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.


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.



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.


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.