daydreamed my plans for it; she was a bit of an environmentalist, and I figured we could set up solar panels and erect a wind turbine or two and be completely off the grid. I already knew the soil wasn't that great for most vegetables, but we could ship over tons of good topsoil and create a pretty large garden to her to putter around in when she felt like pretending to be middle class.

Of course I never mentioned to her my biggest reason for buying the island - which was the fact that I knew that global warming would be soon putting western civilization through stresses it might not survive, and we needed a safe haven.  I was sure that we could get through the collapse if there weren't any nuclear exchanges. Our island would be safer than some gated compound on land, and easier to defend as well.  The castle part of our house would really be a castle, built of Vermont granite. And of course we would never run short of water.  In the meantime, I was looking forward to designing and building my own little freehold, and enjoying long summers of swimming and boating before the storm hit.  

Like I said before, I was lucky, lucky in a lot of ways, but mostly lucky that I had wealthy grandparents, who allowed me to have a life in which my hardest work was deciding how to spend my money.  I knew that I now had to spend it before it became worthless, and transform it into the kind of wealth that would matter after the coming storm had passed.

(Author's note - always planned to have my first diary be a serious discourse on some element of our American craziness, but instead, this daydream spilled out.)

Originally posted to oddmike on Wed Mar 12, 2014 at 11:25 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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