Saturday, December 9, 2017

The Candidate's Wife: The Other Woman and The Other Candidate

Remember The Other Woman? Who told Primo she was going to primary him? Other Woman - henceforth known as OW - was encouraged to run by the wife of a current state house representative (CSHR) whom Primo knows. The wife also knows Primo and is an elected official herself. I am not a big fan of CSHR, but he has never struck me as malicious and underhanded. Just kind of arrogant. And his wife has been lovely every time I have met her.


Primo: I talked to [our political mentor/Big Guy/friend]. He is pretty sure that Wife of CSHR did not suggest that OW run against me - that OW came up with that idea all on her own.

Me: Yeah, I just can't see it.

Primo: Plus I just made a $50 contribution to CSHR's campaign and he thanked me publicly on facebook, posted a photo of him, his wife, and me together, mentioned that I am also running for the State House, and linked to my campaign page.

Me: That is the action of a complete sociopath or of someone who is not encouraging OW to run against you.

Primo: Nope. Plus, when I spoke to [our political friend], he said that he has spoken to [the Republican incumbent holding the seat Primo will be running for] and he said that Incumbent said that the people who want to run for that seat on the Republican side are crazy and if a Dem might win, he would rather have me because he knows I am reasonable.

Monday, December 4, 2017

The Candidate's Wife: Is that a dagger I see behind me?

Me: Let me summarize this for us. She basically asked, "Primo, would you sharpen this knife for me so I can stab it in your back?"

Primo: It's not that bad!

Me: It is.

The Candidate's Wife: The challenger, again

Primo: I think I might have convinced her to run for the state senate instead. Then we could run as a team.

Me: That would work.

Primo: Maybe. She doesn't know anything about running. She didn't even know you have to file and have to collect nominating signatures.*



* Which is something that makes me nuts on TV and movies - they show someone deciding to run for office at the last minute and voila! On the ballot! That's not how it works!

The Candidate's Wife: And now someone comes out of the blue to have coffee with Primo to tell him she thinks she is going to primary him

I just got home from work. Primo just got home. He just had coffee with a woman he knows from an grassroots group. She has never run for office before and decided that the time is now so she thinks she should run against Primo in the primary.

And what does Primo think about that, she wants to know.

Primo is calmer than I am.

I am not all about taking turns in politics and may the best person win, but seriously? Out of nowhere, she's decided that she should run against Primo in a primary?

WTF?

Because we need more women in politics? And a woman version of Primo - because ideologically, they are probably pretty close - is preferable to Primo?

Sunday, December 3, 2017

The Candidate's Wife: I couldn't find The Cat


When you are about to leave for your husband's campaign launch event and you can't find the cat and your husband thinks you let her into the closet and you look under the other cat but she isn't there and then you find her in your husband's office, which means he is the one who left a door open that should not have been open. #LookUnderTheCatFirst

Saturday, December 2, 2017

The Candidate's Wife: Primo's campaign kickoff

Wow. Wow. Wow.

He might actually win.

OK. Maybe that's bold.

But dozens of people came to Primo's campaign launch and he gave a really good speech - he has come so far from the days when he clutched the side of the lectern at church, swayed side to side, and never lifted his eyes.

He didn't talk about policy details - he told a story about how the American dream seems to have gone away and how he, a product of that dream, wants to bring it back.

He then spent some time - maybe a wee little bit too much - talking about policy, but he wrapped it up and people were excited and they gave money and we might have raised over $1,000, which is a Big Deal to a small-time candidate.

For me, the best part was how many people showed up because Primo has helped them over the years. That's nice.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

The Candidate's Wife: They ask Primo about marijuana

Primo was on a radio show today. I watched the live stream, which had video of the studio.

1. The host thanked Primo for being on time and I wanted to yell, "That's not something that usually happens!"

2. The host asked Primo, "Yes or no - one word - do you support the legalization of and the taxing of marijuana in this state?"

I am yelling at the screen, "ONE WORD, PRIMO! ONE WORD!"

But - Primo does not do one-word answers. :) Bless his heart.

However, he finally did that pivot thing I have been telling him about - use the question to talk about what you want to talk about.

He said yes, he does support legalizing marijuana because of the tax revenues it would generate and because of the problems with mass incarceration.

I agree with him on both points, but I wish, if he were going to talk a lot that he also would have expressed the view that as long as a person is not hurting anyone else, who cares if he does drugs?

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The Candidate's Wife: In other news, there was frost in hell

Primo: Guess who was on my email list from my first campaign six years ago?

Me: Who?

Primo: Guess!

Me: I don't know!

Primo: Ted!

Me: Ted who?

Primo: Ted my brother!

Me: Oh man.

Primo: He gave me money! Fifty dollars!

Me: Good.

Primo: I think it's time to bury the hatchet.

Me: Are you nuts?

Primo: That's a meaningful gesture!

Me: No. A meaningful gesture is an apology for being a jerk.

Primo: He's a Drunk. This is about as meaningful as someone related to my dad can get.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

The Candidate's Wife: My friend Amanda, who is lovely, volunteers to help with Primo's campaign

Amanda (via messenger): You can tell your honey that he has an unreliable campaign lackey; that I intend to volunteer how/whenever. But I will need the campaign pitch, stance, and script to learn. I am excited to help despite living one block south of (the district).

Me: Great! I will tell Primo. Primo, listen.

Primo: It's a little more than a block.

Me: It doesn't matter.

Primo: The district ends on Oak Avenue and she is --

Me: She's either in the district or she's not. That's all that matters.

Primo: It's useful for me to explain exactly where the district ends.

Me: No, it's not.

Amanda: Tell the engineer that the north boundary of my apartment complex ends on W Pine Drive... which is ONE UNINTERRUPTED BLOCK from Oak Ave. So

Wow. She totally gets him.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The Candidate's Wife: Making pie for America, or, What's my favorite cookie recipe?


This is a non-partisan rant.

I don't think spouses are relevant to politics. That is, I don't think they should be. Who cares what the spouse - and let's be honest, we are talking about wives here because even though women are half the population, we are under-represented in the political realms of power - wait - in the realms of power everywhere - who cares what the wives think?

I do not care.

I don't care what the husbands think, either, although it's so rarely a husband. So, so rarely.

Why don't more women run for office?

I don't know. Running for office is a pain in the neck for anyone, but it seems like women are criticized for things that men are not. Do they talk about men's hair and clothes? I don't think so.

And nobody asks the men what cookies they like to bake.

Notice to the media:

1. I don't care what the spouse's political opinions are because I am not voting for the spouse

2. Unless the spouse has a Magic Cookie recipe that will make my ass look like I am a 17 year old Playboy model and will clean my house while I sleep, I don't care about the cookies.

I get so tired of this criticism of the spouses. Leave them out of it. Quit talking about their hair, their arms, what they eat, what they don't eat, what they say, what they don't say. Leave them out of it.

