Saturday, March 9, 2013

Tuesday Sept 25 Primo wants to talk about process and I want to get things done‏

During our regular lunchtime phone call:

Primo: You left me such a long list of things to do that I can't do it! I get paralyzed!

Me: Oh stop. One of the things is just to make a decision about how to do the postcards.

Primo: We need to discuss that together, but you're always so tired when you get home.

Me: We do not need to discuss this. All we need is for you to make a decision.

Primo: We have to talk about it.

Me: Fine. What are the criteria you want to use to decide who should get a postcard? I can't start addressing them until I know.

Primo: I need to show you! We need to work together!

Me: No we don't. All we need is for you to decide what you want and then tell me.

Primo: No! We have to talk about it together!

Me: How hard can it be? You probably only want postcards to go to the people you actually spoke to who got a score of one or two. [Primo rates each voter he speaks to as one to five, with one being a sure vote and five being an absolutely not.]

Primo: You just want to go charging ahead! We have to think about these things!

Me: There is not time! So postcards to the ones and twos, right?

Primo: No! To everyone I spoke to!

Me: OK. Fine. So I'll start addressing postcards to everyone who is scored and not to the Not Homes.

Primo: I don't want you touching things!

Me: Oh for pete's sake. This is not that complicated. But if you want to sit next to me to make sure that I am addressing a postcard correctly based on that really hard criteria, fine.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Sat Sept 22 Primo goes to see the Polka Dot candidate for president

Primo: The line to get into the fairgrounds went from the children's museum to the south gate! [That's almost a mile.]

Me: Wow.

Primo: I got there at 4. The gates had opened at 2:30. It still took me until 5:30 to get in and to the stage.

Me: I wouldn't wait that long to see someone I like, much less the PD guy.

Primo: He was starting just as I got there. There was no way I was going to get into the VIP section. I had to stand in the ordinary section.

Me: Did he ask you to let him to be clear?

Primo: No! It was a good speech!

Me: Whatever.

Primo: It started to rain in the middle of the speech.

Me: Did he make it stop?

Primo: [rolls eyes]

Saturday Sept 22 Samantha gets fired again!

Primo and I have no idea what's going on with Samantha. We were really relieved that he didn't have to fire her because despite everything, we like her.

Ralph and Potsie, Primo's communications guys, said that there was something going on with Samantha and another candidate whose campaign she was running. Samantha had told the communications guys that they couldn't charge Becca, the other candidate, more than $500, which is only 1/4 of what the communications guys are charging Primo.

Becca is married to a millionaire.

Primo is not a millionaire. Far from it. He made a good income as an engineer, but he's on an unpaid leave of absence now and he has been paying a rather hefty alimony - always, always, always get a lawyer involved in this kind of thing. You might spend $20,000 for a lawyer but you will save over $100,000 in alimony.


Yes, we could have more than paid off our house with the money Primo has sent to his ex wife.

Point is, Becca is far better placed to spend money on her campaign than we are.

So we don't know what was going on with Becca and Samantha, but Becca called Ralph to make sure that he was getting paid a fair amount for her campaign. Samantha had told Ralph not to talk to Becca directly.

Weird, weird, weird.

We heard yesterday that Becca had fired Samantha.

We do not know what is going on. I am dying to know, although I don't want the answer to be what I suspect, which is either some kind of drug abuse or some kind of mental illness. Samantha has a manic energy that seems suspicious to me.

I hope I am wrong.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Thursday Sept 20 Paradigm shift back to status quo

Remember I told you guys that Primo had had a revelation and was no longer going to be staying up late late every night?

Want to know how long that lasted?

One night.


Oh well.

Thursday Sept 20 Primo watches his opponent's interview online

A week or two ago, Primo had an interview with some news organization. That was the interview he was prepping for with his campaign communications guys, Potsie and Ralph, where he was worried that his answer wasn't long enough.

He had the interview. Did well. No "ums" or "uhs," but he almost never has that problem. Primo is highly articulate - more than I would like, sometimes - and has thought about the issues. His problem is brevity. If it can be said in 100 words or in 1,000, he will pick 1,000 every time.

