Tuesday, December 30, 2014

In which Doris feels compelled to criticize someone who sent her a Christmas card for being too involved in his church

Doris emailed Primo today after getting a Christmas letter from Primo's best friend from high school, Fernando.

Fernando and Primo drank beer together when they were in high school, a traditional male bonding ritual. They worked together in the summers and were good friends for many years.

With time, they have drifted apart. Fernando married, had three children, and has become very involved in his church. He is late to serious church stuff - at Primo's wedding to Isabel, he hooked up with one of Isabel's bridesmaids. But with his own wife, they did not sleep together until their wedding night.

Fernando and Primo are no longer close, but they are still friends. For years, they would argue about major issues and enjoy the arguing, but now, neither of them really has time for it. They have become Christmas card friends.

We got the Christmas letter from Fernando last week. Much of his family's activities center on their church - they are very involved with religious education and with social activities related to the church. Fernando joked that maybe his daughter will become a nun and maybe his son will become a priest.

Fernando sent the same Christmas letter to Doris, whom he has not seen in decades. I thought that was a nice thing to do.

Doris emailed Primo that she was going to write to Fernando to complain that his life is too involved with the church.

"I think she wants my approval," Primo said.

"What do you think?"

Primo sighed. "Well, I think Fernando's letter was awfully churchy, too."

"No," I said. "What do you think about Fernando sending a Christmas letter to your parents and your mom's first response being to criticize?"

He sighed again. "I don't know. I'll talk to her."

Two hours later, he said, "I spoke to her. She's still going to write to him."

"Do your parents ever wonder why they don't have any friends?" I asked.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

In which the campaign team forwards an email chain to Primo that happens to have an email with someone complaining about Primo in it

Primo is cranky. (I say that a lot, don't I?) He just returned from a five-day visit to his parents --

Stop. Do I need to say anything more after that sentence? Visiting Sly and Doris is enough to make even Mother Teresa cranky.

-- where he discovered that they have not completed their will after all, something I had pointed out five years ago when he returned home with a copy of their will, which I read and said, "It looks like they are not leaving anything to you - it goes straight to the grandkids - and they don't mention the money, just the house." He had asked his dad about it and Sly told him not to worry everything went to Primo --

NB I do not care (much) about what they do with their money. It would be nice to inherit some cash - it would give us some freedom, but if they did give everything to the grands, I would shrug and say, "Well it's their money." People get to decide what to do with their own money.

What makes me cranky is that they want Primo to do all kinds of stuff for them and they want him to execute the will, which is a ton of work, but then maybe don't want to leave him anything. Remember that Sly did threaten to disinherit Primo if Primo didn't get me in line.

Back to Sly saying everything goes to Primo: I only had one semester of business law in college and another semester of it in grad school, but my reading of the will did not indicate that anything went to Primo. When Primo pointed this out to Sly, Sly said that there was an appendix to the will and Primo just didn't have a copy.

Primo found out on this trip to visit Sly and Doris and to do all their chores that apparently there is nobody in the entire state of wherever they live who is willing to clean a porch for money that there is no appendix. They have not finished the will.

Which means if they die, even not at the same time, there will be some major hassles.

(Isabel's daughters are going through this now, as she died, as you remember, without a will. Honestly. What is it with these people? Do they think they are the only ones who won't die?)

I did some research. If Sly dies and Doris lives, Doris only inherits half of the estate. (This is if there is no will.) The other half would be divided among Sly's children, ie, Primo, Ted, and Jack.

I.e., Doris would be royally screwed.

I shared this with Primo so now he's worried because can you imagine the drama if he would have to deal with his mom and his half brothers, neither of whom are major fans of Doris, even though she didn't really break up Sly's marriage with their mother?

Neither half brother would have any problems taking any share of Sly's estate. Doris is not their problem. I have mixed feelings on this because I totally sympathize with Ted and Jack and their father abandoning them to an alcoholic mother when they were very little, but man I do not want to be stuck with Doris.

The other reason Primo is cranky is that his campaign manager - Bruno Mars, his name is today - forwarded an email chain to Primo and of course Primo read through the entire chain, as people are wont to do.

My former boss forwarded a chain to me and my co-workers when he hired the person - Kristen Bell - who was going to be my new boss. My former boss was not that computer savvy and could never figure out why when he renamed a file I had sent him and then saved it on his hard drive that it didn't match the version I had.

