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West Side Stories

A Tosa resident for almost 20 years, Karen is a mom and freelance writer, addicted to playing tennis. When not on the tennis court, she spends the fall and winter in the stands at Green Bay Packer and Marquette basketball games.

Karen is the author of “Grab a Bite,” a dining out column and the former community columnist for the Wauwatosa NOW newspaper.

It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing.

Politics

Came home last night to this phone message:

"Hi. This is Clint Eastwood. REALLY."

I don't know Clint and he doesn't know me. Of course, he may be close to one of our many empty chairs, but I have yet to grant them phone privileges.

No, Clint's call, of course, is just one of the many, many, MANY calls that most of us registered Wisconsin voters have been receiving. Yes folks, we are fortunate to live in a swing state, which means that our vote matters and our phones are ringing off the hook.

My husband and I have an empty nest, which means that, normally, our home phone never rings. Lately, it rings constantly. I've found that they are especially fond of calling during the dinner hour. Thankfully, some genius invented Caller ID and I've mastered the art of the look, ignore and disconnect. It allows me to identify the caller as political, let the robo-call start their pitch and then happily hang up on them. Try it, it's very satisfyling.

Along with the robo-calls are the constant, undying commercials. Is there anyone, ANYWHERE in Wisconsin that is actually listening to these ads anymore? When I work out, I usually listen to music, but sometimes I turn on the TV, mute the sound and read the captions. I've quickly figured out how to tell who is being skewered in a TV ad - it's whichever candidate is shown in a blurry or unflattering photo. Boom.

Wisconsin is such a sports-loving state that this election feels like a World Series, a Super Bowl and an NBA Final (as if that will ever happen here) all rolled into one...only worse...we're cheering (sometimes) against our friends and neighbors.

I prefer to keep my voting preferences fairly private, although I will tell you that our house (if you include our children) is a bit divided which has resulted in some fairly entertaining exchanges.

At this point in the election - just days before - my level of apathy and election exhaustion are rising fast, which is why it's probably a good thing that I voted early. This is the first time that I've ever done it and I must say, I kind of like it. I can tune out the political dissonance and say: "Too late. My vote is cast." I will miss the excitement of standing in line on Tuesday at Wauwatosa City Hall, feeling all patriotic. But I know that I've exercised my right to vote which means I get to exercise my right to complain. That's my rule: If you don't vote, you can't complain.

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