Monday, December 31, 2012

Sunday June 17 The paperwork

Primo has started getting sales brochures for yard signs and bumper stickers. He has gotten solicitations for campaign research and management. And he is getting the campaign questionnaires from the various interest groups.

I thought we were done with the questionnaires after we finished the financial disclosure paperwork for the elections board. What businesses did we own? On what boards do we sit? What stock do we own? To whom do we owe money?

It was a pain in the neck because I have two 401ks still at my former employers. Well-diversified 401ks. Then there's Primo's 401k. And our mutual funds in our savings. And our IRAs. Stupid stupid pain in the neck form.

But I guess it's good we did it. A candidate the next district over, who already had yard signs posted everywhere, dropped out of the race. Rumor has it that he didn't turn his form in before the deadline.

So these questionnaires. So far, from the league of conservation voters (if I remember correctly), and then just this week, from

The State Restaurant Association
The American Federation for Children
The State AFL-CIO
The State Right to Work Committee

Of course, they all ask incredibly loaded questions that reduce to, "Are you a mean, bad person or a good one?"

(They are almost all on paper, as well, so you can't just fill them out online. No, you have to handwrite your answer because who owns a typewriter anymore? Would it have been SO HARD to make online questionnaires, people?)

Here are questions from one of them:

1. Briefly describe your campaign plan, goals and objectives.

Really? What do you think our objective is? TO WIN!

Will you protect public infrastructure, the quality of public services, and the long-term investment of taxpayers by opposing the privatization of public services?

It's hard to know what answer they want, isn't it?

Given the unprecedented cuts to education....How should the state move forward to repair the immense damage that has been done to public education?

Note that there is no documentation of said "immense damage."

In the interests of bipartisanship, here are some questions from another questionnaire. Also biased.

State law allows the use of so-called "project labor agreements," which can keep non-union companies from bidding or working on state-funded projects. These agreements ensure that more workers are corralled into forced unionism and lead to more spending and higher taxes.

"So-called?" Are they not really called that? Is there a question about the nomenclature? And what about "forced" as a neutral term?

A pox on both houses, I say.

Here's one that seems a little more neutral.

Should [the state] enact more programs that increase tax-supported educational opportunities to [state] families?

Slightly biased, but note the lack of words like "damage" and "unprecedented."

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Friday June 15 Take this job and shove it

Primo is ready to quit his job. Now. He is exhausted from trying to campaign and do his real job - not a job conducive to politics - at the same time.

I have pointed out that it probably would not be a good idea for us to be without any income at all and that based on my experience, finding a new job is not so easy.

He notes that it has never taken him more than a few weeks to get a new job.

I countered with the fact that he was 1. a young 2. engineer.

Now he is a middle-aged engineer. Who wants to change careers. To a career that pays a lot less than his job pays.

Then I told him I thought I was going to throw up.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Monday June 11 Can't it be about me for once?

Me: Maybe the reason I can't get a job is because I suck. Maybe I got laid off because I suck. Everyone I know has a job. My friends from grad school are in high-level positions. Maybe I'm just really, really crummy and that's why nobody wants me.

Primo: You do not suck.

Me: Yes I do.

Primo: There's age discrimination and discrimination against women. You should be mad at The Man.

Me: Well, that's useful.

Monday June 11 Where is that trust fund?

Primo [after going to a press conference at the strike at the pizza place that is not even in his district*]: I want to be a full-time revolutionary.

Me: You were born to the wrong parents.**

Primo: You mean I should have a trust fund?

Me: I don't think revolutioning pays the bills.

Primo: You have to look at it this way: Being a revolutionary is the sexy version of being a bag lady.

Me: Oh, that makes me feel better.

* We argued about this. I pointed out that going to this strike is not going to help him to be elected and perhaps he should focus his efforts on activities that will actually help him reach his goal.

** Not just because of the money but also because his parents are nuts.

Sunday June 10 Too extreme for Primo

"There were some crazy people at the convention," Primo told me.

No kidding. I've been pointing out to him for a while that some of the Polka Dot legislators do not do his side credit. The one who was pulled over for driving the wrong way on a city street and who, instead of expressing horror at her mistake - she could have killed someone! screamed at the cop, "Do you know who I am?"

Not someone you want on your side.

The Polka Dot spokesman who is known for making hysterical, unsubstantiated accusations about the other side screamed at another party member who suggested that the spokesman should maybe be replaced, given the poor Polka Dot showing in the recent recall election? Who demanded to know if this person really was a party member?

Oh honey, I would have told him. Do you really have to ask that? Do you really think that the opposition wants you gone? You're the opposition's best weapon!

And of course the local activist who put up posters of her ex-husband accusing him of being a rapist. Keep talking, honey. Every word you say is gold for the other side.

"Remember the guy who dumped beer on [that Stripes legislator's] head?" Primo asked.

"Oh yes. I remember."

Primo nodded. "He tried to friend me on facebook. I turned him down."

"I think that was wise," I said dryly.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Friday June 8 Seth asks for money

Primo opened the mail. There was a letter from Seth, the weirdo kid who was supposed to do the website but didn't really do anything and who then got on a flame war on facebook about Polka Dot folks. He was airing Polka Dot laundry in public, which we all know Is Not Done.

Primo rolled his eyes. Opened the letter.

Seth was asking for money for his political action committee.

Keep in mind this kid just graduated from high school. No grass growing under his feet.

Yet - a loose cannon.

Primo threw the letter in the trash. "No way."

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Thursday June 7 No time for love

At 9:15 p.m. I didn't get home from my board meeting until 9:00. Primo cooked the steaks, an hour later than we had planned.

Primo: I was going to go running, but then you were late.

Me: You were supposed to go in time for me to be home at 8:00, so don't blame me on this.

Primo: I still should go. But if I do that, then I'll still have to eat and I won't get to bed until 11:00 and you won't wait up for me and then there won't be any [wxyz].

Me: I'll stay up so you can go running and eat.

Primo: But you don't like to stay up late.

Me: I'll do it.

Primo: Good! I just have to go upstairs.

Fifteen minutes later. He was still upstairs. I went up to see what was going on.

Me: I thought you were going running.

Primo: In a minute.

Me: You're on facebook! I agreed to stay up late so you could go running, not so you could goof off on facebook!

Primo: I know.

Me: What would you rather do? [wxyz] or facebook?

Primo: Do you really want me to answer that?

Thursday June 7 No ride for you

Me: I saw that crazy lady Sally posted stuff on your facebook page today.

Primo: I'm mad at her.

Me: I thought you thought she was OK.

Let me back up here and explain what I mean by "crazy lady." She is very active in the Polka Dots and in the recall campaign. I noticed she had been posting on Primo's page. I told him I had heard of her before and wasn't she kind of a nutcase/loose cannon? He defended her, saying she was a strong activist.

That's when I went to the google to refresh my memory.

Actually, to the bing. I am boycotting google.

Anyhow. Yes. She is a crazy lady. Years ago, during a custody battle with her ex husband, she posted signs around town with his photo and the label "Rapist." She wanted people to boycott the ex's business. She accused the ex of stealing a book she had written and taking all the credit for herself.

She accused the judges in her case of malicious interference in her life.

Judges don't like that crap.

They slapped her down hard.

When Primo read what I had sent him, he agreed: She's a crazy lady.

Back to the story.

Primo: She's OK in that she works hard for the cause. But on Tuesday night, at the party for [the Polka Dot candidate for governor, who lost], I was talking to the PDC. She interrupted me.

Me: So?

Primo: No. I mean, I was talking to PDC and she came up and asked to speak to him for a second. I said sure. Then she said, "Privately!"

