Saturday, December 31, 2016

In which Primo interrupts an early bird special while he is doing doors

In which we have the way it was supposed to go vs the way it actually went - a confluence of unfortunate events

This is how it was supposed to happen.

Primo: The artist still hasn't finished the work for the flyer. B and I drafted something that I will just sent to a printer. What do you think?

He shows me a draft of three slips to a sheet of paper - each piece has his name, his photo, his contact information, and a brief summary of his policy positions. It's nice.

Me: That looks good. Are you going to have time to go to the store before my mom gets here?

Primo: Yes. And why don't I make the fish tonight instead of tomorrow?

Me: But I was going to make falafel.

Primo: But this stuff will be done and it will work better for me to have the fish tonight.

Me: You're sure?

Primo: Yes. Can your mom wait until 6 or so to eat? Or do we need to have it ready when she gets here at 4:30?

I call my mom, get her ETA, ascertain her hunger status.

Me: Six will be fine.

And then Primo goes to the store, my mom arrives, we cook, we eat, we laugh.

This is how it happened, only this is the condensed version without all the Drama

Me: Are you going to the store? Because the library closes at 5 and you said you would also pick up my books.

Primo: Oh yeah. I need to go to the library on the way there, which messes everything up.

[The store is on the right side of the road from us, the library on the left, so the logical path is store first, then library on the return.]

My mom texts that she is stuck in a traffic jam and will be late. Wait. She did that  before 4:45 because she was supposed to be here at 4:30. Then she sends another text now.

Primo calls from the grocery store - do I really want two bunches of gladiolus? They are so big! Yes I do.

Primo gets home, brings in the groceries, and goes upstairs to finish vacuuming the guest room.

I start putting away groceries.

My mom arrives.

Unpacking her car is - well, blessherheart she does not travel light. Love that woman. Prepared for anything.

Primo makes a marinade for the salmon and puts it in the fridge and starts the rice, which will take about 20 minutes. I wash the spinach and toast the pine nuts. I set the table.

Primo: The guy wants too much to make those color copies. I can't get online to find another shop.

Me: Deal with that now. We are not starving. You will be able to relax once the order is sent.

Primo dashes down to the basement, messes with something.

My mom and I chat - neither of us are starving, which is weird.

We hear thumping, swearing, and Drama coming from upstairs. We ignore it.

Primo comes downstairs: Is the internet working?

Me: Yes, why?

Primo: I figured out that the reason it has been so flaky for the past months is that the cable has gone bad.

Me: What?

Primo: It's eight years old, so I guess it would happen, but I never touch it. I had to replace the one up in my office with the one down by the TV.

Me: So now you will have to replace the one by the TV?

Primo: No. We don't use that one anymore. But the one that we use is behind my desk and I can't get to it easily. I had to climb over my desk and work it in.

Me: Have you sent the order?

Primo: No. The place I looked at charges too much and I couldn't look at other options because I couldn't get online.

Me: Are you going to send it?

Primo: No. I am going to have to go in person because it's too late to have something done by tomorrow morning.

Primo grills the asparagus and the fish. I make the spinach with the pine nuts. We eat.

Friday, December 30, 2016

In which A Sign shall guide them

My mom: I had forgotten exactly which house was yours but when I saw all the political signs in the yard, I knew I was in the right place.

In which I channel my inner Theresa May

And then these happened.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

In which Primo is all stressed because the graphic artist who is designing his campaign literature is not done as he promised he would be and now Primo will not have any literature for the coordinated campaign this weekend, which is a pretty big deal

This is the sort of thing where I want to say, "But you should have taken care of this weeks ago!" but that would not be the proper response. Not only that, but I don't know how things work in politics. All I know is what it's like to try to do it on a shoestring with almost no help from anyone and certainly not a family fortune behind us or big contributors giving us tons of money so we can hire People to Handle Things for Us.

Whatever the reason - the guy promised Primo it would be done and it isn't and there are only (how many weeks? Not many - today is Sept 15 - only six weekends or so until the election, so if Primo cannot get campaign material into the hands of the volunteers who are doing a coordinated campaign on Saturday, he will have lost 17% of the available campaigning time.)

We have come up with a workaround - Primo will design a little piece that he can print himself at Kinko's. Better than nothing, but still. Too much drama.

In which Primo is concerned that my mother might be offended by his political signs in the yard

Primo: Will the signs bother your mother?

[Primo and my mother do not agree politically.]

Me: Probably.

Primo: Uh oh.

Me: What?

Primo: She'll be offended.

Me: Well, she probably won't like them. So?

Primo: Should I take them down?

Me: What? No! She doesn't agree with you, but she would never, ever say anything. She's not like that.

Primo: Right. Neither were my mom and dad.

And we laugh merrily.


Do you guys remember the very bad job situation I was in a little more than two years ago? The bad CEO, Sergio, was mean to people in public. In my US office of nine people, four had quit in one year. If anyone dared complain about anything, like vacation - the HQ people, in a country outside of the US, got a lot more vacation than the US people, Sergio threatened the complainer.

He expected everyone to sacrifice for his vision and to do so without notice, i.e., we will all be working late tonight, surprise! the agenda was a lie!

He was really nasty to my boss. If he didn't like the answer Ben gave in a meeting, he would not politely question him but would excoriate him. I am OK with having to defend analysis and conclusions. I am not OK with being insulted or being told IN PUBLIC that if I am not doing the job, he will find someone who can.