Anyhow, former boss sent us all an email about Kristin that included her job negotiations at the bottom of the chain.


In the email to Primo, there were emails at the bottom of the chain critical of Primo and how long it was taking him to get back to the campaign team on things.

I am very defensive about Primo. Nobody gets to criticize him about being slow but me.

Plus I do think they are being unfair. He is doing this campaign in his spare time while he does his real job full time. He is not going to win. He is doing it to help the party. If they wanted a full time candidate, they could have paid him $XXXXXXXXX to take an unpaid leave from his job, but if they are not willing to do that - Primo and I do not live on unicorns and rainbows - we need cash - then they need to dial it back.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

In which Primo prepares for the state convention, where he is to give a ten-minute speech and is really nervous about it

I stayed out of the speech preparation this time, but had to sit in the bedroom while Primo packed for 28 hours at the state convention.

Here is what he wanted to take:

1. Two suits - one navy, one khaki. "What if I have to wear a suit on Friday? I can't wear the same suit on Saturday when I give my speech!"

Me: Oh yes you can. Nobody will notice, I promise.

2. A sport jacket. In case a suit is too dressy for Friday.

3. Khakis. For Friday.

4. Three shirts - one for Saturday, one for with khakis alone on Friday, one for with khakis and a sport jacket.

5. Three ties. One for each nine-hour and twenty-minute period.

He wanted me to iron.

I laughed.

Friday, December 26, 2014

In which we see the Ceramic Cat of Many Colors, the Cast-Iron Cat, and a real cat

You guys, I do not make stuff up. I wish what I wrote here was fiction, but it is not.

I guess the Cast-Iron Cat is not life sized - but it is close. Close enough for blog truth. Close enough in spirit for sure.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

In which Primo and I discuss the Ceramic Cat of Many Colors

Primo: Here. Read the card from my parents.

Me: Fine. [I read.] There. Done.

Primo: See? It wasn't bad. They didn't write anything in it. Now you're done.

Me: OK. And I know your mom just wants to do something nice, but....

[I am reading this post on Captain Awkward and am thinking, "I am not alone!" It's not me! I am not the bizarre one here. You wonder why I write about this stuff? It's as I said to my mom, who suggested that perhaps I need to let Sly and Doris go - I need to be validated. My mom has never dealt with people like this. I would not have believed there were people like that until I had met Sly and Doris. I, to my regret, may even not have believed other people dealing with people like this. I may have thought, "Surely this person is somehow complicit! Nobody could be that bad!"

But when you mix alcohol with meanness - Sly's, then there can be trouble.

I just want to know that there are bizarre people out there and it's not my fault. If it is my fault, I need to know what I am doing wrong. I talked to my sister and said, "It's not that I am obsessed with this - it's just like passing a wreck on the highway. You want to turn to the person next to you and say, "Holy smoke! Can you believe that?" and have that person agree with you that it's a mess.]

Primo: She does! When I was there earlier this month, she even said, "I know you don't want any trinket-type things."

Me: So she sends us one!

Primo: But it's a cat! And we love cats! So there is a cat exception!

In which Doris gets us a colorful ceramic cat to go with the cast-iron cat

Not making this up. But at least it is not as big as the cast-iron cat, which is life sized.

The coup de grace: it is from her, Sly, and Primo's dead sister Nancy.

In which I go to a political event with Primo and am bored OUT OF MY MIND because all they do is introduce people

One of Primo's big political contacts bought a $1,000 table for a political event and invited Primo and me.

I wanted to say no right away, because who in her right mind would want to spend four hours on a worknight at a political event? I don't even want to do something fun with people I like for four hours on a worknight. I certainly don't want to do something boring with a bunch of strangers.

But this contact - let's call him Bernard - has been so good to Primo. He and his wife have supported Primo's campaigns by donating time and money and by introducing him to Powerful People.

I want Primo to talk to Bernard about getting a political job after the election is over.

(There are some people who have said, "But he might win the election!" Right! And pigs might fly!)

Primo hates the idea of that kind of networking. He has never had to work to find a job - they have pretty much come to him via his network, which he doesn't think of as a network, but what do you call it when your former boss goes to work at Apple and then recruits you to follow him there? That, my friend, is networking.

And then there is the networking I want Primo to do: To talk to the people he knows, tell them he is thinking of quitting his job (the very idea of which gives me hives), that he wants a paid job in politics, and do they have any ideas?

Primo is horrified by this concept.