Me: OK, she's a bitch. You were speaking to someone with influence who could help your campaign and she cut you off.

Primo: Yep. She's asking for a ride to the Polka Dot convention this weekend. She's not coming with me. I've offered a ride to another candidate, but Sally can find her own ride.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Wednesday June 6 The after-aftermath

Is there such a thing as a good phone call at 2 a.m.?

I don't think so. I have never gotten one.

Last night, my phone rang at 2:30. It was Primo. I thought he was calling to tell me that he was going to be even later than he thought, which was dumb because he has never done that: why would he wake me up just to tell me he wouldn't be home yet?

No. He was calling to tell me that the car had been towed.

Not that I could do anything about it. He had taken the red car. We also have an old Corvair that I have never driven and probably never will drive. The Corvair lives in the garage. Backing a car out of the garage requires navigating the Narrow Straits of DON'T HIT THE HOUSE! DON'T SCRATCH THE CAR!

I am not a good back-outer. If backing out is necessary - if Primo has put the red car in the garage because of expected snow (which just means that we have to shovel twice as much driveway, so I don't get it - I'd rather brush snow off a car than shovel), then he also gets it out of the garage and places it past the Narrow Straits.


1. Two thirty in the morning.
2. Corvair
3. in the garage

= I wasn't going to be able to get him.

What I could do is look up information about the city and towing.


Our city has a line item (over a million dollars) on the annual budget showing expected revenue from parking fines and related items, i.e., $125 towing fees and $20 a day storage fees at the lot.

As in, our city plans for parking fees. Parking enforcement's motto is, "Ticket first, ask questions later."

Now, Primo was parked in a tow-away zone. He had parked there at 10:30 p.m. Parking was illegal from 2:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.

That tow truck must have been waiting, lurking. I am guessing that at 2:01 a.m., our car was hooked up and ready to go.

I know, I know. I know Primo should have paid attention. I know he broke the rules. But some rules are stupid. And the purpose of government is not to make money off drivers.

I found the public works website. The impound lot wouldn't be open until 8:00 a.m. You have to show your car title, your insurance, and ID to reclaim the car. And the money. There was no point in Primo trying to get the car now.

He caught a cab and came home. He was cranky. I was cranky, too.

"Aren't you mad at me?" he asked. "Aren't you going to yell?"

I shook my head. "This is dumb tax. We have to pay it occasionally. Go to sleep."

We learned when we went to pick up the car that the zone had turned into no-parking at 2:00 a.m. The ticket had been issued at 2:06 a.m. The car was towed at 2:13 a.m.

If only all government services were this efficient.

In which Sly and Doris have the annual Airing of the Grievances with Primo

And now a break from political programming.

Primo went to his mom and dad's this weekend. Got back last night - Christmas Eve. Yesterday morning, he sent me an email:


It must be Festivus here because tonight we had the Airing of the Grievances!  After I spent much of the day working (taking apart and cleaning the sofa, doing a couple of loads of laundry, cooking flank steaks) and we had a delicious dinner, my dad finally erupted with criticism of your lack of respect for him and especially for my mom.  

So we had a good conversation about it on the way back from the airport.

In no particular order, here are the things Sly complained about.

1. He mentioned again that I didn't offer him oatmeal.

2. I ate all of something one time when I was at their house - which has been more than two years - that was supposed to be for everyone. We don't know what this food was or if anyone had said, "GD, we are saving that for later." Remember these are the people who don't each lunch.

3. They want a better relationship with me. I am not showing them enough respect. If Primo doesn't facilitate a better relationship between them and me, they will write him out of the will. (Primo snapped to his father that if that's what he wanted, then Primo and I would take care of ourselves and Sly and Doris could take care of themselves and we would have nothing to do with each other.)

Me: Why? Why do they want a better relationship with me?

Primo: I don't know.

Me: Seriously. They don't like me. They didn't want you to marry me. So what's changed? Why do they want me around now?

Primo: I don't know.

Me: Do you think they really want me around?

Primo: No. I think my dad just can't stand it that you don't respect him. You need to acknowledge that he is a superior human being.

Me: What makes him superior?

Primo: He thinks because he's smarter than you are.

Me: I'm not sure he is, but even if he were, that's not a reason to kowtow to someone. Smart is something you're born with. I might as well as acknowledge he's superior for having detached earlobes. You don't respect for qualities you're born with. You get respect for what you do. Is he a nice person? Is he generous? Has he accomplished good things? No.

Primo: He thinks he's superior.

Me: So they don't want a better relationship with me - if they did, they would do something, like email or call me. Your dad just wants me to toe the line. He wants to be the one who is rejecting me, not the other way around.

Primo: That's it.

Me: Screw them.

And then this morning - when I asked if they liked the Christmas cookies that Primo had asked me to send along with him -

Me: Did they like the cookies?

Primo: They said you didn't send enough of them.

Me: That's it? They complained there weren't enough?

Primo: And they didn't like the hazelnut ones.

Me: So they didn't like the cookies and there weren't enough of them.

Primo: Pretty much.

I might be adding to this as I remember more and as Primo and I talk today.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Tuesday June 5 The aftermath

Primo just came home from the election coverage thingie. He is in shock. The Stripes incumbent governor is winning by 9 percentage points with 85% of the vote reported. The networks called the election at 30% of the vote reported, which I have to agree with Primo was irresponsible, especially considering that there were people still voting. The lines at the polls were so long that they had to stay open late.

"It's election fraud!" he said.

But then we looked at the election map online that showed results by county. "The Stripes guy won all those counties? I guess what that means is that people didn't want a recall election."

"Tamika voted for the independent candidate," I told him. She and I had talked about the election after our tennis class tonight.

Primo's jaw dropped. "How could she?"

I shrugged. "That's what she told me. She said she doesn't like either the Stripes or the Polka Dot guy. Says they're both crooks."

"But that just helped the Stripes guy!" he said.

"I don't know," I said. "Hey. I watched that TV station online for over an hour, waiting for you. You never showed up."

"When they called the election at 30%," he said, "it screwed up the coverage. So I never got on."

He opened the fridge and got out the hummus, then got some crackers from the cupboard.

"I didn't get to eat. The other table, with the Stripes people, got a foccacia. But I didn't get anything." He dragged a cracker through the hummus. "So the Stripes people were mostly nice, but this one lady was so stereotypical Stripes: she had bad teeth and lip gloss and she was gloating about [the Polka Dot candidate]."

"That doesn't help the Stripes cause," I said. "For them to have rude people."

"I can't believe it," he said. "Should I take it out on you?"

I punched him lightly in the arm. "Don't you dare. I voted for your guy, remember?* Just so I could have some peace in this house. This is not my fault."

He sighed. "Should I be despondent? Should I withdraw from the race?"

I thought about it. "You're allowed to be sad for a while. You've worked so hard on this. But I think you should run. I do. You might never have another chance."

He nodded. "I can think about it." He hugged me. "I have to go. I have to be with my peeps tonight."

I think tomorrow is going to be a very, very long day. I plan to be out of the house as much as possible. Primo is going to be cranky.

* Did I tell you about this? That I negotiated what was supposed to be a house free of political conversation in exchange for my voting for Primo's guy? Yeah, yeah, yeah. You can tell me how unprincipled I am when you're living with someone from the other side who wants to talk about politics all the time and you do not.

Tuesday June 5 The darn yard signs

When I got home from tennis - Primo was already at his TV thingy - I noticed that in addition to our FOUR yard signs, there were now signs in the front windows.

It was after 8. The polls were closed. I took the window signs down.

Honestly. Why not just throw an old sofa and an old toilet out there to complete the look?