Fortunately, nobody at all cares about the wife at the level of office Primo is running for. Actually, I think the wife comes into the picture only at the presidential and maybe the gubernatorial level. I'm not seeing either president or governor in Primo's future - even if he is elected, he cares about crafting policy, not about being an executive. And if there were some strange future where he would be on either of those paths - a strange strange future indeed, maybe the world would have changed by that point to where voters (or readers of the tabloids and the gossip columns) don't care about The Wife.

Can you even imagine? I hate having my photo taken. I hate having to be in public. I hate having to be On. I would be such a bad First Lady. You would never see me and I wouldn't care about decorating and I would be pissed that I would not be able to spend all day binge watching The Great British Baking Show or Foyle's War or Department Q.

First Ladies probably have to take a shower every day. And not wear gym clothes three days straight. They probably have to put on makeup and comb their hair.

I would hate it. HATE IT!

But the thing, I think, that I would hate the most would be being reduced to an accessory and asked stupid questions like, "What's your favorite cookie recipe?" No wonder Hilary boiled in rage at that question. It was so dismissive. It was dismissive of everything she had accomplished as a human being and it reduced her to being an appendage who existed to do nothing more than support Bill.

And the thing is, I actually like to bake! I love to bake! I love to bake even though sometimes, I am not very good at it.

Witness the photo above.

I thought, I don't need to use weights for blind baking this crust! I blind bake tart crusts all the time without weights.

Guess what?

Press-in tart crusts are different from rolled-out pie crusts.

Which is why you get the above.

I can bake very ugly pie crusts.

How do you think that would go over in an interview with Ladies Home Journal? "Hi! My husband Primo is running for office and this is my pie!"

Sunday, November 19, 2017

The Candidate's Wife: The Wild and Crazy Saturday Night of a Politician and His Wife


So, so glamorous.

This is us.

Together.

This is togetherness.

This is our Saturday night.

Primo, the cats, and me, and our magazines and books.

Is this wrong?





Friday, November 17, 2017

The Candidate's Wife: The sad life of fundraiser food


You know how the movies present Las Vegas as so, so glamorous, full of beautiful, well dressed people?

But then when you go there - not really because you want to (you got an A in probability and statistics in grad school, so you know that gambling works for you only if you can count cards, which you are not smart enough to do) but because you are driving to California and your friend will be in Las Vegas and invites you to spend a night with her and you want to see her - you discover that Las Vegas does not consist of crowds of people who all look like movie stars but crowds of people who look like - and this is no disrespect to bingo or church potlucks, but - the folks you see at bingo or the church potluck or a Friday night fish fry or a PTA meeting.

That is, they are all very very ordinary looking people and ordinary people are not glamorous.

My sweet, baking, cooking, sewing, pantyhose-repairing, church lady, feeding the neighbors, gardening, canning, and sort of frumpy sheepshead shark Granma J. I loved her so much.
I am an ordinary person. I am not glamorous. Ever. My claim to fame at a church potluck is I can cook. (I am kind of competitive about it.)

But I am a frumpy middle-aged Midwestern lady and I look like it. Not glamorous. I don't have glamorous genes, coming from a long line of frumpy Midwestern ladies.

My wonderful, loving, sassy, National Enquirer buying, sort of frumpy with her double-knit polyester pants and the plastic covers on her sofa Grandma Sylvia. I loved her so much.
Before Primo got involved in politics, if I ever thought about politics and fundraisers, I suppose I thought about them as elegant, glamorous events, not unlike the fundraiser for the symphony or something that I attended when I was working in Miami and the person in charge of investor relations at work had a ten thousand-dollar table and asked if I wanted four tickets (for free) because he just didn't feel like doing all the work to fill it.

That was an elegant fundraiser. People wore evening gowns and suits. I bought a long dress. (At consignment.) The food was divine - there were sushi stations and caviar stations and waiters offering fancy little canapes and drinks and that was just the appetizers. I can't remember what the main meal was, maybe because I ate so much of the appetizers. The dessert was some fancy chocolate construction that impressed the heck out of me and tasted delicious.

That was my idea of a fundraiser.

Then I started going to political fundraisers with Primo. (Like - very occasionally. If I thought I would see people I like there. Not because I wanted to hear political speeches. People! NOBODY WANTS A SPEECH! KEEP IT SHORT!)

And the food was OK at some of them. There is one guy who has barbecues in his back yard - he hires chefs who know what they are doing. BBQ, beans, corn on the cob, coleslaw, cobbler. It's pretty good.

But mostly, the food is Costco food trays.

Wait.

Let me re-state that.

If you are lucky, the food is Costco food trays.

Sometimes, it's not as fancy as Costco.

As in, there is absolutely nothing glamorous about political fundraisers, not even the food.

In Primo's first campaign, we had a fundraiser at our house. I decided I was not going to feed people Costco food trays - that I would make really good food. (Ah, we were so naive then)

And I did.

I made (if I can remember) Ro-tel dip, tortilla, Memphis onion dip, hummus - what else? Probably not much sweet stuff - people don't eat sweet things so much when they are drinking beer or wine.

It took me days.

We raised enough money to almost pay for the wine.

Not that we had bought wine just for the event - this was wine Primo had brought from California and was part of the collection in the basement. But at some point, Primo had bought that wine.

So yeah - we turned wine into some money but not very much.

Everyone loved the food - said it was the best fundraiser food they had eaten.

And - we raised not very much money.

So my new motto is, "No cooking for fundraisers, especially fundraisers for someone else and fundraisers that are being held in my house on a worknight when all I want to do is watch the rest of the Great British Baking Show and then go to bed."

For this fundraiser, everything except the Memphis onion dip was bought.

Including the baby carrots I picked up on my way home from work the day of the fundraiser because Primo messaged me in a panic after realizing that he did not have non-pita food for the hummus.

(I would have had the table laid out the weekend before, with sticky notes of which food would go where, which would mean I would have known a long time ago that I didn't have the carrots, but that is not how Primo rolls.)

(But I was going to the store anyhow because it was $1.99 milk day and we needed milk and the store is on my way home.)

(And I found a bag of candy corn for what I thought was only a quarter but turned out to be $1.25 which was still fine because I am one of those weirdos who loves candy corn.)

(Although only in very small doses.)

We had the food you see in the photo. But - people didn't finish it. As in, there were a ton of carrots left over.

What on earth does a person do with almost two pounds of baby carrots? Especially when a person and the other person are about to go out of town for a long weekend and upon return from that long weekend, one of the persons has a medical procedure (part of an annual physical) scheduled that requires she not eat a lot of bulky foods? Baby carrots go bad pretty quickly because they are wet.

So today was all about making baby carrot and ginger soup.

At least the fundraiser wasn't a total loss - there is soup.

