Thursday, January 29, 2015

In which Primo goes to Russell's house to talk about running for Russell's county seat and then he and I have a big ol' fight about the stupid campaign and how it's ruining our lives

Primo went over to Russell Crowe's house this afternoon to talk to him about running for Russell's seat. He wanted to get to Russell before Leo did or at least pretty close.

Primo: So I went over there and rang the doorbell.

Me: Was he home?

Primo: Yes. But he was taking a nap! I woke him up!

Me: Oh no!

Primo: But he was really nice. He invited me inside and we talked. He told me that he and his wife cancelled their vacation this summer so he could campaign.

Me: That stinks.

Primo: Yeah.....

Me: Oh! About vacation! When we go to Spain in November, if you have quit your job, you won't have to take your computer and we can actually be on vacation!

[Primo has taken his work computer with him on every vacation we have taken and usually spends a few hours every morning working, including working until 4 a.m. in the lobby - because that was the only place he could get an internet connection - of the hotel the first night of our honeymoon in Spain.]

Primo: About that.

Me: What?

Primo: Maybe we should postpone.

Me: What? Are you crazy? We have been trying to take this trip for over a year!

Primo: Yes, but if I am serious about running for the county seat, I will need to be working on that in November.

Me: Fine. Then we can change it to October.

Primo: But that's before the election!

Me: You don't have a chance of winning that race!

Primo: But I need to work on it!

Me: If you quit your job and stick with the original plan of two to three events a week, then you will have plenty of time to lay the groundwork for the county run.

Primo: It doesn't work that way.

Me: I cannot believe you are actually going to do this.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

In which Primo spends the afternoon campaigning at another county fair and discovers that The Party is involved in more chicanery, which shocks him but does not shock me at all because I think most politicians and their minions are scum

I decided not to go with Primo to the Lafayette County fair on Saturday because 1. I have a life and 2. I have a life. Sure, that life consists of making potato salad and macaroni and cheese and reading and going to the farmers market, but it's my life and my Saturday.

He drives 90 miles to the fair. Pays to get in. Buys food while he is there.

The campaign is paying for none of this because the campaign does not have any money.

He returns with some deep fried s'mores, which I do not mind, and with gossip.

Primo: You remember that candidate you met at the other county fair? Goldie Hawn?

Me: Of course. She's super nice. She has the soap business.

Primo: So the party had convinced her to run.

Me: Right. She hadn't even thought about it, but they approached her and gave her the same crap they gave you: that they really really needed a candidate in that race and she was soooooo perfect and would she pretty please run and they would totally support her.

Primo: Exactly.

Me: And now they are not supporting her.

Primo: No! It's worse! It's not that they are not supporting her - which they are not - but they told her and some other candidates last week that the party was holding a mandatory meeting for candidates on Monday and they had to go. The meeting was supposed to be at 11. So she drives two hours to this meeting and these other candidates drive a long way, too. They get there at 11 - and the main people they are supposed to meet haven't even shown up!

Me: That's pretty rude.

Primo: That's not the worst part. So the people they are supposed to talk to don't show up until 11:25. And then they tell Goldie and two other candidates that there is a special lunch with some campaign consultants but they aren't invited!

Me: Wait! There was a lunch and they told Goldie, "But no special lunch for you!"

Primo: Yes!

[I am not surprised at all because none of these party apparatchniks have impressed me. They are all in it for themselves, which is fine because that is how human nature works. Once you understand someone's motivation, you can work with it. What scares me are the true believers like Primo, who says he wants to Make the World a Better Place. That, I do not trust. Who's to say his definition of Better Place = my definition? Don't presume to work on my behalf and to enlighten me. Tell me exactly what you want and qui bono so I can either vote for you or not.]

Primo: They were not allowed to go to the lunch with the consultants.

Me: That is so bad.

Primo: And then this other guy - another guy they had asked to run and had helped in the primary - he won his primary and now they have told him he has five days to raise $8,000.

Me: What?

Primo: Yes! The day after the primary, they told him that if he wanted to be taken seriously, he had to raise the money. He had no warning.

Me: Just like the county party chair had told you. That if you couldn't raise $2,000 in one day, you were not a serious candidate.

[I took great joy in seeing that party chair listed as a major loser in the most recent election - none of the candidates whose campaigns he had managed - he has since become a campaign consultant - won. Ha.]

Primo: Yep.

Me: So it really becomes a shakedown of your friends and family or your own savings.

Primo: Yes.