Tuesday June 5 Dealing with the press

Primo is all excited because the newspaper is doing a story tonight about election watch parties and the Polka Dots want him to be one of the official Polka Dots at the party. Of course they do. Primo is highly unlikely to pour a beer over the head of someone he disagrees with. The Polka Dots don't have to worry about his doing something that will make them look bad.

I eavesdropped on his phone call with the reporter. The reporter was interested this much (two fingers held very closely together) in Primo, but wanted Primo's help in finding a female Hispanic candidate. For diversity in the story, I guess.

Primo will be attending without me. I have a tennis class that I am not going to miss for a stupid political event.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Monday June 4 The truth about the Panama Canal Zone

A friend of mine used to work at the company where I had the interview last week.

I told her the story about the HR guy.

"That fits with what I've heard about him," she said.

"You mean that he's a dumb as a truck of rocks?"

She paused. "His dad is friends with the owner."

"That explains everything," I said.

Monday June 4 Looking for love

Me: We need to get some cash.

Primo: And I need to get you some [wxyz].

Me: Well, if I don't get it from you, I'll get it somewhere else.

Primo: Hey!

Me: If you're not going to do the job....

Primo: Hey!

Me: If those 69 year old twins in Amsterdam are still hooking - if they can get people to pay them for [wxyz], then I can sure find someone for free.

Monday June 4 Say goodbye to love

If you've been wondering if having a husband who is holding down a more than full-time job while he is campaigning for a candidate in a recall election and running his own campaign has an impact on said husband's [wxyz] life with his wife, I can tell you that yes, it does.

Campaign = no or almost no [wxyz]

Maybe Primo is just doing the politician thing and fooling around, but I don't think so.

Monday June 4 Enough already with the campaigning!

My phone rang. I have a cell phone. We have a land line, but Primo uses it for his work, so if a call comes in on the land line, it's never for me. I never answer that phone.

My friends all have my cell number. It's the only number associated with me. I don't give it to strangers or at least not to strangers whom I don't want calling me.

I answered, thinking it was maybe someone who wanted to offer me six figures to work part-time at a fun job.

It wasn't.

It was some political telemarketer. I don't even know what side he was on - I didn't recognize the name of his organization.

He had my name. He had my phone number.

Me: How did you get this phone number?

Him: You gave it to--

Me: I have never willingly or knowingly given my phone number to a political organization.

Him: So I'm calling about--

Me: Stop. Stop right there. I am so sick of politics. I don't want to talk about it. I get more than enough political conversation in my house. I do not need it with strangers.

Him: But---

Me: Take my name and number off your list and never call me again. Goodbye.

Damn vultures. I am giving serious consideration to becoming a nun.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Sunday June 3 Soup lunch at the Vietnamese church

A candidate in another district, Scott, invited Primo to a soup lunch at a church in his district. This church is where the Vietnamese and Hmong Catholics go.

My church in Memphis was also the Vietnamese church. Father Joe, the pastor there, did our pre-marital counseling - he advised us that if I have a head-aitch, Primo should not say, "'You have head-aitch? Why you no get aspirin?' No! If wife have head-aitch, husband should to say, 'Oh! You have head-aitch? Here. I get you Tylenol.' That how husband supposed to act when wife have head-aitch."

This was not specifically a campaign event, but it was a way for Scott to mingle with voters in his district. I met Scott's parents, Jim and Josie, at the party last week. Jim used to be in the legislature and apparently still has some pull around here. "I need him," Primo said. "He can introduce me to people who can help me."

All I remembered from Jim was that the Hmong get immediate citizenship upon arriving in the US, so they are a better campaign bang for the buck than Hispanics.

You didn't know politics was so calculated, did you?

Neither did I.

So Primo and I went, which was fine because who doesn't want a big bowl of pho made by Vietnamese and Hmong church ladies?

When I asked one of the servers where I could find the dessert that I saw on the tables in front of some of the other diners, she told me she would get me some. Primo and I sat at our table and a minute later, I saw the Hmong lady go over to a Hmong man who had three unopened desserts - some kind of tapioca, I think - in front of him. She spoke sharply to him until he reluctantly handed over one of the cups. She then marched triumphantly to our table and set the dessert down in front of me. "You try!" she commanded. "You like! I make!"

I tried to protest - "He didn't need to give up his dessert!" I said. But she would have none of it. And I'm glad, because it was good.

Jim, Josie and Scott showed up, along with Scott's girlfriend. The men sat on one end of the table and I was at the other end with the women. I wanted to hear what the men were talking about. I wanted to be part of that conversation. But I couldn't. Because I was sitting with the ladyfolk. Again.

Sunday June 3 Yard signs

Only two more days until the stupid, stupid yard signs come down. Primo wanted to put recall yard signs up last year and I fought him on it. I don't even want yard signs for the causes I support. I think they look trashy. But I finally surrendered and told him that was his Christmas present - one yard sign.

Of course, he took a mile and now there are three yard signs and a sign in the upstairs window. We look like the damn political Joads.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Friday June 1 Unhappy mistresses

As we were talking about the John Edwards trial.

Primo: Now that I'm in politics, I'll have to get a mistress.

Me: I thought politics was your mistress.

Primo: No. An actual mistress.

Me: Well, make sure she irons and cooks, then, because I'm not going to do all the work and let her have all the fun.

Primo: They asked us in boot camp if any of us had unhappy mistresses. I guess a happy mistress is OK.

Me: It's not OK with me.

Friday June 1 Still no job

I got an email from the guy who's in charge of corporate highering. They are not interested, thanks.

So what's worse? To be rejected after you've had a thorough interview with someone who gets a solid understanding of your capabilities and still doesn't want you? Or to be rejected by an illiterate 22 year old who doesn't know that the Panama Canal isn't in Florida?

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Thursday May 31 Primo is gone, so I will play

I took advantage of Primo's absence to vacuum his office and wash the floor. He won't ever let me touch anything in there, but I cannot stand all the dust. His computer keyboard had so much cat hair in it (even though the cats are NOT ALLOWED UPSTAIRS) that I had to pull it out with my fingers.

How can he work like that?

Thursday May 31 Primo calls from the road

Primo: The lunch with [the Polka Dot recall candidate] was fun.

Me: Good.

Primo: I have something to ask you, but if you don't want to do it, it's totally OK. I will completely understand.

Me: What?

Primo: I have to ask you. I have to be a good foot soldier of The Movement.

Me: What?

Primo: Would you mind if people working on the election [next Tuesday] stayed at our house? They need places for out-of-town workers to sleep.

Let me interject here and note that last week, after reading in the church bulletin that they needed places for teenagers for some music thing to stay for one night, when I suggested to Primo that we offer our guest room to a teen or two, he answered with an unqualified, "No! No! I don't want strangers here!"

Me: No. Way. [The "f'ing" is implied.]

Primo: That's what I thought.

Me: I mean, absolutely no way. It's a pain in the neck to get the guest room and the guest bathroom ready and then clean up even for people I like. I am not doing it for strangers.

Primo: It's OK. I understand. I guess you're doing enough for the cause by being married to me.

Me: You don't want anyone here, either.

Primo: Nope.

Me: But you can blame it all on your Stripes wife.

Primo: Yep.

Thursday May 31 Going to the capitol

Primo is going to the capitol today to turn in his nominating petitions and meet with the other Polka Dots who are running. It was supposed to be just a one-day thing, leave at lunch and return in the evening, but then they started tacking all these other activities on top of it.

Which would have been fine, except he had planned to take Friday off so he and I could use a museum coupon that's about to expire.

Which I have told him I don't care if I go with him, I just don't want to waste the coupon, so if he doesn't want to go, then tell me so I can invite a friend instead.

But he said we would go on Friday.