Sergio spent tens of thousands of dollars, if not more, renovating the US office to make it open plan, even though everyone said they wanted more privacy, not less. Of course, he kept an office for himself. He can't be in open plan. It's for the little people.

Six months after the renovations were complete, in January 2016, he closed the US office. Fired everyone.

Two days ago, the CEO of the parent company for which Sergio works, announced that Sergio was "leaving to pursue other interests."

Sometimes, justice prevails.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

In which I try to convince Primo that it's OK to tell me that he can't do something and that it's better than promising he will do it and then not being able to do it

Me: What should we eat when my mom is here? Can you cook fish one night?

Primo: Maybe. There is a canvass this weekend.

Me: Maybe I should be in charge of all the food.

Primo: I can maybe do it.

Me: I would rather you tell me you can't do it than give me a maybe.

Primo: But - I want to please you.

Me: I want to know for sure what you are going to do or not going to do.

Primo: But when I make you a promise, it's because I want to make you happy and because my intentions are good.

Me: But - not actually doing what you promised doesn't make me happy. It just pisses me off.

Primo: But I want to do these things! I want to make you happy!

Me: It's OK for you to tell me that you cannot do something. It really is. I would rather know up front that you are not going to grill fish on Sunday than have you tell me today that yes, you will, but then on Sunday, something comes up and you can't and then I am left scrambling.

Primo: How about if you be in charge of meals this weekend?

Me: That sounds good to me.

In which eBay thinks that because I just bought a pair of leopard-print heels that I might also be interested in Crocs or Birkenstocks, which makes me think that eBay understands nothing of human nature

Monday, December 26, 2016

In which a lovely, lovely woman who is very active with The Party but who leaves really long, rambling voicemails calls Primo as he is walking out the door and he answers the phone in an effort to stave off another voicemail

She is the nicest person in the world. Very sincere. Very committed. Not a mean, snarky bone in her body.

(Unlike Yours Truly, who does not always see the Good in People.)

(And who does not always Offer Her Suffering Up To Jesus as her sweet grandmother always suggested.)

The phone rings. Primo is shaving, getting ready to leave for a party meeting. He looks at the phone, grabs it, towel over his arm, razor in one hand, phone in the other.

He's no Anthony Weiner, but he still looks pretty good.

(And it should go without saying - and I think it does but I will say it anyhow - Primo, as far as I know, has never texted photos of any part of his body to anyone.)

Primo: Hi [Nice Lady]! I'm getting ready to go out--

Primo: But I wanted to catch you before you left a voicemail--

Primo: Do you think you could just send me an email with the detai--

Primo: She hung up.

Me: Why?

Primo: She said, "Oh, I won't keep you." Was I rude?

Me: I don't think so. You were direct, but you were tactful.

Primo: It's just that she leaves the longest voicemails and they are always really detailed. When she does email, it doesn't work.

Me: What do you mean?

Primo: I had asked her to send me a spreadsheet of everyone who was coming to that fundraiser. She said she couldn't figure out how to send it, so she brought a printed copy over to the house.

Me: She printed it out? And drove it over here?

Primo: I think she is not very technically proficient. It was pages and pages of printed information but it wasn't even sorted.

Me: She is so nice. Blessherheart.

Primo: I know. But - does anyone want to talk on the phone any more?

Me: I don't. I hate talking on the phone. I email as much as possible at work. If I do have to talk to someone, I schedule it or message him to find out if it's convenient. It's considered rude to call someone out of the blue.

Primo: I know! The only people I like talking to are Sam and you because it's a substitute for when I can't be in person. But I am not interested in conducting any kind of political business over the phone. It's too invasive. I think that's why they tell us to call people to ask for money instead of emailing.

Me: Because then the other person is trapped on the phone?

Primo: Yes. You are supposed to use really hard sell techniques to get money out of people. I don't like it.

Friday, December 23, 2016

In which Primo informs me that he has signed up for a 10K race tomorrow morning and that he needs to get up at 6:15 a.m., which makes me very cranky as I do not want to have hear an alarm that early on a Saturday

I already have to get up at 6 a.m. during the week. I don't want to do it on the weekend. And seriously - this is not a man dedicated to exercise. His attitude is that by signing up for races (and paying for them), he will be forced to train, to which I say, Really? You can't exercise unless it costs us money? Could you at least find a race that doesn't start at the crack of dawn?

BTW - I do not pay money to exercise. I force myself to exercise because I am vain and because when I am old, I want to be able to get out of a chair by myself. I hate every single second of it. I hate exercising. I don't believe the people who say they like it, but maybe they do. Or maybe they are liars. Whatever. But you don't have to spend money to exercise.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

In which Primo and I go through the 73 photos I took of him and reduce them to 13 not-bad options without yelling at each other once

Perhaps we have learned to work together. It has not been a strength of ours in the past. Ever.

Primo: Would you come upstairs and help me, please?

Me: No. I am reading.

Primo: Please! I need to pick a photo for the campaign lit!

Me: Nope. I do not want to be involved. You ask my opinion and then you argue with me about it. It's exhausting.

Primo: I won't argue.

Me: Right.

Primo: No! Really!

Me: All I am going to do is give you a thumbs up or thumbs down on the photo.

Primo: OK.

Me: I am not going to explain why I do or do not like it.

Primo: OK.

Me: I am not going to defend my opinion.

Primo: Why not?

Me: Because it's too much work!

Primo: OK.

Me: You have to promise not to ask me "why?" one single time. If you do, I am leaving.

Primo: OK. I promise.

