February 12, 2008

"Issue" Defined

It's amazing how many phone calls/emails I got when I posted last and mentioned an "issue" that had me all worked up.

For those that were around last February, you might remember this and this...Well, it was that time of year again. The grant didn't get funded last year and the same opportunity reopened the first of the year for applications. We agreed to give it the 'ole college try and revamp the proposal according to reviewer suggestions and resubmit it for try #2. I pushed as hard as I feasibly could to not work on it again this year. Not after the struggles I had last year trying to get responses/cooperation from my collaborators. Especially since the decision was reached 16 days before the application was due into the USDA. This meant I had about 10 days to get it completed and into the departmental office for review/approval.

I did it. I worked insane hours yet again and dealt with horrible response times from those I was working with. I averaged 2-3 hours of sleep a night and lived on massive amounts of caffeine. It was due into the USDA on Friday, February 1st at 5pm EST but had to be submitted (after approval) by an office on campus. Tuesday of that week I had it into my department contact. Wednesday she had all of the departmental and college signatures and she walked it over to the Office of Sponsored Programs. I did a little jig in my kitchen on Wednesday when she called me to tell me it was officially in the hands of OSP.

Wednesday night a horrible, horrible storm blew into the West and dumped almost 2' of snow in Western Idaho. The main campus in Moscow was shut down for the day. Closed. Due to weather. Damn. When I woke Thursday morning to that email it was not received well. I spent most of the day trying to get in touch with anyone who could possibly help me, to no avail. No one could reach the girl in OSP who was responsible for submitting the grant.

Thursday night, another email from the University. Campus is closed AGAIN on Friday. Due to Weather. Damn, damn. Someone (besides C) can attest that I was not in a good mood when I got this email. Friday morning I spent all of my time on the phone trying to get in touch with my OSP contact. Still to no avail. As a last ditch effort I called Washington D.C. and tried to plead my case with the USDA contact. I left a message and hoped for a phone call back.

I finally got in touch with the girl who was submitting the grant. Her phone/DSL service had been in and out due to the storm and she was scrambling to get everything ready for submission. 20 minutes before the deadline I received a confirmation email that our application package had been received. Disaster narrowly averted.

I completely understand that it wouldn't have been my fault if it didn't make it in on time. It still would have stunk though. Especially considering the time and effort I put into it. Busting my a$$ to make sure that it did get done and submitted to campus on time. To have it not make it into the goverment due to weather?? Ugh. Would have felt like missing a championship game because your team got stuck in traffic.

So once again we wait. And cross our fingers that our proposal will be better received that last year. I guarantee that I will NOT submit it a 3rd time. I don't know if I can handle this kind of stress 3 years in a row.

And for those of you that are wondering...surprisingly enough, I DID get an extension from D.C. Thankfully I didn't need to use it.