Now he wants to stay overnight at the capitol, which is something that in theory the campaign funds can pay for except all the campaign donations to date have gone to pay for the campaign manager.

He just came downstairs with his "Recall [the Stripes governor]" sign. "Tomorrow might be my last day to use my sign!" he said.

Whatever. Just get it out of this house.

So he's going to stay overnight and then do stuff tomorrow, including going to a rally with Jackson Browne. "I really like Jackson Browne," he said.

I love the man, but sometimes I have to question his taste in music.

So he's going and he's staying overnight and not coming back until late Friday.

Which ticks me off but also makes me think, "That's almost two full days of no political conversation."

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Wednesday May 30 Trying to put the fix in

I am on a local historical board. We give awards to homeowners and businesses that do a good job with exterior renovations and we approve small building projects for buildings with historic designations. We deal with little things: porches, windows. Little inconsequential things that make a difference to the historic nature of an old house but don't matter a whole lot in the grand scheme of things.

Somehow, we have gotten stuck with an enormous development project involving several old institutional buildings. This is a hot-button topic in town and there are people who are very unhappy with the proposed project.

I have no interest in helping decide what happens on this project. None. I have never wanted to be involved in something where people are ticked off, at least when it's not something I care about a whole lot one way or another.

But here we are. We're stuck on it. The developer has made a preliminary presentation to us, a presentation that included the proposal that rather than develop four of the five buildings, they knock them down. That proposal did not go over well with the public. Lots of angry comment, even angrier comments on the story that was in the paper the next day.

We have another meeting next week where, we hope, the developer will present us with a better plan, although given the finances of renovating these buildings, it's pretty unlikely that they'll have anything better than the knock them down plan.

Today, I got an email from one of the head honchos at the developer: He and the owner of the company want to meet with me before next week.

I smell a rat.

I went upstairs and told Primo about it.

Primo: See, that's a perfect example of Stripes political corruption.

Me: What? How is this a partisan issue? I just see it as the developer wanting to get his way and hoping he can convince me before the meeting.

Primo: It's Stripes. It's typical.

Me: You're so wrong.

I went back downstairs and googled the name of the developer and "political contributions."

Guess what showed up?

Contributions made to the most Polka Dot of the Polka Dots!

I ran back upstairs, triumphant.

Me: He gave money to Joe Blow and Jim Suck of the Polka Dots! Now do you think it's partisan?

Primo: Well. Maybe not.

Wednesday May 30 Preparing the nominating petitions

Primo and I reviewed all the nominating petitions to make sure the dates were correct and city names were spelled out in full. Then we had to make sure that the correct box for village, town, or city was checked. Because the elections board can't possibly be expected to know if Springfield is a town, village, or city and because it's really, really important.

Bureaucrats. Idiots.

We finished checking all the boxes. Then I suggested that I go upstairs and photocopy all the pages.

"No!" Primo said. "You won't do it right!"

"How can I not make photocopies right?"

"There's a bunch of stuff on my desk and I don't want you touching it!" he said.

"Fine," I said. "You do it."

At least he didn't say he was worried I wouldn't know how to operate the copier. When I was working at the World Bank as a temp secretary, one head secretary and I had this conversation. This was when I was in the same group where the secretary I was replacing had dozens of porn sites bookmarked on her internet.

Head secretary: I need you to send a fax.

Me [reaching for the paper]: OK.

HS [snatching paper away from me]: When you send the fax, you need to wait for the FAX CONFIRMATION NOTICE.

Me: Yeah. OK.

HS: You have to look at the FAX CONFIRMATION NOTICE.

Me [reaching for the paper]: Yes. I know.

HS [holding paper away from me]: If the FAX CONFIRMATION NOTICE doesn't say "OK," you have to RE-SEND THE FAX.

Me: I know! I know!

HS: Because that means the fax DID NOT GO THROUGH.

Me: Yes. I know. You must be used to working with really stupid people.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Tuesday May 29 The inteview

D-U-M dumb. Dumb dumb dumb.

Or maybe I should say, "Ignorant."

I mentioned to the HR guy that I had gone to high school in the Panama Canal Zone.

To which he replied that he likes Florida a lot and goes to Tampa for work.

I paused, thinking, How do I respond to this?

Rather than point out that the Panama Canal Zone is not in Florida, I just smiled weakly and asked him if he liked Cuban food.

My friend Lenore says I should have told him that I used to live in Miami.

He went on to ask me what kind of work I had done with data analysis and data entry.

Because the two are almost synonymous.

I should have known something was amiss when he didn't even bother to come down the stairs to get me from the lobby, where I had been waiting patiently. He waited for me on the landing. Took me to a conference room - didn't offer me anything to drink.

After he spent some time telling me all about the company - which I already knew because I had done my research, he asked me to take him through my resume.

After I did that, he asked if I had any questions for him. Well yes I did. I asked him what were the main qualities they were seeking in the applicant.

He told me - someone who can work autonomously and who can "think outside the box" (yes he used those words).

Which made me wonder why he had not asked me one single question that would show that I had those qualities.

I do not have a good feeling about this.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Monday May 28 Preparing for my job interview

I'm preparing for my job interview this week. I already went to my favorite consignment store - the ones in rich neighborhoods are the best, because rich ladies wear their clothes once or twice and then get rid of them - and found a black skirt and white blouse. None of my suits fit any more. It wouldn't matter if they did: they are no longer in style. I think a plain, simple outfit will be fine. The big dilemma: hose or no hose? I think hose. My legs are no longer 22 years old.

I googled the names of the HR person and of the director to whom I would be reporting and got to their LinkedIn pages.

The director misspelled "representative" not once but three times.

The HR guy wrote that he is "I am in charge of all corporate highers other than positions..."

The same guy instructed me to "Please ask for me at the front desk and wait patiently in the lobby."

Which makes me wonder what his experience has been with impatient job applicants.

He also wrote in the job description that "the incumbent will have x, y, and z." "Incumbent" is the person who holds the position now, not the one who is applying for it.

Actually, "incumbent" usually refers to the holder of a political office. Not to a business analyst.

So quit writing job ads using the word "incumbent." It's wrong.

Oh dear. I am not feeling good about this company's highering practices.

Sunday May 27 Sandy can't work a room

Samantha warned me that I would have to guide Primo. "Sandy (Teresa's husband) is a super nice guy (he is), but he does not know how to work a room. He does not know how to help Teresa work a room. He meets someone and spends the next half hour talking to him. His job should be - your job should be - to talk to the key people and move on. If Primo is stuck with one person, you need to rescue him and keep him moving."

I shuddered.

Samantha smiled. "Or we can pay a campaign aide ten dollars an hour to do it."

"I'll learn," I said.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sunday May 27 Memorial Day Picnic with the Polka Dots, part 2

I was deep in Polka Dot territory at the party. I thought it was just going to be a party, but it was a Political Event. Politics to the right of me, politics to the left of me, too much politics. Too much. I am getting to hate politics. I especially hate politics when people are trash talking the other side.

Both sides do this. The other night, at a volunteer thing I did, I mentioned that my husband was a Polka Dot.

"Well, that's your problem," said the old lady who was also volunteering.

More than one Polka Dot, upon hearing I am a Stripe married to a Polka Dot, has gasped and said, "I could never be married to a Stripe!" Said it to my face.

I usually just say something like, "Politics isn't the only thing" or "I judge people on other things besides their political views." I don't want to argue about it, but it would be nice if people would think before they insult someone to her face.

I wish I had said something snappy to the old lady, but I never think of the right thing to say in time. I should have said that she wasn't being very tolerant or loving or accepting or whatever or maybe I just should have said something about how she was being quite rude to make such a comment to me, but I didn't. I could even have said a Miss-Manners approved, "I beg your pardon," but who prepares for a nasty jibe from an old lady?