In which Primo asks me to take some photos of him for his campaign lit and tells me I should tell him how to pose but then gets cranky when I tell him what to do because he thinks it's dumb

Primo: Would you take some photos of me?

Me: No! I don't want to! I don't want to be involved.

Primo: Please? You're a photographer -

[Not really. I was in high school, but not any more.]

-- and you can tell me how to pose.

Me: Fine. But if I do this, you don't get to argue with me about my decisions.

Primo: OK.

We walk over to the school and I take a bunch of photos and I tell Primo to do stuff with his hands and arms and he doesn't like what I say and I tell him that if he didn't want my opinion, he should not have asked me for it and I am telling him that the pose he wants looks stupid and he needs to try what I say. We argue about where the photos should be and what should be in the background and I explain that it is not a good idea to have a tree coming out of the top of his head. I tell him that he should not be wearing his striped shirt because it confuses the camera (it did for some but not for other photos). He wants me to use both my little camera and his phone and I just want to be done.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

In which someone tells Primo he needs to 1. pay a campaign manager (no - never again) to 2. push him out of his comfort zone, but I am happy that my husband finds it excruciating to ask people for money because I think it is kind of slimy to beg like that

Primo: Oh! I forgot to tell you! At this campaign event today, I ran into Joan. She asked if I had hired a campaign manager.

Me: Uh huh.

Primo: I told her I was working with B. She said too bad, she could have recommended some people to me.

Me: Like who? Not T (his worthless campaign manager from his first campaign who has spiraled into disgrace and who has split with her husband - rumor is that he left her because of her drinking). She was awful.

Primo: No! Remember Biff!

Me: What? No! Not him! He was the kid just out of college who thought he could run a political campaign?

Primo: Yes! Joan said she thought he would be great!

Me: But- he was clueless and a pain in the neck.

Primo: Joan said he would push me out of my comfort zone.

Me: You don't need to be pushed out of your comfort zone. You just need someone to manage a campaign. Unless pushing someone out of his comfort zone means making him ask people for money.

Primo: That is it, kind of.

Me: You are not comfortable asking people for money.

Primo: Nope.

Monday, December 19, 2016

In which the guy who Primo thought was a demanding pest turns out to be really great

Primo: Remember that guy who was interrogating me about how many doors I had done and how much I had gotten in contributions?

Me: Yes.

Primo: He wanted a ride to the event today and I didn't want to have him along, so I told him I had to run errands afterwards. He said that was fine.

Me: So you were stuck with him?

Primo: Yes, but he turned out to be great! We went to the event and he functioned as my helper! He took photos and got peoples' names and he was amazing.

Me: That's great!

Primo: Then I found out the reason he was asking all those questions is that he ran for the State House years ago!

Me: Oh?

Primo: But for the other party! And he wants to run again sometime, but now as a [Primo's party].

Me: What's the problem?

Primo: He's scared that people will turn it against him that he ran as X and now wants to run as Not X.

Me: Wow. He has missed one of the biggest aspects of American culture, which is that we love nothing more than a reformed sinner. All he has to do is to say that He Saw The Light and Has Changed For The Better and Will Never Sin Again.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

In which Primo spends Labor Day weekend laboring

Is there a sexier sight than a man doing a home repair?

Saturday, December 17, 2016

In which K and I agree there is no point to having good food at a political fundraiser

So you know how I was going to cook and read and watch TV today?

I also got to research how to repair dry wood rot in exterior window frames.

Thank you, previous owners of our 1928 house who did crap maintenance.

In other news, K came over to help Primo with campaign strategy.

We got on the subject of Roberto, the guy who wanted to revamp Primo's campaign strategy a week before the election but didn't want to deliver yard signs.

"There is always That Guy!" K laughed. "That guy is usually retired and sits around reading and listening to political stuff and he has figured out the secret to winning! Ask any campaign manager and she will tell you that That Guy is her worst nightmare."

I shook my head. "I wanted to tell Roberto either to donate some money or deliver yard signs but we were not going to discuss or change strategy at this point."

"There is this one guy who keeps his notes in a plastic bag," K said, "and he brings them with him to political events. And then he wants to talk about them. He pulls them out of the bag! But then he doesn't ever donate."

"I hate raising money," I said. "I never want to have another fundraiser at our house again. We discovered that we are really, really good at turning about $500 worth of wine into $150 in cash."

"That's how it usually goes," K said. "The Smiths had a fundraiser for Candidate X last week. They spent $1,500 on getting it catered and the food was really nice, but I kept telling them not to spend that kind of money. The candidate was telling them not to spend that kind of money - that he would rather they write him a check for $1,000 and have not as much food. All you need is a few bottles of wine, some cheese, and some fruit. Nobody expects fancy."

"If we ever do it again, it's Costco trays," I said. "I am never cooking for a fundraiser again."

She nodded. "The Smiths keep asking how much was raised. I have been hedging, telling them that yeah, pretty much as much as they spent, but really, it was only $750. I can't bear to tell them."

"Well, we will never host a fundraiser again," I said, looking at Primo, "but if we did, I think I would just make peanut butter sandwiches."

Friday, December 16, 2016

In which Primo informs me that he has people coming over tomorrow to work on his campaign and I have to remind him to be a host because no matter what side you are on, if the hosting is bad, it's the woman's fault

I don't care if Primo has people over as long as I am not the one who has to prepare for their visit or entertain them.*

I need to work on my book.

I need to master the art of making zucchini marmalade. (Something like this, but with a lot less sugar - I am not going to process it - I will just store in the freezer - so it doesn't need the usual canning sugar/fruit/veg ratio.)