1. "How can I look for a new job while I still have a job? I am BUSY!"
Me: Welcome to the rest of the world.

2. "How can I even talk about a new job if I am not prepared to start one?"
Me, again: Welcome to the rest of the world.

I told Primo I would attend the event only if he promised to talk to Bernard about a paid political job. I also said that this counted as one of the three political events I will participate in during the campaign.

I met him at the place after work. It was jam packed with political people. I didn't recognize most of the faces, but I knew a lot of the names. I found Primo, took a deep breath, and prepared to endure boredom with a smile.

Honestly, I do not know how most political spouses endure this. You are not as "on" as the candidate, but what you do reflects on the candidate, so you cannot stand in the corner and read "Ask a Manager" or bbc.com on your phone. You have to smile and be polite and be engaged even when you would rather be at home cleaning the bathroom.

A waiter presented a tray of bacon pizza. I took a napkin and a slice and ate it. At least the food was good. That is a rarity at political events in my experience.

Another waiter presented a tray of crostini with black olives. I took one and ate it.

Another waiter presented a tray of little curried chicken sandwiches. I took one and ate it.

When the waiter presented a tray of mini hamburgers, I asked, "What's for supper? I don't want to spoil my appetite." [I was being polite - I really didn't want to waste eating on appetizers if supper was going to be fabulous, but if supper was just broiled dry chicken breasts, then I wanted two hamburgers.]

"There is no supper! It's only appetizers," the waiter told me.

Whaaat? One hundred twenty five dollars a person for an event that starts at 5:30 p.m. and there is NO SUPPER??

I grabbed a hamburger - because it would have looked greedy to take two, but I was already looking for the next waiter with a tray - and rushed over to Primo to inform him. He started stockpiling appetizers, too.

Primo wanted to talk to some political people about boring political stuff, so I found a little cocktail table, put down my food, and got out my phone. I had already met and greeted at least five people, which is about all I can take. I wanted to check facebook and look at some of my favorite blogs and read the paper.

I sat there for 47 seconds, happily ensconced in a world that does not require me to interact with other people, before Bernard's wife came up to the table to talk to me.

She is a lovely woman, Mrs. Bernard is. Again, she and Mr Bernard have been nothing but gracious and helpful and encouraging to Primo. But I didn't want to talk to anyone.

People kept coming up to say hi to her. She would introduce me. I figured out pretty quickly I had to stop eating.

Mrs Bernard introduced me to Sally Dighby. "Oh!" Sally said. "Your books are always next to mine on the hold shelf at the library!"

Small world.

I finally gave up on eating and wrapped my cheese and crackers and little mousses (little mice?) in napkins and slid them into my purse.

Yes, I am an 80 year old woman who grew up during the Depression.

Primo found me. We sat at a table with the firefighters next to what must have been a table of women who had just attended a perfume convention. They stank so much that I got the piece of silk that I cut from Primo's silk boxers that he put in the dryer even though I told him not to and that I use for cleaning my glasses out of my purse and held it over my nose as a filter.

It didn't work very well. I had to choose between suffocating from lack of air and suffocating from an abundance of perfume.

Then the speechifying started. It started at 7:10 and didn't end until 8:45. It was supposed to end at 8:30, but what's 15 minutes of my time - my precious, non-work, non-sleep time to a politician? Nothing, that's what it is. Nothing.

There were opening remarks for the opening remarks. Then there were introductions. The introductions started at 7:20 and went on until 7:40. First, it was people by name. "And Prunella Scales! Please stand, Prunella!" "And Bartleby! Please stand, Bartleby!" "Is Nichole Nickleby here? Stand up, Nichole!"

After each introduction, there was clapping.

Then the group introductions.

"Anyone who graduated from our campaign prep class, please stand!"

"Any elected official, please stand!"

I leaned over to Primo and said, "I'm surprised they haven't introduced you yet."

He laughed. "They're not going to introduce me!"

"Anyone who is running for office! Please stand!"

Primo laughed again and stood. "I told you so!" I whispered.

The firefighters were all playing with their phones. They were bored, too.

"Anyone in a union, please stand!"

The firefighters looked startled. Put down their phones. Stood.

"And last of all, Blah Blah Blah, the trailblazer!"

Thunderous applause. Everyone stood. I had no idea who we were standing for. I overheard one of the firefighters say, "F if I know. I couldn't hear the name." But he stood and clapped just the same.