The end.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

The Candidate's Wife: The email list

Primo: What do you think about the email I sent out this morning?

Me: What email?

Primo: About my campaign launch event!

Me: I didn't get one.

Primo: What? Aren't you on my list?

Me: I guess not.

Primo: I need to add you.

Me: No! I do not want to be on your list! I don't want to get your emails!

Primo: But I want you to get them!

Me: I live with you. That's enough.

Primo: But - you need to be on the list.

Me: Nope.

Primo: I just added you.

Me: No!

Primo: I clicked, "This person gave me permission to email them."

Me: I didn't! I didn't give you permission!

Primo: It says, "them."

Me: That's wrong!

Saturday, November 11, 2017

The Candidate's Wife: What do we really need that is the hardest thing to ask for?

Wonderful woman who is helping with Primo's campaign: What can I do to help with Primo's campaign launch event?

Me: Invite people who will give him money.

Primo: Hey!

Woman: Yeah, that's what it comes down to, isn't it? You have to have money to run a campaign.

Me: Yep. We are sure not spending our own money this time.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

The Candidate's Wife: (The People Have Spoken)

I heard you guys. We are going with "The Candidate's Wife." I really do want Primo to win - I think he would be good and conscientious and Not Corrupt -

Here is one of the big differences between Primo and me:

1. He is surprised anytime a politician is discovered to be corrupt. (He was quite upset over the Donna Brazile revelations recently that the Clintons pretty much owned the Democratic party in the last election.)

2. I am surprised anytime a politician is not corrupt.

Primo is not corrupt. He is not dishonest. He is not running for ego reasons. He does think he knows what is the right thing to do, even when he is wrong, but this is not about HEY I AM PRIMO LOOK AT ME!!!

This is about his trying to effect positive change in the world.

(We don't have children and are both pretty much failures in our careers, so this is his last gasp, he thinks.)

He had a fundraiser for another candidate at our house the other day. He told me that I would not have to do anything at all to prepare for it or clean up after and that I did not even need to be in the house when it happened.

I tried - trust me, I tried - to find someone to hang out with away from the house that evening, but man, my friend circle is small.

I came home at 4:30 - the event started at 5:30 - and the house was clean and he had the food. He had moved the chairs away from the dining room table and had set up a card table by the front door for name tags and envelopes.

In case you have never been to a political house party, the way it works is as soon as you walk in the door, you are expected to give money. Someone working on the campaign is sitting there and will hand you a contribution envelope. (I don't know if this is state or federal for the US, but at least where we live, if you donate money, you have to give your name, your address, and your employer.)

Primo had all this stuff set up but he hadn't put the food out and hadn't taken a shower, so I told him to get ready while I baked the amazing Memphis Onion Dip That Always Wins Book Club and put out the rest of the food.


I used dishes. That is, I put the store bought hummus in a white bowl, swirled it around, and poured some olive oil on it. I put the chips in a bowl. I made it look nice.

Primo said, "Oh! I would have left the hummus in the container!"

Then he said, "I love you. Thank you for helping. You know how to make things look nice."

Which was nice to hear.

People started showing up at 5:15.

And then the torture started.

Not because people were not nice - they were. They were lovely and gracious and thanked me for having them in our home and they said nice things about our house and they didn't spill red wine (or white wine) anywhere and they were perfect guests.

But.

They were there.

In my house.

And I couldn't escape.

I suppose I could have, but it would have been kind of rude, I think, to disappear downstairs to watch TV.

OH! DID I MENTION I WAS 15 MINUTES AWAY FROM FINDING OUT WHO HAD WON THE GREAT BRITISH BAKING SHOW SEASON TWO?

YES!!!!

Let's add this up:

1. LOVELY PEOPLE. This is not about the personalities or actions of the guests at all.
2. But. I had been at work all day. The second I got home, I started preparing for guests. Forty five minutes after I got home, people started to arrive.
3. And they stayed until 8:30.
4. Which is four straight hours of being engaged one way or another.
5. While I was dying to get downstairs to watch the rest of season 2 of The Great British Baking Show.
6. And then finish the book, "He Said/She Said," which has a killer twist ending.

Do you feel my pain? Do you understand why I was ready to explode?

And this was with nice people! Imagine how awful it would have been with people who weren't even nice.

Oh man. I want Primo to win. I want him to win without having to campaign or have me be involved in any way whatsoever.


Tuesday, November 7, 2017

The Candidate's Wife: We have a fight about Primo running for office and I feel really guilty and mean

When we were in California last month, Primo met his former co-workers for lunch.

And it was made clear that he would be welcome back.

Even though he has not worked as an engineer for three years, which is like three centuries in engineer years.

He could have his old job back at his old pay.

Not to get too personal (talking about money is tacky, I have heard, although I am a big fan of sharing salary information because the more information you have, the more power you have, and I will totally tell anyone who asks what I make), but having a Silicon Valley salary while living in the Midwest is not a bad deal.

I like having money.

I have not had money and I have had some money and I like having money a lot better.

Primo thinks my family was poor. I disagree.

My family was not poor as in the kind of poor where you worry about if you are going to eat today. But we were not the kind not poor as Primo's family - where they went on Away Vacations and ate at restaurants.

Nobody I knew ate at restaurants or went on big Away Vacations. This whole thing of going to Disneyland on spring break? I didn't know anyone as a kid who did that. On spring break, you just didn't go to school.

But my family was the kind of not poor where there was not extra money and where there sure wasn't money to pay for college. Thing is, everyone else I knew was in the same situation. It wasn't until I got to college that I met people whose parents had the money to pay their tuition and were doing so. And had the money to buy cars for their children. And had the money (this was the rich kids) to take their kids to Europe for vacation.

Since I got out of college and have been able, for the most part, to make pretty decent money, I have been not poor. But I have also never gotten to be a spendthrift. I remember what it was like not to have money and I don't want to run out of it. I want to have it in the bank.

Primo's parents paid for his college. (Even though his dad refused to pay for Ted's college, saying that Ted could attend the school where Sly taught for free.) They gave him spending money. He worked during college, but for beer money, not for books.

I don't begrudge that of him. I would like that for everyone.

But - he has a far more casual attitude toward money than I do. In his world, money has always been there. Not in mine.

So we had this fight because I told him that although I want him to win this election - and I do, I hate that he is running and I hate the impact that a campaign has on our lives and I hate that he's not working and earning money BECAUSE WHAT HAPPENS IF WE RUN OUT OF MONEY BEFORE WE DIE?

That's what I worry about.

Even though when I do the numbers, I know that barring disaster (and as long as we maintain a modest level of spending, which is not hard for me because I am really tight with cash), we will be OK.

But - not working when you could be? Not making money when you could be? That seems so irresponsible to me.

He told me I was giving him mixed signals - that I was supporting him and then not supporting him in this campaign.