I need to read stuff. (I just finished Lindy West's book, Shrill, and I really liked it. I started Secondhand Time - The Last of the Soviets and like what I've read so far, but am not sure I am willing to spend what might be close to the last of summer weather on reading about post-communist life.)

I need to watch stuff - DCI Banks is waiting for me.

I might make rosemary soft pretzels. Not sure. I might not want to commit to that much work.

So anyway.

Having people over is Primo's thing, even though one of them is our friend K who works at the ACLU and whom I like very much.

And when you have people to your house, especially people who are helping you and not charging you, you be a host.

Me: What are you going to feed them?

Primo: What do you mean?

Me: You are having people over.

Primo: Yeah - at 1:30 p.m.

Me: And?

Primo: That's after lunch.

Me: So you give them a snack.

Primo: Oh.

Me: There is a chocolate zucchini bread in the freezer. Use that.

Primo: OK.

* He just built up some goodwill by actually going to the Sherwin Williams store to price paint for PAINTING THE DAMN EXTERIOR TRIM, which was part of the deal when he quit his job almost two years ago. Yeah, I know Sly and Doris happened, but this is a two-day project.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

In which I get stressed realizing that the estate taxes are due in two weeks and I wonder why Primo has not even started to organize the paperwork when he has known for a year that this needs to be done

So I do some googling to see what the penalties are for filing and paying late because - I am a rule follower! Taxes have to be filed on time!

And I discover something on the IRS page that you have not a year after the death but only nine months to file and I am starting to hyperventilate and thinking prison and fines and then I slap myself in the face and say, "But wait! The worst that could happen is there is a fine. And the estate would have to pay it."

And I think Primo would agree. He has been a super cranky butt for the past two days. I finally figured out it was because of the taxes, which he does not want to do AND WHO CAN BLAME HIM?

He has been cranky and grouchy and pissed at Sly and Doris for dumping all this crap on him, WHICH THEY DID. They were selfish, thoughtless jerks who went out of their way to make this whole thing painful - disinheriting Primo, but then making him executor and trustee and specifying that he could not be paid.

Every time I get a little annoyed that Primo is not working, I remind myself I would rather have an unemployed Primo and no Sly and Doris than the other way around.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

In which Primo realizes that doing housework is futile

Primo: Hey! I just vacuumed two days ago and there is already cat hair on the floor again!

Me: I know.

Primo: And I washed the tub last week but it is dirty again!

Me: I know.

Primo: But - that's not fair!

Me: I know.

In which I go through my list of local LinkedIn connections to find someone who might know a CPA who specializes in estates and trusts so Primo can have the estate pay a professional to do the estate taxes instead of spending days doing it himself for free and discover that the only CPA in my local connections is the guy Primo is running against

Yes, that is correct. I am connected on LinkedIn to the legislator Primo is running against. We met a few years ago the first time Primo was running. Primo and I both liked him. We connected.

But I think it would be weird to ask him now if he knows anyone.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

In which I try to explain the plot of a TV show to Primo and he wants to argue about how they are breaking the law

Me: I found this show "Younger" that you can watch online. I watched a few episodes. The premise is that this 40 year old woman is pretending to be 26 so she can get a job.

Primo: Why can't she get a job as a forty year old?

Me: Because she has been out of the workforce for 15 years, raising her daughter. But her husband had an affair and gambled away all their money, so she has to go back to work.

Primo: Why can't she get a job?

Me: Because she was in publishing and when she interviews, they tell her that she's too old - that the world has changed too much since she was working.

Primo: But that's illegal!

Me: I know. But --

Primo: They can't do that!

Me: I know, but --

Primo: Can't she sue somebody?

Me: Could we please just accept that this is the premise of the show and not argue about what should be, please?

Primo: OK.

In which I attend the political BBQ with Primo and have a good time, even though I have to roll my eyes at some of the things that are said

Primo spoke for five minutes, which is four minutes longer than I recommended, but he was good! He has gotten a lot better at public speaking. When we met, he was an occasional reader in church. He would clutch the lectern, sway side to side, and never lift his eyes from the text.

Now he looks at the crowd, smiles, and takes cues - when they clapped, he stopped talking rather than forging on because you know - that was THE SPEECH and he had to KEEP TALKING.

Do you guys know how amazing this is for an engineer who hates scope creep and STICKS TO THE PLAN NO MATTER WHAT?

(As in, when he was looking through the boxes in the basement for his electric shaver, we came across some tapered-leg jeans - I know, I know - and I suggested that he put them in the Goodwill box and he was horrified at the suggestion that he deviate from the plan of finding the shaver because that was not the mission.

However, when I define the mission, as in Let's Leave Now So We Are Not Late For Whatever, he thinks it's absolutely required - that part of the mission - is doing dishes before we leave.)

Where was I?

Our friend J was there. J has run for office. I like him. We agree on some things, don't agree on other things. K from the ACLU was there. Again, I like her a lot. We agree on a lot of things - she thought the 8th grade trip to Denmark was as ridiculous as I do - and we had a good time.

Primo gave his speech. People liked it. He was a million times better than the field organizer the party sent out. This kid was boring boring boring and would not shut up. He was talking about administrative and policy stuff. I was texting Primo that this guy was talking too long and this is what I meant by keeping it short, but Primo was a million times better than the field organizer.

Then the guy who is running for Congress (the seat Primo ran for two years ago) spoke and he was fabulous. He is an accomplished public speaker - he is a small business owner who has been doing political advocacy for years, so he is very experienced. I was glad Primo did not have to go after this guy.

