Saturday, January 5, 2013

Sunday June 25 The job offer

I am going to get a job offer from the place where I had the interview on Friday. Oh wait. Did I not mention that? I had a phone interview with Company A on Thursday and an in-person interview with Company B on Friday.

Company A is three miles from our house. Free parking. New company, growing quickly. Pays at least 20% more than Company B.

Company B would be really interesting work, but it's downtown and I don't know if parking is part of the deal. The pay is less than half of what I was making before I was laid off six years ago. It's less than I made in 1997 as an entry-level financial analyst.

It is not very much money.

It is enough for us to live on, but not enough for us to travel on or get a new roof on or save for retirement on.

It would be good only as part one of two incomes.

I am happy that someone finally wants me, but depressed at the thought that I am such a bargain and even more depressed at the idea of losing my freedom.

But I guess it's only fair.

Sunday June 24 Quid pro quo

Remember how annoyed I was that the woman for whose judicial campaign Primo had volunteered hours and hours didn't even answer Primo's email asking for help collecting nominating signatures? Not even an email to say, "Now that I'm a sitting judge, I cannot participate in partisan political activities?"

Not even a response from her husband, who is not a sitting judge?

I stewed about it because I felt as if they had used Primo and then blown him off when his usefulness was gone.

We saw the husband at the fundraiser last night.

One of the first things he said, after expressing his happiness at seeing us, was that he and his judge wife - well, he, because she cannot participate in partisan politics - intend to donate to Primo's campaign.

So I had to stop being cranky.

Which was fine, because the husband is a really nice guy and I like him.

Plus he let me pick a bunch of raspberries from the bushes in his back yard.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Saturday June 23 I get stuck talking to the women at the BBQ fundraiser

As always, I was the designated first eater at the BBQ. Someone has to do it. I don't mind. Plus I was starving plus I knew Primo had just made a decent campaign contribution, so by golly, I wanted to eat. Primo was politicking, so I got myself a plate of ribs and beans and talked to the cook for a while. He was a handyman/cook who used to work at that famous BBQ place in Kansas City. It showed. His food was excellent.

Then I went in search of Primo. He was talking to the candidate's wife. He introduced us. She said nothing to get the conversation started, so I asked her a few questions. She mentioned her work, so I made the huge, huge mistake of asking her more about it.

She started talking. And talking. And would not shut up.

Some political big deal guys came over and started talking to Primo. I tried to listen to both conversations at once - the Big Deal Guys and Primo, because that's what I was really interested in, and the Political Wife, because it would be rude to blow her off.

Four minutes later, she was still talking and I was thinking to myself, Pay attention! Pay attention! She might ask you a question to make sure you've been listening!

Then I thought, That's just crazy. Nobody gives a pop quiz like that.

I am in desperate need of the ability to end a conversation without being rude. I was not that interested in her job. I had just asked to be polite.

I did not want to be stuck with the womenfolk! I did not know this woman. If I have to be involved in a political campaign, then I want to be involved in the political discussions. I want to be part of the strategy.

I am not interested in being sent to the parlor to talk about knitting.

This better not be what being the spouse of a politician is really all about.

Saturday June 23 The plan if Primo quits his job - cleaning out his office

Primo: There's no room to set up a campaign headquarters here in the house. I have to put stuff in the dining room or in the guest room.

Me: What's wrong with your office?

Primo: I have stuff in my office!

Me: If I get this job and you can quit your job, then I want one day. One day of doing chores I want. One full day of your getting rid of - not just re-arranging or putting in the basement but throwing away - the crap in your office.

Primo: Maybe.

Me: Not maybe. Definitely.

Saturday June 23 Fundraiser BBQ for another candidate

After the interview, we went straight to a BBQ fundraiser for a candidate running in another district. A few minutes after we arrived, someone suggested a campaign photo of the candidate with everyone at the party.

"I'm going to get my water bottle out of the car," I told Primo.

"They have water here," he said.

"I don't want to be in the photo!" I hissed.

He laughed. He is making peace with the fact that I support him, but not other Polka Dot candidates.

