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.