Everyone sat down. I scratched "Recognition and acknowledgements" off the program. Only nine sections to go.

The talking did not stop. After the tribute to the honoree - wait, after the video of the honoree, there was the tribute. Then there was a taped message from the governor. Photos of the honoree with the president. Video of the honoree with the president.

Then an introduction of the woman who was going to introduce the honoree.

Yes, you read that correctly. The woman who was going to introduce the honoree got her own introduction, an introduction that went on way too long.

Finally, the honoree spoke. She was funny - she said, "It's 8:20 and we're supposed to end at 8:30. I believe, as the reverend said, in ending things the same day they got started."

Except she spoke until 8:40. Bless her heart. Her speech was good. She is funny and charismatic. She didn't say anything too controversial - it was along the lines of "rape is bad" and "being hungry really stinks." Who can disagree with those statements?

When I lived in Memphis, a small food co-op opened in my neighborhood. They put a sign in the window that said, "Against rape."

I silently applauded them for their bold stance. Pretty risky to be that bold. The pro-rape forces are so strong and so politically connected.

They also sold Zapatista coffee, the irony of which probably eluded them.

But honoree finally stopped speaking. Everyone stood to applaud. Even I stood, not so much because I wanted to honor her but because I wanted to get out. I grabbed my purse and started walking - and another person GOT ON STAGE.

A few people sat, but others continued to stand and to prepare to leave. Then to walk out.



Bless her heart, she was giving the credits: "We want to thank Nigella Lawson for the awesome video montage! And we want to thank Rachel Ray for doing the catering! Let's give Rachel a round of applause!"

She named the person who had done the flowers. The volunteers who had staffed the registration tables. More people. I don't know who. I stopped listening. The poor woman was so oblivious to body language - or so desperate to continue because she HAD A SCRIPT - that she didn't know everyone was ignoring her.

I took the chance to grab four bunches of roses from the centerpieces. At least the night was not a complete waste.

Monday, December 22, 2014

If you need a gift for someone who is chic or who wants to be chic

think about my friend Tish, who writes her fabulous blog A Femme d'Un Certain Age, and who wrote a lovely little book about being chic, Forever Chic.

I don't get paid for this endorsement and I bought my own copy of the book. I say this only because Tish is my friend, I like her blog, and I liked her book. You might, too.

PS I am a chic wanabee. I have not yet mastered the art. They would never hire me to be the style editor for the International Herald Tribune, as they did Tish.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

In which Primo and I work on his campaign lit

Primo: I don't like this sentence:  "Infrastructure projects are seeds that grow a vibrant economy."

Me: No! Me neither. Seeds do not grow an economy. Seeds might grow into an economy, but seeds don't grow an economy.

Primo: What should I say instead?

Me: How about, "Infrastructure projects improve the economy?" [Yes, I know, boring as heck, but it is late on a Sunday evening, I have taken an imitrex for a headache, and I am trying to read the new Bill Bryson book about 1927. I am not at my best.]

Primo: Except the sentence before says, "Improving America’s economic climate ...."

Me: And you don't want to use "improve" again so soon.

Primo: Exactly.

Me: And you can't say, "investing in infrastructure projects."

Primo: Because I already use "invest."

Me: You could just say, "Spending on infrastructure projects."

Primo: Right! And then on the front of the piece, I can just write, "Tax and spend!"

In which Primo and I read "Crossing the Tracks for Love" and discover a lot about Sly

Have you ever read A Framework for Understanding Poverty, by Ruby Payne? If you haven't, you should. It is fascinating. I found out about it on my favorite blog, Ask A Manager, which is the source of so many good things in addition to great job advice.

Well, Dr Payne has written another book about marriage with someone from a different socio-economic class and I understand my differences with Primo a lot better.

Doesn't make them any easier to deal with. But I understand them.

Primo always maintains that my family was poor, which we were not, but we certainly were not affluent. Primo's family had money for away vacations. We spent our vacations camping. Primo's family went out to eat. Mine did not. Primo's father was a highly-degreed professional. My father had a BA, but he did not have a PhD. Both of our fathers and mothers were the first ones in their families ever to go to college.

Primo's dad had, from the outside, a higher-status job than my dad, or at least I think that's how most people would view it. Most people, I think, do not  think too highly of military people - there is this idea that the only reason someone joins the military is because he is too stupid to do anything else. Sly was a college a professor, my dad was a maintenance control officer. I am sure Sly would think he was higher on the social scale than my dad was, but the reality of it is that Sly was a professor at a 4th-tier school, so he can't really brag on that.

