I’m not sure what process I have to initiate in order to propose a name change for Wellington, but now that Bill Gates has coughed up 8.7 million green backs for a home there, I can just see the writing on the Windows tablet.  It’s only a matter of time before WEF creates a new division exclusively for computer geeks; they could call it Puddle Jumping Programmers. According to this Forbes story, Bill paid cash for the new crib. Well, of course he did. Bill’s the second richest man in the world. That amount is probably what the housekeeper finds in the bottom of the washing machine every time Bill forgets to empty his pockets.

I don’t actually consider $8.7 mill a whole lot of dough for a fancy home with stables. Where I keep my horse in Vancouver’s Southlands neighborhood, homes with stables far less posh than the new Gates place routinely sell for more than 10 million. Don’t believe me? Check out this listing for a little pile about three blocks from where my pony beds down at night.  The new digs for Bill and his horse crazy daughter are actually a slum compared to the Gates’ principal residence in Seattle. According to Wikipedia, the property taxes alone on the $147 million, 66,000 square foot wonder of design and technology were over $1 million for the year 2009. Jeez Louise. We just have no idea, do we?

I did find something mildly shocking about the big news of Bill’s plunge into home ownership in Welly World (made milder after I looked up the stats on the Lake Washington joint). One of the reasons Bill decided to buy the house in Welly’s Mallet Hill, (where the only ‘hills’ are the perfectly uniform grassy mounds made out of the dirt removed to make water features in the front yards) was because he was already forking over $600k just to rent it for the winter season. Even if he stuck around for the full six month term of the rental, that’s $3333 A DAY in rent.

I will say this for the Gates though. As mega-rich as they are, and as stark a contrast as their position in the horse world is compared to people who are abandoning horses all over the country because they can’t afford to feed them, at least Bill and his clan are charitable folks.  But I’m sure glad I’m not a 21 year old working student living in groom’s quarters over the barn and trying to get enough catch rides to chase my Olympic dreams…that world is all but gone now.

By the way, WEF really does have a Puddle Jumper division. Apparently no one ever told them that if you want to make a horse jump really badly, gallop it over 18 inch fences. Where I come from in rural red neck northern Canada, that sort of activity was restricted to gymkhana, and it was called ‘scurries’.