I Messed Up the First Attempt, But the Second Was a Charm-Making the Vote Count!

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.

Democratic Voters Surge in Texas Primary, Waiting in Long Lines as  Officials Struggle to Keep Up

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.

keep me posted

Well…not anymore!

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.

dance GIF

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 Audio Player Opens Worldwide | by Waze | Waze | Medium


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!

Liberty Leading the People,' an Important French Revolution Painting

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.

TTBBM Neil Diamond - America Song #MondayMemories | Neil diamond, Diamond,  America

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.

The New Office Casual and Some Inspiration from Adam Ant | Atypical 60

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!


About Catherine

Far from perfect, but enjoying life as a non-perfect and flawed individual at 60 years young. I'm still wondering what I'll be when I grow up! The characters in my life's screenplay include my better half. He is a refined Frenchman who grew up in Paris and summered in St. Tropez. I grew up in Long Island and summered in Long Island. I am not refined. My three grown children are also a big part of my life. For their sake, they happily live where their careers have taken them! But I can still mother them from a distance! I write about the mundane. I write about deeply shallow issues. But whatever I write or muse about--it'll always be a bit on the humorous and positive side! It's all good!
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41 Responses to I Messed Up the First Attempt, But the Second Was a Charm-Making the Vote Count!

  1. Patty Herron says:

    Awesome! So glad you got to vote!!!!!!! Crazy times! Love your story telling! 😘

  2. cgcopy says:

    Way to go!

  3. Sharon Daly says:

    Good for you! Many voters have been frustrated by the complexity of the process this year. I hope they will all follow your excellent example, go to the Election Bureau in their county, and get a replacement ballot or envelope so their votes will count.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Sharon. NOTHING would stop me from voting in THIS election! It really took no time to correct the issue and when tracked, my vote has been received and registered. PA, or at least the area surrounding Philly, really has it down pat! Sadly, too many voters give up but that’s what the thing in the white house wants….. XOXOXOXOXO

  4. Thank you for taking the time to redo it. Sh*t happens to all of us. But you made it good and you know every vote counts. So thank you

    • Catherine says:

      Sandy, you are most welcome! It’s very important to all of us. I’ll never forget 2016. A certain FaceBook group of “Fierce” women was started by a woman who is constantly pontificating woman power–be fierce. blah blah blah. SHE NEVER VOTED IN 2016 BECAUSE SHE DIDN’T LIKE HILLARY! So basically, this “empowering” woman voted for trump. I left the group and it’s a reason why I shy away from so many social media groupings. I’ll never forget that. What a hypocrite. I remain true to my beliefs! XOXOXOXOXO

  5. suth2 says:

    Wow! You have certainly gone that extra mile to make sure your vote counts. I sincerely hope your country gets the result that you want.

  6. Joan Brown says:

    Thank you for voting. You are right, this is the most important election of our lifetime – so many lives depend on it!

  7. Suzi says:

    You made me laugh and cry at the same time. Thank you for being so real and open!

  8. Lois says:

    Good for you! My husband and I filled in our ballots & delivered them to the drop box outside our little city hall. You’re so right; this is the most important election of our lives. Our very democracy is at risk. Everyone must vote like their lives depend on it- because they do!!

    On another note- Catherine, I’m grateful you haven’t given into the darkness and will continue your blog. I know that darkness well and it’s insidious ways. This whole of 2020 has been so, well, so unremittingly awful! As much as the blog helps you- know that your readers benefit from your unique perspective and humor.

    • Catherine says:

      Thank you so much Lois! Oh has this year been dark and hopefully a new presidential turn over will be that light we so need right now! XOXOXO And thank you for your support–it’s important to me! XOXOXOXO

  9. Joni says:

    That was interesting Catherine. I’ve never actually seen a US voting ballot before. It does look complex.

    • Catherine says:

      Joni. It’s nuts because I showed you the Pennsylvania ballot. Every state is different. Not very United if you ask me. Voting should be on a federal level and not state level. Too many cooks and too many republicans trying to run the show! XOXOXOXO

      • Joni says:

        To me it’s a simple choice between sanity and insanity, so I’m praying that things will go well and Biden will win by a landslide. As a Canadian, I find it nerve-racking just watching the news. so I can’t imagine how Americans must feel as Nov. 3 approaches. There are no Trump supporters here in Canada, at least none that I know…

      • Catherine says:

        Joni. Its sickening with that thing. I hate him. Truly. I have never abhored a human the way I do trump. He is the epitome of evil along with Barr and McConnell. I pray to God that our government turns into a true democracy! XOXOXO

  10. Bonnie says:

    Persistence pays off – with the help of that darling Bonaparte I love your story telling. You are truly talented. Can’t wait for that grandchild to arrive

  11. Mary says:

    Thank you,Catherine, for going to such trouble to rectify your ‘vote’ error. This election is not only important for America but also for the whole world. You are a true citizen!

