Saturday, March 30, 2013

Sunday Oct 21 Turning Stripes into moderates

Primo and I did doors this afternoon. I spoke to two Stripes - two separate occasions - who were ready to reject Primo as soon as they learned he was a Polka Dot.

"You'll be glad to know that if he does win, he will have to work with the Stripes," I said, "because he is married to one. He wakes up every day having to work with the other side! If he gets to the state house and doesn't try to reach agreement with the Stripes, he will be sleeping in the guest room."

In both cases, the Stripes, who had already told me they didn't want his campaign literature (which I don't get, because if I would be very happy for the opposition to waste its time on me), then opened the door, took the lit, and said, "I'll take a look."

Sunday Oct 21 The new Jenny Craig

1. Primo has now lost 15 pounds since the campaign started. He is starting to look gaunt.

2. I have not lost 15 pounds.

3. We are down to once every two weeks for [wxyz]. I really and truly do not know where career politicians find time for an affair. We would rather sleep.

Sunday Oct 21 Notes from the party

1. We are not very good at this. We raised $275. Primo opened at least that much wine. The good wine.

2. Everyone told me the food was the best fundraiser food they've ever had. I do believe they are correct, based on my limited fundraiser experience.

3. Our friends drove at least an hour to our house to help get ready for the party. Bonnie and Gary also brought a bunch of cheese and crackers and other little appetizers. Lenore drove 90 miles, brought madeleines (of the type we learned to make at a French cooking we attended over ten years ago), helped set  up, bused during the party, washed dishes during the party, and helped clean up after. Bonnie and Gary also stayed late to help clean up. We have very nice friends.

4. Lenore's help meant that I could pretend to be interested when one of the more intense guests wanted to corner me. Blesshisheart, Jason is the nicest, most sincere guy in the world. He really, really wants to help. But he is not interested in working at the call center (can't say I blame him) or delivering yard signs. 

He wants to be planning campaign strategy and talking tactics. Again, I can't blame him, but with the election only two and a half weeks away, we really don't have time to do an SWOT analysis and come up with new marketing material. Not to mention we do not have the money to re-do the material. Graphic artists do not work for free. Neither do printers.

I was cornered by this really weird woman who I wish had not come. I didn't know she was coming. She is a wacky, loose cannon Polka Dot who has wreaked havoc on facebook with those who dare cross her. She accused Primo via email and voicemail of conspiring against her with another Polka Dot. The only good thing about her is that almost everyone knows she's wackadoodle, so her rantings carry little weight. She showed up with her - I am not making this up - I don't believe in making the villain look bad so you'll know she's bad - but she really does have super-bleached hair that looks like straw because it's so damaged. Roots. Cakey makeup. Long black cape. She carried a backpack and a purse and whipped out her camera.

The last thing I want is to be in a photo on her FB page. Jason tried to insist that I participate in the photo op and would not take no for an answer.


I had to politely tell him THREE TIMES that no, I was not going to participate.

Then she ate our food, drank our expensive wine, and didn't contribute a single dollar.

That would have been OK if she had volunteered to help, but she did not. Not that I want her knocking on doors representing Primo.

She is active in the political world, so she knows how these things go. It's a FUNDRAISER. You're supposed to contribute money. If you don't want to contribute, don't go. She didn't even bring a dessert! 

She is NOT WELCOME here.



5. This guy Bart, who's been active in PD politics here for years, coached me and the woman who's hosting a fundraiser for Primo on Tuesday on how to ask for the money and how to set up the house. I wish I had known these things before we had the party, although to be honest, we knew we wouldn't get many donations. We were asking our volunteers as a thank you for the work they've done and we asked people who've already donated as a thank you as well. We tried to invite prospective donors, but we didn't do a good job. Note to self: If Primo ever runs for office again, get the fundraisers on the calendar months in advance. 

