'Tis that time of year again -- proposal time! There are hard and soft deadlines in October and November at multiple agencies of interest to my research program.
I am crazy busy. Smurf is not in daycare yet -- he should start soon, but I am not ready! Since this is going to be our last child, I want to enjoy him as much as I can, and, being on hard-earned leave, I don't have to teach, so I have lots of flexibility and, yes, I can be at home with him. Bottom line -- we will be paying for daycare but he won't be going for a little while longer. I know, my working-in-academia-and-being-on-sabbatical privilege is showing. But I am almost not feeling guilty about keeping him at home, because I (desperately !) want to reduce the chances of him getting incessant ear infections and ending up with tubes like both his brothers... It's so heartbreaking when babies get sick, cry inconsolably with pain and fever, and they are so little... :(
I am extremely happy with the group composition I have now (knock on wood). Everyone in the group is very, very good. My postdoc is awesome, I feel bad he didn't get any interviews this round, but he landed a very good fellowship that will enable him to stay here and work on his record for a couple of years more. He's improved his writing and presentation skills so much, and has diversified his portfolio, merrily interfacing with collaborating groups, that that it's been a joy seeing him mature. He's really going to be an amazing faculty. All the students I have now range from solid to brilliant, and are all working very hard, producing good work, and progressing steadily. I received two new grants as co-PI, so, together with the existing ones, everyone is taken care of till they are done. However, I need to raise more money to bring in a few new students and a new postdoc in order to have continuity. I have several grants expiring in the coming year and have been working non-stop on white papers to multiple agencies, and on staggering full proposal submissions so as to maximize my chances. It's fuckin' exhausting, especially since I work 9 pm - 1 am, and then whatever hours I can squeeze in during the day (usually 2 more, or 4 more total on a good day). Obviously, I am working much less than full time. While my workload is somewhat reduced (no teaching), I have been writing many more white papers and proposals than usual, so it's almost a wash...
Writing all the white papers and proposals has been kind of invigorating, because (1) it forces me to read up on the material I am not terribly familiar with but it's hot and novel and people want to fund it and it is in my very broad area, (2) I have to do so in a typically very short amount of time, and (3) on top of it I have to come up with a nontrivial idea (did I mention said field is outside of my comfort/immediate expertise zone? Yeah..)
It's hard, but real fun. Torturous and thrilling in equal measures.
So yes, busy. My blogging will likely suffer even more than usual in the coming weeks, but it's for a good cause. Crazy busy is the best kind of crazy.