I ate. The food was good because it was all homemade and not the usual Costco tray crap people usually serve. (Although having cooked for one fundraiser, I will never do it again because it is just way too much work, so I get it.) I met people and chatted politely and was the good Candidate's Wife. And then I went home - it was only a mile from our house, so I walked - and Primo stayed and that was fine. The end.

Thank you everyone who told me about your re-direct problem with this blog, especially The Cosmic Avenger, who spent a lot of time with me yesterday trying to fix it

I think it is fixed. I hope.

PS The problem appeared to be that the word "toolator" (I spit upon you, toolator) appeared in the code for one of my widgets. I have killed the widget.

PPS Have I ever told you my widget story? I should.

Friday, December 9, 2016

In which Primo is leaving for the BBQ and I ask him how long his speech is and he tells me it's five minutes

and I say, "That's awfully long."

He says, "I have a lot to say."

I say, "That doesn't mean that people want to hear it."

In which Primo and I speculate that the lead pipes in our house might be the reason for his descent into madness and politics

Primo: Are you concerned that the pipes in our house are lead?

Me: No.

Primo: But they are lead!

Me: I have not thought about it. Should I?

Primo: It can cause mental problems. Hmm. And it has been since we moved into the house that I have become involved in politics.

Me: There could be a connection.

Primo: There could! It would explain a lot.

In which Primo and I disagree about how long he should speak at a BBQ tonight

Primo: I have to work on my speech.

Me: Your speech?

Primo: Yes. I will have to speak tonight at the BBQ.

Me: Keep it short.

Primo: Yeah, I am thinking five minutes.

Me: What? No! Five minutes is wayyyyy too long. One minute. One. One hundred fifty words.

Primo: That is too short.

Me: You are going to piss people off. It's a BBQ - they want to socialize, not listen to long speeches.

Primo: This is a political event!

Me: Remember at our reunion at the party Leebron's house and he gave that speech and would not shut up? Nobody wanted to hear him! Nobody wanted to listen to a speech! We wanted to talk to our friends!

Primo: This is politics, not a reunion.

Me: I don't know. I don't think anyone ever wants to listen to speeches. I don't.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

In which Primo and I disagree about whether to buy candy from a kid raising money for his eighth-grade class trip to Denmark

1. We live in an affluent area. Not a Mercedes or a BMW in every garage area, but a mostly new cars, kids who can get braces, and families who go on vacation to a place, like Disney or the beach, for spring break rather than the kids just not going to school for a week, which is how spring break worked when I was a kid.

2. Other proof of affluence: We have lived in this house for eight years. Not once - not ONCE - has a kid knocked on my door and offered to shovel my sidewalk or cut my grass for money. I sold handmade doll clothes door to door when I was 11. When I was nine, a friend and I went door to door offering to sweep peoples' stoops and sidewalks for a dime. In my day (Hey! You! Get off my lawn!), that was how kids got money - by working.

3. We already pay pretty high property taxes, which I guess I can live with because we get great services in our town (I love our library and get way more out of it than I have ever spent in property taxes) and the school district is one of the best in the state. Even though Primo and I do not have children, we care about the quality of the schools because someday, we will need to sell our house and because someday, we need these kids to get good jobs and pay into social security so we can retire.

4. I am usually very reluctant to buy overpriced product for a school fundraiser anyhow, although I will make exceptions for things like new band uniforms or books for the library for a school in a poor district. Also, I will buy Girl Scout cookies from any girl who has the guts to come to my door, ring the bell, and ask me to buy. I will not, however, buy from their parents. Parents! Let your kids sell their own cookies! Or, better yet, rebel against the tyranny of that kind of fundraiser and have a car wash instead.

5. Eighth grade trip? An eighth-grade trip? When did that become a Thing?


No. Just - no.

Primo: But I wanted a Kit Kat bar. If they had had only Reese's Peanut Butter cups, I would not have bought anything.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

In which some random guy emails, messages, and then calls Primo to ask him what he is doing on his campaign and we wonder if Ted has moved here to haunt us

Primo: This is weird. There's this guy who's really into politics. I've only met him once or twice.

Me: OK.

Primo: He emailed me this long email asking really detailed questions, like how many doors I've done and how much money I've raised.

Me: Why?

Primo: I don't know.

Me: Has he donated to your campaign?

Primo: No. If he had given money, I might feel a little more like sharing information, but he has not donated or asked to volunteer or anything.

Me: Then that's just weird.

Primo: It gets weirder. He sent me that long email and then just a few minutes later, sent me a facebook message asking if I had read his email!

Me: What!? Is he Ted? Is it Ted demanding money?

Primo: I know! The message was just minutes after the email!

Me: Why does he think he can demand information? He doesn't even know you!

Primo: I know! That was yesterday. I didn't answer so he called me and left a voicemail today!

Me: That is obnoxious.

Primo: I know.

Me: It's like he is going to the Ted School of Negotiation.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

In which we are reminded that engineers hate scope creep

This is how the conversation went:

Me: Did you wash the basil, too?

Primo: No. Just the tomatoes.

Me: Why didn't you wash the basil?

Primo: Because you only asked me to wash the tomatoes.

Me: But the basil is for your salad. I brought in the tomatoes then went out to the garden to get the basil and then I put the basil next to the tomatoes and you didn't think to wash the basil, too?

Primo: You only asked me to wash the tomatoes!

