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Jackpot Aids Their Budget, Then Some

A Huntington Beach family struggles for calm after winning one-third of the $100-million pot.

August 31, 2004|David Reyes | Times Staff Writer

He wants a fishing boat. She wants a new home.

Those are the first items on a Huntington Beach couple's wish list now that they've won one-third of Saturday's $100-million Super Lotto jackpot.

George and Kim Szabo said at a news conference Monday they intend to keep their feet firmly planted on the ground. George, an electrician, is even planning to keep his job -- for now, at least.

The jackpot win comes at a time the family can use the help. They moved in with her mother in Huntington Beach about five years ago after they went through some tough financial times. George, 34, just this year graduated to journeyman electrician, and Kim, 37, stays home with their daughter, Alexa, 8, and stepson, Zach, 14.

Kim bought the winning ticket toward the close of the drawing Saturday, at the Cal-Va Dairy, a Huntington Beach market where she usually gets her tickets -- and usually only one ticket with each purchase.

After the drawing, she asked her husband to check the ticket against the winning numbers. At the time, she didn't know that he had already seen the numbers on television and had copied them down.

It was a prized moment.

"I did a double take," he said, "then a triple take and ... I was shaking. I'm still shaking. It was incredible."

Kim also struggled to believe it. She checked the numbers again. Once, twice, then a third time. She could hardly sleep Saturday night.

On Sunday, she wanted to visit Cal-Va Dairy, but when she drove by, there were TV news cameras and people milling about, so she headed home, not wanting to cause a scene.

She later telephoned the store's owners, Ronald and Linda Kien, in part to confirm her winning ticket, in part to share the excitement.

Then she telephoned family and friends and spread the news, which prompted advice about holding onto the money.

Though the Szabos' share is $33.3 million, Kim will get about $13.5 million in a lump sum after federal taxes are withheld.

She wants to pay off her mother's mortgage, then buy a home for her own family somewhere in Huntington Beach, where she grew up.

Their children have wish lists of their own. Alexa loves animals and wants a horse. Zach, though a few years shy of driving age, is pushing for a Ferrari. The parents plan to put away some money for their education.

Although Kim considers the lottery win "a blessing," she and her husband are determined not to lose their heads.

"I don't want our lives to change. I don't want our marriage to change," she said. "They mean a lot to us."

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