The best times in life are often unscripted..

It is snowing here in New Jersey this evening. We got to leave work early today due to the inclement weather. That was nice. We had a power outage this morning at work and also lost the internet and phones for a short while. I guess the patch job that was done might have a few kinks to be worked out. The linemen will have months more of work after Sandy. My MIL got her power back on yesterday around 5 pm.  She was without power for eight days.  She lives in one of the most densely populated parts of Ocean County. Just imagine how much longer she might have waited if she lived out in the sticks. Yes, there really are “out in the sticks” areas in New Jersey. NJ is not just what you see driving down the turnpike or the parkway.

I forgot to mention that Monday night was the official Halloween Day in NJ. The governor postponed Halloween last week due to the damage from Sandy.  We had many, probably an average year, trick or treaters visit our house. I heard the night ended early. I was of course, off playing lacrosse in the dark.

Tuesday (yesterday) was: A. My DW’s birthday and B. Election Day 2012. Let’s tackle Election Day first. I worked the election again this year. We had to be on site at 5:15 am and ready to rock by 6 am. The polls closed at 8 pm. Then we have to break down the voting machines and do all the “stuff” that ensures that the votes are protected and delivered to the municipal clerk for tabulation. That makes for an easy 15 hour day.  We were busy.  There were 30 or more people that rushed in at 6 am to vote. And the waves of voters kept coming all day.  I worked with a good group of people. We had fun, but I was pretty beat by the end of the night.

After the election was over, my DW and I went out for some wings and a beer (or two). The beer was medicinal. My back was sore and the beer made that problem go away.  At the bar we had a beer and a cider and toasted my DW’s birthday. I’m sorry to say, due to my being at the polling place all day, I did not have a good party planned for her. I will do better next time (or maybe this weekend). While we were sitting at the bar, the bar started to fill up with 20 somethings and a musician started playing music that was appropriate for their age.

The group next to us, four girls and one guy we out celebrating his 25 th birthday. We congratulated him and toasted his and my DW’s birthdays.  A little while later one of the girls went up to the musician requested Happy Birthday. So, everybody in the bar sang to this guy and my DW. I spoke to the girlfriend of the birthday boy and gave her 20 dollars towards his birthday bar bill. She was driving last night. A few minutes later they bought two shots of something they called “Birthday Cake”. A shot and a slice of lemon coated in sugar.

My DW and the birthday boy did their shot and then sucked on the lemon. Everybody laughed and smiled. The bar by now was packed and quite noisy. We, the old people, figured it was time to go home so when we left we congratulated the birthday boys once more and he gave my DW a hug. It was a pretty cool, spontaneous night. We figured a beer and some wings and wound up with a birthday party. Unscripted.

Pictures, pictures. Here are a picture of the snow on my way home from work. Enjoy!

Namaste

Snow in Wall, NJ

Thoughts on being a poll worker for post 133..

Today I worked for the Ocean County Board of Elections. I don’t remember taking any oath of secrecy or signing any non-disclosure agreements.  That means I can share with you some thoughts on my first day working as a poll worker. First and foremost, in Ocean County for this election, the polls were open from 6 am to 8 pm. Thos means you need to show up at the polling place no later than 5:15 am. Polls can not close before 8 pm. We were out of the building by 8:20 after dealing with the paperwork and closing up the district. The pay, here for this election, was 200.00 flat rate for the day. You get a one hour break.

Most of the poll workers I met today ( not the county people in charge of making sure we did our job) were retired. I was probably one of maybe four people in the building working that was of an age less than the retirement age. The oldest person I met working was 82 years old. The oldest voter that I dealt with was born in 1916. Yikes!  In the district where I worked there are approximately 1024 registered voters. Today, 149 of them showed up to vote.  That works out to about 14.5 percent voter turnout. There may have been write-in ballots that we are not privy to. But not enough to bring that percentage up to something respectable.

I started out in one district. After about two hours one of the county poll workers stopped by each district to check in and make sure that things were working out and going ok. At this point Mrs. Rules informed the county poll worker that their district (not the one I was in, a different one) had three Democrats and no Republican. This is a major no-no. So after a few phone calls the poll worker asks me to leave my first district and join the district without a Republican.  I agreed. What’s the difference, same room just twenty feet closer to the door. The district I left now had three people. They had 52 more people come and vote with them.

My new group of poll workers included two (I made three) newbies and Mrs. Rules (a veteran poll worker). Mrs. Rules wanted to be in charge. We were all new, so in charge of the pond she was. The pond reference is from Yertle The Turtle by Dr. Seuss. The day went fine, boring. I mean boring. I saw and said hello to some of the people I knew.  As we got closer to the 8 pm closing time, the other four districts in the room start slowly putting things away, small things that don’t really add or subtract from the voting experience. Signs and stuff , the machines, the books and all the necessary parts needed to hold an election were being left intact. Mrs. Rules would not let us touch anything until 8 pm. We even discussed the time. My Verizon phone said 8 pm, here ATT phone said 7:59, so we waited about ten seconds for her time to change.

In retrospect, an hour post-election employment, would I do it again?  I think so. Hopefully I will get a more moderate person to work with. And not being the newbie, it will be less show and tell for me. I understood the job and did it well. I just did not know what to expect at the next turn or voter. Should you do it? Why not. It gives you a whole different insight into the electorial process. Bring a book, a cushion for you chair, the charger for your phone, and coffee and food in the morning and during the day is quite acceptable.

There are a few more stores, but not for tonight.  I leave you with a picture taken In June, 2008 on my birthday. Everybody sing!

Namaste

Me, DS1 and DS2 @ my birthday 2008