Thursday, September 5, 2013

Deadline number 1*

* Written on Aug. 30th, 2013.

Dear friends, I am done.  I defeated the deadline #1 by an entire hour, a bit of encouragement in order?

The cost though is that I had almost fainted early in the morning.  It's the first time that I felt this way following an overnight non-stop working.  I took it as a warning sign as I had many no-sleep nights before yet somehow I was able to manage those sleepless nights well.  Sometimes I even felt better with more energy the very next day following a short night.

But this morning was very different, so different that I thought I was dying and it was scary.  As dying was not part of the plan, I dealt with such dying feeling with a bit of grace.  First, I made sure that my office window curtains were all pulled down to block the rising sunlight.  Second, I spread a piece of cloth on the floor to make a little bed that was big enough to contain the top half of my up-body.  Finally, I drop dead on the piece of cloth.

Yes, I crashed on the office floor...

...for merely about 30 min.

Then the phone rang.  It was Fabrice, "Did I wake you, I am sorry.  I am at Au Bon Pain, do you want me to bring you some croissant, coffee, or whatever?"

(Just before I was dead, I'd called him to let him know where I was.  He could have guessed it but I liked to inform him anyways.  The man only discovered that I was not in the same house with him when I called!)

If any of you have experienced a condition called BPPV (benign paroxysmal positional vertigo) before, you would definitely know that food is the thing that you want the least while the world is spinning around you.  So I thanked him for his attentiveness and then went back to my computer screen.  When I found that it took me at least 3x longer to find a correct reference from a list of papers showing up on my "EndNote" searching engine, I knew I had to get up to activate my clock genes.

So I opened up all the curtains to let in the sunlight that immediately activated all my circadian genes and fooled my brain cells into believing that I had a whole night sleep.  And then I splashed some cold water to my face to wash of my tiredness.  Finally I brewed some fresh tea so that the caffeine could fuse into my bloodstream.

Then I felt fresh and anew.

Happily I sat back in front of my computer and completed all the remaining task, that included putting in all the references, drawing the last figure, and writing 2 forms of summary in both technical and lay languages...

Finally, it came to the time to submit the grant.  I was going to do that all by myself but my grant manager attentively took over the important task and provided me a stress-free service.  She even went extra miles to proofread the few paragraphs that I wrote when I was a zombie - I did not know I still need to write those important statements before I went down to see her.

Now the grant is in and I am happy.  I am happy not because that I think the grant will be found worthy of investing.  I am happy because I am alive.

Sometimes one's basic need is all that matters.  I don't need to be called a professor, but I do need to be called a mom.

Just for the record, I am happy to be alive also because that I overcame another difficulty early in the morning.  I almost died of driving this morning.

Remember that Fabrice and I usually car-pool to work?  In order to let him have the car with our parking decal, I took our little beetle that we use only on weekends.  It is usually parked outside of our garage under a big tree.  Since we had been out of the country and the car had been left alone for a half of a summer long, it has gotten very dirty.  What's annoyed me was the "dirts" could not be cleaned away!  I did not know how bad it was until this morning when I drove it and could see nothing in front of me.  I tried to drive it anyway since the distance between our house and my office is only 5-min.

However, as soon as I got on the main road, cars kept coming.  Tons of them.  I had to make a stop to wipe the windshield.  Unfortunately, the more I wiped, the messier it became.  Then I got back in the drive seat and drove another few blocks slowly.  The closer I got, the more cars and even people I met.  They were all walking/driving towards me.  It was then I realized that we had a big football game on campus and those people just finished the game and walking/driving home!!!

And they mostly were drunk!

So I had to make another stop.  This time, I parked the car in front of a church.  I tried to get in to get some water but I could not.  The doors were all locked.  Luckily I had some good quality of paper towels in the purse so I could use them to wipe the glass.  But no matter how hard I tried, I could only spread the dirty stuff ON the glass, not OFF it.  At the end, I made lots of white streaks on my windshield.  I had to give up, because I finished all the paper towels and both of my hands were covered by some sort of sticky and oily materials!

It was then I realized that those stuff I was trying to wipe off was wax, which must have been falling from the tree under which we usually parked our car!

Anyway, when I got back to my driver's seat, I rolled down my window and stuck my head out so that I could watch where I was going.  You can imagine how slow I was driving!  The police who was directing the traffic had to come to rush me, "Go, go, go!"  He said to me with his hand pointing to the right.  I was giving right turn signal but I could not drive an inch.  It was so hard to see the other way while my head was sticking out from my driver's window!

Fortunately, that was the last 10 meters that I had to drive on the road.  So as soon as I drove inside the parking lot, I parked the car at the first spot that I could locate and it stayed there illegally at the area for patients and visitors to our hospital/school.
Let's hope I will deal with the second deadline better!

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