Saturday, December 3, 2016

In which a friend Primo has known longer than he has known me and who is a mutual facebook friend asks if I make up the dialogs I post and Primo says Yes, some, and I say, Nope they are all true

Which they are.

This was the post that inspired the question.

I do not make stuff up. Ever.

1. I don't need to.
2. I don't have enough imagination to.*

Me: Are you going to finish the laundry?
Primo: What do you mean?
Me: There are still clothes on the drying racks.
Primo: I've been bringing them up bit by bit.
Me: If only there were a device that would allow a person to transport multiple items of clothing in one trip. We could get rich inventing something like that.

Could I have made up Sly and Doris?


I don't think so.

Along those lines - at the church festival where we saw Jon, the friend in question, last night - we went  to see his band perform, I met another bar friend of Primo's. I heard his life story (I asked) and people, I could not make this up. It was so sad and made me hope that life gets better for him.

This guy - let's call him Job - is 60 years old. His wife died eight years ago at the age of 42 from early-onset Alzeheimer's, which they diagnosed when she was 35.

They diagnosed it because suddenly, they had no money in the bank and the bills had not been paid and the credit cards had been run up because their 14 year old daughter had stolen money from her mom to fuel her heroin addiction. Job had to figure out what was going on and that's when he discovered his wife had not been paying the bills.

Job has no money to put his wife in a nursing home. He cares for her, including changing her diapers. She is still strong and frequently violent. After she tears the toilet tank out, he finally tries to put her in a home, which costs, btw, $6,000 a month, an amount that should come as no surprise to any of you who have dealt with any of these kinds of issues.

She kicks out the window of the ambulance transporting her to the home and then assaults an attendant at the home. So they return her to Job.

In the meantime, his daughter is hanging out with gang members. Job goes to her school and calls the police but there is nothing anyone can or will do. He tells her to stay away and she says she will do what she wants. He gets frustrated and slaps her, trying to literally slap some sense into her, and she calls the police. The police come and investigate and make him leave the house for the night but do not press charges because, according to Job, there is no sign of abuse.

"I'm a big guy," he says. "If I had wanted to hurt my child, I could have. I just wanted to get her attention."

Daughter continues to defy dad. Prostitutes herself for heroin. Gets pregnant. He calls police to have her arrested so they will put her into a rehab program.

"'You're killing your own baby,' I told her," Job says.

Other daughter has a five-gallon jar in which she has been saving pennies. Pregnant daughter has the baby and then steals her sister's jar of pennies.

And on and on and on. "I don't know if my daughter is alive or dead," Job says.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

In which Primo claims that his clutter is OK because other people are far, far worse, which is true, but it does not make me any happier, as I think the only acceptable status is no clutter

Primo messaged this photo to me and said, "See? Other people are a lot worse than I am. So my clutter is not so bad. It's OK."

To which I said, "Nope. There is no acceptable level of clutter."

Primo: Yes, there is. You grew up with no clutter and I grew up with almost hoarders. The happy medium is between those two.

Me: No. There is no such thing as a happy medium in this case. There is right and there is wrong and your way is just wrong. No clutter is the only way.

Primo: But I am so much better than my parents!

Me: But you are still wrong.

My house in Memphis where I lived a happy, clutter-free life.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

In which Primo has to adjust the windows at the cottage where we go on vacation

Only we are not on vacation any more, so we are very, very sad. I wish we were the kind of people who can be on vacation all the time. We are not. We are people who have to work.

I think I would be such a better rich trust fund brat than the ones who get hooked on cocaine or make sex tapes that become public. If I didn't have to work for a living and could do whatever I wanted, I would stay totally under the radar. Nobody would know my name, not even for Good Works. Any Good Works I did would be anonymous. Well, donations of money. Good Works done in person are hard to keep anonymous, but I would try. I really hate having my photo taken and can't imagine I would feel any differently about it if I were rich.

The other thing I would do if I were rich would be to spend a lot of time at this cottage, the place we have been going on vacation for several years now. I think I could spend every day of the rest of my life sitting in that sunroom, reading and listening to the waves crash on the shore.

Of course every day, Primo would have to come in after me to adjust the windows. Do you see the difference between the first and second photos?

Monday, November 21, 2016

In which I get Primo to concede that my brother using Too Many Paper Towels! is not the worst thing in the world and I remind him that his parents stayed in our house for nine days in our bedroom and I had to suck it up

Primo was ultra cranky when my brother was here, as I mentioned, but I wanted him to get the heck over it. But, sadly, Primo had already reached Bitch Eating Crackers stage and was not to be reasoned with.

However, he saved his crank for me. He did not show it to my brother. Instead, he whispered to me, when my brother was out of the room, "He's using too many paper towels!"

This was after he had complained that Greg had merely rinsed the spoon he used for adding sugar to his tea instead of scrubbing it with soap and water until he finished singing "Happy Birthday" and that Greg had covered his food with a paper towel instead of using the piece of wax paper that we leave in the microwave and that my brother had no way of knowing about.

Cranky, cranky, cranky.

Let me give you some background.

Greg has not always been a good houseguest. At my mom's, he used to leave his stuff all over and sleep until noon and then make himself something to eat but not get his dishes to the sink. He didn't help make dinner, didn't make his bed, etc., etc., etc. My sister and I would fume, but what are you going to do?

Since then, my brother has gone through an amazing transformation and has become The Best Houseguest In The World.

