Saturday, February 23, 2013

Thursday Aug 30 I make a list of people to ask for money‏

Me: Susan is going to give money!

Primo: Wow!

Me: She just volunteered! I am making a list of friends to ask.

Primo: How can you ask your friends to donate to my campaign when you don't agree with me?

Me: I want you to win. I don't want anyone else on your side to win.

Primo: Wait. I get it. You think that the more money they give me, the less they'll have for other Polka Dot candidates. They won't be able to donate to [the PD who is running for president].

Me: That's it. It's all part of my plan.

Primo: I can't believe you want [the Stripes candidate].

Me: I can't believe you want [the Polka Dot candidate].

Thursday Aug 30 Primo gets a $500 contribution‏

I called Primo at lunch, which is what I do every day I'm at work, because he's asleep when I leave every morning and gone when I get home. It's the only time I get to talk to him when it's convenient for me. Otherwise, he wants to keep me up late, which is not so doable now that my alarm goes off at 6:00 a.m.

He was elated. "I just got a $500 campaign contribution! Samantha wanted me to start doing doors today at 11:30 - she told me this at the last minute, but I ignored her. I've decided if she wants me to do something, she has to give me more than one hour notice. So I callled some old college friends and got this guy!"

"Who?" I asked.

"Rajiv! He's been following my campaign on facebook. I didn't even have to ask - he just said, 'What's the limit in your state?' He's going to send a check for $500!"

"And his wife can give $500 as well," I reminded him.

Thursday Aug 30 Asking friends for money

First, I want to say I am overwhelmed at the generosity of the friends who have donated to Primo's campaign. Primo asked several of them for money - feeling sick to his stomach the whole time - but others have just offered. I asked several of our friends to come to the campaign launch party. "I'm not asking you for money," I explained, "but I really want there to be people at the event!"

They came. They wrote checks. They were so generous.

My friend L. emailed me to ask if it was OK for Primo to accept out of state funding. Yes, it is. She and her husband sent a check for $100.

I asked our friend Susan, who is the mayor of her small town, for campaign advice. She wrote back - "I'll send money. It looks good for the campaign to have a lot of donors." Primo had said that - he said that's how the Big Dogs with Lots of Money decide where to donate. If a candidate can get a lot of support, even with small donations, then they figure he's worth a look.

As soon as Primo posted the contribution link on facebook, two good friends gave $500 each.

We are blessed to have friends like that.

Which means it shouldn't be so nerve-wracking (racking?) to ask our friends to donate. We are for sure not approaching anyone who is ideologically opposed. Friendship goes only so far. It would be way to much to expect someone to fund the campaign of a person he does not agree with. (Which is why I want Primo to win but no other Polka Dots! I don't want the PDs to have the majority.)

But still, it's hard. Samantha told Primo he is supposed to call everyone he knows. Everyone.

"Call your half brother Ted," I said. "Lord knows he's gotten enough money from your mom and dad."

"Oh yeah, I'm calling him," Primo said.

I had posted something on facebook that yielded no results, which isn't surprising as people like to be asked personally. But then I feel as if I am imposing on the friendship. And I don't want to put anyone in an awkward position - what if they don't want to give? What if they don't have the money or are just philosophically opposed to giving to candidates? How can I know?

What I wanted to put on FB was this: "Remember all the times we have supported your 10K/marathon/cookie sale? Remember all the baby presents we have sent? The graduation presents? We will never ask you for any of that. Never. But a campaign contribution would be nice."

Of course I did not, because that would have been RUDE and PETTY. And I haven't tried asking people directly to donate. I bet they will. I bet they will if I just ask. We have that kind of friends. I am not giving people enough credit.

Thursday Aug 30 We watch a judge being sworn in

Primo campaigned for Theresa when she was running for judge in her highly partisan, negative campaign. I understand a woman's got to do what a woman's got to do, but don't tell me you're pure and non-partisan when it's pretty clear that you are not.

She invited us to her investiture. We went. It was boring. As you might imagine. Lots of speeches that inspired standing ovations in which I did not want to participate.

