So, I was all set to write a blog post about weight gain/loss friendly clothing but I was waylaid. If you read my last post, then you most likely caught my voting faux pas.
It’s all about the stretch–but I’ll continue this in a few days from now!
I’ll refresh your memory and if you didn’t read the last blog post, I’ll explain.
Bonaparte and I received Vote-by-Mail Ballots. Apparently during the last local election, I requested a mail-in ballot and that request grandfathered over into this Presidential election. Bonaparte made his request specifically for this election.
When the ballots arrived, I showed little interest. It was because my plan was to get up early on the morning of November 3, make sure my iPhone was fully-charged so that I could play Candy Crush on the long line that was anticipated while sitting my ever-expanding derrière in a folding chair that I had planned to store in the trunk of my car the night before.
Let’s add masks, and coats and possibly umbrellas if the weather is rainy, people social distancing and me, sitting on a chair playing Candy Crush. It’s not the greatest scenario!
Voting in person was very important to me because I don’t trust the post office and I don’t trust the Republican contingent and their slithering ways to suppress voters. I vowed to stand sit in line all day if need be.
But something happened. My husband, in his very French way, explained to me that I was no longer 25 or 30 years old. He went on to remind me that our demographic is susceptible to Covid and that I want to be well to see my future grandson! (Yes! Oona and Sam are having a boy—I’ll be writing another post about it).
This is the age I imagine me to be…
Whereas this is the age I am.
He had me at grandson. And so, I had a change of heart and decided that perhaps voting by mail would not be such a bad thing after all.
Our plan was to drive to the drop box behind City Hall and the Courthouse in Norristown, the political epicenter of Montgomery County, PA. We would do it Saturday (this past) morning. The drop box hours for Saturday were 11 AM through 4 PM. And we would get there early—after all, that’s what old people do. They arrive way early for any event at any given time—provided it is at least an hour before opening.
Yeah. It’s like we older people hav nothing better to do than arrive early. Oh wait! We can entertain the crowds!
I added the address to my WAZE app on my iPhone well in advance and I was getting very excited.
WAZE is the freakin’ bomb! It warns you of police ahead, automobile accidents, traffic backups and you can listen to music on Spotify while navigating!
On Friday, the evening before we were to drop our ballots off, Bonaparte made copies of the ballots and whilst enjoying our aperitifs of Kir Royals, we completed our pretend ballots. It was like being back in school and doing homework. I was ecstatic at this point.
Very classy Friday evening. Voter practice with a drink in my hand!
When I fell asleep, I had visions of dropping my ballot off and being such a proud American citizen—and a senior one at that, to bring my beloved country back on track! I imagined myself as Lady Liberty—or Marianne leading the French Revolution—but only in America!
Well, at least the flag’s colors are the same! And a bra is needed but you get the gist of my dream! It was ME leading the new revolution! The Suburban Housewife revolution!
Saturday morning arrived and I awoke with the hope and glory that only one does when they look forward to doing their civic duty. I got dressed, even wore makeup and picked out a “good” wig! And I hummed Neil Diamond’s “America” as I skipped down the stairs to the dining room.
Yes! Neil Diamond’s “America” is the story of my immigrant grandparents. I sing of thee Neil. I sing of thee!
Bonaparte was already waiting for me. He had the ballots at the table. Two black pens and both the secure envelopes and the envelopes everything went in were laid out nicely and in order.
Before I go further, let me explain something to you. At work, I’m uber-organized. Everything in my cubicle is placed for efficiency. I’m not kidding either. I can be blindfolded and still manage to hand anyone a document they may need because I’ve placed every piece of paper, every form and document and packet in such a way that I don’t even need to see where they are.
I kid you not. My cubicle is incredibly organized the placement of every document in for better efficiency!
I have a raffle-sized wheel of certified stickers for mailing and I’ve memorized every number that is needed with the exception of the last four as they are different on each individual sticker.
I have memorized every number on my roll of certified mail stickers with the exception of the changing last four. This is not normal behavior and I realize that!
Managers have expressed their fascination with my organized little cubicle world. I have checklists for every process and typewritten notes for procedures. My cubicle is my happy place and during the pandemic it became my second home!
You need to know this to be completely flummoxed when I explain what happened next.