1. He conformed to our schedule
2. He offered to go to the store to buy milk - with his money - when it looked like we were almost out. We weren't - Primo and I don't go through milk that fast but we love a bargain, so we buy a whole gallon and then freeze it in quart containers. My brother did not know there were frozen quarts in the freezer.
3. He kept all of his stuff out of the guest bathroom.
4. He kept his room (relatively) tidy. (Compared to when he was a kid.)
5. He hung up his towels, which he has always done, but we have had houseguests who left their wet towels on the floor, which made me wonder what on earth? Who does that? In someone else's house?
6. He tried to wash his own dishes but Primo hates how anyone else does dishes.
7. He covered the food he put in the microwave.
8. He offered to take us out to dinner and then he did so.
9. When he and I went to the state fair, he bought half the food we ate.

More background: My mother, God love her, is as much of a control freak as Primo is and likes her dishes washed a certain way, a way that is not how either Primo or I do dishes. If I do dishes at my mom's, I do it her way if she is watching and my way if she is not.

My mom gets anxious if someone else is doing stuff in her kitchen and will correct a person.

I don't like that kind of correction - that feeling that someone's paper towels are more important than I am, so I make a conscious effort in my house to let people do as they will, even if it's not how I like it.

So when Primo complained about the paper towels, I said, "Even if Greg is using too many paper towels - let's say he uses four paper towels a day, that's a total of 16 paper towels for four days. I can live with that."

Primo made grumpy noises.

I continued, "Besides, when your mom and dad were here, they were horrible guests. They stayed nine days in our bedroom and you were working and I was stuck with them! You do not get to complain about my brother, who is an excellent houseguest!"

"You can't talk about my parents! You can't bring them into the discussion! The statute of limitations is done on them," he replied.

"No it isn't!" I said. "They were awful!"

"But they're dead," he answered. "So what they did doesn't count any more."

"It does," I muttered under my breath.

"But I am sorry I have been cranky about your brother," he said. "I am cranky about the election, not about him."

And then he was cordial and chatty with Greg and we all lived happily ever after until Greg left on Tuesday.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

In which my brother visits and it is stressful for Primo because - I think - he has never had a normal adult relationship with a sibling

My brother is here on his way back home after my uncle's memorial fish fry last week. Greg rode up from Texas and is visiting us on the way back.

It is fine with me - but it is an unscheduled, surprise visit.

Which is hard for Primo.

1. Primo hates surprises +
2. He really doesn't like houseguests because he likes doing things His Way and really, so do I - we are both cranky old people who don't want anyone on our lawn +
3. It is the weekend before the primary election. A lot of Primo's friends are running. The primary is what matters because most of these races are in districts where the opposition doesn't even bother to run. If the candidate wins the primary, she runs unopposed in November.


Cranky husband.

Plus Primo is annoyed that Greg is getting his own food. "When T visited," Primo said, "I asked him if he wanted breakfast or lunch and then I made him something."

"Yeah," I said, "but I am not interested in orchestrating or preparing meals for three people. If it's breakfast time and Greg wants something to eat, I am quite happy for him to get what he wants out of the fridge and prepare it himself."

Primo is totally uncomfortable with this and I have been trying to figure out why. I told Greg to help himself to what he wants. I say that to all of our houseguests. But usually, people don't do it. Your siblings, though, will do it.

Primo thinks this is odd.

I do not.

But then I realized that Primo has never had what I consider a normal adult relationship with a sibling. His sister died almost a decade ago and even when she was alive, it was not what anyone would consider a healthy, normal relationship: she would expect Primo to drive her to a bar or someplace where she could buy drugs and then want him to sit in her room with her and listen to heavy metal and get high. He felt guilty about being the healthy, employed child and about living far away from his parents and his sister, so he would grit his teeth and do what she wanted.

He has never stayed with either of his two half brothers, either at their homes or together at Sly and Doris'.

I have stayed with my siblings, both at their homes and at my mom's. Siblings can do things other people can't and you don't think it's weird. I got pissy when Primo's friend from high school started going through our cupboards, but it would not bother me (much) if my brother or sister did it. If they did it, I would just ask what they were looking for so I could help. When Primo's friend did it, I was seething with his violating a boundary that I had not invited him to cross.

BTW, my brother has covered his food before he puts it in the microwave. He has washed his own dishes. He has kept the guest bath tidy and is not leaving his stuff all over the place. He is a good houseguest.

What about you guys? Are the rules different for siblings from regular houseguests?

Thursday, November 17, 2016

In which I find another reason to think that Sly and Doris were Bad Parents

As we are making the bed:

Primo: How do you do that again?

Me: A hospital corner?

Primo: Yes.

Me: Like this.

Primo: You are so much better at this than I am.

Me: Well I've been doing it since I was a little kid.

Primo: That explains it.

Me: Wait. When did you start making your bed?

Primo: College.


Primo: What?


Primo: Yes.

Me: In. Cred. Ible.

Primo: I had to do other chores!

Me: Uh huh.

Primo: I had to help with the dishes.

Me: But your mom. Made your bed. Every. Morning.

Primo: Yes.

Me: That? Is pathetic.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

In which I take a cooking class with some friends and the instructor tells us the cake we are making is perfect for when unexpected guests arrive and I ask why on earth would anyone want to encourage and reward that kind of behavior

Really - why would you reward people for showing up unexpectedly at your house?

I don't mind cooking and baking things to take to a sick friend, but I can drop stuff off and not have to socialize.

If the doorbell rings and I'm not expecting anyone, I ignore it.

Doesn't everyone?

