Friday, April 9, 2010


My status posts on Facebook over the last few weeks tell the tale:

Up to [my] eyes in grant writing.

Too short a weekend, too much to do, can it be Monday already?

At times, writing this grant is like waiting for Godot.

Sunshine, warming temps, sprouting seeds, daffodils....oh yeah, grant writing.

All grant all the time.

That bright light up ahead is either the light at the end of this grant writing tunnel or else a locomotive coming full throttle right at me.

And then, finally, this last night:

Almost a train wreck, but at the last moment, the smoke cleared, the din died, and it really was the end of the tunnel after all...the grant is IN!

While I was still in the middle of my United Way March Madness, I plunged into a grant project for the courts. It was a federal grant, which are always bears. It was a big grant, which meant lots of details and lots of calculations and lots of discussion.

I was the grant writer and one of four members of the grant team.

"The" grant writer, not "a" grant writer. Everyone else on the team read my copy, threw in their ideas, helped massage and shape the project, but I'm the one that wrote. And wrote. And wrote. One team member bought me an ice cream cone the day before the grant was due. He could tell by the look on my face as we waited in line at Dairy Depot that my mind was on the grant. He was right; as soon as he dropped me off at home, I went in and started writing again.

And I kept writing. Right up until about 9:30 yesterday morning, when I finally said, in the quiet of this house, "I'm done."

It was touch and go until late yesterday afternoon as to whether we would be able to file the grant. Several of us spent the day trying to jump through the electronic hoops, which were foolishly left for last, but finally, sitting in Steve's office at 4:45 as the office day wound down right along with the submission clock, everything fell into place. I uploaded the documents one by one, hit "submit," and got a confirmation a minute later.

That was it. It is done. I am grateful.

Although working on the grant was grueling, it was also a time during which I spent long hours and days doing what I love: writing. Even at the low spots, when I despaired of it ever falling into place, I would remind myself that I was writing. It didn't solve the problems, but it was a nice thought to hold in my hands while I struggled.

I am so blessed to have a job in which I do a lot of writing. All the same, from mid-March on, and especially from March 25 on, my daily life really was All Grant All the Time.

Which means when I finally emerged from that long grant tunnel yesterday, I found out a lot of life - the rest of life - had passed right on by. Sam loves his job, everything in my seed pots is up except for a few peppers (just starting to come up) and the gourds (I had serious doubts about the viability of those seeds), the BIG May concert is bearing down upon the Symphony and this household, the vibraphone is nearing completion (and sounds gorgeous), I turned 54 last week (I did take the day off and we had a wonderful evening with Margo and Gerald, but I was back on the grant trail the next day as soon as we got home from Easter services), the daffodils are up, the forsythia is in bloom, it is time to mow the yard, and what happened to the household routine while I was off writing?

I dropped out of sight unless you happened to be at the grant meetings I was attending. I haven't read many blogs for three weeks. I missed my friends in Blogville. I missed my friends locally.

It is time to reconnect.

Last night, stopping at the store for a celebratory pint of ice cream (I shared, okay?), I ran into someone I have known since we were in Sunday school together many, many years ago. Somehow, in one of those little moments we all experience from time to time, we both got beyond the pleasantries and talked heart to heart for several minutes about a rough spot she is going through right now. The moment passed, we switched back to pleasantries, and then rushed off in our respective directions. As I walked out to my car, though, I found myself thinking fondly of this person's place in my past and our shared moments together. In that brief little grocery chat, we opened enough of a door to reconnect at some level beyond "hi how are you what's new gotta run."

For the last several weeks, I have been operating at that "hi how are you what's new gotta run" speed. I had to in order to get the grant done, but it never felt right. I said several times to Warren, at the end of a too long and too intense day, "I don't like living like this." I was disconnected from my life, from my husband, from my friends, from my world.

It is time to reconnect.

So I am. I went swimming this morning after dropping Sam at work. I have spent some time blissfully puttering around the house. I have been eying the seedlings; they'll get some more attention this weekend. I promised Warren I would come by his office this afternoon and give both him and the Symphony my time and efforts before heading off to pick up Sam. And I'm writing this post for my blog.

It's good to be back.


Ellen said...

Thanks for reconnecting! Nice to have you back. And congrats on the grant proposal--having worked in the nonprofit sector, I know what an important job you're doing. Are we FB friends? I can't seem to find you there, so look me up....

And I have some gourd seeds to send you! Watch your mailbox....

Sharon said...

Happy belated birthday!!!!!! Glad you did something to celebrate during your grant writing!!!

norwood007 said...

So glad to have you back
monkey hugs from afar

Donna said...

Hope you had a wonderful birthday, dear friend! We are long over due for a coffee catch-up, now that your grant madness is over.

Peppers take a little more patience to sprout - but are well worth it, as many things you & Warren.