Saturday, November 08, 2008

Cleaning for the Cleaning Lady

I've never understood it. "Must clean up. The cleaning lady comes tomorrow."

Now I have one, and I do the same thing.

No. I don't CLEAN clean. But we do tidy up. We only do that so we'll know where everything is after she's left!

Don't get me wrong. She and her daughter do a fantastic job. They have made our lives so much easier, even on the weeks when they don't come. We just do a little vacuuming and bathroom cleaning every other weekend and we're done! We leave the dusting and the detail stuff to them.

But? They move stuff. Not far, mind you. Just around. On the same table most of the time. But when you are used to having the earbuds in the same place on the dresser, it can be a little frustrating groping around for them in the dark! Consequently, we've taken to short of shifting things a bit before they come. Most the time everything is fine.

I think Bear, though, should consider organizing his toys before they come. He leaves them scattered all over and so our ladies scoop them up and toss them in the wood box next to the fireplace before they vacuum. The wood box is just a little bit too high for Bear, so he ends up hanging his head over the edge and whining until someone can get his toys out for him. I know how he feels. When I'm groping for my earbuds at 5 freakin' o'clock in the morning, I feel like whining too!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Heart Attack-yak-yak

A poll manager had a heart attack yesterday. His wife was working the poll too. He wouldn't let her go to the hospital with him. One of the other election technicians took over his poll for a few hours and I covered the tech's precincts. My own are much smaller and a bit more self-sufficient. By the end of the night the wife said he was still in ER and waiting for a room. Apparently he has multiple health problems. She seemed pretty calm about the whole thing.

Considering the extremely high turnout, and how slow the machines were, and how complicated the ballots were (3 confusing amendments), we managed to get our very large precincts closed fairly quickly. I don't think we had any in Indian Land that stayed open more than an hour past closing time.

We had some good poll watchers this time, too. I have always thought that most of the poll watchers were kind of useless. They tend to sit in a chair and sort of glare or look grumpy at the workers...almost as if they don't trust us to do what's right. Then they will run out like a shot as soon as the doors are closed for the day, not sticking around to see us shut down the machines. Most of the time they are not there when we open in the morning either. It seems like they just like to periodically check the books and that's it.

But last night we had a poll watcher at the precinct that I was closing and she stayed right to the bitter end. She watched us close the polls and then noted the numbers on the tally tape. I commented to her that I was pleased she stayed. We chatted about the closing it all works and why we do the steps we do. If poll watchers are wanting to watch the process for irregularities, the time to watch is opening and closing. The sketchiest moments in the polls are when you are getting everything open and closed. That's where security breaches can occur. I've not seen it happen, but it can. Seals can be broken, data cards could be mis-handled... all manner of things.

I did run into one poll watcher that I wanted to shove. I was relieving someone at the book so he could take a lunch break. This watcher was sitting right at my elbow, noting each name I checked and marking them off on a list. She has the right to do that, but the manager of that precinct, in my opinion, should not have allowed her to sit right there. She should have just been allowed to periodically check the book against her list. She was sitting so close that every time she moved in her chair, it would vibrate mine. I felt like elbowing her in the chops. And if I were a voter, I would have objected to her checking my name.

So it's all over and for the first time we have an African-American President. I think this is going to be cool. I didn't vote for him, but I'll certainly be giving him the most benefit of the doubt. Frankly, I'm more concerned about Biden and Nancy Pelosi anyway.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Hatin' on Waitin'

"We need more voting machines!"
"Why doesn't this county buy more voting machines?"

That's what I've been hearing all day. I'm taking a brief break at home to check email, make coffee, and pop some bennies Tylenol.

It's been a pretty smooth day here today. It started out a little hectic with a machine that froze up for some reason. After I reset it with my handy dandy paperclip, it worked fine. Then we had a few minutes' trouble getting a zero tape to run. And of course there was that whole Daylight Savings Time thing that the Great State of South Carolina seemed to have forgotten about. Yup. We had to reset the clocks on most of the machines. But all the precincts opened on time and the lines that had started forming at 6 a.m. were slowly beginning to move.

We have one pollworker in my home precinct that must have been a traffic cop in a former life. She's a lovely southern woman with a commanding but pleasant personality. She can organize 200 people in a heartbeat and keep smiling the entire time. She is never out of sorts by complaining or rude people. Margaret Wilson is a real gem. I don't know how long she's been working the polls, but she always has the hardest job...getting people in line and staying in line, and keeping them as comfortable as possible.

I spent a few hours just going around to my precincts and then visiting a couple of extra ones. I stayed in my home precinct the longest, just chatting up voters (my neighbors) and my bff Rena, who happened to get a seat right next to my preacher and her husband. So we visited for a good long bit.

The wait has been about 2 1/2 hours. Not bad. I mean, think about it: This weekend some early voters in neighboring Mecklenburg County waited 4 hours to vote. Most people are pretty even-keeled about the wait.But we do get a lot of complaints about there not being enough machines. The fact of the matter is that the machines are expensive and it's not worth it to buy so many more for one day every four years. People need to learn to just slow down and calm down. The problem is that we are so used to be able to do everything quickly that we are spoiled.

Back to the polls! And then I'll come home to soak in the tub and watch the returns.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

All Saints

Originally uploaded by Food Fanatic
Ok. I admit I had very low expectations for my shots at the annual All Saint Remembrance at our church. So that's why I didn't really spend the time on this that I should have. If I'd been thinking that this might actually turn out, I probably would have closed the aperture down just a little bit to bring more of the flowers into focus. I think the blurry ones in the front are a bit distracting.

I hate low-light photography.

But I also hate extreme bright light photography, like the shoot I did yesterday at close to high noon. I had a few of those turn out, too. It was the annual Boy Scout stew and yard sale. All I can say is Thank Goodness for Camera RAW processing!

So other than that, it's been a quiet weekend. Lots of lying around wasting time. A little paperwork, some phone calls, and lot of ignoring of robo-calls. I've cast my vote by absentee (I'm working the polls again on Tuesday), so for me the election day thrill of voting is already over.