I didn't say anything because I am slow to think of a response but also because she was a little bit scary. There were five of us in this car. She had jumped into the front seat, even though one of the passengers is a big, big guy with broad shoulders. "Anya, let Miguel sit in the front seat!" I had said.

"Nope," she said as she jumped into the seat.

"But he's bigger than you!" I protested.

She refused. Miguel shrugged. I thought, What a bitch!

At the party, I drifted in and out of conversations. I got stuck in one conversation where the older man was raving about the time in the '60s when some protesters took over the state capitol. He sounded so proud of the protesters. I was not so impressed. He also claimed that they were beaten, but I googled the incident and could find not one citation saying they were beaten. But it does make a better story, doesn't it?

Once I got away from him, I moved on every time I heard someone say, "So and so prominent Stripe is a scumbag" or "We have those @*$@ Stripes on the run."

Honestly. They make it all so personal. And they get so mean.

I did, however, find a few people who had no interest in discussing politics. It was hard. But it distracted me from the issue that there was not enough food! How can you throw a party and not have enough food? When we got there, the appetizers were already gone. The host put out the main dish. I took a little because I was pacing myself and thought I would have seconds, but after waiting for everyone else to get firsts, I went back and saw that the BBQ was all gone! Gone!

And then there was no dessert!


My two nightmares about throwing a party are

1. Nobody will come
2. I won't have enough food

That's why I always make about ten times as much food as I think I will need. I'd rather have leftovers than not feed my guests.

Primo and I came home and ate cookies.

But back to the party. I talked to a woman whose husband had run for office last year.

"How's it going?" she asked. "Campaigns are very hard on families. Very, very hard."

I nodded. "It's stressful."

"It gets better," she said. "But don't read the comments on stories in the paper. People can be so mean when they are anonymous. And remember that it will all be over soon."

"In six months," I said. "Not soon."

Sunday May 27 Memorial Day Picnic with the Polka Dots

Primo worked on Mark's campaign in the spring. He didn't win because the state rep from our district decided to run against Mark for a county position because the state guy didn't think he could retain his seat.


The state guy won the county seat, but has not resigned his state seat.

Why should we care about that? you ask.

Because he is still drawing his state pay. Even though the legislature is not in session and will not be in session again before the state guy's term ends.

Our money. Our tax money paying for this guy to be paid for two jobs at once.

So Mark and his wife are having a Memorial Day party. They invited Primo and me.

Primo: I don't think I need to wear my candidate name tag.

Me: Nope. This is a social event. Plus, these people would all vote for you anyhow. It's going to be a nest of Polka Dots.

Primo: But I do need to wear my [Polka Dot candidate in the election next week] button.

Me: Why? Because the people at this party wouldn't be voting for him unless they saw your button?

Primo: No. It's tribal identification.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Saturday May 26 Samantha tells Primo to go to church

Primo: Samantha says I should go to church.

Me: But you're not really a believer.

Primo: She says it will get my name out in the community.

Me: Doesn't it seem a bit like pandering to you?

Primo: Maybe. I wouldn't be campaigning. I would just be going.

Me: I guess. It just seems a little icky.

In which we discuss what Primo should get his mom and dad for Christmas

Me: Do you want me to order one of these photos of you for your mom and dad's present?

Primo: I don't know.

Me: Well, you need to decide. It would be much easier for you to carry it with you [when he visits them next weekend - I will be at home watching Season 2 of The Big C and eating Fritos - guess which one of us will enjoy our weekend more?] on the plane then to mail it later.

Primo: I don't know. You mean one of the photos Tommy and Sandy took?

When we had our photos done last spring so I could give my mom a photo of us to get her off my back. Any time she visits, she waits until she has packed her car and is ready to pull out of the driveway to ask to take a photo of Primo and me together.

I love my mother, but I abhor the photo-taking experience as she defines it. It was torture throughout my childhood and it is torture know. She takes forever trying to pose me and I NEVER LOOK GOOD. NEVER! Plus, when she wants to take the photo of Primo and me just before she leaves, it's first thing in the morning before either of us has bathed or dressed nicely. She never asks when we are all dressed up to go to dinner.

I told Primo I wanted to have a professional photographer take a photo of us, send it to my mom, and tell her we were done - that that was the last photo of me she would get. I am not enduring any more of my mom's photography.

BTW, it is not just I who feels this way. A few years ago, my brother, sister, and I were at my mom's for Christmas. We told her that her Christmas present from us was that she could take photos of us. We all grinned and bore it. I HATE HAVING MY PHOTO TAKEN.

Me: Yes.

Primo: But I like the one the campaign guy took better.

Me: Fine. Then let's get that one.

Primo: I don't have a high-resolution version of the file.

Me: So ask the photographer if you can have a better image.

Primo: Do you really think I'm going to try to track him down?

Me: Fine. Then how about one of the photos from Tommy and Sandy?

Primo: I don't know. I just don't think my parents would be very excited to get a photo of me.

Me: Are you kidding me?

Primo: What?

Me: Are you really saying that your mom and dad don't think a photo of you would be the best Christmas present ever?

Primo: Yeah. I don't think they'd care that much.

Me: Really.

Primo: Oh. You mean because they gave us a photo of themselves for Christmas?

Me: Yeah. That.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Friday May 25 Samantha says Primo should turn our political differences into a positive

After I got home from volunteering with the church group at the bratwurst stand during the very loud concert of a band I had never heard of, Primo told me about his meeting with Samantha that afternoon.

They had gone running together - six miles - and then she had changed clothes and cleaned up in our bathroom. "Is that why the mirror had water splashes all over it?" I asked.

Primo nodded. "She felt bad about that."

I wondered to myself why Primo hadn't just gotten a paper towel and the Windex after she left, but then I remembered that he is the man who has put the dirty dishes in the oven to keep them from the cats until I get home.

If I get a job so he can quit his and campaign full time, putting the dirty dishes in the oven will no longer be an option. At least, not for him.

"So how was it?" I asked.

"She thinks that I need to promote the fact that I'm married to someone from the other side rather than hide it."

My jaw dropped. "Oh she does, does she?"

"Yes!" he answered.

"You mean like I've been telling you to do for the past two months? Like that?"

He looked puzzled. "What do you mean?"

"What do I mean?! I mean I suggested that a long time ago! I suggested you portray our differences as a positive thing rather than trying to hide them! You've been worried about it and I told you that rather than worry - because there is no way to hide the fact that I do not share all your beliefs - that you use it!"

"I don't remember," he mused.


"Oh, yeah. I think I remember that."

I exhaled loudly. "I cannot believe that you'll take advice from Samantha but ignore me when I say the exact same thing!"

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Thursday May 24 The movie with Primo

Primo and I went to see a movie about the protests at the capitol. Samantha had suggested that he try to recruit volunteers for his campaign before the movie, but we got caught in traffic and arrived at 6:54, six minutes before the movie was supposed to begin. Primo was all agitated that he was going to miss something, but when I saw the line snaking out of the theater doors, I said that I bet they would wait until everyone was in the theater.

As we waited, we were assaulted with people with clipboards, looking for volunteers for this and that cause. I smiled and shook my head, but with one particularly pushy guy, I finally responded. I held up one of Primo's clipboards and asked, "Do you want to volunteer to help with my husband's campaign?"

That shut him up.

The movie didn't start on time. They waited until everyone was in the theater, then they waited another 20 minutes. Twenty minutes of sitting around, twiddling my thumbs, not even able to get on my smartypants phone because there was no reception inside the building because there is never reception inside a building with T-Mobile, the worst phone company in the world.