(The other reality is that my dad's students, whom he had taught for less than one semester, liked him so much that they held two bake sales so they could buy a yearbook for him and send it to him after he was diagnosed with cancer and back in the US for treatment. The other reality is that there were people who bought last-minute plane tickets so they could fly across the country, holding a ham in their laps, to attend my dad's funeral. After Primo and I attended the funeral of the father of a good friend of ours and found it to be standing room only, Primo said, "I don't think anyone will go to my dad's funeral." Probably not, unless they just want to make sure he is dead. I know that's why I will go.)

What I am getting at: even though Sly spent his career in a more refined atmosphere than my dad and certainly making more money than my dad ever did, he never picked up on middle class values or actions. He retained the worst of poverty, whereas my dad conducted himself with grace and dignity.

To wit - here are some examples from the book of poverty behavior that I have seen in Sly but never saw in my father. (My father was never abusive to my mother. He never made her cry. He never yelled at her that she was stupid. Man, I cannot stand Sly. He is so mean.)

Frank [Ruby's husband, who came from poverty] took a lot of heat in his old neighborhood for marrying me. One time somebody said to him in front of me, "You need to send that girl back to school for a class in obedience."

Remember how Sly told Primo he needs to "get your wife in line?"

If you're from poverty and marry into middle class, expect that your spouse may have difficulty understanding the amount of money and time you give to help your friends. The middle-class assumption is that your friends should be self sufficient and plan ahead for emergencies. Some of these feelings may also apply to family, especially extended family.

Amen. Sly and Doris seem to expect Primo to fly to their side for any problem. They don't seem to think it is their responsibility to figure out and plan for their future. Primo can take care of it.

If you're making the transition from poverty to middle class, here are some of the mindsets and issues that will need to be addressed: 

Jokes and comments about sexual activities are not acceptable in the workplace or at middle-class social events.

Your mother does not have more say-so in your life than your spouse.

Crisis making, clutter, and confusion are frowned upon in middle class.

If you have read much of this blog, then you know that Sly and Doris violate all of these rules.

NB Very interesting to read the middle-class to wealthy info - I would completely fail in that world. I did not know you are not supposed to introduce yourself to a rich person - that you are supposed to wait to be introduced. Interesting, but useless, as I will never be moving into that class. Oh well.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

In which Primo wants me to go to a boring political dinner to honor someone I think is a nutcase and I have to figure out what I want in return

Primo: Bob has invited us to [some big deal political event for their party].

Me: So?

Primo: He's invited both of us.

Me: Ick. I don't want to go.

Primo: He paid $1,000 for the table.

Me: If I go, will you ask him about political work?

Here's the deal: Primo wants to quit his job. His Silicon Valley pay in the where we live now job. His job that if he leaves, he will never get back. He will never get a comparable job again. He is in a technical field that is changing quickly and there is nothing more useless in tech than an old engineer.

As you might imagine, I am panicked about this.

He wants to quit without having anything else lined up.

Primo has never had any problems finding work before. Primo has no idea what the job market is like now, especially for someone who wants to change careers.

He says it would be fine because he does not care if he makes the salary he makes now. (I care.)

So we are fighting about this.

I say that he should at least do some research and find out if the kind of job he wants -  which I would like him to define - even exists.

He tells me that he doesn't have time.

I say that if he didn't waste so much time reading political stuff online and getting cranky about it, he would have plenty of time for other things.

So we fight about this. A lot.

Primo: I could.

Me: I have been telling you for two years to ask people.

Primo: But I can't ask them unless I am actually going to quit and be available!

Me: Of course you can ask! That is called RESEARCH.

Primo: No. I can't. I have to be in the right mindset.

Me: What?

Primo: And how can I look for a job while I have a job? I don't have time!

Me: You can do it the way the rest of the world does it! I have gotten three new jobs in the past two years. I didn't quit my job to look for a new one.

Primo: That's different. You're not busy, the way I am.

Me: Oh right. Because I am not at work all day.

Primo: Your job is not as demanding as mine.

Me: Nope. And it pays only half of what yours pays. If I go, you have to promise that you will ask Bob and other people to be named later about work.

Primo: Maybe.

Me: You drive me crazy.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

In which Primo has to pick his walk-up song

Primo: I need to pick a song for the convention next week for before my speech.

Me: What? Like your walk-up song?