At least there was food at the end.

And some good people watching.

I am not the queen of style. Far from it. But if I may be so bold as to give some fashion advice: if you are over 60 years old, long hair to your waist is probably not your best look. Especially if it's dyed pink, orange, and purple. No I am not making this up.

Also not if it is highlighted so you have a bright orange streak in the part that gets caught by barrettes.

Yes, there were not one but two older ladies with long, dyed hair.

There was a third older lady with Pippi Longstocking socks, black leggings, a skirt, and shower shoes. Which might be just fine if you're teaching at a pre-school but maybe not the most appropriate thing for court but what do I know?

While Primo and I were waiting in line, we started talking to the black man next to us. "I had a hard time supporting Theresa against Judge Smith," he said. "I really want more black people on the bench, but he was appointed by that Stripes governor."

"So?" I asked.

"The governor is evil. Everything he touches is evil," he asserted.

"So you're saying that just because Judge Smith was appointed by a Polka Dot that you don't want him?"

"Yes. That's what I'm trying to tell you!"

"But he was just appointed by him. That doesn't make him a bad person."

He sighed. "Suppose you were Satan. Wouldn't everything you touched also become of the devil? That's what happens here. This is a battle between good and evil."

I decided that now was not the time to get into a discussion of how just because someone disagrees with you politically does not mean that he is evil.

Theresa's husband came up to say hi. I disengaged with the Stripes are Evil guy.

Once Theresa's husband left, I turned back to the SAE guy.

Primo said, "He just figured out that you're a Stripes!"

The guy said, "I've never hugged a Stripe before!" He put his arm around me a pulled me to him.

I hugged back, then said, "Look! We walk among you! We are pleasant to be around!" I wanted to say, "And yet you dismiss us completely by stating that we are evil, which means there is no room for discussion, no room for compromise, no room for working together." But I didn't. Because really, how do you ever change the mind of someone who thinks like that?

Friday, February 22, 2013

Wed Aug 29 A really obnoxious woman I know comes to the fundraiser

Something else happened at the campaign launch that I want to tell you about. The guy who is running in the next district showed up with some political junkie friends of his. I told you I was manning (or womanning) the registration table, but I had stepped away with my key lime martini so I could get some sweet potato fries before they were all gone. I saw one of the political friends walk in, scowl on her face.

I recognized her. Immediately.

I've mentioned I'm on a board in our city. Because I do not want people to figure out who I am or who Primo is or where we are, let's just call it the We Love Kittens Board. It's a board that makes decisions on issues that are mostly uncontroversial. Who hates kittens? Only really mean people. Most people love kittens and puppies and other baby animals. The board is dedicated to furthering the cause of kittens.

However. Sometimes, rarely, but unfortunately for me, now, there are very hard kitten decisions to be made. Nobody wants to make those decisions. Everyone on the board loves kittens. Nobody wants anything bad to happen to kittens. We would not be on this volunteer board that sucks up three hours a month if we did. But there is an issue facing the board that might involve not killing kittens - Wait. Yes. It is essentially killing kittens. A kitten to keep the entire litter from dying. As in, we have a choice: kill one of the kittens or watch them all die of starvation.

A horrible, horrible choice and one nobody wants to make. WE LOVE KITTENS!

But we may have to make this decision. I don't know yet - the group that wants to kill the kitten has not made a formal proposal to the board.

They have, however, had several informational presentations over the past six months. These presentations have been open to the public, as they are at our regular board meetings and the meetings are open. Some of the public is very pro-kitten. Which is fine - so is the board.

But some of the public is not so nice in the way that they express their support of kittens.

Most of the public that speak at the meetings are polite. They express their concern about the possibility of killing a kitten and ask if there are no alternatives, such as finding someone really, really rich to pay for all the kittens or raising city taxes so the city can adopt the kittens.