Me: Loooove your party.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

In which Primo gets his mojo back and decides that Leo DiCaprio is not a big deal

Primo: I thought about it. I don't have to worry about Leo.

[What? Is this my beloved Primo, who has a tendency to wallow in misery, actually just brushing his hands together and Getting On With Things? Is this the Primo who was all worried that he might have to campaign against Leo and create dissension within the party and oh no! What would happen now?]

Me: What do you mean?

Primo: He's 23. He's never had a real job. He lives with his mother.

Me: I know. I pointed that out yesterday.

Primo: He is not serious competition.

Me: No kidding.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

In which Primo and I seriously discuss the possibility of his quitting his job, which pays twice as much as mine does, so I freak out, so he can run for local office and in which we discover there is someone else who is interested in running for that office, so Primo becomes despondent

Where was I? It’s been a while since I’ve posted – the new job has me pretty busy. They actually expect me to work while I am there, which really cuts into my blogging time.

So. Now that I have started the new job, which pays marginally more than the previous job and comes with a sane CEO – or at least a CEO I will never have to see, as there are several thousand employees, Primo is talking seriously about quitting his job so he can focus full time on the campaign.

I tell him he is nuts – that he is not going to win the race no matter what and it’s better to lose and still have a job than to lose and not have a job.

A job, I might add, that pays our bills, as my pay still has not recovered from a six-year absence from the workforce and counts as hobby money. Primo makes twice as much money as I do and has far better benefits.

But then he countered with the argument that although he is not going to win the Congressional race, he could position himself for a local race that will be happening in the spring.

The guy who holds the county seat for our district now just won the primary for county mayor. He is likely to win the election in November, which will mean that the county district seat will be empty.

This guy – let’s call him Russell Crowe – wait – have I used that name already? I cannot keep track of the people in this story. I wish I could use real names but that would be beyond stupid.

Incidentally, any of you who might be job searching: my new boss told me he googled me and read everything I had written online under my own name. So if you are thinking about writing political pieces for your local paper, you might want to be very careful. Actually, he stopped reading the political stuff when he realized it was political because he did not want to let my views influence his hiring decision, but not everyone is that rational.

So Russell – we will leave his name there – used to hold the state house seat that Primo ran for two years ago. He was ticked off at Primo because Primo supported another candidate for the county seat. Primo had given his support to Steven Spielberg before Russell ever announced he was running for the seat, but Russell didn’t care. Russell decided to run for the county seat when he realized that redistricting meant that he could never win the state seat again, which makes a wise person ask, “Well if Russell, who was the incumbent and had held that state seat for years didn’t think he could win again, what made Primo think that he, a newcomer, could win?”

That is an excellent question.

So after Primo didn’t support Russell and supported Russell’s opponent instead, even though he didn’t even know that Steven was Russell’s opponent, and then after Primo ran for Russell’s seat, Russell was cranky and decided that Primo was his enemy.

Primo approached Russell and Russell forgave Primo, even though there was nothing for Russell to forgive. Then Russell decided to run for county mayor and Primo thought, “Aha! I can run for Russell’s seat!”

So that has been Primo’s plan: he would focus his Congressional campaign in the sections of the district that overlap with the county district so he would be well positioned after the November election to run for Russell’s seat. He would quit his job to work full time on all this stuff.

The idea gives me palpitations and cold sweat and nightmares, but in all fairness, Primo does deserve a chance to do something different with his career. I asked that if after a year, he didn’t have some kind of political job, that he return to engineering and he agreed.

I thought we were done.

And then Primo found out that this young guy – Leo DiCaprio (this is not a compliment – I do not like Leo), who works part time for the county, lives with his mother, and doesn’t even live in the district, also wants to run for Russell’s seat.

This gave Primo cold sweat and nightmares.

Leo called Primo and asked if they could meet.

Primo agreed. One hoped that upon meeting Primo, Leo would realize that he was outclassed, but Leo told Primo that he was 95% sure that he would run and that he was meeting Russell in a few days.

Primo became despondent.

I said that maybe he could wallow for a day and then figure out a solution.

“You are not going to let this happen without a fight, are you?” I asked. "You have to talk to Russell before Leo does. He can't just endorse him."

“I really shouldn’t create problems within the party,” he answered.

“Oh bull,” I said. “This is not about the party. This is about you. Here’s how we would fight him: he’s a carpetbagger who has never held a real job and has no valid experience to qualify him for the job.”

“That’s mean!” Primo protested.