Primo: Yes.

Me: You mean, like a baseball player?

Primo: Yes.

Me: Except you are not a baseball player. This is stupid.

Primo: I know.

Me: What are you going to pick?

Primo: I don't know.

Me: How about "Come Sail Away?" [One of his karaoke favorites.]

Primo: No!

Me: Rhinestone Cowboy? [I was listening to Glen Campbell's greatest hits today and feeling kind of sad thinking about how we saw him in concert last year on his farewell tour and he got disoriented during one song because of his Alzheimer's and his daughter had to guide him back onto the stage.]

Primo: What? No! It has to have some kind of political protest theme.

Me: I know. "I'm Not Responsible."

Primo: You mean the, "I'm not responsible because I'm a liberal" song?

Me: Yes.

Next day, after Primo meets with his campaign committee to count the petition signatures (400 more than required, although you have to get extras in case some of the signatures are invalid, which some always are).

Me: Did you pick your walk-up song?

Primo: We narrowed it down.

Me: To what?

Primo: Maybe Tom Petty, "I Won't Back Down."

Me: That wouldn't be bad.

Primo: We wanted a traditional protest song, but they are too soft and gentle.

Me: Plus they are boring.

Primo: And we talked about some Bruce Springsteen songs.

Me: Ick. No. Yet another rich guy who sings about the blue collar life without living it.

A week later:

Primo and I are at the Gipsy Kings concert, which was amazing - those guys are not poulets des primtemps yet they still rock. They started singing, "y no tener la culpa." I turned to Primo and said, "THAT is your walkup song."

Thursday, December 11, 2014

In which Primo spends a Saturday afternoon knocking on doors to get signatures for his nominating petition but gets only six signatures

Me: How many signatures [for Primo's nominating petition] did you get?

Primo: Only about six.

Me: But you've been gone for two hours!

Primo: A lot of people weren't home and the ones who were at home wanted to talk. They wasted a lot of my time.

Me: Like who?

Primo: Carolyn down the street. But she's really nice so I didn't mind.

Me: Who else?

Primo: The "But we are really committed to Obama people."

Me: OK.

Primo: And then Jason.

Me: Oh no.

Primo: You know how he is.* He was my biggest time sink. I must have spent half an hour with him.

Me: I remember.

Primo: He wanted to quiz me about the campaign strategy and he wanted to talk about this issues and he told me my website isn't very good.

Me: Great.

Primo: He raised some good points. There were questions about issues that I couldn't answer and I told him that my campaign manager was working on those and then he wanted to know if my campaign manager is actually qualified.

Me: I guess he doesn't really get the part that you are running just so there is a [Primo's party] on the ballot.

Primo: Nope. He also said we should be taking this campaign to the national level.

Me: As in spending millions of dollars on advertising?

Primo: Yes.

Me: To people who couldn't even vote in this election?

Primo: Yes.

Me: If he has millions of dollars lying around, he can send them to the campaign.

Primo: Nope. He would say that he knew I needed to get moving to get other signatures but then he would start talking about something else again.

Me: Great.

Primo: And then he wouldn't even sign!

Me: What?!

Primo: No! He wouldn't even sign the nominating petition! He has that business and has dealt with [the incumbent] for some regulatory issues and was worried it could hurt him if he signs.

Me: So he wasted all that time and then he wouldn't even sign the petition?

Primo: NO!

* Jason wanted to be involved in Primo's campaign for the state house. He is super scary smart and would have been an asset for coming up with strategy, but by the time he wanted to get involved, we already had a strategy and marketing materials. What I really needed was someone to deliver yard signs, which did not interest him at all. Who does want to deliver yard signs? I sure didn't. But I did because that's what the campaign needed at the time.

PS The nominating petitions are due in a week and we have no idea how many signatures have been collected on Primo's behalf. If I were the campaign manager - which thank God I am not, I would be calling all the volunteers to ask them how many names they have. If they don't get enough names, Primo does not get on the ballot.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

In which the wife of Primo's opponent breaks her leg and Primo's campaign team tells him he is the one who has to issue a statement

The wife of Primo's opponent - the wife of the congressman - has broken her leg. Just hit the news. I sent an email to Primo saying that maybe someone should post something on his campaign facebook page - something along the lines of, "We are all thinking about the congressman's wife and hope she has a quick recovery."

He agreed, then noted that his social media person had sent him the same news and suggestion.

A few minutes later, he came downstairs, all grumpy.