I told him that I am not supporting his running - that I am putting up with it, which is a totally different thing.

He disagreed and went off into Splitting Hairs Town in Engineer World, where he wanted to debate the meaning of "support" and I said stop being a pedant the point is I am not happy about this but I am not going to divorce you over it.

Yet.

And then we fought some more and I told him why does he care what I say about his running because he's going to do it whether I like it or not and then he said that he does care what I think and I said If I tell you not to run, would you not run? and then we both got really mad at each other and stomped away.

Then he reminded me that he had inherited (actually, he said, "we" had inherited, which is technically incorrect, as I believe that in divorce cases in most states, inheritances are not considered joint property) a lot of money from Sly and I pointed out that Sly had never intended that to happen and he asked why was that even relevant and I didn't say out loud but thought, "Your dad was a jerk and he did everything he could to disinherit you and I want you to remember what a jerk he was."

But I didn't say that. No matter how much of a jerk Sly was, he was Primo's father and children love their parents almost no matter what and I shouldn't take that away from Primo. It's not like Sly was a molester. He was a total and complete selfish, narcissistic jerk, but he did not molest his own children, which I know is a pretty low bar and I am being kind of nasty. But Sly was Primo's dad and he wants to remember him well because everyone wants parents who love them and treat them well and if inheriting Sly's IRA, despite Sly's very clear wishes in his will, takes some of the sting out of Sly's being such a jerk, then I should not take that away from Primo.

See what I mean about feeling guilty and mean? I am being mean and I need to knock it off.

Man, I'm cranky. I hate politics. I hate campaigns. I don't even like togetherness, so when I say one of the drawbacks of a campaign is that I never see Primo, you know it has to be pretty bad.

Other drawbacks are things like he thinks we should cancel our vacation, which I refuse to let happen, so then he spends the entire vacation working on the campaign, which makes it not a vacation as far as I am concerned.

I feel guilty for being mean. I need to stop being mean.




Monday, November 6, 2017

In which we visit Primo's lovely stepdaughters and they refer to me as "Granma Goldie" to their kids and I feel so, so honored

I know there are people who don't want the title of "Grandma" because it makes them feel old.

But - that title, given freely, can be one of the greatest things in the world.

My friend K is lovely. She came into my life when she married my friend L from grad school. Even if they split, I would still maintain my friendship with her because I love her and she is a great friend.

Her father died last year. He had been married to K's stepmother for 30 years. The stepmother had insisted that K's children address her as "Grandma." (It was not K's idea, but she was always pleasant to her stepmother because she was K's father's wife.)

Got that?

1. Thirty years
2. Insisted on being called "Grandma"
3. K's father died last year.

How many times has stepmom talked to K since? How many times has she returned K's calls/emails/texts?

Not. Once.

Not one single time.

K is friends with her stepsiblings and they don't know what the deal is with their mom. They think it's odd, too. 

I ask, Who wouldn't want to be friends with K? She is fabulous!

So that kind of thing can happen with blended families. 

I met Primo after he had already split from his first wife. I met him years after that happened. I had nothing to do with the breakup of his marriage, but I was still worried about what his stepdaughters might think of me. I have tried to let them set the tone for our relationship. We flew them here for our wedding and Primo visits them anytime he is in California and I have visited them with him when I have gone as well.

We saw them last month when we were there. The stepdaughters are married to wonderful men. Between the two couples, they have four small children.

And each of the adults referred to me as "Granma Goldie" - a title I have never asked them to use because it's not my place to suggest such a thing - when talking to the children.

I don't think they could have given me a higher honor. Do you?

Sunday, November 5, 2017

In which I get to see a fellow blogger again - you should read her blog

I meant to tell you - Primo and I went to California last month to see our bonus daughters and their families. I got to meet Lisa at Privilege for a cup of coffee. I met her a few years ago on another trip. She is as lovely, gracious, and intelligent in person as she is in writing. I love her blog - she is a wonderful, insightful writer with such an elegant writing style.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

In which the quirk that I thought was all about Primo being an engineer is probably more because he was raised by abusive narcissists





This thread in my favorite blog, Ask A Manager, explains everything about Primo, who will not take "yes" as an answer nor will he give it as an answer. He always wants to explain why, even though I tell him I don't care - all I want is a yes or a no when I ask him something like, "Would you like me to make a chocolate cake?"







Thursday, November 2, 2017

The Last Campaign: I suggest that Primo ask for contributions for a fundraiser where people don't actually have to attend

Me: Listen to this. This is brilliant. The L.A. county library had a fundraiser where you paid $100 and then stayed home to read a book. You should do that!

Primo: Why?

Me: Because people would give money not to have to eat Costco food tray food and not to have to listen to political speeches!


Primo: People like political speeches!

Me: No, they don't.


Primo: They like my political speeches.

Me: Oh honey. No. No, they don't. Nobody likes listening to political speeches. Nobody.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The Last Campaign: Oh! Did I not mention that Primo is running for office again?

Yes. He is.

This is not my favorite thing.

1. A political campaign means a lot of work. It means Primo is gone from home a ton, which means if I want the house to be cleaner than it is, I have to clean it, which was not the deal when he quit his job.

2. I don't mind being by myself, but I am not thrilled about picking up extra housework.

3. I would rather Primo be earning money, but - we are in the very lucky position that I have a job that pays enough money for both of us. So financially, I can't say his running for office (or, more accurately, his not working) is a hardship.

4. Did I mention I hate political campaigns?

But.

Our friend B is a political scientist who Knows These Things. The incumbent, against whom Primo has run twice, is running for state senate in 2018, which means Primo would be running against an unknown candidate, which is a lot easier than running against an incumbent, and which is statistically worth a few percentage points in the vote.

B ran the numbers and showed them to me.

Primo could win.

It's not a total long shot.

1. I want him to be happy.

2. We can afford this.

3. When Primo is running, I get to hear all the dirt - and I do mean all of it (Hilary, they tried to warn you! And you didn't listen!), which means I have interesting things to write about here.

4. More uninterrupted time for me to watch The Great British Baking Show or whatever.

5. He promises if he loses, he will never run again and we can move away from winter.

So anyway. Here we are. Starting another campaign.

PS Vote here: Primo thinks it would be funny to call this blog "The Candidate's Wife." I tell him I don't need a derivative identity.

However - I can tag this series as "The Last Campaign" or as "The Candidate's Wife." What do you guys think


Sunday, October 29, 2017

The Last Campaign: Doris wrote a letter to the League of Conservation Voters when they didn't endorse Primo in his first campaign and Primo meets someone from the League, who - not unsurprisingly, because it is really Not Done, DORIS, to complain to someone who has done something you don't like to your adult child - remembers the letter

Primo: At the meeting I went to tonight, the director of the League of Conservation Voters was there.

Me: So?

Primo: Remember how they wouldn't endorse me in my other campaigns?

