Dearth of posts <= not dead, but very busy. Proposalpalooza on top of my teaching overload, a taxing university committee and all the regular demands of running a research group, everything topped off with a hearty helping of mandatory travel for an annual program review for a funding agency in whose good graces I really want to remain. So flipping out a bit.
1) At my apparently advanced age, I can only pull off 2 nights of going to bed at 1 am after working like a dog and getting up at 4 am to catch various planes. On day 3, I get a splitting headache that does not respond to heavy doses of Advil, so I cannot think straight and thus cannot work on my proposal, which defeats the purpose of insane travel schedule that was supposed to leave me this Thursday to work on my proposal. Scheduling fail.
2) I hate feet. Specifically, the feet of all the many barefoot people I happened to run into at airports and on airplanes over the past few days. There was definitely a surplus of bare feet in flip-flops with calluses so thick that they resemble hooves, crumbling pedicures, and uncut toe nails. Feet are like armpits: lots of people don't take very good care of them, they often smell, and they reveal way too much about one's personal grooming habits to be flashed at unsuspecting strangers. Socks and shoes, people!
3) There are no women in my field. At the very large program review, where several multi-university programs were reviewed, I was the only female PI. There were a couple of other women in the audience (2 students and a woman from a national lab) but no PI's. When I mentioned that to my collaborators, they all immediately jumped to point out there really were not zero women, that there were indeed these other 3 female specimens. Like that makes it OK. Of 30+ PI's I am the only woman, that's bad. And I am not even mentioning all the other non-PI guys there (probably another 30 or so). The sad part is that I expected my collaborators not to care. I would not say they are sexist, as they do treat me with respect, but they are certainly not at the forefront of the battle for the equality of sexes.
4) My Sponsored Programs Office (SPO) is not on my side. Again. We have this ridiculous internal deadline, where the proposal is supposed to be submitted to the SPO office a fairly long time before the official deadline. I am not saying 3-4 days before, I am saying two weeks before. This makes sense for complicated multi-university, multi-PI grants with lots of subawards and shit, but not universally. I usually submit all my boilerplate for them to look over weeks in advance, but want to have enough time to work on the technical part. I try to be considerate and ask how long the designated SPO person would allow me to work on my technical part, because I need the time and it's a simple single-PI proposal with no frills and the boilerplate has been in for them to look at for ages... I get an email where I am scolded as a "naughty PI" for asking for the extra time and that perhaps I need a refresher of why the ridiculous lead time is really absolutely necessary for them. Adding insult to injury: not only will you not give me extra time, you will attempt to take time away from me by making me listen to the bureaucratic bullshit again.
5) Chatting candidly with one of my collaborators about the ridiculousness of some of our colleagues' behavior, the trials and tribulations of being a PI, and the awesomeness of being a parent, all while having excellent wine at the hotel bar, is a rare and delightful treat.