In which Smithsonian magazine will not stop sending us stuff for Doris, even though Primo called them a year ago to tell them she had died and to remove her from their list and even though I have emailed them several times since then to tell them that she is still dead

Fw: Doris Smithsonian mailings - she is still dead (No subject)
Tue 4:36 PM
Doris has not come back from the dead. She is still dead. Still ashes. Still not ordering product. It is safe to say, I think, that she will never order from you again. If you wish to keep wasting money by sending your catalog to her at my address, that's up to you, but I do not buy stuff.


From: golddigger
Sent: Thursday, April 7, 2016 11:36 AM
Subject: FW: Doris Smithsonian mailings
Hi. Doris is still dead. :)

Please remove her from all your mailing lists.


Subject: RE: Doris subscription <<#2209211-#>>
Date: Wed, 28 Oct 2015 17:22:50 -0400

Thank you for contacting Smithsonian.
I'm happy to help you.
We're sorry to hear that you wish to cancel your subscription, however we have canceled your subscription as requested.
We are processing a refund of $39.00 for the unmailed issues. Please allow three to four weeks to receive the refund.  
Because our mailing labels are preprinted, you may receive one or two more issues. Please discard them or share them with a friend. Again, we are sorry that you are canceling and hope that you will consider ordering with us in the future.
We appreciate this opportunity to be of service.
Thank you for supporting Smithsonian.

--- Original Message ---
From: golddigger
10/24/15 6:32:06 PM EDT
To: ""
Subject: Doris subscription

Please cancel Doris' subscription to Smithsonian magazine. She died in May.

You have her in your system now as
[golddigger's address, because of course they continued to send her stuff despite Primo's call and when Primo put in the address change for Sly and Doris to direct their mail to our house, although the water bill did not get sent to us because that cannot be forwarded, every single piece of junk mail has made it our way because they all get the address change notification.]


------ Please do not remove your unique tracking number! ------
<< #2209211-#>>

Sunday, November 13, 2016

In which we attend my uncle's memorial service, which is a fish fry at the lake, and nobody starts a eulogy with the hesitant phrase, "He could be difficult," and I am not even the one who says that out loud - it is Primo

My uncle died. He was 81. We went to the memorial service, which was a fish fry at my aunt and uncle's lake place. There were about 150 people there. There was a ton of food - my cousins fried fish and got some BBQ and then of course people brought food.

The only formal aspect of the event, which lasted all afternoon (because it takes a while to eat all those rhubarb bars)(the event, not the formal part), was when my cousin's husband spoke, reading the stories that my eight cousins had written about their father.

Not one single story started with, "He could be difficult." Instead, they all mentioned what a happy person my uncle was and how much he loved his family.

It was what a memorial service should be.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

In which Primo is reminded that yes, indeed, the tree placed the apple exactly where it wanted it to be as the tree's siblings nodded approvingly

Saturday afternoon, as we are driving to my uncle's memorial fish fry. My sister, brother in law, and aunt are flying into [big city three hours from the fish fry] and driving to [the fish fry] together.
Primo: Where are Jennifer and Matthew staying?
Me: At Angie's.
Primo: Where is your aunt Mary staying?
Me: I don't know.
Primo: What if she's staying at your aunt Rita's?
Me: OK.
Primo: But then someone will have to drive her to [where aunt Rita lives]! That's an hour away!
Me: OK.
Primo: But what if she wants us to do it?
Me: I can promise you that she already has everything arranged. She would not fly from Colorado to [big city] and then drive to [fish fry] without a plan. You do not need to worry about surprise requests. [Engineers hate surprises.]
Primo: I know you are like that. I didn't know your aunt would be like that.
Me: We are ALL like that.

LikeShow more reactions
16Mary Ann, Dana and 14 others
Amanda  Does he not know how the johnson genes work?!
UnlikeReply2August 2 at 3:08pm
Golddigger  Amanda, you would think he would. He has heard the story of my former boyfriend Ian meeting my mom, aunt Mary, and my sister. After Ian met everyone, he said, "Now I understand you. Not only did the apple not fall far from the tree, the tree placed the apple exactly where it wanted it."
LikeReply4August 2 at 3:33pm

Write a reply...

Matt  Perhaps you are looking at this from the wrong angle - what does that say about Primo's family?
LikeReplyAugust 2 at 6:56pm
Golddigger  Matt, I am so lucky to have such a wonderful family with welcoming aunts, uncles, and cousins who have been nothing but lovely to my husband. 
LikeReply3August 2 at 6:58pm

Write a reply...

Mary Ann  Primo and everyone can stop worrying about me. I got there and back home. Thank you Jennifer  and Matthew  for the ride to and from [big city]. It helped me so much! I appreciate how good everyone is to me.
UnlikeReply2August 4 at 12:40am
Golddigger  Mary, we would have been happy to give you a ride. Primo just likes to know what's going on.  Which you know. 
LikeReplyAugust 4 at 6:23am
Mary Ann  Golddigger, I know you would have. I like to know all the details are covered, too, even when I don't need to worry about them. I get that!
LikeReplyAugust 4 at 9:36am

Here's what I wanted to say to my cousin Matt, who is not to be confused with my brother in law Matthew:

Yes! You have hit the nail on the head. This is not about our family at all but about Primo's horrible parents and brother Ted, who expected Primo to take care of them. 

What I was really saying here was not so much that I have a great family, which I do - Primo is always commenting how nice everyone is to him, even though their political and religious beliefs are pretty much 180 degrees opposite of his, but that Primo's parents were horrible to me.

But you don't write that in a public forum under your own name. That's tacky.

You write it anonymously on your blog. That's not tacky.