So Bart said this is what you have to have:

  • Thick-tip pen for name tag. "You don't want people squinting to read names," he said.
  • Lots of yard signs in the front yard so people know it's the right place
  • Good lighting in the front yard, which we do not have because Primo insists on using those darn swirly lightbulbs, which I think we all know are inadequate and do not  illuminate.
  • Bunting in the yard
  • A table at the door with registration sheet, name tags, envelope for contribution ("I'm sure you'll want one of these.")
  • Invite people who already know the candidate so they can work the crowd.

6. We are exhausted. But we have to go do more doors. We have to address (or the volunteers do) more postcards). I need to find volunteers for the phone bank. Primo has more surveys to complete. We have to do the campaign finance report because the woman who is the treasurer has not been doing treasurer stuff. In her defense, Primo the micromanager, who did not like how I was tearing apart the stamped postcards this morning (you print them four to a page), has not asked her to do anything. "She lives ten miles away," he says. I note that if she agreed to take the job, then she agreed to the conditions that come with.

7. Primo's half brother Jack will be in town next weekend for a conference. He emailed Primo to tell him he could get together with him after 9 p.m. on Saturday or 9 p.m. on Sunday. He must really want to see Primo.

8. Does anyone know what "RSVP" means? It means "Tell me if you're coming so I'll know how much food to prepare." Honestly. No manners.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Saturday Oct 20 Apres-party

After the fundraiser party (which didn't raise enough money to cover the cost of the wine - we're not very good at this):

Primo: I could get used to being the center of attention and having everyone do things for me.

Saturday Oct 20 Jerks

I just heard on the radio that the chair of the county Polka Dots tweeted that the Stripes presidential candidate is a "f-ing" moron.

Primo has already noted that this guy - the chair - is a jerk and this tweet confirms it. Wow. Way to raise the level of discourse, dude! Let's get right back to civility!

Saturday Oct 20 Free bratwurst

Primo campaigned at the farmers market this morning. The meat guys gave him free bratwurst when they found out he was a Polka Dot.

Saturday Oct 20 Don't do this

If your spouse suggests running for office, tell him (or her, as the case may be) that you will divorce him.

Mean it.

Because if you don't, and he does run for office, this is what your life will look like.

Thursday: Go to work. Come home. Assemble 25 yard signs (about an hour). Call volunteer who was supposed to pick stuff up. Talk to her about her bad day.

(I don't want to sound whiny about the volunteers. They are amazing and they are giving us their time. But the care and feeding of volunteers is an important and time-consuming function.)

Take call from another volunteer who wants to know why Primo has not dropped off the material to her. Should she come get it? Look for material. It's gone. Primo has it. Call Primo. Ask his plans. Call volunteer back and tell her that Primo will drop it off tonight.

Answer door. It's another volunteer. She has very nicely brought her completed materials back so I don't have to pick them up. Chat with her for half an hour because you like her and chatting is better than assembling yard signs.

Slice potatoes and onions for tortillas. Fry them. Put them in the fridge. Make bread in bread machine.

Draft a script for your friend Bonnie to use to call the 600 people who have told Primo they will vote for him. She is going to call to ask them if they want yard signs. Download the list from the database and cross-reference it against the people who already have yard signs.

Primo comes home. Argue with him about bedtime. Tell him that just because you are taking the day off on Friday does not mean he gets to have more of your evening time by your going to be late. The whole point of sleeping late the next day to catch up is to get MORE sleep than you otherwise would, ie, go to bed at the normal time but sleep past 6. The advantage disappears if you stay up until midnight. Fume. Wish you had never gotten married.

Friday: Dust living and dining room. Dust bedroom. Vacuum entire house. Wash wood floors. Make tortillas. Go to grocery store and library. Vacuum basement and stairs.

Wait for Primo to get his campaign crap off the dining room table. Wait. Wait. Wait. Argue with him about it. Throw your hands up in surrender and leave dining room.