Me: Oh! Right! Because will endorse only candidates they are sure will win?

Primo: Yes.

Me: Did you tell her what you thought about that?

Primo: No.

Me: What? You don't think direct confrontation about something like that is the way to get an endorsement for this campaign?

Primo: It's how my dad would do it. And he would tell her she's stupid.

Me: That's why your dad had so many friends and so many people who mourned his death.

Primo: Yep.

Me: So what did you do?

Primo: I introduced myself to her. I don't think she knew who I was, so I told her I was the one whose mother had written her a letter.

Me: WHAT?

Primo: You remember that!

Me: I most certainly do not! Your mom wrote them a letter?

Primo: I told you that.

Me: No. No, you did not. That is not the sort of helicopter parenting event that I would ever forget. She wrote them a letter?

Primo: Yes.

Me: Maybe she thought she had standing because she was an environmental activist?

Primo: Yes. She wrote them an angry letter about not endorsing me.

Me: And yet they did not endorse you!

Primo: Nope.

Me: Did she ever call your boss? Wait! No! Did she ever call a hiring manager who didn't offer you a job after you had interviewed? Because that's the job equivalent.

Primo: Nope.

Me: Was your mother surprised that her tactic did not lead to an endorsment?

Primo: I don't know.

Me: So what did the director say when you told her you were the one whose mother had written a letter?

Primo: She said, "Oh, yeah. I remember."

Me: Anything else?

Primo: And then she said, "I guess I won't hold it against you."

Me: Was she joking?

Primo: I think she was serious.

Friday, October 27, 2017

In which I realize I should have been greedier about Sly and Doris' estate because there actually were some worthwhile, expensive things, but I didn't want Their Stuff in My House




Have you guys read this story about Swedish Death Cleaning?

Lord have mercy I cannot believe how many people defend those who leave their estates (I use the word "estate" loosely, as in, "All the crap you leave behind when you die that someone else has to clean up") in total disarray.

The only conclusion I can draw is that those people either

1. Have never had to clean up a messy estate after someone has died (my mother's house will take time, but everything is organized and labeled and I am on her safe-deposit box and her accounts and she has all of her financial records in order, so there will be No Drama) or

2. Are planning to leave a huge mess for their children AND THEY DON'T CARE.

Sly and Doris were not even serious hoarders - they were like the Brownies of hoarders, or maybe the Cub Scouts. They never reached Eagle Scout Hoarder status.

But even with their not so awful level of hoarding, it was a pain in the neck for Primo to clean out their house. He couldn't find their financial records, he didn't know if they had a safe deposit box (they had made a list referencing one), and he was worried about throwing away something important, which was not an impossibility as they had, in just one desk drawer, tax receipts for the past eight years, Medicare EOBs, and the letters I had written them.

I don't think they were keeping the letters for sentimental reasons.

I think they were just too lazy to throw them away.

Did I mention that there was not one single photo of me in that entire house?

Honestly. The energy I expended - at the beginning - trying to get them to accept me. It was never going to happen. Never. I am so glad that I realized that and stopped beating myself up.

Anyhow. Primo would call me every night when he was there and ask if I wanted this thing or that thing.

Nope. I did not want his parents stuff.

1. It would remind me of his parents.
2. Their stuff was not high quality.

Except.

He tried to talk me into keeping the Pyrex and the Corning Ware.

I might have considered it - might have - if it had not been avocado green. And if we had needed more storage.

But I said no.

What I did not consider was that we could have sold it and made a ton of money.

See that photo at the top?

Those bowls - my mom has one of those yellow bowls on the bottom and that is the only thing of hers I want when she dies, not because it is worth money but because I have so many happy memories of making cookies with her using that bowl - cost NINETY FIVE DOLLARS for the set!

And this was at a thrift shop in a tiny, no stoplight town near Lake Superior!

Dang. Ted and Ted'sWife were demanding the wrong memento. They should have stopped whining about Doris' bracelet - the one that turned out to be costume jewelry - and asked for all the Pyrex.

I blew it.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

In which Primo is a Bad Muffin Eater





That is what my lovely aunt Pat presented to us when Primo and I stopped in to see her and my uncle Hank. (Hank is my dad's brother.)

Aunt Pat, if you will remember, is the angel who made a pitcher of Old Fashioneds for my dad's going-away party when he was in the hospice. He was less than a week from dying. We have everyone who could come - he was in the hospital 35 miles from the town where he and my mom grew up and where much of my family still lives today - join us in his room at the hospice.

We had a bottle of champagne and Pat's Old Fashioneds - because my dad had said she always did make the best Old Fashioneds - and we talked about everyone he would see in heaven, including his father, his best friend, who had died in a ship's fire in 1967, and our cat. (That's my sister feeding O'Malley in the photo below.)


I don't think the death of a 62 year old man who was loved pretty much universally is a good thing, but if you can have a good death, my dad's death was OK. He was surrounded by people who loved him and whom he loved and he knew he was loved.

Aside - my uncle John, who is in his mid 50s, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma a year ago. He is doing well after his bone marrow transplant next month and we are full of hope. But last year, he told my mom, his sister, that if he died, he wouldn't feel cheated. He said he had had a good life with good people and felt as if he had been lucky.

Back to my aunt Pat.

Primo and I went to see her and my uncle. They are a hoot. My uncle used to drive the beer delivery truck to Milwaukee when they were dating and they would go to Milwaukee to visit relatives and go out. I asked if they had read the book, Dirty Helen, a memoir by a madam who had a bar in Milwaukee.

Oh honey. They had been to her bar!

One cannot visit one of my relatives without having food offered to you immediately. You walk in the door and are offered food and drink. You are fussed over and great attention is paid to your comfort.

(Which is one of the reasons I was so confused the first time I met Sly and Doris. I was a guest in their home and they offered me nothing! That was not The Song of My People. We feed guests. It is what we do.)

Pat brought us water and a plate of muffins - blueberry and bran.

Primo, as you all know, doesn't like anything that ends with "-erry," although he will eat tendon and tripe.

He is weird.

Primo started eating his muffin - and discovered raisins.

So he carefully picked them all out and left them on his plate. (Which is photo #1.) You can see the raisins stacked neatly on the right side of the plate.

Like I said. Weird.

"What are you doing?" asked Pat.

I rolled my eyes.

"I don't like raisins," Primo said guiltily.

"Oh," she said.

"He is a Bad Muffin Eater," I explained.

"What is a Bad Muffin Eater?" 

So we told her the story of how Sly was upset about how I eat my bacon.

She almost fell to the floor laughing.

When we left, she gave us six muffins and two jars of homemade pickles.

Because that's how My People are.

Dang. No wonder Primo was depressed thinking about his parents and the crummy family hand he was dealt.