But this one woman - I am going to call her Bella - who drips with venom every time she opens her mouth. She has attended every informational session and has had something to say at each one. She is always the first to the microphone. We all wince when opens her mouth, because implicit in her every sentence is the statement, "You all HATE kittens and WANT TO SEE THEM DIE!"

There is a history there that goes beyond the kittens. Bella used to work for the city but was let go. You guys know how hard it is to fire a government employee. Well, she was enough of a problem that they fired her. I don't know any other details besides that. Just that she was let go. Maybe they eliminated her position, but I do know that not many city employees shed a tear upon her departure.

So Bella has an ax to grind. She's mad at the city and she's mad at the board because - I don't know why. I just know that a few board members have made comments to the public at the end of the meeting where it's pretty clear they are talking about her, comments where they say that bitterness and acrimony will not solve this problem and that speaking to a group of volunteers and insinuating that they are acting in bad faith in collusion with the potential kitten killers is perhaps not the nicest thing to do.

Not to mention if you want to convince someone to your side, which in theory, Bella is trying to do - she wants us to vote against the kitten killing, it's not a good idea to be nasty to him.

A few days after the past informational meeting, I got an email from Primo's friend who is running in the next district. He said, "I'm friends with Bella and I, too, love kittens. She has all the inside scoop on what happened when she was still working for the city and they were in initial talks with the kitten killers. Would you like to meet her and discuss?"

My first instinct was to say, "I would rather be dropped into a pit of rattlesnakes," but I realized that was probably not the right thing to say.

After some thought, I wrote a polite note that any legal agreements made during the negotiations would be available to the board once we started deliberations. There. Nice. Polite. Gets me the same result of not having to spend a minute of time with the bitter, vicious Bella.

Imagine my shock when Bella walked into the party. Scowling. Angry. I turned my back. I didn't know if she would recognize me from the board meetings, but she might. Sometimes, you don't recognize people out of context, especially nameless potential kitten killers.

But I had to know why she was at the party. I listened hard. It took only a few minutes for someone to ask her what kind of work she did. (A question that I find rude - maybe most people are just looking for some kind of commonality, but not everyone has a job and not everyone who does not have a job is unemployed intentionally, plus I think the asker often wants to place the person socially to decide if she is worth his time.) I heard Bella's bitter answer: "I used to work for the city, but I don't have a job now."

I edged away. I did not want to talk about politics. (I know - I was at a political event.) I did not want to talk about the board. I did not want to talk about killing kittens. I especially did not want to be lectured by someone who was convinced I was in the back pocket of the kitten killers and couldn't wait to kill not just one, but an entire litter of kittens.

So there was no drama after all, but only because I was smart enough to get away in time. She never did get signed in or put on a name tag.

Wed Aug 29 Primo crashes my book club meeting

I was actually kind of impressed with Primo. It's hard for him to be assertive about this campaign. He is not a timid person, but he doesn't like to go where he's not introduced or maybe not wanted. Remember the first time we tried to campaign? At the Mothers Day Breakfast? When he didn't want to talk to anyone?

He's come a long way.

He dropped me off at book club tonight because I was late (it's only four blocks from the house). As we pulled up to the curb, he noticed the car parking ahead of us. It was loaded with Polka Dot bumper stickers.

He stopped the car. Got out.

"What are you doing?" I asked.

He gestured toward the car. "My people. Would you introduce me?"

Oh! I understood. "Sure." We walked up to the car. Out got Sabine.

"She's out of the district," I announced to Primo. I started to turn away, then realized I was being very rude.

"Sabine, this is my husband, Primo, who is running for the state house. Primo, this is Sabine. She lives out of the district. Her daughter in law runs the book club, which is why she drives here."

Sabine nodded. "I don't live in this neighborhood."

Primo gestured to the house. "But I've met your friend who's hosting, right?"

I nodded. "She signed your nominating petition. She's the one who said she'll sign anyone's petition."

"Is it OK if I say hi to her?"

I shrugged. "Sure. She's a big time Polka Dot."

He followed me into the house. The rest of book club was there. "Ladies," I said, "you've met my husband Primo before. He's running for the assembly. If you vote for Polka Dots, vote for him in November."