He did well. He should have smiled more, but he said he was concentrating really hard on his answers.

His opponent's interview has been posted as well. Primo watched it.

"He's good," Primo admitted. "He's a politician. When they asked him about me, all he said was he'd heard that I was a nice guy and that I had signed the petition to recall the governor."

"That's good, isn't it?" I asked. "It's good that he didn't say anything negative about you."

"But I had plenty to say about him!" Primo answered. "I talked about how he had voted on this and that."

"Well, he has a record. You don't. What's he supposed to say?"

I think Primo might secretly just a little bit have wanted his opponent to say something nasty about him so he could play the victim card. Just a tiny little secret thought. I'll have to ask him.

Thursday Sept 20 Primo runs into a jerk while he's doing doors

Today, it was Primo's turn to run into an obnoxious voter while he was doing doors. 

Neither of us knows how to deal with obnoxious people without being obnoxious ourselves. You would think we would have perfected the art, what with Sly and Doris. It's sure not like we haven't had practice being around people who are rude and hostile and vicious.

My hostile voter was a Polka Dot. Primo's was a Stripe. Which just goes to show you that this is a non-partisan issue. There are jerks on both sides. I will also say that blesshisheart Primo thinks sometimes that he is on the side of angels, which exasperates me to no end. People are people. Some are good. Some are bad. Good and bad does not correlate to political beliefs. And the Polka Dots, some of whom claim to want to work with the other side, do themselves no favors by casting the other side as evil. Unless they really don't want to work with the other side. I don't know. I'm not a mind reader. I just know that if someone calls me "evil" that I am not that inclined to want to accomodate his wishes.

So he ran into a jerk. A jerk who for sure is not going to vote for Primo and who told him so. Most of the people who are solid Stripes just say so politely as they hand the door literature back, which is nice because it costs 22 cents per piece. Twenty thousand households times 22 cents - that adds up. We don't like to waste the lit. 

Most people are nice. Which makes the mean ones even more shocking.

The jerk told Primo he wouldn't vote for him. Primo said, "I'll let you get on with your evening then, sir. Have a nice evening." He tried to walk away, but the jerk said, "No! Tell me what you have to say. I'm going to refute everything!"

He kept insisting he wanted to hear Primo's arguments, even though he was not interested in changing his mind.

I understand the part about not wanting to change your mind - I do my research and I know what I think. What I do not understand is why someone would want to argue about it. I would like less argument in my life, not more! I already get way too much argument - too much political argument - in my life. Enough! I don't want to talk about politics! Ever! I am DONE with politics!

The guy wouldn't let go. Primo finally just turned his back and walked away. Which is rude, I suppose, but the jerk was being far ruder.

Thursday Sept 20 The first thing to go

You know what doesn't happen when a person is running for office, spending five hours a day walking and knocking on doors?

What doesn't happen is [wxyz]. 

What does happen is that the person loses weight. His office, the guest room, and the dining room all become a complete mess.

His wife does not enjoy any of it.

Thursday Sept 20 Primo is invited to a rally for the Polka Dot candidate for president

Primo is moderately excited that he has gotten a VIP pass to attend the rally for the PD presidential candidate. Moderately. He's not crazy about the guy, but he's the PD guy, so there you go.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Monday Sept 17 Primo complains about his shoes

From facebook:

Primo doesn't want to wear his comfortable brown Clarks walking shoes because they are ugly. Welcome to my world I say.
Like ·

Stephen, Barb and 2 others like this.

Gary I know when people come to my door, first thing I look at are their shoes. Not. Go for comfort. Just skip the white socks.
22 hours ago via mobile · Like

Susan I got over that when the sole fell off of one of my sandals a mile from my house while blockwalking. Candidates look cool walking home barefooted.
22 hours ago via mobile · Like

Heidi I'd think he was sensible - one of the key factors in a favorable vote.
22 hours ago · Like

Patrick So, no flip-flops then?
21 hours ago via mobile · Like

Marta Comfort trumps all.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Sunday Sept 16 Nice voters who let me use their bathroom and give me water

Most of the people I spoke to today were nice. Good thing - I needed something to make up for Hester the Hostile.