“No, it’s not! OK – then we do it more subtly. You are committed to this district – you have owned a house here for over six years. You have 25 years of private-sector work experience and you understand the realities of paying bills and working hard.”

“Maybe,” he admitted.

“We need a plan,” I said. “We need to win this.”

Thursday, January 15, 2015

In which the League of Women Voters sends Primo a survey that asks, "What is the meaning of life?"

Primo has been cranky all day, complaining about the darn surveys.

Moaning and groaning about the surveys.

Gnashing of the teeth. Tearing of the hair.

I got tired of it. Went to the gym. Came back. Still moaning. I offered cookies. Still moaning. 

Finally, I asked, "How hard can a survey be? Would you just quit whining and do it?"

I was thinking about some of the surveys he had gotten in the previous campaign, surveys that asked questions like
  • Do you hate puppies? What about kittens?
  • Are you in favor of children starving to death?
  • Are you for cancer? What about rape?
  • Do you think people should be able to shoot 20 people at a time without even reloading?
Easy, totally biased questions.

But then he emailed the League of Women Voters survey to me.

Read these questions and tell me what you think. First, are these the questions you ask of your political candidates? Second, how many people without a full staff of volunteers and researchers can answer questions like this?

  • Will you co-sponsor the Voting Rights Amendment Act, authored by Wisconsin’s Rep. Sensenbrenner to repair the damage caused by the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County v. Holder? Why or why not?
  • What do you believe the role of the US government should be in transitioning to clean renewable energy generation?
  • Most healthcare expenditures are for chronic illnesses. Would you support increased funding for prevention and public health? How can we reduce chronic illness?
  • There are two ways to balance a budget – by reducing spending and/or by increasing revenues. What is your approach, and how would you ensure the revenue required for needed services for citizens?

I messaged back:

  • Me

    More questions to add to the League of Women Voters:

    What is the meaning of life?

    Define a united field theory

    Solve Fermat's equation

  • Primo

    Can you see why I'm annoyed?

  • Me

    How would you bring peace to the Mideast?


    These are insane

    These are final essay qustions

    in a grad-level course

  • Primo

    I can talk about partisan political issues.

    How do we solve the world's problems?

  • Me

    Children are hungry

    How will you stop it?

  • Primo

    Zey are crying!
  • Me

    How can I eat all I want but still stay thin?

    Zey are 'ongry!


I started doing some research on medical funding so we could answer the third question. Then I realized that unless we were willing to spend our entire vacation doing the proper research - we are not - that getting down and dirty in the details is not the way to go. If you don't get all your details exactly right, you will be hammered. (The answers to these questions will be published.) Better, I thought, to take a high-level approach.

Then I reminded Primo that just because the League asked the questions does not mean he has to answer them. "This is your chance to talk about what you want to talk about," I said. "Do what all politicians do when they are asked a question: use it as a chance to address the issue that interests you."

We'll see if he bites. Primo is pretty rules bound, except when it comes to the speed limit, and thinks that just because someone expects something of him, even if he has never agreed to deliver, that he is obligated to meet their terms. Except with me, of course. He has no problems telling me "no." I keep telling him to think of all these campaign people as me so he can tell them he isn't going to do what they want.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

In which we all scratch our heads and say, "Huh?"

Primo wants to know (and so do I) who schedules an all-day political strategy session on the same day that the football team is in the playoffs. Football is religion here.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

In which Primo marches up and down the square for Fourth of July

Primo was invited to march in a Fourth of July parade and he wanted to do it and he wanted me to walk with him and I said that is about the last thing I want to spend my time doing because the Fourth is a holiday and marching in a parade is not my idea of a good time.

Good Lord, man. I have books to read! I have a garden to tend! I have DVDs to watch!

But he asked again and again. Still, I said no way jose' unless you want this to be one of your three campaign events, which are now down to two campaign events because I went to that boring as heck event for the congresswoman.

And then a friend of his, Russell Crowe, decided to visit us, so arrived on Tuesday and was going to leave July 5th, which was fine except Primo has this nasty habit of running upstairs for just a minute when he has guests and I, who have been minding my own business, doing something on the computer, am suddenly the person who is responsible for entertaining the guest.

I don't mind if Primo's friends visit. I do mind when they visit and he abandons them to me. Yes, I like his friends and no, I don't mind if they visit, although as I pointed out to Primo, his friend, he gets to prepare the guest room and bathroom.

