This episode follows exactly where the last one took off. Not knowing exactly who was in charge, I just stood out in the waiting room until someone saw me. Seconds later, I was hauling boxes of food and water outside to a van that was headed to Cedar Rapids. Then I went through Caucus training, and canvassing training, and then we went to the real building.
You see, up to that point I was only in Storm headquarters: the place where the weekend warriors are checking in and learning about phone banking and canvassing. The REAL Iowa for Dean headquarters is just half a block down on Locust Street, and this place was shaking!
There are probably 300 staff members, interns and volunteers working around the clock in Des Moines HQ, mostly on phones. They have hundreds of phones set up, and when those run out, they have boxes of cell phones too. We were just getting the orientation on the phones when two people ran up and they asked if anyone would be able to help with a spreadsheet program. Of course I raised my hand.
She then took me into the bowels of Iowa Dean HQ, and I have to say, what a mission control center. The equipment is all second-hand and set up with no aesthetic sense whatsoever, but the people there were so ON. It was like a NASA mission to have so many determined and dedicated people buzzing around, really getting stuff done.
One phone banker, Josh, was just pounding out the calls, and he had his routine down so well that he often received applause from the other callers.
I solved the spreadsheet problem in quick order and the staffer was so pleased that she brought me into a discussion on a larger database question. But when I told the Stormer staff person about this development, she protested greatly saying, "But you're one of mine!"
Ah, to be wanted.
I then walked the quiet evening streets of Des Moines to find dinner. This capital city is about as quiet as downtown Eugene at 9 p.m., although there are a few more high-rise office buildings. The Quizno's on Locust Street (the main street) was already closed, but I found refuge in a Dominos.
I then made a few "unlimited minutes" cell phone calls (I am really liking this thing) and got back to Storm HQ in time to get the ride out to "camp."
Now, when they told me that I was going to be going to the group housing "camp," I imagined some kind of conference center where we would be in a carpeted hall of some kind. Nope. We're stationed in what would be a Boy Scout campground, complete with bunk beds and a bathroom 100 feet up the snowy lawn. Luckily the heater is going full blast all night long.
Well, lights just went out so I better power down and hit the sack. Because tomorrow is going to be one big day.