Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Fa la la la la

Yesterday, I am not sure I moved from one spot for... hmmm... it was a long time. I probably got up to go to the bathroom. I half a bagel before I went outside, and took coffee with me, which cooled every time I tried to get a new cuppa going, before I could drink it. At some point, my friend John brought me a mocha. About ten minutes after he left, Jeremy showed up with some Red Bull (which he consumed eventually, 9 hours later, when I had left it untouched).

I admit that I was chainsmoking. In fact, I would periodically reach for my cigarette, discover that none were lit, and light another one. And so it went.

Actually submitting a federal grant is something else. Weeks ahead of time, you have to register with the granting agency. Then, you have to get all kinds of confidential numbers and passwords from your university saying that you are, in fact, allowed to submit grants on their behalf. Fortunately, I did all that weeks ago. In fact, I scared a few people in the business office by emailing them and asking them for our Tax ID information, LOL. I could almost hear the collective whiplash as they tried to figure out who I was and how I dared ask for it, all the down the street at my house. I don't have a lot of time to try to figure out the appropriate protocol, and they called all the right people, so it all got figured out.

So, last night, I fill out all of the treacherous application forms, attached the right attachments, and breathlessly hit the "Save and Submit" button. I got email confirmation of its receipt... and then it was bounced right back to me. Claiming that I was not an Authorized Organization Representative. WHAT?????

So, I went and retrieved all of the emails saying I WAS, and logged into the website, and then got on the phone with those poor people who are fielding calls all night from panicked, pissed off, and fatigued people like me. There was one more stupid button I had to press on that damn website, and then I was in. I had to close out of the grant (panic time) and then re-open and re-submit it.

While I was on the phone with them, THREE PEOPLE were calling me and two texting AT THE SAME TIME. It was very chaotic, but that is that.

Then, I poured some Bushmills Black and just sat in the studio with Talia, Jeremy, and Dereck for hours, watching first a Cindy Lauper DVD and then a Deathcab for Cutie DVD, and I started crocheting.

My dad called me this morning while I was just lying in bed thinking about how tired I was. He laughed and told me that I now know why the median number of federal applications that ANYONE submits is ONE. They never want to go through that again. I can understand it, but it was also kind of a high. I felt like I had just given birth to a baby that I never want to see again.

I have another grant due in January. This one is 15 pages, as opposed to the 71-page application I just turned in.

So. Christmas. I hear there's a holiday coming up. We have no tree yet (today?), but we do have very pretty blue lights up outside, and some myriad holiday decorations put up, no thanks to me. The kids (I have great kids) readily admitted around early November that there wasn't anything they particularly needed or wanted for Christmas. At least, not like previous years when they have had very specific wants. So, we told them that we were imposing a $40 budget per person on the holiday. So, if they could think of things that fell in that price range, good. If not, then they'd take what they got. So, Christmas this year is comprised of all sorts of books, a couple of videos and computer games, and two down comforters. Damn. Need to get a hooded sweatshirt, but there is still time. I don't think my kids read this blog yet, but they can be pretty savvy, so I won't mention anything that they don't already have a strong sense about.

It's nice, particularly as the children get older and nobody believes in Santa anymore (oh the trauma, but last year was our first Santa-free Christmas, and apart from the flu that felled us all, it was fine). This allows us to focus on the true spirit of Christmas: the FOOD! Oh my god. I have baking to do, but this house is bursting at the seams with things like camembert, spiked egg nogg, Bailey's, crackers, sharp cheddar, lox, bagels, and whatnot. Even though I didn't eat anything yesterday except that half bagel in the morning and then a broiled bagel at 2:00 a.m. with camembert on it, I am deeply appreciative of the holiday goodness abounding in this house. If it weren't raining today, I would probably try to go running, too. But it is, so I won't.

It's unbelievable how I still have this nagging feeling that there is something I am supposed to be doing, but nope. Nothing. Nothing that I don't want to do.

This afternoon, we are going to take the kids to the grocery store and let them get stuff to donate to the Humane Society, and then we will take it out there. We were thinking about getting a real tree, but we have a fake one in our attic (two, actually), and it's raining...

I found out this morning that my friend John will be here for Christmas. His travel plans have been curtailed by the weather. Chris will be here too. I am unbelievably excited-- I feel like my family just told me they would be home for Christmas. I hadn't planned to go to Mass because I'm lazy and nobody but me really likes it, but John and I will go at Midnight. I really do love high church at Christmas-- though, I don't think anything could really compete with Orthodoxy, especially the monks at St. Tikhon's monastery near Dereck's parents' place. That link takes you to a slide show-- it's certainly very beautiful, in a very old and sort of dead space, dusty sort of way compared to the modern, show-offy glitz I saw in the Mormons' Nauvoo temple. Their imported chandeliers and persian rugs pissed me off-- there is so much suffering in the world, and you are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on THAT? I remember going off on a rant about it to my mother several years ago when she innocently asked me what I thought of my tour of the temple... (If you are playing catch up and new to Jen's blogs, I was raised Mormon, and my parents live in Zion Utah).

I should go now. It's nice to see my kids again after being a virtual mole in the studio for the past ten days. Merry two days before Christmas.


  1. Hey, I've been to Zion, Utah! Haha.

    Glad to see you writing stuff again. :)

  2. Dude? Do not read my Twitter stream or my FB stream right now. I'm all crazied up on the subject of smoking right now. And it ain't pretty. *smoosh*