It's only now sinking in that Obama actually won.
I read about the DC Obama office opening on U Street at the end of September. Their focus was on Virginia, since DC has always been three of the safest electoral votes Obama ever had. I hate making phone calls so when I read that they needed people to do data entry, I jumped at it. And the timing of the Jewish holidays was great - they were all during the week so I got a bunch of extra days off. So I spent about 7-9 hours a day volunteering on the weekends and holidays. The office had two paid staff and many volunteers, including several that were pretty much volunteering full time. There were a lot of students or recent grads and retirees. There was even a guy from Australia visiting DC who wanted to help out.
The office set up larger satellite offices for phone banking. I spent last weekend at the phone bank at the Natl. Education Association at 16th and M. I was answering questions and collecting call lists and tally sheets (every time a volunteer placed a call, they made a tally mark). The tallies needed to be reported to Chicago three times a day and I was the main person adding up all the tallies. At one point we were so busy and there were so many tally sheets I was counting for about 1 1/2 hours straight. It was incredible to see how many people came out to volunteer. Then at the end of the day, the info from the call sheets had to be data entered back at the main office. At the end of Sunday, about 10-12 of us were doing data entry til 3am Monday morning. I kept thinking about how Rep. Hayes (R-NC) said that liberals hate America. Yeah, we were working 18+ hours because we hate this country. Happily, Hayes LOST his re-election bid.
Monday I helped out with a few things at the main office and then went to another satellite office at he Warehouse Theater across from the convention center. There was a steady stream of people through out the day. At one point a woman came in that I thought might be an actress I'd seen on TV - someone else asked her and it turns out I was right.
After the rally, I did yet more data entry til 3am. Others were there even later and had to be back by very early and probably got almost no sleep.
I spent all of Tuesday at the Warehouse phone bank. I think a lot of people took Election Day off because there were many many people making phone calls. That day they ended up calling people in Virginia, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Colorado and New Mexico - all of which Obama won. A guy came in wearing an Uncle Sam suit with a lot Obama buttons and stickers and a sign saying "Uncle Sam wants you to vote for Obama." The day turned rainy and I worried about how that would affect turnout. I tried to stay offline and not hear anything about turnout or exit polls. But starting at 7pm, I was refreshing CNN's web page constantly. Around 8pm we got a call that Obama had won Pennsylvania, but CNN didn't show that for awhile. I knew that if Obama won Pennsylvania, it would be very difficult for McCain to win. I started letting myself feel optimistic then.
There was a big party at the Madison hotel for local Dem bigwigs - Fenty and Holmes Norton were there (I didn't see them). I was with some of the other volunteers in a bar off the lobby when CNN projected Obama the winner - the place went nuts. It was pretty awesome. DC was a very happy town that night. Lots of people honking their car horns and yelling. A bunch of people gathered at the White House to celebrate - I kind of wish I had gone down there since the hotel isn't far from the White House. But I saw a lot of people celebrating as I headed home after I was finally able to get a cab. The Wednesday Washington Post was completely sold out and then people waited in line for hours to get a special commemorative edition that came out in the afternoon (I was able to pick one up this morning).
I still haven't caught up on my sleep but I'm glad that I was able to play my tiny little part in this whole thing. Congrats to everyone who helped turn Virginia blue, including Sheila, John, Rachel, Tony, Chris, Ryan, Rob, Courtney, Ashlea, Renee, Charles and many many more.