Find tablecloth. Put on table, along with serving dishes. Get party plates out from upper cupboard. Put them in the dishwasher. Argue with Primo about which napkins to use.

Assemble Junior League onion dip with onions you already chopped on Wednesday and parmesan cheese you grated on Wednesday as well.

Get Ro-Tel tomatoes and Velveeta out of the basement for Ro-Tel dip. Polish silver chafing dish.

Write thank-you postcards for campaign contributions. Notice that your friends Megan and Steve sent a contribution IN JULY that you did not know about. Be mortified that their gift has gone unacknowledged.

Look up the spouse names for the walk sheet/door encounters where the spouse name was not listed so the postcard will be addressed to the right person.

Draft an email for Primo to the person who felt like he had been tricked.

Clean cat box. Water flowers.

Call volunteer about yard signs -can she come get them? Primo is gone and you don't have a car to use. She does come - discuss sign strategy for 20 minutes. We don't want Primo's signs in the same yard with the PD presidential candidate, but this volunteer is part of an organization that is campaigning for the PD presidential candidate.

Saturday: Clean bathroom. Clean upstairs bathroom. Clear crap off stairs. Take bowl of ice from upstairs freezer to downstairs freezer. Do three loads of laundry. Hang them on the line. Bring hoses in for the winter.

Enter four walk sheets into the database. Look up spouse names. Make list of yard signs to deliver.

Be tired. And ticked. It's only noon.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Friday Oct 19 Extortion

Primo: So now they're after Scott for money.

Me: Who are?

Primo: The Polka Dots. The party.

Me: But he won the primary and he doesn't have an opponent. Why would they want money from him?

Primo: They're working him really hard and they want money.

Me: I don't get it.

Primo: If you don't support the party, then you don't get the committee appointments you want.

Me: Wait a second. They didn't give money to Scott's campaign. And they sure aren't doing a darn thing for yours. But they'll expect cash if you win?

Primo: Yes.

Me: You've got to be kidding me.

Primo: Nope.

Me: No way. No way are they getting cash from us. No way. This job only pays $49,000 a year and they want you to give a few thousand back to them?

Primo: I'm not happy about this. The [Polka Dot state senate honcho] was so happy to have me running. He was so happy to have candidates in all these districts. But he and the party have done nothing for us. A few conference calls. Big deal.

Me: You know what? You don't need them. If you can get elected this time without them, then you for sure could get elected in the next election. Screw them. Jerks.

Friday Oct 19 The dog bite returns

Me: I called that guy Steve - the one whose dog bit you - and left a message asking him if he'd delivered the signs.

Primo: Oh! He called yesterday and left a message for me.

Me: What did he say?

Primo: I don't remember. I guess I have to listen to it again. I don't even know his last name - I just think of him as "Steve Dog Bite."

Me: Me too! I even wrote it down that way! [I hold up a list of volunteers and phone numbers and indeed, there is a "Steve Dog Bite" on there.]

Friday Oct 19 Cranky rules

Last night.

Primo: I'm cranky.

Me: Me, too.

Primo: I'm tired!

Me: Me, too!

Primo: You can't be cranky! You can't be tired! I'm the one who gets to be cranky and tired!

Me: You don't get to dibs the crankiness around here.

Friday Oct 19 Getting ready for the fundraiser‏

This is the answer I got from Primo yesterday when I asked him to clear all the campaign junk off the dining room table so I get clean and get ready for the fundraiser on Saturday:

"About clearing my stuff from the dining-room table:  You're asking me to do this 2 1/2 days before the event?  I'll work on it tomorrow morning.  I have too much to do today (and I need to get my hair cut).

I did clean up something else for you this morning!"

1. What is wrong with doing something that needs to be done before the absolute last second?
2. I wonder what he did clean for me.