I slipped out and lingered long enough to ensure I had missed my photo op. When I walked back in, straight to the snacks - I was starving! - a 60ish man stopped me.

"You snuck out just so you wouldn't have to be in the picture!" he accused, laughing.

"Shhh!" I said, fingers to my lips. "I don't want everyone to know!"

"Who are you?" he asked.

I pointed to Primo. "I'm with him. He's my husband and he's running."

He turned and looked at Primo, then looked back at me. "How did he ever get you?"

I raised my eyebrows, then pulled him close so I could speak into his ear. "He's really good in bed."

He laughed. "That's the right answer!"

Saturday June 23 Interview with the union

Primo had an interview today with a bunch of union representatives so they could decide whether to endorse him. He was number gajillion of the candidates that they saw. They were running late, so we sat in another room at the Brewers' Local #89 and waited. No beer. You would think they would have beer.

Primo had been worried that he might be dressed too casually in khakis and a short-sleeved collared shirt.


As if.

There were eleven interviewers. I saw three pairs of tennies, three pairs of butt-ugly sandals, and three pairs of Crocs. Which are the nastiest things you can put on your feet unless you're working in the garden. But outside of the house? No. Just no.

Jeans and t-shirts with political slogans.

Primo and I were easily the best-dressed people in the room.

Although there are those who would point out that this was not a beauty contest.

They asked Primo how he could win in the district considering that the veteran legislator who had held the seat for years didn't even bother to run because he was so sure it was a lost cause after the redistricting. "Why are you being the sacrificial lamb?" they asked. "Where will you get money?"

From you guys! I wanted to shout. Isn't that how this works?

Primo said, "I need to do more fundraising. I can do some self funding, but I hope to keep that to a minimum."

"As does his wife," I commented.

The guy who had greeted us chimed in. "Primo has Samantha as his campaign manager. She ran A's campaign last year and B's campaign this spring. She has very strong Polka Dot credentials and only takes on the best candidates."

The leader looked doubtful. "What's your message?" she asked.

"I've been an engineer for the past 26 years. I'm not a politician," Primo said. "I'm a new Polka Dot. I don't want to do things the old way."

The room was full of Old Polka Dots.

"If we want to get anything done, we have to be able to work across the aisle."

The Old Polka Dots nodded in agreement, but I think their idea of "across the aisle" is "the other side does everything our way."

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Friday June 22 T-shirt drama

Primo picked up the t-shirts Samantha had ordered. They were supposed to have his campaign logo on them. He planned to wear one in the half marathon he is running tomorrow and for which he is completely unprepared.

That's what happens when you don't train.

And I hate to say it - OK, no I don't but I can't say it with too much relish because the problem with I told you so is that the times you really can say it are the times when you shouldn't, but I told him so. I warned him that he wouldn't have time to train and that it would be miserable to run a race again. Did we learn nothing last year? Why pay $60 to be miserable?

Yet he insisted. He signed up for the race. I declined.

So. His plan was to wear a t-shirt with "Primo for State House" during the race.

He brought the box in. Opened it. Looked at the shirts.

1. The logo is printed on the front only.
2. The logo is printed in black and white instead of the blue that we chose.
3. There are 12 smalls, 12 mediums, six large, and two extra large. Which might not be so bad except the small is too small for me. I am 5'5" and weigh 143 pounds. That means the small shirts are good only for people who weigh a good 15-20 pounds less than I do. They are that tight.

"Where's the purchase order?" I asked.

He didn't have one. He hadn't written the PO. The invoice stated 20 assorted shirts with black and white print. No specs other than that.

"I don't think there is a purchase order," he said. "Samantha ordered them."

"Maybe we should have one next time," I suggested.

Friday June 22 Getting a haircut

Primo: I just got back from getting my hair cut.

Samantha: Did you get it cut in the district?

Primo: No. About a block out.

Samantha: You need to do that in district.

Primo: No! I am not willing to change my haircutter!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Thursday June 21 Wardrobe drama

Why, if it is accepted to wear jeans and a Steelers t-shirt to work, is it necessary for one to wear a suit for an interview?

