Our campaign email was just closed down. Now you’ll never get to see my cool campaign signature.
I canceled my campaign phone line yesterday. I’ll never again have to hear that really annoying ring tone that I couldn’t be bothered to change.
It’s kind of a weird feeling.
On the bright side, now I can do things like have a social life (Thanks for the games last night, Spendloves! In fact, thanks for being the only family on the planet who will still speak to me after playing games with me.), cook actual meals for my children, and catch up on my blogstalking. I even considered balancing my checking account yesterday, but wisely decided against it.
Since Bitsy has miraculously fallen asleep on the floor at my feet after I spent nearly an hour trying to get her to fall asleep in an actual bed, and since I’ve finally come to the sad, sad realization that the professional pics from Election Night will never be posted and it’s probably only a matter of time before Mike’s election website gets taken down, I should probably finish the story. So here we go with one last post from my life as a political housewife.
Election Day 2010
If you’ll recall, the James family had just suffered through a bout of the most epic stomach flu evar, and we were still feeling pretty wonky as the sun came up. I was supposed to be at the office bright and early for a photo op, but I just couldn’t bring myself to leave my poor, ailing kidlets for something so silly. So I called in and made my apologies, excused all of the munchkins from school for a second day, and set about trying to find something they could eat for breakfast. I was not successful.
I then headed out to a honk and wave in Orem. We were all exhausted. Everyone in the campaign had been up until the wee hours of the morning putting up “vote today” signs near all the polling locations, and sick kids or no sick kids, no one had gotten very much sleep for the past few weeks. At one point a volunteer came up to me and laughed. “Jennifer, I know you’re tired, but you’re holding that sign upside down.” Oops.
I was supposed to go to two more honk and waves, but didn’t want to leave the sickies home all alone and defenseless, so I begged out and headed for…Kneaders, where I picked up a gallon of chicken noodle soup and a loaf of warm bread. This was a very sad moment for me. There is nothing that my offspring love more than my homemade chicken noodle soup when they are sick, and I didn’t have time to make it for them. I felt lower than gutter slime. The kidlets tried to put on brave faces as they sampled their faux-homemade soup, but Jakob summed it all up with sad little eyes as he blinked up at me and said, “Mommy, this doesn’t taste right.” That sound you just heard? Was my heart breaking just a tiny bit.
It was time to get all glammed up for the partay up North. I do not glam up well. I am not a glam person. But I tried, I really did. Since my hair is pretty much completely one hundred percent hopeless, I turned to Sarah for some help. And ran into a little problem.
This is Sarah:
It took her all of 30 seconds to get her hair to do that. I am not kidding. The child has perfect hair. It will do anything she wants it to do with very little effort or hair product.
My hair, however, is still as unruly as hair can possibly be. When Sarah of the perfect hair began to style it, I knew we were in trouble. She was trying to style it like one would style ordinary hair. My hair does not style like ordinary hair. My hair does not style at all. After working on it for almost TWO HOURS, it looked pretty awful. Don’t blame Sarah, she tried her best. But…it was just…bad. And there was no more time to try to fix it.
So maybe I’m actually pretty glad that the professional pics never showed up.
Hair tragedy still in full swing, I headed up to the pre-pre-party meeting/dinner pow-wow with the staff. We gathered together in Mike’s hotel suite, where once again he thanked us all for being his friends (tear!) and then asked me to give the final prayer and bless the food. He. Asked. Me. To. Give. The. Prayer.
Now, in private, I have no problem with praying. I pray regularly. For instance, I prayed a lot while I was riding my riding my four-wheeler down the cliffs of doom. Meanwhile Heavenly Father was laughing and saying, “There’s only so much I can do.” But I’m still alive, so it must have worked. Because I am definitely not still here as a result of my mad stunt riding skillz.
But praying in public – that’s really not my thing. I dread being called on to pray in church. I can speak in church, I can teach lessons, I can even lead the music, which is saying something since I can’t carry a tune in a bucket, but saying a decent prayer is a skill that I just don’t have. And there I was, being asked to say the culminating prayer of the entire campaign. If I had known that Mike would ever call on me to pray, I would have campaigned for Sam Granato. (Kidding! Mostly.) I wanted to die. But I couldn’t die, because that would have caused even more drama. So I sputtered and stammered out a spectacularly lame blessing on the food and tried to run and hide behind a vase as soon as it was over.
Luckily, the food was YUMMY, and we were all starving, so I’m guessing that my epic failure of a prayer was soon forgotten. After two days of fighting nausea, I finally felt like eating and made a total pig of myself. Mike was nervously cracking jokes. Word on the street was that the race would be called early, so we did some last minute shuffling of the schedule, changed into our fancy party outfits, and headed downstairs to the VIP party.
(Um, yeah. I’m not sure why I look like an alien in this picture. I mean, I know I looked bad, but I didn’t think I looked that bad.)
This was my favorite part of the night, because I absolutely adored all of our VIPs. I loved hearing war stories from all over that state and seeing the excitement on everyone’s faces. I loved being in a room with that much enthusiasm. I loved the fact that no one was calling on me to pray. I did not love having to do a staff picture in front of everyone.
(Again, we don’t normally have alien eyes. I think it was because of all the the flashes. Professional pictures, where are you?!?!)
Then it was time for the regular party to begin. Holy ginormous crowds of people, Batman! That many Republicans should not be allowed in the same building. And the reporters – they were everywhere. I had a bit of a blonde moment when I was talking to one of the candidate’s wives while he was doing an interview. I was so involved in our conversation that I didn’t hear the cheer from the crowd as he finished. The cameras followed him as he turned around and ran into a very startled me, who was just beginning to realize that all cameras were pointed on us. I panicked. I froze. He extended his hand. I looked at him in sheer terror. I finally came to my senses and squeaked out an awkward, “Congratulations.” (I had no idea just how awkward it was at the time, because he ended up losing.) The camera man was rolling his eyes in disgust. It was not my finest moment.
(Do you see that eeevil man at the far right? That’s Mike Swenson. Don’t be fooled by his innocent looks.)
The race was indeed called early – just minutes after the polls closed. Mike had won by a landslide. We scrambled up on stage, Mike gave his acceptance speech, and the party was back on! More shmoozing, more claustrophobia, and finally it was time for our very own private campaign party.
We all headed back up to Mike’s suite, one family at a time, hoping that no one would miss us. Most of us crashed on the first chair we could find, but Mike was PUMPED. He did a jig. Literally. And then made plans to toilet paper the enemy camp. (Don’t worry, we didn’t do it.) There were still several important races going on, so the mighty laptop was consulted periodically, but mostly we were just….happy.
And then, the gifts came out. I would tell you what happened next, but then I’d have to kill you. Just take my word for it when I tell you that I’m not sure I’ve ever laughed so hard in my entire life. Ah, Greg and Doug, what would we do without you?
(Chillin’ in the suite. Mike is behind the vase, telling us about the time he drank raw milk. Seriously.)
And now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to cook dinner. I think I’ll make chicken noodle soup.