Mary Jo chimed in. "Even if you usually don't vote for Polka Dots, vote for him!"

Then she and Primo put their heads together and had deep Polka Dot chat. After a few minutes, he left.

A minute later, he popped back into the house. "I brought some flyers!" he announced. He passed them out. I grabbed his cute butt and pushed him away. But I was proud of him.

Wed Aug 28 Primo's campaign launch party and fundraiser

We had Primo's campaign launch last night. It was fun - it was a success - and my feet are killing me

We raised over one thousand dollars! That's a lot for a small-time candidate like Primo who has never run for office before. I was so touched that several of our friends - our hairdresser and her husband, the pastor who married us, my friend Lois from the Y - came. I had asked them to come but had been very clear that I was not asking them to come as donors - that I just wanted to be sure there were people who liked Primo who showed up. Although I guess people who don't like him wouldn't have bothered to come but whatever. But they donated money anyhow, which was so, so generous, especially considering we have never donated to anything they are doing.

Along those lines - this is what I want to say to Primo's friends: Remember all the donations Primo has made to your cause? Remember when you ran the marathon for the disease du jour and he gave you $25? Remember all the baby presents? Remember the graduation presents? Note that Primo has no children and has never asked you to donate to a charity. This is his cause. This is the time for you to reciprocate. He has opened his wallet for you - now open yours for him.

Primo was nervous. He emailed me yesterday afternoon saying he was a bit down because he hadn't raised enough money. I got the full story after the event. Samantha has added a new guy to the campaign team - I don't remember his name and I don't remember his role, but he's on the team. Primo, Samantha, and this guy met yesterday. The guy asked Primo if he was willing to put more of our own money into the campaign. Primo pointed out that we have already put $7,500 in (I know - it kind of makes you sick to your stomach) and that he is taking a three-month unpaid leave of absence from his job, so we are making an even larger financial sacrifice with that. Yes, I am now working, but I make only one third of what Primo makes.

The guy's response? "Well, you can always drop out of the race, you know."

What a jerk.

Of course Primo can drop out of the race. The facts are not in dispute. But he doesn't want to. He's in. What he needs is encouragement and help raising money. He especially didn't need the Tough Love Talk a few hours before his first fundraiser.

Jerk.

Fortunately, he pulled himself together and was on for the event. He looked nice in his new (on sale) olive worsted wool suit. He mingled. He gave a very short speech, which is the kind most people like. I have never heard anyone say, "That speech was too short! I wanted more!"

The first thing I noticed when I got there, at 5:30, before the official start of 6:00, was that Samantha's pink underwear were visible through her eyelet dress. I said nothing because what could she do? If I told her, she would be miserable for the next four hours as she thought of everyone seeing her underwear.

I also didn't tell her because she still annoys me a bit. She did nothing to help organize the event. Isn't that what campaign managers do? Organize campaign stuff? Not Samantha.

I worked the registration desk, which was fine with me as mingling and small talk are not my forte, especially when it comes to politics. Jim and Scott were there as sponsors. They said they would help Primo and they are doing it. Scott introduced Primo, then said, "I'm going to do what Primo can't do, which is the Ask. I'm asking for your money. I'm asking you to open your wallets and give. Campaigns are expensive. We have to have money for this to work. Please give generously."

It's always easier to ask for money for someone else than to ask for yourself.

Once I had everyone checked in, I mingled, too. It was easier after I had the key lime martini that Jim bought for me. I spoke to the guys from the firefighters' union and to the Pakistani candidate from the next district over. He had worked for the Houston mayor, so we talked about Houston and how it compared to here. Houston wins on winter, this place wins on summer. I moved and mingled and by the end of the evening, my feet hurt so much that I could hardly walk. That's what I get for wearing high heels to something like this. As if anyone is going to vote for Primo based on my shoes.

I finally told Samantha, right before we left, that she shouldn't wear pink panties with that dress.

She gasped in horror. "Why didn't you tell me right away?" she asked.