Then the speeches started and they were just as boring as you might imagine highly-partisan political speech to be. At the end of the last speech, the director invited us to stay after the movie ended to "dialogue." Then she said the movie would start "momentarily." Primo and I swiveled toward each other and laughed. "So it's going to start and then stop again right away?" he asked.

When the movie was (finally) over, I thought we could leave and I could get home and have something to eat, as the chocolate I had smuggled in for us had not been sufficient. But no. The director stood up, along with some of the cast, so they could take questions.

Primo handed his clipboard to me. "I want to say something," he said.

He was away before I could think to tell him to announce he was running.

When he got to the microphone, he spoke about how the protests had changed his life and now he was running for office. Then he stepped away.

I stood up and yelled, "Say your name! Tell them who you are!"

He looked startled, but didn't do anything.

"That's Primo and he's my husband. I can vouch for him."

The audience laughed.

He stepped back to the mike. "My wife wants me to say my name. I'm Primo and I'm running for the state house in November."

I smiled. My work was done. I got my phone out and tried to get a signal again while the rest of the audience dialogued.

"Let's go stand in the back," Primo suggested when he returned to his seat. "I can talk to people there."

I grabbed a handful of his cards and started giving them to people. "Vote for my husband in November," I said.

A woman came up and hugged Primo. I stuck my hand out and said, "I'm Golddigger, Primo's wife."

Honestly. Hugging another woman's husband in front of her?

The woman had seen me handing out cards. "Are you running for office?" she asked.

"No," I said. "Just him."

"I do training for women who want to run," she said. "You should run."

I bit my lip. "Oh, that's Primo's thing," I said.

"No!" she said. "We need more women in office."

I shook my head as I pressed my lips together. I was pretty sure she would not like what I wanted to say, which was if I ran for office, it would not be as a Polka Dot. So I just smiled again and said, "All I want to do is get him elected. One politician per family is enough."

"Here's my card," she said. "Think about it. There are plenty of dual-politician couples."

I wanted to ask, "And how many of them are on the opposite sides of the aisle?" But I didn't. Blessherheart.

Friday June 1 Primo helps another candidate collect signatures

Primo came home early from the capitol. He had planned to stay until late Friday so he could go to the Jackson Browne concert, but then someone who still hadn't collected all his signatures asked for his help. Primo left the capitol, drove back home, and spent the afternoon in a Walgreen's parking lot, asking for signatures.

Keep in mind we had collected all his required signatures - 200 - on May 8. Over three weeks ago.

This guy just decided to run and just started collecting.

One of his volunteers wasn't even collecting in the candidate's district. Which means all the signatures she collected were invalid. Which makes me want to make snarky jokes about the intelligence of the PDs but I won't because I have plenty of bright PD friends.


Primo spend three hours volunteering for this guy, who then grabbed the petitions and drove an hour and a half to the capitol to turn them in to the elections board before the 5:00 deadline.

He was three short.

All that time.


"But I got brownie points with the Party," he said.

"These brownie points better mean they help you soon," I said. "All it seems that you do is help other people who haven't done a darn thing to help you."

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Wednesday May 23 My friend says Primo won't win

I was talking to my friend TG, whom I met via my blog. He's a Stripes guy who used to blog about politics, but stopped, saying it was exhausting trying to stay angry all the time.

"Primo isn't going to win," he said. "Although I'm glad he's the one running in my district rather than [the guy in the next district over]. At least Primo isn't dumb. The other guy - I read the stuff he says and writes and I just shake my head."

I have also read the stuff the other guy writes and I have to shake my head as well. Blesshisheart, he's a nice guy, but he jumps to conclusions before he gets all the facts.

I shook my head. "He might win. You never know."

"He won't."

I shrugged. "Doesn't matter. It's the kind of thing you have to try when you have the chance or you'll always regret it."

Thursday May 24 My job search

You know I have been looking for a job so Primo can quit his job and campaign full time. Much to my surprise, I have actually gotten two interviews. I credit my recent success all to Alison at Ask a Manager. Ignore her advice about cover letters at your peril.

I had one last week and I have one next week. However, the one next week is the day after Primo has to turn in his annual performance appraisal. He hates with the heat of a thousand white suns writing his performance appraisal. I can tell you right now that it will be done in the last hours before it is due, as opposed to half an hour at a time for three or four days well before the deadline, which is how I approach odious tasks.

Primo: Why don't they just offer you a job by email?

Me: That would be nice.

Primo: Because if you got a job right now, I could quit and not have to do my appraisal.

Thursday May 24 Candidate boot camp

Primo went to a candidate boot camp last weekend. He was gone all day Saturday and Sunday - he had to get up at 6:00 a.m. on Saturday, which was torture for him. This is the second time he's had to get up before (or at) dawn for politics. We'll see how much he really loves it. Does he love it enough to get up early more than twice?

He wasn't happy about spending an entire weekend at this thing, but the Political Wife told him he should go.

I was glad to have a weekend at home with no drama, no fighting, no guilt about my looking for a job or not looking for a job.

The guilt is the main thing. When Primo is at home working, I feel like I should be working, too. That means unless the house is clean, dinner is ready, and I have found a job so Primo can quit his job and concentrate full-time on the campaign, I don't feel like I can sit down with a good book.

But when he's gone - I let the dishes pile up in the sink, I eat a lunch of an apple and peanut butter, I stay away from

The boot camp was a good thing. They told him things I have been telling him but don't count if they come from me. He said,

During lunch at the Candidate Boot Camp, I expressed my strong dislike for a certain politician (who isn't from our state). My classmates provided very useful feedback; they said that I deliver both positive and negative messages very powerfully, so I need to be careful.

Yes my darling. I have been trying to tell you to quit yelling when you get upset about someone else's politics! Or at least stop yelling at me. It's not my fault. I don't care. I don't want to discuss it.

Which led to the second valuable point he learned. "They told us that we shouldn't vent to our spouses," he said. "They said we should try to find someone else to vent to."

Which I think is an excellent idea. Maybe he needs a blog.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Tuesday May 22 Writing the candidate bio

After I made some suggested edits to Primo's campaign biography, including changing a sentence that

His mother was appointed by [this person]


[This person] appointed his mother,

Primo insisted on discussing the change.

Primo: Why did you make this change?

Me: Because I don't like passive voice.

Primo: But I think it sounds better like this.

Me: Fine. Then don't make my change. I told you it was stylistic.

Primo: But I don't understand why you want to make this change.

Me: I told you. I don't like passive voice.

Primo: But your way emphasizes the person and not my mother.

Me: Whatever. I don't care. Do it your way.

Primo: But why don't you like my way?

Me: I told you! I don't like passive voice. It doesn't matter what I think. You get to decide. It's about you. If you don't like my change, then don't make it.

Primo: No! We have to discuss this. I have to understand.

Me: What part of "I don't like passive voice" don't you get?

Primo: Why don't you like it?

Me: Why does it matter? Do it your way!

Primo: It matters. I want to understand why.

Me: Is there anything I could say that would change your mind?

Primo: Maybe. I think we need to come to an agreement on this.

Me: No! We don't! If you don't like it my way, then don't do it my way! I don't care! We don't have to agree!

Primo: I want to convince you.

Me: FINE! I'M CONVINCED! Could we move on, please?

Monday, December 10, 2012

May 21 Who's in charge

Primo: I don't want raisins in my spinach.

Me: They're in mine.

Primo: But they shouldn't be there at all. I'm the Decider. I get to decide.

Me: When you're the cook, you get to decide. If I can find a job so you can quit your job, then you'll be the cook.

Primo: But I'll be busy campaigning.

Me: Wait a second! Are you telling me that I'm supposed to work and take care of all the house stuff?