After three hours, I was parched. I was thirsty and I had to pee, which makes me think that our bodies have not evolved that well. Shouldn't there be some sort of intake process when the mouth is dry and the body is thirsty yet there is fluid to be expelled? How can the body hold two such contradictory states: the lack of fluid and the excess of fluid?

But I had nowhere to go. We were deep in the western suburbs. In our neighborhood, the houses are close together and there are sidewalks and restaurants and gas stations and grocery stores. There are places to pee. I know, because I plan my "running" route with peeing and refilling in mind. There is the library, a Starbucks, a grocery store, the senior center, another grocery store, etc, etc, etc, all within three miles of my house and in some cases, within a few blocks, although I am usually not thinking about that when I am only blocks from home.

ANYHOW. In the sidewalk-less suburbs, there is no place to pee. I was miles and miles and miles from respite.

So I was just going to have to hold it. It's not like you can ask a voter to use the bathroom. What rational person is going to let a complete stranger into her house? I sure wouldn't.

I stopped at one house where they were having a garage sale. It was about 6 p.m. and the driveway was still full of stuff, including a small wood-burning stove with cast-iron burners that I coveted as soon as I laid eyes on it. It was only $75! It was beautiful enamel everwhere except the burners. I had cooked on a wood-burning stove when I was a Peace Corps volunteer. (Why hadn't I told Hester the Hostile that I had been in the Peace Corps? Maybe that would have satisfied her volunteer requirement.) It's not as good as a gas stove, but it's still better than the horrible smooth-top electric stove that we have now. I hate that stove so, so much. We were going to replace it as soon as Primo was done paying alimony to Imelda, but then he decided to run for office and take an unpaid leave of absence, so here we are: this is the last month of alimony but we have no money to pay for a replacement stove.

Note to self: related to the alimony, as of September 22, Primo is no longer required to designate Imelda as the beneficiary on his life insurance. During his LOA, he cannot keep his life insurance from work, but he has a separate policy for Imelda. On Sept 22, I become the beneficiary. I need him to stay alive until Friday at least just so I can get that money instead of Imelda. The dog bite the other day had me worried.

So they had a beautiful old-fashioned stove that I wanted but really, do we need more junk in our house? And there were shoes, but they were bridesmaid shoes. And some work clothes, but not my size. Still, I let myself get distracted. So when the homeowner started talking to me, I had to admit to her that I was not a shopper but a campaigner. She and her friends were drinking beer and having a good time, so I blurted out my piece, handed her Primo's door literature, and told her I would get out of their way.

"No, no, no!" she insisted. She had a few questions. She wanted to talk. She wanted to show me her suits and was sad that they wouldn't fit. I was glad to be in the shade and to take a break, so we talked about the stove and about garage-sale strategy. We chatted. We laughed. I liked her.

I finally told her that I had to go - I had to finish my doors so I could get home and pee.

She offered her bathroom.

I protested: "I'm a total stranger! Are you sure you want to let me in your house?"

She shrugged. "If you can find anything of value in there, you are welcome to it."

I wasn't going to argue. She showed me the bathroom right past the garage door. I heard her in the kitchen so couldn't pee because I was convinced she could hear me, which makes no sense because SHE KNEW WHY I NEEDED THE BATHROOM.

I finally did the job. When I emerged, she handed me an ice-cold bottle of water. Told me if I wanted to come back for the stove, I knew where she lived.

Nice, nice lady.

Sunday Sept 16 Doing doors and running into the hostile voter who wouldn't shut up

Primo and I did four hours of doors this afternoon. It's already a time suck and made all the worse when I encounter a jerk. Which, I admit, is rare - today was the first time it happened. Some people have been dismissive, but at least they didn't waste my time. This lady was hostile and I couldn't get away from her. Why? Because I was worried about offending a crazy, rude, hostile voter. Oy.