Friday Oct 19 J'accuse

Email from a voter to Primo:

Hi Primo, You stopped by house last week. 1745 Mission St. You made a great impression, but I feel you may have misrepresented yourself to me. Now I see your yard sign in yards with folks who have Polka Dot signs. I'm confused. If you support [the Polka Dot presidential candidate] and his policies and ideals, then don't count on my vote.

Nice to meet you! Best of luck in the vote!

I am curious to know what Primo's answer will be. My suggestion is that he say that yes, he is running as a Polka Dot, but as the representative for this district, which is pretty evenly split, he will consider the interests of both Polka Dots and Stripes - that his job is not to do the bidding of the party but to work for the people he represents. (I think a lot of politicians have forgotten this - they think we are here just to open our wallets for whatever they want to do.)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Wed Oct 17 Lonely old ladies‏

Primo: That old lady I met last night who wanted to show me her JFK memorabilia collection?

Me: Yes.

Primo: She's called me three times since last night!

Me: Oh no.

Primo: She wants me to come see her Frank Sinatra stuff and she's telling me about the Presidential exhibit at the main library.

Me: Bless her heart.

Primo: She's lonely.

Me: And she thinks you're that nice young man who came to her door. 

Primo: I don't really have time to talk to her! But her phone number comes in as "unknown," so I can't screen her calls.

Me: Why don't you invite her to the fundraiser on Saturday?

Primo: She's really weird. And she reeks of cigarette smoke.

Me: Good reasons.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Tuesday Oct 16 More yard signs, more party prep, more tired

1. The only people who are coming to the fundraiser so far are our volunteers, our friends who don't agree with Primo politically but whom I wanted to invite because I've been trying to have a party here for the past four years, and friends and political people who have already given money. So this might be a lot of effort for people who are not going to give more money.

2. Primo is all stressed because it's going to cost $5,000 to do the mailing and we don't have money in the campaign fund for that, so it's coming from our bank account.

That's a lot of money.

But - if he wins, he'll get more contributions. If he doesn't, he'll go back to his old job and we'll slowly get it back.

"I don't want to spend all this money just to lose," he said.

I pointed out that our goal was not to get to the end of our lives with a lot of money left over and no memories. We can afford it - we don't have children and we are both very thrifty people, so we have some savings. I'd rather take a blowout trip to Europe with $5,000, but that's not going to happen.

3. Primo knocked on the door of a man who told him that Primo had earned his vote by virtue of actually coming to the door. Then, when Primo was walking away and went around the corner, he noticed the man had yard signs for the Stripes presidential candidate. It would have been a great place for Primo to have a sign. It would harmonize with his mail piece, which shows him standing between one person wearing a t-shirt for the Polka Dot senate candidate and another wearing the shirt for the Stripes senate candidate. Primo's message is that he will work with both parties. Which he will have to do. Or else he will hear from me.

4. We are both exhausted.


1. Primo says an old lady invited him to come inside. She showed him all her Jack Kennedy memorabilia.

2. He told me about the two African-American pro-life, pro-Nuns on the Bus he met tonight.

3. I did doors for an hour.

3a. If you are not going to answer the door because you don't know who I am, would you have the courtesy not to let me see you looking out your door? When I ignore my doorbell, I at least hide behind the blinds to see who's ringing and then I tiptoe away so the person just thinks nobody is home.

3b. You have a "No soliciting" sign and a "Welcome Steelers Fans!" sign. Which am I to believe?

3c. It's not enough for you to have an Obama sign in your yard? You have to have a big picture of him in your front window? I am looking for the Romney photos now.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Monday Oct 15 Yard signs and fundraising

1. All I do is put together yard signs. Which is not as simple as it might sound, as Primo insists on 18 staples. And the paperboard is thick, so the staples don't close. Which means I have to inspect each one and press errant staples down with a screwdriver. And even so, I have snagged my fingers to bleeding several times.

2. Primo is going for broke on the fundraiser. "I'm going to call the mayor," he said. Remember the night the car was towed? That was the night that Primo was at the mayor's election party. The mayor lost that race (he  had been running for governor) but is still mayor. Primo put in a lot of hours on that campaign.