Primo: I'll be campaigning. The proper role of the campaign spouse is to run everything at home while the candidate campaigns.

Me: Oh no. Oh no, no, no. If I get a job so you can quit yours, you will be taking care of things at home. You will be doing the cooking.

Primo: Maybe as long as there is not too much cutting up of vegetables.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

May 18 Fighting

One thing they don't tell you is that when a person runs for office while he still has a full-time, regular, non-politician job is that he becomes very stressed and there is a lot of marital discord. A lot.

Friday May 18 More yard signs

Primo came home from his Polka Dots of Springfield County meeting last night with a yard sign for the Polka Dot candidate for governor in the upcoming recall election. He put it up next to the "Recall the Stripes Guy" sign that I finally agreed to letting him put in the yard as his Christmas present.

I don't even want yard signs for the people I like. I certainly don't want them for the people I don't like.

He snuck a sign in the upstairs guest window a few months ago. I saw it as I was pulling into the driveway one day. I said nothing, but removed the sign and hid it at the bottom of the drawer where I had my summer clothes.

When he noticed, he indignantly asked what had happened to it. I informed him that our Christmas agreement did not cover signage in the windows and that I was not trying to make our house the trashiest house on the block.

When I came out of the gym this morning, I saw that he had put a "Polka Dot Guy for Governor" bumper sticker on the car.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Thursday May 17 I need to get a job because Primo is cranky

Primo was very cranky today. The stress of trying to campaign while he is also doing his regular job is wearing on him. And on me. He tells me I don't have any stress because I'm not the one with a job. I tell him that living with him is stressful enough. He is the Typhoid Mary of stress.

He wants me to find a job so he can quit his job. That's fine. I don't mind working. But if I'm going to work so he can quit, that means he has to do all the things I do: clean the house, cut the grass, cook, do laundry. He says he'll be happy to do all that, but that he doesn't have the same standards for housecleaning that I do. I think if I become the breadwinner, I get to define a certain standard, right?

I would also expect that if I get a job and he quits his job, I will no longer be in charge of ironing his shirts. He has been dressing very nicely for his campaign events: slacks or khakis with a button-down and a sport coat. He has been asking me to iron his shirts. As if Polka Dots cared about personal appearance. I've seen their women. Did I tell you the story about the lecture we attended where the audience was almost all Polka Dots? There were a lot of not-so-old women with long gray hair in banana clips, wearing Crocs and mom jeans and knitting.

Although I have to say now that I am coloring my hair to cover gray rather than just to have a different look, I am starting to think that going gray isn't such a bad idea. It's a pain in the neck to color my hair, especially now that it's really obvious when it's growing out. Before, the roots were not so easy to see because my hair was just drab, mousy brown underneath the Clairol #24 Clove. Now, I have graying roots and it's clear when I need to do a touch up.

So maybe I shouldn't be so hard on those graying women. But I can still mock them for their shoe choice.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Wednesday May 16 Doris' women's group wants to give money to Primo's campaign

Primo has already asked Sly and Doris for money. They agreed to donate $1,000 to his campaign, but wanted to give more. "That's illegal," he told them, with regret.

"Can we give it to your brothers and have them give it to you?" they asked.

As well they should. Primo has not taken a penny from them since he finished college. His two half brothers, on the other hand, have been seeking and getting financial help from Sly and Doris for years and years, including a $250,000 investment in a failed business.

Primo told them that he had to follow the campaign contribution rules. "It's not worth it to get caught," he said.

Doris called yesterday and told Primo that her Polka Dots women's group wants to contribute to the campaign. Good! We'll take as much money as we can get. I do not want to spend our money on this campaign.

My mom sent Primo a $100 check for his birthday. Sly and Doris sent him a bag of chocolates and a book on using your grill as a smoker, a book that we returned because we had no interest whatsoever in using the grill as a smoker, partly because we have a smoker and partly because we don't do that much smoking.

"Couldn't your mom and dad have given you that extra thousand they wanted to donate as a birthday present?" I asked.

"Yes, they could have," he said.

"So why didn't they?"

He shrugged.

"Why don't they pay for your plane ticket next month?" Primo is going to his mom and dad's for a week. They expect twice a year visits, which do not include, as many of you already know, pickup service at the airport.

"They didn't care if they saw me when my sister was alive," Primo said. "Then they moved to a place where it's an hour to get to the airport. And I'm supposed to pay to visit them and to rent a car twice a year."

"They know that if you win this election, our income is going to plummet, right? And that you won't be getting frequent flier miles or Hertz points any more? Which means that you won't be able to afford to fly there twice a year and get a car. Are they prepared to pay for extra visits? Because I'm not."

"I think that's one of the reasons they don't think I should run," Primo said. "I think they know it will mean less time for them."

"Tell them to pay for your plane ticket," I said.

Wednesday May 16 Political Wife 2

I can't bear it. The Political Wife showed up 45 minutes late. She admired my shoes, complimented me on the lunch I had made, and was very nice. Now I am going to have to like her.

Samantha, the Political Wife, arrived at lunchtime, so I made tomato-mozzarella salad for everyone. Instead of meeting in the living room, which is clean and (mostly) free of cat hair, we squeezed around the kitchen table, where she had full view of the dirty kitchen floor. Thursday is my cleaning day. This was Wednesday. The house was about as dirty as it gets. Great.

But it was actually interesting. She laid out her proposal and her strategy for running Primo's campaign. She has a staffer who does menial tasks for her - I said I would do menial tasks to save the $10/hour she pays. I can enter names into a database just as well as someone else.

She explained that someone would need to "shadow" Primo at his events. That means walking around behind him, making sure he doesn't spend all 30 minutes talking to one person.

"I can do that," I said. "But his big challenge is that he likes to explain the really little details of everything and peoples' eyes start to glaze over."

"That's exactly why we do it," she said. "You have 30 minutes to work a room. You identify the key people to talk to, get in and get out. I could not get Theresa's husband to do that. He would spend the entire time talking to one person."

I turned to Primo. "I can do this for you. I can keep you moving. But will you get upset if I'm telling you to come on? It might come easier from someone who's not your wife."

He said he would be fine with it. We'll see.

Primo went upstairs to get something. "I told Primo he needs to get his hair cut by a hairdresser in the district," Samantha said.


"Because hairdressers know things. They're plugged into the gossip. He said that his hairdresser is one block outside of the district."

I laughed. "Her salon is one block outside of the district. Mr Literal. She lives in the district. I had her sign the petition already. Honestly. Engineers."

Wednesday May 16 Political Wife 1

The Political Wife was supposed to be here half an hour ago. I got up early and went to the gym early just so I'd be back in time for this meeting. Primo says he doesn't care that she's late because he's always late. I pointed out that I am not late and that I lost sleep over this.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Monday May 14 The Political Wife is coming over

Oh great the Political Wife is coming over on Wednesday to present her proposal (to manage his campaign) to Primo.

I clean the house on Thursday. Which means that on Wednesday, it's about as dirty as it gets.

Although why I should worry about impressing someone who wants a $4,000 check for one month is beyond me. She should be trying to impress us.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Sunday May 13 Politics is his mistress

Primo: I've got another love in my life.

Me: I know.

Primo: Politics has become my new wife.

Me: No. Not your wife. Your mistress.

Primo: What's the difference?

Me: Politics gets the best of you and does nothing for you. I don't see politics washing your clothes, cooking your dinner, or cleaning your bathroom.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Sunday May 13 Primo's birthday karaoke party

We invited some of my friends and Primo's bar and political friends to meet us at a nearby bar for Sunday night karaoke, which is the absolute best kind as it starts at the reasonable hour of 7:00 p.m. instead of the usual musician/bar time hour of 10:00 p.m.ish. Or 10:30 p.m.ish. I treasure my sleep. By 10:30 p.m.ish, I want to be in bed. So the early bird karaoke is my kind of thing. Perfect.