I had marked this lady - let's call her "Hester" as not home on my voter list, but then the garage door opened and she emerged. I smiled, held out Primo's door literature piece, and began my spiel: "My husband Primo is running for the State House in the November election. He's an engineer who has never run for office before. We would appreciate it if you would consider voting for him when you are evaluating the candidates."

That's usually enough for most people to say, "OK. Thanks," take the lit, and go on about their lives.

Not this lady. Not Hester.

"Why should I vote for him?"

That's a fair question.

"He's an engineer..."

"I don't care that he's an engineer."

"The new district - have you seen the new district? Look at this map. Do west Springfield and east Johnstown have anything in common?"

"Why are you asking me questions? Answer my question!"

"The new district is going to require a balanced approach --"

"That's telling me nothing. Tell me about his character! How much does he give to charity?"

Dryly, I replied, "A far greater proportion than the president and the vice president."

"Does he volunteer?"

"No-" because he works 70 hours a week.

"What about you?"

"I volunteer at the library. I used to volunteer at the reading program for little kids--"

"How long?"

"I was there two years, but had to quit because the lightbulbs were giving me a migraine."

"That's no reason to quit. Why does he want to go into politics? Does he have any experience?"

"He has worked on a few political campaigns in the past year and a half."

"Where does he stand on medicare? On social security? I want someone who has spent at least six months studying these issues."

Of course I was not quick enough to note that these are federal programs and not something Primo would be involved in at the state level. But I did know I wanted to get away from this woman. I tried to edge away, but she persisted.

"I've spent a lifetime studying these things. There's a book you should read. It's not the parties that run things in this country, it's a few people behind the parties. Do you know who is running things?"

I muttered a weak, "No," trying desperately to find an opening in the conversation that would let me escape.

"It's the one percent! They run everything! Have you wondered why the government is run so poorly? I've spent my career in government. The good ones get out as soon as they can and they don't get rid of the bad ones."

Well. That explained a lot.

I made the mistake of making a smart comment. "I have not been impressed with the DMV. Even Florida's DMV is run better than the one here and Florida is not a well-run state."

"Florida! FLORIDA! Do you know who really runs Florida? You have to read this book." She went into the garage to her car. I should have taken the chance to run. Too late. She returned with a book that she waved in my face. "This man - this man! - won a Pulitzer prize! He doesn't belong to either party. You need to read this book to learn the truth!"

I dutifully wrote the title down.

"Tell me about his CHARACTER," she demanded.

I tried. But she kept interrupting. Besides, I wasn't sure what she wanted to know. "He's honest and hard working," I said.

She harrumphed.

Then she asked what I did. "I work for a non-profit downtown."

"Doing what?" she asked.

"I do marketing," I answered.

"No! What does the organization do? How is it funded?"

"It's an association of people who love kittens. It's funded by its members."

She looked skeptical. "What does it do?"

"Oh, there are classes for people who want to learn more about kittens."

She pounced. "So it's a BUSINESS."

I rolled my eyes. "Of course it is." Honestly, I get so tired of the notion that non-profits are morally superior to for-profit enterprises. No organization - except government - can survive unless revenues exceed expenses. "Non-profit" is a tax status. That's all. It does not mean that the organization can't or doesn't make money. Although I will say that the kitten business is not particularly lucrative and that the pay and benefits at the kitten association are really, really crummy.

"Don't get defensive with me," she snapped. "You need to be a little more customer friendly."

I thought to myself, "So I'm supposed to put up with your being rude to me but I'm not allowed to react?"

We went on in this vein for ten minutes, ten minutes where I was desperately thinking, "How, how, how do I get out of this conversation without being rude?"

She continued: "My husband was killed in Vietnam. Shot at the age of 22. He got all the medals - Distinguished Flying Cross, Purple Hearts, everything."

I thought, "I highly doubt that a 22 year old in Vietnam got the Distinguished Flying Cross." Maybe he did, but I can't tell: I found a site was supposed to list all the recipients, but my work internet blocked the site as a lingerie site. Go figure.