3. Someone kicked down two of Primo's signs on our street. The Obama and the Romney signs were undisturbed, which makes us think this was not a partisan event but random teenagers. Or dogs. Who knows?

4. Primo is trying to avoid putting his signs in the yards that have presidential signs. He needs to distance himself from the Polka Dot presidential candidate. I wish he'd move even further away.

Monday Oct 15 Trying to keep my head down and moving forward for the next three weeks‏

I have a question for the other married folks here. Do you sometimes wish you weren't married? Or am I the only one?

Sometimes - like last night, at 10:40 p.m., which was at least 40 minutes past when I had wanted to have my lights out, when I am lying in bed waiting for Primo, who is telling me he will be just one more minute, I wish I were still single and in control of my life and in control of my bedtime.

I treasure my sleep.

I don't feel well if I don't get enough sleep.

But I am married to a night owl who thinks there is merit in going to bed at the same time, a belief I think is without merit. I don't care if we go to bed at the same time. I just want to get enough sleep.

But he wanted me to wait for him and then it was "just one more minute" for almost an hour.

I thought to myself, "I hate you. I hate you I hate you I hate you. I want to sleep and you're keeping me from it."

Am I the only person who thinks this about the person she loves?

I had already spent the weekend working on the damn campaign: data entry, delivering yard signs to volunteers, delivering postcard blanks to a volunteer and explaining what needed to be done, starting to cook for the fundraiser, and then, to top it all off, spending two hours doing doors in the rain.

I had earned my sleep.

Primo needed to get the invitation out for the fundraiser next week. 

How complicated can it be to write an invitation?

Quite, if you are Primo blesshisheart.

The qualities that make him absolutely maddening to work with as a spouse on a time-sensitive project are the qualities that will make him a good legislator: he is obsessive about the details and will not be rushed into releasing an imperfect product. 

I like that in a legislator: I want our government to take a long, long, long time to make laws. I don't want more laws, so the more they delay, the better for us. How many laws does a country need, anyhow?

But this slow deliberation is crazy making for getting an invitation out. Plus he wants my involvement in deciding is the spacing right? Oh, that period has to go! That shouldn't be a comma! There should be a comma there!

Exasperated, I told him that nobody was going to grade him on this - that all that was necessary was to get the information out before the party actually started. People need more than five minutes notice of an event.

It took him two hours to compose the invitation and review the email list and finally hit "send." 

I was ready to divorce him.

Am I normal? Or is this a huge problem?

Monday Oct 15 We shouldn't have talked about the "hundreds of bottles of wine" in our fundraiser invitation‏

I thought about it as I was about to fall asleep: perhaps saying we had "hundreds of bottles of wine" in the basement was not the best way to inspire people to make campaign contributions.

I would be very happy to sell the wine to fund the campaign. But $3,000 is not enough. And that's what we could probably get.

This is wine Primo has collected over the past 20 years. 

But when you say you have "hundreds of bottles of wine," you sound like a rich, elitist jerk.


Sunday, March 24, 2013

Sunday Oct 14 Trying to plan a fundraiser

Primo is putting together an invitation for our fundraiser that is happening IN SIX DAYS.

Campaigns are maddening for planners.

He spent way too much time on the event page on facebook. Honestly, how long does it take to say, "Fundraiser with Primo on Saturday at 123 Main. Good food and good wine?"

See how long that took me?

But Primo is a perfectionist.

He spent a lot of time on the copy and now is bogged down in the photo of the Ridge wine bottle that he uploaded. He saved it in the right orientation, but it uploaded sideways and it's making him nuts.

I told him to leave it as it was and publish the event with a note: "Apparently, even my problem-solving abilities are not enough to conquer facebook."

But he doesn't want to say that. He wants to carefully craft a message.

I am rolling my eyes.