"They're telling me it has to come from me! That I have to write the statement! And that I have to send a personal note to the congressman!"

"What?!" I replied, perplexed.

"I don't have time for this! I have gotten hardly any work done today. I need to go to the school board meeting tonight!"

He stomped.

(Primo stomps. I guess it's better than putting a fist through the wall. He stomps. He tells me he tries really hard not to be like his dad, who is a yeller and did punch Primo once when Primo was a 98-pound weakling teenager and Sly was a 210-pound weightlifter.)

(I really do not like Sly.)


I agreed - "They do need to do this for you."

"I called [campaign manager] but I can't reach him. I have work to do!"

He stomped back upstairs. I microwaved some chicken with pine nuts and walnuts from the Spain section of my Cooks Illustrated Best International Food cookbook and sat down to eat and read my Time-Life Spain cookbook. I need to make garlic soup. And caldo gallego. And flan. I love food.

He came back downstairs. "[Campaign manager] sent me something, but it has a grammatical error in it and he mentions the word 'prayer.'"

I laughed. "Does he not know that you don't pray?"

"It's pandering to talk about prayer if I don't pray," Primo said. "I'm not going to do it."

"Why don't I draft something?" I suggested.

"Maybe," Primo said. "You know how I am - I will agonize over a 15-word statement."

Oh yes I know how he is. It takes him forever to compose an email to his best friend telling him what time our flight arrives so P can pick us up.

So I draft a quick statement. This is not hard.

I am saddened at the news about Congressman X's wife. No matter what political differences we might have, we all love our families and want nothing but good health for them. I am wishing Mrs. X a quick and painless recovery.

The main purpose of this note is for the followers of Primo's campaign facebook page to know that he is not a jerk. Period.

I think it should be all over. We'll see how long Primo agonizes over it. I am glad I am not such a perfectionist. I think it makes life really hard.

In which Sly brings up the oatmeal again SIX YEARS LATER

Remember when Sly got angry because I did not offer him oatmeal?

He's back. Primo is at his mom and dad's (again) because they have a medical situation (again) and will not move into assisted living or deal with anything because they want to wait until they are healthier, which is so likely to happen. Doesn't everyone's health improve after 80?

  • Primo
    We talked about the oatmeal situation.
  • Me
  • Primo
    Because my dad brought it up.
  • Me
    THat was SIX YEARS AGO!
  • Primo
    He is sure that he was not already eating when you failed to offer oatmeal.
  • Me
    of course he was
    he also thought that [Primo's niece] was pronouncing something wrong
  • Primo
    He always trots out the laundry list of criticisms from the past.
  • Me
    your dad is not a REmemmber
    Your dad needs a hobby
  • Primo
    I used to be good at breaking out the laundry list. I learned to stop that, at least for the most part.
  • Me
    he better hope that his sister is still alive after your mom dies
  • Primo
    He has a hobby. Criticizing people!
  • Me
    because she is going to be the only person who will put up with him
  • Primo
    He's good at it!
  • Me
    I will not have him in my house or in my life
  • Primo
    Proud of his ability.
  • Me
  • Primo
    He criticized my mom yesterday for not remembering a rule in cribbage.
  • Me
    he doesn't even care if there are witnesses
  • Primo
    Not being really mean, but picking at her. She wasn't happy.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

In which Primo goes to another meeting with people who will already like him

Primo (in the phone): The meeting went great! They really liked me!

Me: Of course they did.

Primo: I spoke really well. I didn't use a script.

Me: Did you finally speak from the heart?

Primo: Yes! I talked about that school board stuff!*

Me: Good!

Primo: People came up to me after! They wanted to meet me! They wanted to volunteer! This stuff is fun. It's a lot more fun than my job. I want to quit.

Me: If you can arrange to inherit a million dollars, we can sure consider it.

* Our local school board, which has the funds to pay decent wages, voted the other night to lay off over 30 custodians and outsource the jobs for 1/2 the wage. The savings in the annual budget are less than one percent. I am pretty disgusted.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

In which Primo shows great restraint and some personal growth

Primo: I'm cranky. It's a little thing. I should let it go.

Me: Probably.

Primo: [Social media person] set up my google plus account. -- This is not a big deal. I should let it go.

Me: Let what go?

Primo: OK. So with google plus, you can design a custom URL.

Me: Yes.

Primo: She had "Primoforcongress" but google wanted more. So she added "NM" for the state.

