28 September 2008

Grant Hell: Coda

The Training Grant Adventure from Hell is over. Fucking finally.

I didn't think we were going to make it when I got to work on Friday at 6:30 AM.

I didn't think we were going to make it at 12:00 PM when we were still missing 3 biosketches.

I didn't think we were going to make it at 4:00 PM when we still didn't have the signature page.

I didn't think we were going to make it at 5:00 PM when Boss Lady LEFT to go pick up her son and attend his piano concert. (Nope. She didn't come back.)

And I really, really didn't think we were going to make it at 7:15 when we were still making copies and only had 15 minutes to get them assembled and downstairs to the FedEx drop-box.

But we did and it's gone: signed, sealed, and will be delivered Monday morning by FedEx.

And then I almost had to kill someone.

Because after I had run downstairs to the FedEx box and dropped off the boxes with the proposal inside, I came back to my computer - at 7:30 PM, mind you - and found this email in my Inbox:

Bethanie, if you have not already sent the proposal, please hold. Boss Lady might want to add another paragraph. Signed, -Other Chinese Person on the Proposal

My jaw hit the floor. I blinked very rapidly, certain I was seeing things. I was not.

And so I wrote back: Sorry. Just dropped it off. And I hit send, shut my computer off and went the fuck home to see my kids for the first time that day.

I found the lolcat below just now and it about perfectly sums up how I felt about that email:

more animals


26 September 2008



My bank failed this morning.

Not a good way to start Grant Submission Hell-Day. Does not bode well. Not at all, really.


Where IS my coffee and when can I have another one please?!??


25 September 2008

Start the Countdown, Ensign...

Tomorrow is Doomsday.... er.... I mean, Grant Submission Day. Yeah... um, same thing.


I've been at it since 6 AM this morning and now we're approaching 11 PM and, even though I shockingly only had ONE coffee this morning, I am SO AMPED, I can already tell that I'm never going to get to sleep in time to get any kind of rest before the alarm goes off at 5 AM Friday and the race to beat the FedEx guy starts....

I'd use this time to do some fun fiction writing, but I've been typing for, like, 16 hours straight and my damn hands are about to fall off....

I suppose it's not helping matters I'm listening to death metal....

*collapses on floor in fits of giggles*

Yeah. It's that fun.

Don't you wish you could do this for a living, too?

OK, I'm off to bed now. Really.

*more giggles*


24 September 2008

Pirate Ship Party Sandwiches

So last week, Ms. Six's after school program had a Pirate Party on Friday afternoon. I signed up to make sandwiches, thinking I would surely find something clever and pirate-y online and not have to think too hard about being clever myself.

Well, I seached. And I searched. And I searched.

And Google failed me.

Nothing! I found exactly nothing - nothing pirate ship-ish, nothing really all that pirate-y even. (OK, there was one "pirate sandwich" that involved bologna and olives, which caused it to be immediately vetoed, so it doesn't count.)

So there I was - Thursday afternoon and desperate - wandering around the grocery store with NO IDEA what I was going to do. I had turkey in the cart. I had cheese in the cart. I had Ms. Baby in the cart starting to get cranky and very bored with her third trip through the bread aisle.

I had just about given up on the whole Clever Idea thing and resigned myself to Wonder Bread (*gags*) --- when I saw them!! A bag of tiny, tiny little dinner rolls...

After that it was merely a matter of cocktail toothpicks and skull-and-crossbone images pirated (*wink, wink*) off the Internet....

And so I present for your partying pleasure:

Pirate Ship Party Sandwiches!

23 September 2008

Oooo... Pretty Colors....

Yes. I've lost it. In case you were wondering.

But the Special Hell known as The Training Grant will soon be over. On Friday, we'll make 6 or 7 copies of all 350+ pages of that fucker and FedEx 5 plus the original off to Washington or Baltimore or wherever-it's-going and It. Will. Be. Over.

And I can't wait.

But in the meantime, I thought I'd share the pretty chart I made to keep track of all the people we needed to get stuff from and whether on not we'd asked for it, got it, initialized it, modified it, finalized it and obtained the hard copy.

See the pretty chart? Ooooo.... Colors.... And yes, they all mean something.

Friday has never seemed a sweeter word.


20 September 2008

NaNo Dillemma-ness

I don't really want to do NaNo this year.

Really, I don't.

I have too much going on. Someone will get sick. An unplanned grant is sure to appear out of nowhere and be due in the middle of the month. My family is coming here for Turkey Day.

Reasons against abound.

But it's NaNo's 10th anniversary. Seems like a shame to miss it.

And while I was washing dishes a bit ago, I got this totally wicked idea. A deadline would be a really good thing for it, right?




17 September 2008

Oh, Brilliant

Gas prices are shooting for the moon.

Wall Street is crumbling into the sea.

A hurricane has scoured whole towns off the map

My freakin' mortgage company appears to be next.

It's just rumors at this point, but um... just what are you supposed to DO if the bank holding your mortgage does the dead fish routine??

Do I keep paying them if they've filed for Chapter 11? Am I allowed to get irritated if they get bought out by somebody?

Probably not, but it would be - literally - the FIFTH time my mortgage has been handed off to somebody else since we bought the house two years ago. I was just getting used to them! After they held onto to the note for a whole year, I finally broke down and got set up to pay them online. I actually trusted them that much!

And they repay me like this?

Great. Fabulous.



16 September 2008

Hell and Her Hounds

Rain pounds the rocks. They are slick, trecherous. The only moon in the sky this time of night is Hell, and even She and Her Hounds are hiding.