Thursday June 21 More job drama

Primo talked to his old boss. Old Boss (OB) does not want to lose Primo. Which I can understand. I don't want to lose him, either, although I have told him more than once that if he is going to die on me, please to make it be a work-related accident because that way, I get the maximum life insurance.

OB suggested that he and Primo's colleagues arrange coverage for when Primo needs to be gone.

Primo doesn't think that will work. Neither do I. But I think maybe there could be something in between not working at all and working 60 hours a week.

It would be really nice if he could drop back to part-time somehow. He says he would be distracted from the campaign. I would like to know what his days are going to need to look like. Will he be campaigning from 9:00 a.m. on all day long? He won't need to travel - the district is our town and the next town, so he might have to drive five miles.

No. He probably won't be working on the campaign at 9:00 a.m. He can't really start doing doors until 4 p.m. or so. So what is he supposed to do with that remaining time? I say, work part time!

I had my phone interview. Let's hope I get to the next stage. This place is only three miles from our house and right across the street from my YMCA.

Thursday June 21 Primo talks to his old boss about taking a leave of absence

The reality of what we might be doing is hitting Primo. "I'm scared," he said. "I'm scared of walking away from a really good job."

I told him it was about time he started being scared - that this was not a decision to take lightly.

I finally, last week, after thinking about it and looking at our savings and doing the numbers, decided that I would support Primo if he wants to quit his job. I had to force myself to realize that the purpose of life is not to accumulate as much money as you can, although I don't know that there is any amount in the bank (that is within our grasp) that would make me feel secure for life.

But thanks to my frugal lifestyle over the past years, we do have enough saved so that we could go a while without employment. I would not enjoy it. I do not like living on savings. Savings are for The Future. They are not for now.

But I told him that if he really wants to do this, he needs to do it right. His chances of winning are not strong to begin with. He only has a shot if he runs a serious, more than full time campaign.

So he called his old boss to feel him out about taking a leave of absence. That, of course, would be the ideal situation. We would have to pay for all the insurance in advance, but at least we would have it. The irony of it all is that the amount of pay that Primo would be giving up to run is about as much as he would make in one year as a legislator.

Deep breath. The purpose of life is not to accumulate money.

He is talking to the former boss now. Cross your fingers.

In other news, I have a phone interview this afternoon and an in-person interview tomorrow. It would be very useful if I could get a job.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Monday June 18 Junk mail, interviews, and heat

More junk mail today. Companies that make yard signs. Companies that make bumper stickers. And more candidate surveys. An invitation to attend a presentation on clean energy run by a - wait for it - solar panel manufacturer. One that still appears to be in business. Perhaps they decided the business model of manufacturing a unit for $6.29 per watt and selling it for $3.42 per watt wouldn't really work in the long run. Or maybe they didn't have any friends in the White House to give them a loan so they could burn through millions of dollars before someone who had run a lemonade stand in third grade noticed and said, "Hey you guys! You guys! THIS IS NOT A SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS MODEL!"

I have a phone interview tomorrow. I had to take an aptitude test as part of my application for another company. The test took two hours and included word problems. Which I have not done since 8th grade. I KNOW how to figure these things out - Fire Truck #1 is pumping at the rate of 800 gallons/minute, FT#2 at 1,000. #1 starts at 9:20, #2 at 9:30. At what time will they have pumped the same amount?

I know how to do that!

800 (x+ 10) = 1,000x. Solve for x, add x to 9:20.

But I had a brain freeze! I couldn't do it! This is making me crazy. I haven't taken a timed test for so long and I need a job so desperately that I panicked. I am not a panicker. But I was when I was taking the test.

My only hope is that other people are far worse at this than I am.

And I had to turn on the A/C today because it's over 90 and humid. Honestly, if you have to run your heat all winter and have to shovel snow, shouldn't you be exempt from really hot summers?

Primo is still suffering at his mom and dad's house. His mom wants to ship her old winter clothes up here for me to sell. Not going to happen. All they have done while he is there is whine. That's how they roll.

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.