Primo replied that when he visited Russ, Russ's wife made up the bed and all the other stuff and I pointed out that Russ's wife does not have a job and they no longer have children at home so Russ's wife has time to prepare for guests. "If you are willing to be the sole earner in this house again," I said, "I will be more than happy to do all the guest prep."

He did not like that idea.

For someone so progressive, Primo has a rather odd idea of how a woman should function in her own home.

Primo convinced Russ to march in the parade with him and then I was guilted into it.

Oh wait. I wasn't done with Primo abandoning his guests. Sure enough, he did it the evening Russ arrived. Primo and Russ came into the house about five minutes before my friend Lois came over to deliver half a crate of peaches to me. She had gone to the peach place that afternoon and we were splitting a case. I went outside with her and we chatted for about ten minutes. When I came back into the house, Russ was alone in the kitchen. Primo had gone upstairs. "He just went to put something on facebook about the parade," Russ said.

"He has to do that right now?"

Russ shrugged.

"He said, 'for just a minute?'"

Russ laughed. "I have known Primo since 1986. I know what 'just a minute' from him means."

I like Russ. I enjoy talking to him. He is a wonderful houseguest and he is always welcome in my home, but I did not want to make idle chitchat with him right then. It was 7 p.m. I had just gotten off two hours of conference calls with HQ, which is not in Argentina, even though that's it's blog country, but in a country where our awake hours overlap only after 5 p.m.  I had to go to work the next morning. I hadn't done anything since I had gotten home from work except change clothes and be on the calls. I had things of my own to do. But I couldn't just walk away from our guest.

Maybe I am not doing it right. What do you guys think? What is the proper etiquette about leaving a guest alone in your home? I don't care if I am accompanied every second when I am visiting someone, but I am very self sufficient. Also, Primo and Russ were on the way out. Russ was just waiting for Primo. It wasn't a good time for him to go for a walk or start reading a book or whatever.

Am I responsible for staying and talking to him? It seemed impossibly rude to leave him in the kitchen while I went to my room to read. So I stayed but was ticked off at Primo, who answered, when I suggested that he quit abandoning his guests to me (this has happened before), "Well what was I supposed to do? Have him come wait in my office?"

I told him that the solution was not to abandon the guest and perhaps do the facebook post later. He got indignant and informed me that he is busy and he had to do it then and we had a bit of an argument.

The rest of the weekend, I just made sure to be busy - like outside of the house busy - at points where I was pretty sure that Primo would abandon Russ. I would rather Russ think Primo rude than think me rude.

So back to the parade. Primo really wanted me to do it and I felt - I don't know - not guilty but somehow not supportive and I didn't realize it would be a two-hour ordeal so I agreed to do it.

You guys. There is nothing more boring than marching in a parade. Nothing. NOTHING.

Two miles of dull. Nothing interesting to see around us: we were way behind the baton twirlers (I didn't even know that girls twirled baton any more) and between the mattress company and the cub scouts.

The only thing that saved it was one of the guys walking with us is a freelance advertising guy and we talked about marketing and advertising strategy for some of the big companies in town. He has done work for all the biggies. He was interesting and he will be a good work contact, so that alone made it worth the time.

But the parade itself. It was hot and the sun was glaring, which almost never happens here, but of course, it would happen on the day that I had to be outside for two hours. It was boring. We couldn't hear the high school band because they were way ahead of us. We just walked down the street, each of us holding a "Primo for Congress" sign and Russ occasionally tossing candy to the kids sitting along the curb, holding their plastic bags for the loot.

(That is also new to me - that kids get candy during a parade and that this fact is so well known by everyone but me that they know to bring a bag? Every time I start to feel like there is nothing that could surprise me, I get surprised.)

I am rambling in this post, aren't I? It doesn't have much of a plot. It's more of a general whine. I guess I am a whiner.

The day ended nicely, though. My friends Ben and Jennifer just bought a farm about 45 minutes outside of town. They invited us to their Fourth party. We were excited to go because they discovered two months ago that not only did they buy a farm, they bought several pregnant barn cats. It has been kittenpalooza around there since April. Ben keeps posting photos of the kittens - so far, they are up to ten kittens with three mama cats, with another mama cat who has hidden her babies - and Primo has been dying to see them.

We had the kitten tour as soon as we got there. Then Primo got a photo of himself holding one of the kittens - he is cat obsessed - and posted it on his campaign page with the caption, "Kittens in Travis County support Primo for Congress."

One commenter said, "Well, if kittens like him, how can we not support him?"

The end.