Bloggy Silence

I realize that an unusually long silence has fallen over this blog in the last week or so. I’ve got nothing to say for myself there …other than… shit happens in the last week before a grant is due. Usually, A LOT of shit happens during that week.  Perhaps I can tell you a little story with a happy ending.

Yesterday I had a very unexpected, odd, and wonderful experience. I’ve been pushing myself very hard at work in the last week finishing the A2.  Because that’s just some of the shit that happens… right… in the last week before the thing is due. I’d been in my office until 1 am three nights out of the last 7. I developed a sinus infection, which- if you’ve ever had a bad one you know- makes you feel like your face is hot, swollen, and ready to explode off your head at any minute. I lost my voice. My collaborator remarked that I sounded terrible (which was true, and I felt equally awful) on the phone on Monday. I knew I had to be done with the grant on Tuesday- and remarked in return that if I could do 24 hours of labor for childbirth (which, if I recall was back labor because my older daughter was born face up- read PAINFUL), I could manage sinus infection+grant for the duration … <24 hours.

And I did, I held myself up in the chair, medicated myself to the max, gritted my teeth and Got.It.Done. (For the uninitiated- don’t try this at home.)  As we were exchanging final drafts yesterday- remarking that you really know when a grant is finished by how you want to throw up every time you read it there towards the end… I still had the inserting and sizing of the figures, checking the final draft and printing of the PDFs (to send on to our grants administrators who actually do the submitting) to get done. But, the end was in sight- and I knew I really only had about 45 or so minutes left.

Then, my office phone rang. Nobody I know calls me on my office phone… and when it rings it’s usually all wrong numbers. But I answered it anyway.

Good thing I did, because it was my program officer calling. I am to fill out the Just-In-Time paperwork for not one, but BOTH of my scored grants. Immediately. I know it sounds crazy- but I don’t think I was appropriately excited about this yesterday- I was just too bone dead tired to be excited.  But today, I kinda feel like this:



23 thoughts on “Bloggy Silence

  1. Yay! Yay!
    (Scored grant means that she wasn’t eliminated from being potentially considered for funding. Sending Just In Time information means that she might get the money. It’s not a sure thing, but it’s definitely cause for hope and optimism.)

  2. Am crossing all fingers and toes for you to get the money!!!! Now go have a martini….

  3. Thanks guys. We’re not out of the woods yet, but it is a good thing when the program officer makes the effort to call.

    Neurolover- Thanks for making the translation up there – I can’t allow myself publicly to even write those words yet. There is reason for optimism but I am very cautious.

    I’ll leave you with my favorite comment from the summary statement of the new submission:

    ‘While the panel expresses some minor differences about bla bla bla, it expresses unanimity in judging this proposal as being devoid of obvious weaknesses’.

    Now THAT made my day.

  4. You (obviously) deserve much medication. And alcohol :-).

    [The odds that you’re being asked for JIT paperwork on grants that are *not* being funded… well, I would be planning on what I needed to buy.]

  5. Ewan- Yes, like the entire medicine cabinet. You know it’s strange though- last night when I actually had the chance to go to bed at a reasonable hour and get a complete night of sleep – I had insomnia.

    Go figure.

    One more comment to all of you. You’ve no idea how all of your collective pseudonymous cheerleading (and non-pseudonymous for some of you) in this particular area has helped me keep the momentum going. I owe you all a big thank you!!

  6. Cheerleading or not, YOU are the one that kept the hammer down doubledoc. Great job, way to keep those grants going out and way to keep your science in play. YOU were the one who got yourself into position for someone to notice your great ideas when the situation finally was such that they could do something about it. Now, with a little luck, your favorite I or C will do something about it! w00t, indeed.

  7. Hey, sorry I’ve been away so long. Congrats on the scores…that’s truly awesome! And I hope you’re feeling better too. BTW, I think a friend of mine may have interviewed for a position where you are recently. She mentioned she had computer problems and I noticed you wrote something about checking presentations before giving talks…. I may have to email you about this!

  8. That is great news! It makes me feel less shitty about starting my lab when I can see that somebody who cares and works hard does win sometimes!

  9. Mad Hatter- WHERE have you been? Are you OK?? I was worried. I feel a lot less worried about you now that you have re-surfaced. Send me an email about your friend.

    Pinus- I try to learn from the people around me, I try to teach the best I know how, I try to help people in need. I have faith in the system, but I recognize that it has flaws. I try to learn these flaws and figure out how to get around them/through them/over them, whatever. At the end of the day- the grants are not the prize- they are the means to the prize- which for me is to get to do the science that I am invested in. I know that you know this- you wouldn’t be starting your own lab if you didn’t.

    DM- I know that, of course, and it is the science that drives me. I can’t underestimate the value of a great support system though.

  10. Ditto to what DM said. I think he’s trying to point out that although we are very happy to use our words to support, you did the work, and that you should never forget that, and imagine that “luck” was the root of your success.

  11. DrdrA,

    I agree grants are but a battle in the grand war we call scientific discovery. A battle that must be won from time to time if we want to continue to wage this war.

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