To fully understand just how complex the Pennsylvania mail ballot is, please read this article by Claire Sasko (who also took the photo): The Pennsylvania Mail In Ballot
I filled out my “real” ballot. I carefully signed my name to the outside envelope, dated it, printed my name. The ballot was sealed and I was ready to go.
And then Bonaparte spotted something. It was the “secure” envelope that the ballot was supposed to be placed into. It was on the table. In front of where I sat. It was empty.
I forgot to place the ballot into the secure envelope and then into the envelope I completed.
A little vignette of what went down at Chateau Lartigue!
In a mad rush, and shaking more than Joe Cocker ever did, I tore open the envelope without a thought of what I was doing. The envelope was destroyed. And I stood there shocked. I screwed up.
To be honest, I was beside myself and started to cry. The tears were because I felt that I failed my America. This is the most important election of my lifetime. I am voting for the spirit of my sister, Beth Ann who died many years ago. Had she lived, she would have been severely disabled both mentally and physically. The present president made fun of her publicly when he made fun of the disabled at a rally. It was filmed for all to see. I was voting for the spirit of my grandfather who fought in WWI and for my own brother who passed because as a military man, the present president referred to these men in my life and others as “losers and suckers”. And the list goes on.
And like Gloria and Angela–the WOMANVOTE will count more than ever!
We drove in silence to the drop box in Norristown. I knew my husband wasn’t very pleased with me but I felt a bit better when he said in his heavy French accent, “Casseeee, we weeel see eef we can mek zis behtahr” “We weeel find out if zayhr can be somzing zat can be done”
We arrived at the juror parking lot where the drop box was placed. A short line, of mostly senior citizens, had begun. Luckily the weather was on our side and we got out to stand in the line while the sun warmed us. A police van was parked at one end with it’s lights flashing and a uniformed woman made her way to the drop box. It was very eventful!
TBH, Montgomery County did a good job with the Drop Box locations! The hours are posted–too bad the process of voting via mail is not as clear and concise
When Bonaparte walked up to drop his ballot off, I was with him. I explained my situation to the woman and she cheerfully told me that all I needed to do was to go to Voter Services on Monday morning and everything would be taken care of.
And that’s what I did. My alarm was set for 5 AM. You know, I’m old now so I live to wake up at dawn to be where I need to be unnecessarily early. I got dressed, put makeup on, put another “good “wig on, had my coffee, grabbed my damaged ballot and envelopes, placed them in my purse, made sure I had ID and Bonaparte, ever the trooper, drove me to Voter Services. The reason for his driving? I wouldn’t have to feed quarters into the parking meter because who knew how long I would be there.
Now here is where it gets frustrating; there’s a ton of construction going on at the government buildings in Norristown. There was no sign or indication of where voter services were. I went to the Court House. It was closed—and although it was 7:30 in the morning, there were no signs anywhere. I walked around the building to no opened doors. I passed a man who appeared to be working in the area and asked him where voter services was.
He was so nice! He told me where to go and he accompanied me to the building. A line of about six people had already started. Some people were registering to vote and another couple did the same thing I did! It felt good to know I wasn’t alone in my error!
Moments later a security guard came out and led us inside. For a fleeting moment I felt as though I was back at the airport going through the TSA area. My purse was placed on the conveyer belt and I had to go through the security gate while the guard hovered one of those wands over my body!
It was all very organized as we were led to elevators to the second floor and only two people were allowed in the elevators at a time. We were led into a room where we had to fill out forms for our particular instance. The form was given to me to complete—it was for a mailing envelope.
Here’s the room where I waited while my error was corrected. I’ll tell you, it took no time at all. Then again, I did get there early in the day!
After completing, I asked the staff member if I would receive the new envelope in time to mail in or drop the ballot off. When she told me a new envelope would be processed within fifteen minutes, I almost passed out!
The best part was the everyone who was in the room, whether they were registering to vote or whether they were correcting an error, was engaging with each other. It was great!
And I received my new envelope with my new secure envelope. I sat in a private area to stuff the completed ballot into the secure envelope and into the envelope which I completed with my personal information and date.
And on my way out, I was able to drop my ballot off in the drop box.
I voted for the 2020 Presidential Election! I am one proud American!