A hand appears over the edge of the precipice. Stark white, waterlogged, it scrabbles for a hold on anything at all. Its owner doesn't seem to notice when it is cut to the bone by a bit of rock.

Wheezing and panting with fear, a small, wretched form pulls up onto a tiny ledge. No telling whether it is man or woman, it makes for a crack in the cliff that rams into the ledge. There it huddles, gasping, shivering, praying for the storm to pass, the rain to cease, morning to come.

This is how I feel right now. Beat to a pulp mentally and physically (even though I was chained here in front of my computer all day and hardly moved).

I do not like Training Grants. I do not like them, Sam I Am.

Seriously. Somebody just shoot me.



09 September 2008

Stairwells: A Rant

I just got back from a little jaunt around the Gorgeous Office Building (GOB) where my little department of FPU is located. I took my little jaunt in the interests of NOT taking part in the general obesity epidemic that appears to be sweeping much of the developed world - i.e., I got off my fat ass and got some exercise - and in the spirit of getting some exercise, I also took the stairs - up and down - instead of the elevator.

Well. Lemme tell ya. GOB has some seriously uninspirational stairwells.

They're narrow. They're kinda stuffy. Some walls are painted, some are not. There's carpet here, but not over there. There's graffiti in spots. Not the sort of place that makes you want to come back.

Not that this is news to me - I take the stairs all the time (well, down, anyway...), so I'm pretty familiar with their uninviting nature. And really, how much can one expect from a stairwell?

However, it occurred to me as I was out jaunting around GOB - which is so very pretty on the outside - that in light of the fact that most people who work in pretty office buildings sit on their asses (fat or otherwise) for most of the day, wouldn't it be in the interest of public health to encourage people to take the stairs so they increase the amount of exercise they're getting and decrease their personal contribution to the obesity epidemic?

The sorry state of the stairwells is not helping this cause.

Why not make the stairs a place one would actually want to be? Why not make them pretty, like the rest of the building? Why not make them interesting? Why not make them spiral or weave or soar over a pretty atrium with plants and a waterfall? Why not sprinkle them with lovely landings here and there, with trendy couches and chairs and poofs, so people will actually want to visit them? Why not make them a destination in their own right?

OK, OK - this is pie in the sky, sure, and stairwells serve other purposes, such as acting as a tornado shelter, a fact I am intimately familiar with, having spent several hours in one last spring as a very violent storm screamed by outside.... So GOBs will always have to have those interior, uninspiring stairwells.

But still.

Why not make a pretty set of stairs an option, at least?

It just might help. Ya never know.


06 September 2008

Pizza. From Scratch.

Yup. Got a bee in my bonnet for homemade pizza. Homemade stuffed crust pizza.

The girls had cheese:

The Husband had pepperoni and mushroom:

I had Everything:

Yup. It don't get no better than that.


05 September 2008

Grant Hell: A New Nightmare

And just when I thought things were going so well...

I've got a pretty good handle on the grant thing by now.

  • R01's? I can do 'em in my sleep.
  • K series? A few extra details, but no big deal.
  • DOD-BCRP? Details galore, so they're a pain in the ass, but I've done enough of them by now that I know how to head off the worst of their gremlins.

And, really, I knew better than to believe Boss Lady when she told me in July that the endometrial cancer grant was the last one for the year. I did. And sure enough, we're submitting TWO this month. (TWO!!)

But she managed to blindside me anyway. With a monstrous beast known as a Training Grant.

It is colossal. It has fangs. It has teeth. It is due on the 29th.

This means I will be eating, sleeping, dreaming, breathing Training Grant for the next 3 weeks.

Oh, the happiness. Oh, the joy. Oh, the glory of offering myself up as a sacrifice to such beasts.



04 September 2008

Vampire Red

Call me juvenile. Call me an adolescent throwback. Call me having a mid-life crisis.

I don't care. I did it anyway.

Yes, yes - I went to Manic Panic. I ordered Vampire Red hair dye.

I just can't stand it anymore.

There are too many rules here. Too much "clean your desk off, we have Important People visiting the office tomorrow". Too much wear the right clothes, wear the right shoes, drive the right car, toe the line, be on time, smile pretty, be polite and helpful and pleasant to everyone, especially the people who deserve it least.

I've had enough.

I must rebel.

I must.


03 September 2008

Lab Rat

I almost was one. I was this close: ||.

But then I thought I should probably tell them that Ms. Baby is still breastfeeding (yes, she just turned two and yes, she's still breastfeeding and no, I don't plan to wean her until she's good and ready. so there. :D) and as it turns out, breastfeeding women do not make good endometrial tissue sample donors.

Bummer. Bigtime, 'cuz they would have paid me $200/sample and I could have donated up to six samples, and that would have covered the launch of my freelance medical editing gig very nicely. With room to spare, probably.

OK, I would have earned that $200 every single time, because I don't think endometrial tissue donation is, like, a really pleasant experience, involving as it does a speculum up your wa-zoo and dilation of your cervix... But hey - I survived two labors with no meds, so I think I probably could have hacked it. I mean, really, how long can it take? Not more than 10 minutes, 15 tops. Piece o' cake.

Anyway, I must now re-think how I'm going to finance the 'big ticket item' - the website. It's essential, given that most of my clients will have to find me via the Internet and I know better than to fart around and slap some half-assed, ill-thought-out, 'temporary' site together.

I've been there. I've done that. It ain't worth it.

You just end up doing it all over again. So I'm not going there. I do, however, need something up and running in time for the AMWA conference in October.

I suppose I could dip into my savings. I hate to. But it might be necessary...