She went on: "And not one, not ONE president has thanked me for my sacrifice."

Which I also doubted, because the Flying Cross is a Big Deal and I would suspect that the award came with either a personal ceremony with the president or at least a letter from the president.

"Until Obama! Obama sent me a letter!"

Oh boy. I did not want to talk about national politics or presidents or anything. Just local politics, please.

"I went to the Stripes campaign headquarters to ask them where they stood on things. They shook my hand-" she put out her hand-"take my hand." I did. "They squeezed! They squeezed so hard! I said, 'There's too much testosterone around here.'"

Oh Lord please save me, I screamed inside.

She shook her head. "And now I can't even find a place to get a Polka Dot sign for my yard."

We - she - switched subjects. "His character. What's his character like?"

I had already made the mistake of telling her that he visited his parents, even though they were mean to him. I mentioned that I did not visit them because they were mean to me. She asked if I was a religious person and if so, why didn't I forgive them? Why wasn't I the bigger person? Why didn't I visit them anyhow just to be nice?

I was starting to feel like crying.

"His character! What's his carbon footprint? How many cars do you have? Do you have a TV in every room?"

This one I could answer. In retrospect, I shouldn't have been answering at all. These issues were none of her darn business. But I was in my defensive lizard brain, thinking that if I would just give her what she wanted, she would leave me alone. It is this mentality that leads people to negotiate with terrorists.

"We have one car," I said.

Which is not true. But we have one car that we actually use. The other is pretty much decorative.

"I take the bus to work. We have one TV that's in the basement. We cancelled our cable over two years ago. We almost never watch."

She nodded approvingly. I had my chance. I reached out my hand to shake hers. I had to escape. Had to. "I won't waste any more of your time," I said politely. "Thank you."

"Tell your husband to call me! I want to know what he thinks about social security!"

I nodded, afraid to say anything that might inspire another torrent of words from her. It was a lying nod, because I intended to warn Primo away from Hester. Too much work for the possibility of one vote. Not worth it.

Sunday Sept 16 Primo makes me go shopping after doors

I had spent the entire afternoon doing doors with Primo. Doing doors is not how I want to spend my Sunday. I want to spend my Sunday cooking and napping and reading and watching movies.

Not knocking on the doors of complete strangers trying to get them to vote for my husband with whom I disagree.

But I had done it. Even though it was never in our marriage vows. I did it anyhow.

This afternoon, all I wanted to do was go home, get my stuff ready for work the next day, eat something, and get into bed with a good book.

But no. Primo wanted to stop "just for a second!" at some store.

He had to go to an office supply store to look for perforated paper so he could print voter postcards at home.

I suggested he do that on his own time.

He suggested that Office Max was "on our way home" so we "might as well."

Have I ever told you how long it takes to buy bacon with Primo?

It takes forever. Because as an engineer, Primo is compelled to optimize the decision by evaluating every single package of bacon. What if he picks the first one and then there is something better? He wouldn't have gotten the best bacon!

I establish criteria before I shop and buy the first item that meets my criteria. Because I do not like shopping and I do not want to spend hours and hours looking for the Perfect Package of Bacon.

I told Primo that I would wait in the car while he "ran in" to get the paper.

Then MaryJane called.

MaryJane does not shut up. And Primo is very bad about ending a conversation. I told him to hang up! Tell MaryJane that he was busy!

I got more and more ticked.

Primo finally took the phone with him and talked to MaryJane while he shopped.

I sat in the car, read Ask A Manager on my phone, and ate the peanut butter stuffed pretzels I had stored in the glove box for emergencies. And sulked.