I shrugged. "What were you going to do?" I asked. "It's not like we're anywhere near Target. You couldn't run and get another pair."

She smirked. "I am a true blonde, you know. I could have just taken them off."

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Sunday Aug 26 I update Primo's spreadsheets

Primo: Would you update that spreadsheet for me?

Me: I just opened it - I'm about to do it.

Primo: Thanks.

Me: Oh good grief. I see you've already put a few addresses in. You're going to get all pissy if I don't put in the "th" and the "rd" after the street names, aren't you? And the period after the "St?"

Primo: I guess I shouldn't. I guess beggars can't be choosers.

Me: Nope.

Primo: If I want it done my way, I guess I have to do it myself.

Me: You're learning.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Saturday Aug 25 Primo tries to talk to Harold, the former state rep, again

Remember Harold? The guy who used to be the state representative for this area but who didn't run this election because he was a sissy? The one who was dismissive to Primo a few weeks ago because Primo had worked for Harold's opponent - also a Polka Dot - during the campaign for the county seat that Harold won.

Harold, btw, is not his real name. I am not a fool.

Well. Primo is gutsier than I am. Primo wants Harold to come to his fundraiser/campaign launch party this week and he wants Harold's endorsement. So he knocked on Harold's door again.

Harold wasn't home, so Primo left him a note and a flyer for the fundraiser.

"What if he ignores you again?" I asked.

"Who's he going to endorse?" Primo asked. "My opponent? It will look really bad for him if he refuses to endorse me. He needs to do what's good for the party."

We'll see how much ego Harold has. I don't think he cares about what's good for the party. He just doesn't want to look bad if Primo wins.


Saturday Aug 25 I play politician's wife and run into a wierdo who attended the meeting of a board I'm on

I went to the picnic with Primo. We chatted with a few voters. I kept my mouth shut about the issues because nobody cares what I think about them. Which is fine. It's bad enough to have to talk about politics with people I know - I really don't want to discuss it with strangers.

This guy walked up to us. He looked familiar. I said so. "Where have we met?" I asked him.

He didn't know. But he had crazy eyes that I remembered quite well.

As he and Primo were talking, it hit me: He had come to a meeting of a board I sit on. He was not on the agenda. We thought he was with the other two attendees, but after they presented their business and got it resolved, the crazy eye guy stayed.

What drew my attention - and the other board members' attention - was the fact that he had with him a set of power tools that he had arranged very carefully on the chairs around him.

This board - I would rather not say what it does because I am trying to maintain some anonymity here - has nothing to do with power tools. We do not buy them, we do not use them, we do not recommend their use. We are a board of volunteers appointed by the mayor to address certain issues in our city and these are not issues about power tools.

So why did he have power tools with him?

Stupidly, we finally asked him why he was there.

We should have just told him that because he was not on the agenda, we couldn't let him speak. I think that's actually true, because of open meetings laws and all that. But he said he had called and someone had said it would be OK. If I ever find that person, I am going to slap him.

He started to speak. He spoke. And spoke. About how these power tools would revolutionize things.

Our jaws dropped. Why was he telling us this?

Nobody knew what to say to get him to shut up. We were all so stunned. Then he plugged one of the tools in and started it.

It was very noisy. He was waving it around. I was afraid he was going to hit the wall or the chairs. He kept talking the whole time because he is a never shut up kind of guy.

That's when the chair finally regained his composure and said he thanked Crazy Eyes very much but the board did not have the authority or the budget to purchase any power tools and that we were not in the position to recommend any tools to anyone else because that is not part of what this board does.

He kept talking.

The chair thanked him again. I looked at the clock. It was 9:30. We'd been at this stupid meeting for two and a half hours now, which is more than I ever want.

"I move to adjourn," I blurted out.

"Second!" said Liz.

"All in favor?" the chair asked.

"Aye!" rose the resounding chorus from the table.

Crazy Eyes was still talking.

The chair said, "Thank you for coming. This meeting is adjourned."