Below is the sausage my cousin gave us. Yes, that entire cooler is filled with venison summer sausage, breakfast sausage, and bratwurst. I think those are some of their hot dogs as well and of course there is venison bacon.

I won the Family Lottery. Not because they give me stuff, but because they are kind, thoughtful people whose presence enriches my life.

(The cousin who gave us the sausage? She is the one who drove 70 miles round trip to the hospice when we were staying there with my dad in the last few days to bring us supper. That's the kind of people I have in my family. Man. I am so, so lucky.)

Image may contain: food and indoor



Tuesday, October 24, 2017

In which I discover how easy it is to drive an engineer crazy




OK. I lied. I didn't just discover this.

I have known it for years.

It bothers me, but not as much as it bothers Primo.

So yeah - I do it on purpose. 

Is that wrong? :)




Monday, October 23, 2017

In which Primo admits I AM RIGHT


Primo: You were right about the white space.

Me: I know.*

Primo: It takes me a lot to admit that!

Me: It shouldn't.

Primo: But I am my father's son. Other people can't be right. Only a [Sly's last name] can.

Me: I am not a [Sly's last name].

Primo: I am.


* Primo, in true engineer fashion, wanted to bunch everything up in the center. I am not a graphic artist, but I do have a better sense for these things than Primo does. He spaced things out a little more, but still not enough for my taste. I take my victories where I can, though.

** It's for a political event that happens in two hours. That he has known about for three months. For which he bought the posterboard and the frame last night. And started assembling two hours ago. At least he didn't leave it to the last minute.




Saturday, October 21, 2017

In which Ted sends Primo an email on Doris' birthday and then calls on Sly's birthday, a few days later, causing more stress than he alleviates (which is How Ted Is Always)

Ted has not been a jerk recently.

We are concerned.

Primo thinks perhaps Ted has had A Change of Heart and is not Not A Jerk, but I say that when people have A SINCERE Change of Heart, it's because they realize they have been jerks and have hurt people and that part of the COH is APOLOGIZING FOR WHAT THEY HAVE DONE, along with a statement of intent that they will not repeat the behavior.

I do not trust Ted. I know more jerkiness is in the future. It's just that right now, Primo doesn't have anything Ted wants.

That is, with the death of Ted'sWife's mother, Ted and his wife got some cash - thank goodness because they had to remodel their house and take a family vacation to Switzerland, ONE OF THE MOST EXPENSIVE COUNTRIES IN THE WORLD.

(I have not even been to Switzerland, except for that hour in the airport in Zurich once. Fabulous chocolate.)

They apparently have some cash and do not need to worry about selling Doris' jewelry - remember Primo searched through Doris' jewelry to find the bracelet that Doris had allegedly promised to Ted'sWife and sent what he could find only for Ted and Ted'sWife to complain that this was costume jewelry? And so Primo, after pulling some of the nicer pieces for our nieces, dumped the entire contents of Doris' jewelry box into a container and mailed it to Ted, which ticked Ted off, which made me happy because TED SHUT UP. She wasn't even your mother!

Where was I?

Oh. Ted has not been a jerk. Primo, the eternal optimist, thinks Ted has changed.

I think he is just biding his time.

Last week was Doris' birthday. Ted sent an email.

"Don't answer it," I said.

"If I don't, he'll call me," Primo said.

A few days later was Sly's birthday.

Ted called.

"We're TALKERS!" Ted has said before when Primo has refused Ted's requests to talk about Ted'sSon's trust.

Yeah. And, as I think some of you had pointed out, Ted doesn't want a written record of transactions for his son's trust AND he thinks he can bamboozle Primo if he talks to him rather than putting everything in writing.

Primo took the call.

I wouldn't have, but then, I would never get a call from Ted - I have blocked him on every form of communication that exists.

So. That's the background, just 20 paragraphs in.

After he talked to Ted, Primo and I had a huge fight. He was angry that I used his mom's cake server to get some sauerkraut tart (shockingly delicious) out of the pan. I had used a press in the pan crust and it stuck and I had to scrape it out with the server.

Primo claimed I had bent the tip of the server, which was BS - crust cannot bend silver so whatever.

He was angry - said I hated his parents (mostly true) and didn't even want his last name (also true, but he had never mentioned being bothered by that before) and other stuff that I can't remember. It's been so long since we have had a blowout fight - more than two years, I think? - that I was busy thinking, "Wow! When was the last time we had a fight like this?"

I finally said, "This is not about the server! You are cranky about something! What's going on?"

"I don't have anyone from my family who's alive anymore," he said. "My sister is dead. My parents are dead. I don't really know Ted and Jack and I don't really want to. I have nobody."

Which is true. We had just returned from visiting my family upstate - I have 29 first cousins. My mom has six siblings and my dad has two, so I also have a nice complement of aunts and uncles.

We stayed with my cousin Angie, who is nine days older than I am and has been my best cousin since we were infants. We visited aunts and uncles and had dinner with cousins and it was a weekend full of hanging out with people I have known for my entire life.

He has nobody. He has a couple of cousins, but Sly and Doris never made extended family a priority. He has seen his cousins twice in the past 25 years.

He had been dreading the birthdays - "I know Ted will text me," he had said, but I hadn't realized how much he was dreading them, although I sure understand not wanting to talk to Ted.

"My parents left me a huge mess to deal with! My ex-wife left me crap* to deal with! I have been stuck with all this shit and it's not fair!"

Which it isn't.

So yeah - he had been thinking about his family and how they're all gone and then he had to deal with Ted, who may or may not be nice - it depends on the moment. And he blew up and it pissed me off because it is not my fault that his family was so darn dysfunctional.

After he got it all off his chest, he apologized. "At least I didn't throw any cheese," he said.

I explained that perhaps, in the future, we should be together looking out and fighting our common enemy (Ted) as opposed to fighting each other. "It's OK to be angry," I said. "It's OK to yell and be mad. But it's not OK to say you're angry at me when that's not what you're really mad about."

So we have some work to do. But we don't throw cheese anymore, so there's that.




* If you get divorced in California and you have a timeshare that goes to your ex-spouse, make sure you transfer the title to your ex because according to CA law, a divorce decree is not enough. And if you are the ex getting the timeshare and you don't remove the other ex's name from the deed, when you die, your ex will be stuck with the timeshare and have to go through an incredible hassle to give it to your daughters/his stepdaughters. I AM LOOKING AT YOU, WORLDMARK! YOU ARE EVIL.

TLDR Don't buy a timeshare. Just don't do it. And don't buy it from Worldmark. Seriously horrible customer service.


Thursday, October 19, 2017

In which Primo asks if I will make the amazing Memphis Junior League Onion Dip for the house party and I say, Yeah, I love you, but no

Primo: Would you make your onion dip for the house party?

Me: No! You promised I wouldn't have to do anything for that event. You said I should just plan something out of the house that night!

Primo: I would help! I could cut things!