Me: So?

Primo: Well, she just added the capital "NM" but didn't change the other letters!

Me: So now it's "PrimoforcongressNM" instead of "PrimoForCongressNM."

Primo: YES!!!!

Me: She didn't do it right.

Primo: I should let it go, right? Even though she should have been consistent with her capitalization?

Me: Yes.

Primo: I am an administrator on the account. I could just try to change it myself. But that might bother [social media person].

Me: Probably.

Primo: I should let it go.

Me: You should.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

In which someone on Primo's campaign team tries to tie doughnuts to climate change

There has been drama chez nous vis a vis the campaign recently.

First, the campaign team scheduled a fundraising lunch for Primo this Saturday in the next county. Primo doesn't know anyone in that county and, apparently, neither does anyone on his campaign team, because as of Tuesday, only 15 people had signed up at $50 a head. I don't know if there is a minimum number or what the breakeven point is or whatever, but however it turns out, it's only $750 less expenses and the campaign owes about $4,000, which prompted me to ask the question that should have occurred to me before we ever started on this whole thing, which is, "Who pays the campaign bills if the campaign can't raise money?"

And you guys already know the answer to this one:

We do.

Not because we would have any legal obligation, but because the people to whom the campaign owes money are friends of Primo's and he (and I) do not want to stiff them.

Primo didn't think he was going to have to raise money. He discussed it with the party people before he agreed to run - that he was not going to call people to ask for money. He agreed under pressure that he might call likely donors that someone else had identified, but he was not going to call his friends and family to ask for money.

Now he has to raise money or it comes out of our pockets.

That's the first thing.

The second thing is that a woman on the campaign team - let's call her Britney Spears - has been writing some pieces for Primo to publish. That would be fine except she wants to write about things like National Doughnut Week, which really does not fit strategically with the campaign as this is not a major doughnut producing state or a major doughnut machine making state. Primo does not have a Doughnut Agenda. It is not part of his platform. It will not enhance his credibility to take a big stand on doughnuts.

Not only did Britney blessherheart write a piece about National Doughnut Week, she plagiarized. Primo did some research to learn more about National Doughnut Week, just to make sure he wasn't missing something important, and discovered that Britney had lifted entire sections of her piece from the National Doughnut website.

Nothing wrong with using others' material, but you do have to cite your sources.

Oh. Primo just sent me the piece. Britney wants to tie National Doughnut week into climate change. And into how Primo's opponent is For Climate Change. And is a Bad Person. Who Wants Little Kittens To Starve.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

In which I find the perfect Christmas present for Sly

Me: This is what you need to get your dad.

Primo: Except he is not silent.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all

Where would Sly sit in this Thanksgiving seating diagram, which I borrowed from Bon Appetit?

Remember how Sly got angry about the grandkids eating the white meat?

And then how the next year, he commented that he didn't like white meat after all?

Yeah. Me, too. Which is why I am so happy that Primo and I will be spending our Thanksgiving at home, with the cats and a good steak and House of Cards so he can win his next election.

In which Primo becomes justifiably cranky when someone posts the unedited version of a piece that someone drafted for him and that he edited and that was published under his name

And now I'm really upset about a campaign issue. Remember the document I was editing on Sunday night? [My campaign manager] somehow sent out a completely unedited version with none of my changes included, and that version was posted on polilticalopinion.com. It's very embarrassing to me. I'm going to have to insist that I approve final versions of everything that is sent out.
That is completely unacceptable
That is awful
1. It makes you look bad
2. You spent all that time for nothing
This is something to get angry about
I would be livid
Is there a way to get politicalopinion.org to post the corrected version instead?

We are discussing that.
I am furious on your behalf
I like [campaign manager], but this is completely unacceptable

Russell Crowe (whom you met at the parade, I think) says that he probably sent out the incorrect (unedited) version.

He will try to get it fixed.
Yes, it is obvious someone sent the wrong version!@

I already said that I need to see anything that will be sent to the media -- as it will be sent, not just giving approval to text in a Google document -- before it is actually sent.
unfortunately, this means more work for you
I can help - I can copy edit stuff and I can check stuff sent to you for grammar before you see it

I am horrified. The grammatical errors are a problem, but the biggest problem is that I don't want anyone to think that I would ever use the phrase "illegal aliens."
I hope they can fix it
I'm sorry, sweetie
they really did not do it right

Between this and [my job's] FTO policy change, it's a crappy day.