Not that we were there at 7:00. All the good intentions in the world will not make Primo on time. Blesshisheart. I am a "on time means getting there five minutes early" person and Primo is a "as long as the sun is still in the sky, I'm cool" guy.

Which works just fine with his bar and musician friends, but I had invited non-bar, non-musician friends.

So when we walked into the bar at 7:40, we found my friends waiting. They had been there since 7:00. Because that's when I told them we would be there.

My stupid fault, of course. I should never have told them we'd be there at such a ridiculously early hour. Although I have pointed out to Primo that he needs to get a better on-time record if he is going to be a serious candidate. Bill Clinton can get away with being late because he's Bill Clinton. Primo cannot.

My friend Dawn had a present for Primo. Dawn is a big Stripes supporter. She has volunteered for the Stripes Guy for Governor. She likes to argue with Primo. More power to her. I hate arguing with him, so am always happy to find someone who will deflect arguing from me.

She handed him a bag that was tied with ribbon. Primo carefully untied the ribbon and pulled out a wrapped tube. He peeled off the tape, then removed the wrapping paper. It was a tube of paper. He opened it.

It said, "Stripes Guy for Governor."

I started laughing. Dawn laughed. Keith, my other friend, who is also a Stripe, laughed.

Primo bent over double laughing. "This is hilarious!" he said.

"You can put a photo of that on your facebook campaign page," Dawn suggested.

Primo shook his head. "Oh no. Noooooo. The Polka Dots would not appreciate this."

Monday, December 3, 2012

Sunday May 13 Primo is a high quality candidate

Primo was all excited because the Polka Dot state senate leader said he might come to the karaoke party. "He's a Polka Dot big shot!" Primo said. "He says I'm a high-quality candidate!"

"Of course you are," I said. "You have a legitimate job. You've worked your entire career in the private sector. You're not a community organizer. You look like your voters: middle class, employed, homeowner. And you're obviously not going into politics for the money."

"What's wrong with being a community organizer?" Primo asked.

"Explain to me what one is again," I said. "They do - what? Nobody knows what they do."

Primo's political friend Rich chimed in. "In some neighborhoods, being a community organizer is considered a good thing."

I looked at him and said dryly, "I am guessing not in the affluent suburbs."

He smiled. "Nope. Probably not."

Primo said, "Polka Dot big shot sent me a text! Look!"

He and Rich huddled around Primo's smarty-pants phone. I looked over his shoulder. "Primo, happy birthday! I had planned to come to your party but I had to go to a wake. See you around."

"See!" Primo said. "He was going to come!"

"Well," I said. "It's easy for him to say he was going to come, especially if he didn't come. He might be just telling you what you want to hear. But it is nice that he does know who you are and thinks you are worth cultivating."

"Because I am a high-quality candidate," Primo said.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Sunday May 13 Mothers Day pancake breakfast

Primo came home from a meeting with his campaign manager, aka The Political Wife.

"There's a Mothers Day pancake breakfast at the community center on Sunday," he said. "PW wants me to go and collect signatures."

I felt sick to me stomach. "Do I have to go?"

"It's the kind of thing where it would look bad if you didn't," he admitted.

"I can't think of anything I want to do less than go to a pancake breakfast on Mothers Day and ask people to take political action," I said. "Don't you think people are sick of politics by now? And don't you think that asking for signatures for your petition at an event like this is kind of tacky?"

"I think I need to do this," he said. "And I need you to go with me."

Sunday morning, I got up. Ate because I was starving. Felt sick to my stomach because we were going to campaign at a non-political, strictly social event.

Primo showered and shaved. He asked me to iron his shirt. Which I didn't want to do because I hate ironing. "Just wear a different shirt," I suggested. He didn't like that idea.

"It's my birthday," he reminded me. (Which it was.) "Won't you please iron this shirt for me? I really like it."

"Fine!" I huffed. I ironed his stupid shirt and of course it got wrinkled again as soon as he put it on.

I showered. Got dressed. Slowly. I was dreading this.

We drove to the community center. Walked in. It was crowded. Hundreds of people eating pancakes. Primo bought our tickets. Six dollars each. We went to the food line. "I'm not hungry," I told him.

"Then why are we here?" he asked. "I thought you wanted to eat!"

"We're here because you want to campaign! I didn't want to come!"

"Why did you let me buy you a ticket if you weren't going to eat?"

"How do you not buy a ticket for a fundraiser when you're there to campaign? I'm not hungry. I feel sick to my stomach. How are you going to do this?" I gestured to the room.

"I don't know," he admitted. "I've never done this before, either."

He got his pancakes. "Do you want to sit here?" he asked.

"I don't know. I don't care."

"Why are you acting so weird? You're all cranky!"

"Because I don't want to do this!"

"But I'm not campaigning right now. I didn't even ask you to carry a clipboard and get signatures. Why is this so awful for you?"

"Because I feel like we're intruding. I'm not a mother and this is a stupid Mothers Day thing. I hate Mothers Day to begin with, so why am I helping celebrate it?"

He sighed. "It's my birthday and you're being cranky. Let's just sit."

"Fine," I huffed again. I sat down and crossed my arms. I looked around again. "I really don't know how you're supposed to do this."

He shook his head. "I don't either. But I'm not approaching anyone right now, so why not just relax?"

He had a point. He ate his pancakes. "Are you going to give your ticket away?" he asked.

"No way. I guess I might as well get something to eat. But only because I don't want six dollars to go to waste."

We finished eating. Even though he'd had a ten-minute head start, we finished at the same time because he's the slowest eater in the world.

"Now what?" I asked.

"I don't know," he answered.

I looked around. The breakfast was being run by the local police department. Two cops were manning the coffee stand. "There's nobody getting coffee," I said. "Go talk to those cops."

He looked. "I don't know. They look busy."

"They're not busy!" I exclaimed. "Look! There's nobody there!"

We stood and I pulled his arm. "As long as we're here - and as long as we've already paid, you might as well do what needs to be done."

He resisted. "I don't know what to say."

I sighed. "Good grief. You're the one who wanted to come here! We are not letting this all be for nothing."

I pulled harder. "All right, all right!" he said. "Stop pulling. It looks bad."

"Then come on!" I urged.

We walked to the coffee stand. Primo stood silent for a minute. I looked at the one cop and said, "This is my husband. He's running for the state house."

Primo extended his hand. "Hi, I'm Primo." He launched into his speech. The cop didn't bite. He wasn't mean or rude.

I identified three more policemen. "Let's go talk to them," I said. I did it again: "This is my husband, Primo. He's running for the state house in November. He's an engineer, so we've never done this before. We're not quite sure how to go about it."

A woman waved at me. "Gold Digger!" she called.

We walked up to her table. It was Deb, the woman who owns the consignment shop where I take a lot of my clothes. "What are you doing here?" she asked.

"Remember how I told you my husband was running for the state house?" I asked. "We're here campaigning."

"But you're in a mixed marriage!" she said.

I rolled my eyes. "I know," I said. "I'm going to get a book out of this."

She laughed. "This is what love looks like," she said to the man standing next to her.

She and I agreed that neither party represented us. "I am the party of me," I said.

"Me, too!"

Primo asked if she would sign his nominating petition. "Just to get me on the ballot," he assured her. "You don't have to promise to vote for me."

"Sure!" she said.

We approached a few more of the people working at the event. Most of them signed the petition. The few who didn't were very polite about it. Nobody was mean or rude to us. It wasn't so bad.