I decided by that point that I didn't care if we seemed rude, that Crazy Eyes had earned any rudeness he got.

"The board meeting!" I blurted out.

"Yes!" His crazy eyes lit up. "I had the power tools!"

"What power tools?" Primo asked innocently.

I tried to squeeze his hand really hard as a signal to stop talking. In my mind, I was hissing at Primo, "No! Don't ask him any questions! We'll never get out of here!"

But it was too late. Crazy Eyes was off and running. It was another five minutes of excruciating boring stuff about power tools before we escaped.

I guess I will have to learn how to graciously exit a conversation if I am going to be a successful politician's wife.

Saturday Aug 25 Primo asks me to play politician's wife

Primo [after we have had a big argument over 1. whether Lousiville Slugger should be liable for the injuries suffered when a kid got hit by a ball hit by one of their bats and 2. abortion, which I hate talking about with anyone because it is such an emotional issue AND NOBODY EVER CHANGES THEIR MIND ANYHOW]: Will you go to the neighborhood picnic with me tonight?

Me: Oh man! You know I hate that stuff!

Primo: Please?

Me: I wanted to do my own thing tonight.

Primo: And tomorrow, would you help me do doors? You did promise me 20 hours. And I really want to get as many flyers out about my fundraiser next week as possible.

Me: Does the picnic count toward my hours?

Primo: No. You said 20 hours of doors specificially.

Me: OK, but here's the deal and this was already the deal! If I am going to do political things with you, I do not want to talk about politics at home! None! NO POLITICS! You already promised.

Primo: I thought you might have forgotten.

Me: The only good thing about having a job is NOBODY TALKS ABOUT POLITICS AT WORK!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Friday August 24 Primo goes to a party and I enjoy the time alone

Me: What do you have going this weekeed?

Primo: Tomorrow, I'll do doors. Tomorrow night, there is a big party celebrating the primary results.

Me: Have a good time. I'll get some movies from the library.

Primo: You don't want to spend hours with me around Polka Dots who are giddy with victory?

Me: It sounds so great. Just how I want to spend my very limited free time.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Thursday Aug 23 Primo and I have a big fight

We were due for a blowup. Primo has a temper and he overreacts to small things. I knew that when we got married. I also knew that he worked hard to control it and was far better than he used to be. I am not a fan of fighting or blowups or tempers. I don't get mad. I mean, I do get angry, but I do not blow up at people. That is not the way of the repressed northern and central European mutt. Although it's also not the way of Primo's British ancestors. Who knows? I do know that his father has a horrible temper that he - Sly - makes no effort to control. I have seen him in action. He is vicious and mean when he is angry and he doesn't care whom he hurts. I have to give Primo credit for trying hard not to be like his dad, but I wish he could be even better at controlling his reactions to things. You can't control how you feel, but you can control how you react.

So two or three times a year, Primo blows up about something stupid and insignificant, which ticks me off, because why waste energy on such small things? We always end up fighting about how we fight instead of the thing itself because the thing itself usually can be fixed very easily. I don't see the point in dissecting and picking at why something didn't happen the way Primo expected or wanted it to happen if it's easy to solve the problem. Primo maintains that we have to figure out how to prevent the problem from happening again, which I don't think is worth the effort when it only takes a short time to resolve the issue.

Here is how we approach problems.

Primo:

1. Ask why anyone would do something so wrong.
2. Assign blame - whose fault was it?
3. Dissect the problem - why did the person at fault do it that way? Why? Why? WHY?
4. Person at fault - usually me - says something like, "I forgot" or "I wasn't paying attention," but that is usually not a good enough explanation, which ticks Primo off, which ticks me off, because WHY DOES IT MATTER?
5. Primo vents for at least 20 minutes while I am solving the problem.
6. I lose my patience completely and tell him to shut the heck up, the problem is solved.
7. Primo calms down and becomes very apologetic about being a jerk.
8. I tell him to stop apologizing already, it's over.