  12. Vava says:

    Good for you! Out here in Oregon, we’ve been voting by mail for over 20 years. It’s been so convenient, that’s for sure. I’ve never mailed the ballots back in though since the election office is just 6 blocks from our house. It’s always been a good excuse to go for a walk and drop them off in person. This year was the first time I’ve seen a line, it was pretty great to see people voting as soon as they could. Now, I’m keeping my fingers crossed about the outcome. I want the Orange Cheeto REMOVED from the Oval Office. If that is the outcome of the election, then the lame duck session will no doubt be filled with anxiety. Hoping our country can finally get back on track. These have been troubled waters, for sure.

    • Catherine says:

      Vava, I hear you loud and clear. This was the first time voting by mail–or rather drop box for me and I’ll do it again and again. My anxiety level is off the charts. I can’t even look at that sack o’ shit. Bonaparte is now programmed to turn the channel every time that dog filth appears on the screen! I didn’t even watch the last debate because his voice is enough to make me sick! XOXOXOXOXO

  13. Donna says:

    Yay..Woohoo…way to go! Sent mine in a couple weeks ago! Your sentiments are the same as mine & my husbands!! We want to see our America return to the semblance of civility, empathy,kindness, inclusion, and justice for all…that we grew up experiencing! I want our grandchildren to have a role model in office that exemplifies all of the above! Wishing you much joy as you await the birth of your grandson❤️ Nothing better than a little ones hug and smile.

    • Catherine says:

      Thank you so much Donna! Right? For me it isn’t really about policy as much as it is in having a strong, truthful, kind and empathetic leader. Even if Biden becomes president, he’ll be facing an idiotic Republican congess unless McConnell, Graham and the like are also ousted! It will be a beautiful day if we get a semblance of civility back again! XOXOXOXOXO

  14. Juliet says:

    Glad you got to vote – it is not only our right to vote, it is an important civic duty – we should feel it is an obligation that we must carry out. And as women we owe to to our foremothers to vote as they were denied for so long

    • Catherine says:

      Exactly Juliet! It is a privilege and should be made easier for people to do. Election day should be a national holiday and Mail-in should be the new normal. I want that thing out of the white house so badly……XOXOXOXO

  15. marsha calhoun says:

    I am so proud of you. And proud that we have Americans who will go to such lengths to make sure that their vote is counted. I almost feel optimistic, but I won’t let myself just yet. Still, I’m darn proud of you!

    • Catherine says:

      Thank you Marsha! I am not optimistic yet. I still think back to 2016 but perhaps more people who want that thing out of the white house WILL go out and vote! And vote him out. I plan to spend election night going to sleep early. I cannot bear to watch the returns. And don’t forget, if our man wins, the thing in the white house and his nazi thugs will do everything within the course of two months to further make the USA delve deeper into shit! XOXOXOXO

  16. Kari Angson says:

    Nevertheless, she persisted! So glad your efforts paid off. Thank you for continuing to blog. I’ve enjoyed reading your entries and was getting a bit concerned when they began to taper off in recent months. The shelter-in-place restrictions and anxiety about the election are getting to a lot of us. We must stay strong, together. And congratulations on the cataract surgery; I was delighted with my outcome, too.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Kari! Thank you so much! Persistence counts! Anxiety seems to be the new normal–doesn’t it? Ohhhh my eyes have never been better it’s incredible. I’m only wearing cheap readers while I’m at the computer! It’s crazy! XOXOXOXO

  17. Liz McGarry says:

    I’m glad you had such a good experience and that you posted about it. We see all the horror stories about long lines and voter suppression and intimidation, it’s good to read about the system working. Thanks, Cathe.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Liz. Yeah. I want people to know that you CAN overcome voter supression. Actually, the only thing I regret by not voting in person is that I can’t get into any confrontations. And I’m ready. XOXOXOXOXOXO

  18. Knowing how I am which is a lot like yourself as far as the feeling of slamming your locked car door shut seeing your keys or purse but doing it anyways I filled out my at home ballot which was my first one ever with his watchful eye to make sure I didn’t screw it up and it worked! I’m sorry you had to go to the xtra trouble but happy it all worked out in the end.

    • Catherine says:

      YESSSSSSSSSSS! Sheryl! I think we women are going to be the big force in this election! I am so glad that you did not make the same error that I did!

  19. Jacqui G. says:

    Just want to say how happy (to say the least) that Joe Biden has won. But I must also say that I am horrified by how so many people voted for DT. Not that I’m any happier in my own country, I’m in Scotland, and was equally horrified by how many UK voters went for the Conservative party and Boris Johnson. I’m not inclined towards Scottish independence for lots of reasons, but can totally accept why others are. But anyway, enough of that, you must be a very happy woman right now, enjoy the victory x

    • Catherine says:

      Jacqui. My husband, my daughter, my son-in-law and my sons have been asking the same question. HOW did Shitler receive that many votes? I’ll tell you why. Because those are the Americans who are racist. They are the ones who feel the government “owes” them and failed to entitle them. Many are wealthy who adore Shitler’s tax breaks. But for the most part, it’s the people who live in ramshakle huts with broken appliances strewn across their lawn, with eyeglasses held together with medical tape, no teeth and no job who feel Shitler is their man–meanwhile he has not done a thing to get these morons out of their squalor! XOXOXOXO

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