I am pissed at Primo.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Friday Sept 14 Dogs, 2

From facebook

Primo just informed me that he was bit by a dog as he was doing doors today. I am not happy about this, as it is still ten days before I become the beneficiary on his life insurance. If he dies of rabies before Sept 24, I will never get to stop working.
Like ·

Gary Call Habish Habish & Rotier. One call does it all.
Friday at 7:54pm via mobile · Like

Ricardo those are war wounds. Them good for politicians.
Friday at 8:01pm · Unlike · 2

Patrick It'll take way longer for him to actually die, I wouldn't worry at all!
Friday at 8:11pm via mobile · Like · 1

Me No, I think rabies is pretty fast.
Friday at 8:15pm · Like

Me Was bitten. And I, an English major.
Friday at 8:36pm · Like

Jeff Gold digger.
Friday at 8:53pm · Unlike · 1

Jeff Um, he did get that bite checked and find out the dog's history, yes?
Saturday at 9:12am · Like

Primo It is not serious, Jeff, and the owners are very nice. They're voting for me, and they assured me that the dog had all of his shots. I'm not worried. I appreciate your concern!
Saturday at 1:11pm via mobile · Like

Doug Who's the dog voting for?
Yesterday at 4:19pm · Unlike · 2

Friday Sept 14 What really gets sacrificed in a political campaign

From facebook

Me I have no idea how campaigning politicians ever have the energy to have an affair.
Like ·

Holly I've wondered the same thing myself. And how do they find the alone time?
Yesterday at 3:23pm · Like

John More staff. More Ego
Yesterday at 3:46pm via mobile · Unlike · 1

Friday Sept 14 Let loose the dogs of war

Primo: Guess what! I met Mark Smith [his Stripes opponent] today!

Me: How did that happen?

Primo: I was campaigning in his neighborhood and I guess he got wind of it. He drove around until he found me and introduced himself.

Me: Wow! That's pretty gutsy.

Primo: He's a really nice guy.

Me: Good.

Primo: I found out why he hasn't been doing much campaigning: he's been training for a marathon. He's running it tomorrow. He said that he had noticed that I was a runner, too, so he must have seen my facebook page.

Me: You're not a runner.

Primo: I've run a half marathon, which makes me more of a runner than 98% of the world.

Me: Yeah, but you're not a runner. You're a person who has run two half marathons so he can get a free entrance to a music festival and get some beer.

Primo: I'm still more of a runner than most people.

Me: I guess.

Primo: And then I was bit by a dog!

Me: What?! [Calculating when he had his last tetanus shot - in July - and he complained about it to me for weeks - and then wondering if tetanus shots help with rabies at all.]

Primo: Yeah! This dog just came barreling out the door and bit my arm!

Me: Oh great! You're going to get rabies and die and Imelda is the beneficiary of your life insurance until September 24. Rabies kills in less than ten days.

Primo: I am not going to get rabies. The owners were really nice and apologetic and invited me in so I could wash my arm and gave me water. They told me the dog has all its shots. They even said they'd put up a yard sign - and they have a corner lot on a busy street.

Me: Yeah, right. Did this happen before or after you met Mark?

Primo: After.

Me: Are you sure he didn't call them and tell them to let the dog out?

Primo: I don't know.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Wednesday Sept 12 Primo argues with someone who won't vote for him

Primo: I wasted some time today. I started arguing with someone who isn't going to vote for me.

Me: About what?

Primo: Gay marriage. And then government.

Me: What about government?

Primo: She said that the US is the best country because our government derives its power from God - that our country was founded on biblical principles.

Me: What did you say?

Primo: I said that our government gets its power from the consent of the governed.

Me: Ah. You're learning.

Primo: What do you mean?

Me: You think that the people work for the government, not the other way around.

Primo: That's not true!

Me: You used to think that it was up to government to say it was OK to do something and that everything that wasn't defined as OK was bad until I convinced you that no, everything was OK unless it was illegal.

Friday Sept 14 Hyphenating

Here are the dilemmas I face addressing the voter postcards:

1. How do I address a postcard to a couple where the wife has a hyphenated name and the husband does not and I have only limited space to put the address?

2. I am convinced that having a hyphenated last name is a requirement for Lutheran female ministers. And for Congregationalist female ministers. If you'er Episcopalian or Unitarian, one surname suffices.