Me:
1. Acknowledge there is a problem.
2. Figure out how to fix it.
3. Fix it.
4. Done. Life goes on.
5. Yes, I will admit I am a lot more careless than Primo, but honestly, does it matter if the laundry is folded perfectly or the dishes are completely dry before being put in the cupboard? No! It does not!

Yesterday, I entered a list of emails into a spreadsheet for Primo. I did not enter the names associated with those emails because 1. it had been four hours since I had read the original email with all the details of what he wanted and 2. I hate data entry, so just wanted to be done with it already and 3. I knew he needed the emails for a campaign notice he wanted to send out today. I intended to enter the names and addresses this weekend.

It took me 30 minutes. I emailed the spreadsheet to him and done.

When he got home two hours later, he went upstairs to check his email. I heard a loud sigh, clomping across the office, and clomping down the stairs.

I know what that sigh means. It means he is rolling his eyes in annoyance at something.

He came into the bedroom. "You didn't enter the names!"

"Oh," I said. "So?"

"I need the names!"

"Yeah, I thought I would do the rest this weekend. You just need the emails, right?"

"No, I need the names, too. I have to upload it all into this email program."

I looked longingly at my book, Malla Nunn's latest. They had just found the second dead body. "Can't you just copy the emails and paste them in the 'to' line?"

"No! That's not how it works! How could you not enter the names? Was I not clear in my email?"

"I don't know," I answered. "But whatever. Get me the sign-up sheets and I'll do it now."

"But why?" he asked.

I shrugged. "I guess I forgot. Just get the sheets for me and I'll take care of it."

"I don't understand how you could not do it right!"

"Why does it matter? I'll fix it now. You'll have what you need."

Then we spent 20 minutes - I timed it - fighting about why he has to know exactly why something went wrong instead of JUST SOLVING THE PROBLEM. (Hint: He is a control freak engineer whose lizard brain takes over at times. Thank goodness he's not a drunk like his dad or I could never have married him. Twice a year of this balony I can handle. Every day? No way.) I won't bother to give you the blow by blow because we all have The Fight that we always have with our SO. If you don't fight at all, then I envy you.

In 30 minutes, I was done updating the spreadsheet. His shoulders sagged and he said, "I've been a jerk."

"No kidding," I said.

"But you don't pay attention to the details! You don't pay attention to the process!"

"Nope," I agreed. "I care more about the results. You are obsessed with the process so much that you lose sight of the objective."

"But how can you be so [whatever]?" And we were off to the races again as we had the same fight we always have when we fight, which is that he is a micromanaging, process-obsessed, control freak who procrastinates on everything whereas I get things done. I might not do them perfectly, but I don't care if I do them perfectly. Ninety five percent is good enough for me. He wants 100%. He never throws anything away because he is afraid of making a mistake and discarding something he needs. I point out that his 1992 employee manual from Apple is hardly likely ever to be relevant in his life again. He cares about tidy stacks of clutter, I care about a clean house free of clutter.

We fight because we have radically different approaches to problem solving and project doing and actually, to everything.

"Do you think your life would be better if you were married to someone more like you?" I asked.

"What do you mean?"

"What if you were married to someone as detail-focused as you, who procrastinated on everything, never threw anything away, who flew off the handle over such little things? Would your life be better?"

He grinned sheepishly. "I was married to someone like that."

"And how did that work for you?"

"Not very well," he admitted.

"I'm shocked," I said dryly. "Shocked that two procrastinating, cluttered, bad-tempered persons couldn't make it."

Thursday Aug 23 Annoyer in chief

Primo: I met a lady at the concert tonight who isn't even in the district, but she liked me and said she might make a donation to the campaign.

Me: That's great!

Primo: People like me!

Me: Of course they do.

Primo: That's because they don't know how annoying I am.

Me: I was going to say that.

Thursday Aug 23 Melting away to nothing

Primo: I'm losing weight.

Me: Me, too.

Primo: You're not home to make lunch for me or peel fruit and I spend all afternoon walking.

Me: I'm 13 miles from the refrigerator.

Primo: That'll do it.