Me: I get the frozen chopped onions.

Primo: OK! I can do that! If I get everything, will you prepare it?

Me: Nope. But I will show you the recipe and stand next to you while you make it.


Primo: But I want you to make it!


Me: What if I die before you do? Won't you want to know how to make it?

Primo: I'll be like every other person whose spouse dies and who doesn't know how to cook. I would just regress to cooking what I already know how to cook.


Me: So you would never want the onion dip again?


Primo: I guess I would have to figure it out. But for now, it's a lot easier to ask you.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

In which I wonder if I am evil or just practical

Turns out Primo is hosting a house party (i.e., a political ask for money thing that happens at the home of someone who is not the candidate) the day after I have a mammogram.

I will be taking mammogram day (Wednesday) as a sick day because my company just converted our personal days to sick days.

As in, instead of getting five days a year for whatever, I now have to be sick to take those days.

My friends, I am a very lucky person who does not get sick.

They can write on my tombstone, "She never let a vacation day go unused."

I am ticked off about this.

1. I don't get sick.
2. 25% of my vacation time just disappeared
3. I am not paid by the hour. If you want to treat me like an hourly employee with sick time, then pay me OT for the days that start at 5:30 a.m., when I am at the ferry terminal to go across the lake to corporate, and end at 10 p.m. when I finally arrive at the hotel
4. I either have to let time off go unused or turn into a liar

What did corporate think would happen? That everyone would say, "Oh! Now that the policy has changed and I am not sick, I guess I will let those days go unused!"

Anyhow. I am taking Wednesday as a sick day for my one-hour mammogram. In the old days, I would have just worked from home that day and run out for the hour.

Primo is having the house party on Thursday. Months ago, when he asked if I minded, he promised I would have to do nothing to prepare and would not have to attend if I didn't want to.

But I know - because this is human nature - that if I am at home the day before the event that I will have to observe the preparations, or, worse, get sucked into the drama.

I am going to change my appointment and go to work on Wednesday instead. Does that make me a bad wife? :)

Saturday, October 14, 2017

In which I wonder what to write from now on, as Sly and Doris are dead (although the estate still is not settled and continues to present challenges) and as Ted has quieted down some, which makes us nervously happy but also scared because when will the next shoe drop?

So yeah.

There's the draft of the book I wrote, where I fictionalized events because really, nobody wants to read a story where there is not some kind of either redemption (happy!) or comeuppance (even happier for the people watching for the comeuppance). (Think "House of Cards" - I hate every character on the show, but I watch because I want to see them get what's coming to them.)

I sent query letters to agents but either I stink at writing query letters or my first pages were not compelling.

But you know what? I don't think I am a novelist. I am not a plot person. My friend Jeff Abbott is brilliant at plotting. AND he gets to incorporate what he studied in college! He was an English and history major and one of his books has all this stuff about Russia and the Cold War. He mentioned one of his history professors in the acknowledgments, which was really cool.

I am not about plot. I can't make plot up. I don't think I am good at sustained narrative where you start with The Protagonist Wanting Something She Can't Get (i.e., a good relationship with Sly and Doris) and then Overcoming Obstacles and Going Underground For Three Days to Overcome Her Tragic Flaws only to Emerge Triumphant.

I think I am better at short scenes and that's what I like and I just have to figure out how to get that kind of thing published. (Published somewhere besides here, I mean.)

The other thing is that Primo is running for office again. He has a chance to win this time, which would be cool.

I am not interested in being part of the political world myself, but I will gladly grab the popcorn and listen to all his stories about the politics of politics. (It's SO DIRTY, Y'ALL. SO DIRTY. BUT SO FASCINATING.)

So maybe I'll write about that. On verra.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Ch 12 Primo gives me the best wedding present ever and nope, it’s not a trip to Paris or a diamond bracelet or anything else you might think of

Primo helps Sly and Doris to bed. My mom, who is not drunk, is able to get to bed by herself. Primo and I use the guest bath to brush our teeth. I do not want to use our bathroom – the bathroom Sly and Doris have been using – until I can give it a good cleaning with bleach.

Is that irrational? I don’t think so.

Not to be too explicit, but it appears that Sly does not adopt the practice of sitting on the toilet when he is at someone else’s house. Older men, older men plumbing problems, older men dripping in places. Ick. I don’t want his cooties.

We pull out the sofa bed. Put the sheet of plywood under the thin mattress so there will be some back support. Smooth the old cotton sheets Primo has been using for years. The throw pillows are still in the window where we put them last night before so the sun wouldn’t wake us at the crack of dawn, but we discovered this morning that the sun is not the problem. Noisy Sly and Doris are the problem.

We collapse.

Primo: That was fun.

Me: I know.

Primo: Except for my mom and dad getting drunk.

Me: Getting drunk and then driving your car to the restaurant! Yeah, that was super smart. We should have seen that coming.

Primo: I know. I was so distracted by – you know – OUR WEDDING – that I wasn’t thinking.

Me: Me neither.

Primo: The sad thing is, I know my dad does that kind of thing all the time. I know he doesn’t forego his 4:00 drink when they go out to eat. I think he has gotten good at driving drunk.

Me: They are so lucky they have never hurt anyone.

Primo: Yeah, I know. I have been making sure I do the driving when I am with them for years.

Me: It would have been nice if they had stayed sober or at least not acted drunk for our wedding dinner.

Primo: You mean, “It would have been nice if they had thought about someone else instead of themselves?”

Me: Yeah! That!

Primo: That’s how they roll.

Me: Your mom was all weepy about you when you were a baby and wanted out of your crib. She tells me that story every time she sees me.

Primo: Any time she drinks, she gets like that.

Me: Which is – always.

Primo: Unfortunately, yes. She is not a happy person.

Me: But this was different. She gave me her mother’s wedding ring.

Primo: What?

Me: I was shocked, too. The ring is a huge deal with her.

Primo: It is?

Me: Don’t you remember the first time I met your parents how she told me about it and she was all sad because she had wanted to give the ring to Nancy?

Primo: Oh yeah. I had forgotten about my grandmother’s rings. I don’t get sentimental about things like that.

Me: Your mom does.

Primo: She is attached to things.

Me: I get annoyed with her – she seemed to be all in on the boycott the wedding movement, but I also feel sorry for her, being stuck with your dad. That fight they had the last time we were there?

Primo: What are you talking about?

Me: When he was screaming at her! And she was crying!

Primo: I don’t remember.

Me: How can you not remember?

Primo: Because that kind of thing happens all the time with them. It’s their normal.

Me: That is really sad.

Primo: My dad is a jerk.

Me: You can say that again.

Primo: How about that toast?

Me: Lovely! I like the way he insulted his first wife. And the way he talked you up, you, the perfect child, in comparison to your brothers. Even though we know he is also probably very disappointed in you, too.

Primo: Man.

Me: What? You don’t like being the Perfect Child? Aren’t you proud?

Primo: I don’t want the burden of being responsible for them. I don’t want to be the only one they want. My life would be a lot easier if Ted and Jack helped out. Only my mom and dad don’t want them, they want me.

Me: Who cares what they want? Why do their wishes get to trump yours?

Primo: All they do is complain. They are horrible houseguests. You made things so nice – we gave them our bedroom! – and they still complain! They can’t even say one nice thing to you.

Me: Nope. Because I am the evil gold digger.

Primo: Although really, it’s my dad. My mom just goes along with him.

Me: Yes – she is a different person when she is not around him. I could not believe how she – she – sparkled! – when she and I went to the gardens.

Primo: My dad is a jerk. He is the one doing the main complaining. You didn’t offer oatmeal.

Me: What?

Primo: Didn’t I tell you? I thought I had.

Me: What are you talking about? You told me about the cabbage and the napkins and of course we know I am a Bad Bacon Eater, but oatmeal? There is something about oatmeal now?

Primo: My dad is annoyed that you did not offer him oatmeal.

Me: But I did! I showed him and your mom where everything was so they could make breakfast for themselves and not have to wait for us.

Primo: No. He was upset that you made oatmeal and did not offer any to him.

Me: When?

Primo: I think he first complained about this on Monday.

Me: Oh! Yes, I made oatmeal on Monday, but when I got to the kitchen, your dad was already eating cornflakes.

Primo: He was?

Me: Yes! He was almost done with his cereal when I started making oatmeal. I guess I could have asked if he wanted an oatmeal chaser to his cornflakes, but it didn’t occur to me that someone who had just finished a bowl of cold cereal would also want a bowl of hot cereal.

Primo: He has been complaining about that.

Me: Why didn’t he just ask me to make some for him?

Primo: Because he would rather have a reason not to like you.

Me: Of course. They’re not going to be visiting often, are they?

Primo: I doubt they will visit ever again. I have no intentions of ever inviting them again.

Me: Then that’s fine with me.

Primo: And you don’t need to go with me when I visit them. This boycott threat? That was ridiculous. I need to visit them because they are my parents and I feel sorry for my mom, but I don’t think you need to put any more effort into the relationship.

Me: Good. Because I am done with them.

Primo: They have been so awful. I feel so bad for my mom, but even though I feel bad for her, just a few days of them in our house has been horrible. They will never live with us. Ever.

Me: Is that your wedding present to me?

Primo: Yes, I suppose so!


Me: That? Is the best wedding present you could have given me.

THE END

Ch 12 Doris is all weepy at my wedding dinner and it kind of ticks me off but then I really listen to her and it makes me sad for her and then she makes a Grand Gesture and it makes me so sad because her daughter is dead and she is married to a jerk and there is nothing she can do

Doris waves me over. Good grief. Now what?

Her cheeks are wet. Why is she sad? This is a wedding, a celebration.

I know! I know! I am joking! She is sad that Primo married me. Or she is sad that she is married to Sly. Or both.

She is drunk. She is weeping.

Doris: The most blissful time of my life was when Primo was a toddler. I would put him in his playpen while I ironed and did other housework. At only nine months old, he started talking. He was so bright. “Out!” he would say. “Out!” Then he would raise his little arms so I could lift him. I treasured those days.

Me: Yes, you’ve told me that story before.
           
Doris: He is my Only Joy!

Me: Uh huh.

Don’t you just want to slap me and tell me not to be such a bitch? Writing this, I feel really bad. I am not being kind. It costs me nothing to be nice to an old lady. And man, do I get hoist on my petard here. You’ll see.

Doris: No, you don’t understand. He really is the only happiness I have in life. He is the only person in my life who brings me joy.

Oh. Oh. I get it. I would be bitterly unhappy if I lived with Sly. I guess I would drink, too, as much as I could. I still remember what Primo’s brother said about Sly: He turns wives into alcoholics.

Doris: You love Primo. You’ll be good to him.

Me: OK, Doris. OK. I know.

She weeps.

Crap. What do I say? I just don’t want to deal with her weepy, drunk emotions. I don’t inflict my emotions on other people. I don’t want to take theirs.

Doris: Sit down.

Me: Ummm.

I look around for rescue.

Doris: Please.

I don’t want to talk to her, but I feel sorry for her.

Doris: I want to give you something.

Is she going to give me Wedding Night Advice? Great. That would be fabulous.

She pulls out a small box out of her purse and hands it to me.

Doris: Open it.

It contains a ring with a thin, worn band and a tiny diamond. The band has been cut.

Doris: That is my dear, dear mother’s wedding ring. They had to cut it off her finger when she died. I want you to have it.

My jaw drops. She has told me about her mother’s ring and how precious it was to her. She had wanted to give it to Nancy. She cried when she told me about it. I don’t even know what to say to you guys, except see what I mean about being hoist on my petard?

I really don’t know what to say to her.

Me: Thank you, Doris. I don’t know what to say. I know how special this ring is to you and I know how much Primo loved his grandmother. I will treasure it. Thank you.


A hug seems like the right thing to do but it also feels incredibly awkward. I pat her hand. That seems like a good compromise. 

Ch 12 Sly makes a toast but can’t even bring himself to say my name

Sly stands. “I want to offer a toast to our son, Primo, who is our only joy. He is intelligent and accomplished.[1] He is the only thing in our life we are proud of.” (Blah blah blah more stupid boring stuff here that is just blather.) “My first marriage was not a success. I hope Primo is as happy in his second marriage as I am in mine.”

Notes:

·         Not once does Sly say my name
·         Not once does Sly refer to “Primo’s wife”
·         Not once does he say the word “Welcome”
·         He does say the word “happy” once, but it is almost a curse – he and Doris are miserable, as far as I can tell

A silence falls over the two tables. Sly and Doris have no friends. Their chief joy is trash talking other people, including their own family, and waiting for 4:00 so they can start drinking. What’s the point of waiting until 4:00 anyhow? If you’re a drunk, you’re a drunk. Own it. If you want to drink, drink. Waiting for an arbitrary deadline does not make you less of a drunk.

Sure. Thanks, Sly. This is the happiness I want for sure.



[1] Sly doesn’t really believe that. He thinks Primo should have gotten a PhD.

Ch 12 My brother and my sister each make a toast welcoming Primo to the family

My brother stands. “I would like to make a toast,” he says. “We are very happy to have Primo in our family. My sister is a special person and she waited a long time to find the right man. We had given up. But as soon as I met Primo, I knew her wait – and ours – had been worth it. Here’s to Goldie and Primo.”


Jenny stands. “I also want to welcome Primo to our family. He is a great guy. I can tell he loves my sister and that she loves him. We are very lucky that our family has grown to include Primo. I couldn’t ask for a better brother in law.”