September 30th. That's the big day. It's also the hard and fast deadline for finishing up this little project I've been working on called my dissertation. It almost seems possible. My advisor said I should aim to be done with analysis and onto writing by mid-April. Every time I think the phrase "done with analysis" in my head I have a little party. Because the analysis part? Is BAD. Things can still go wrong and set me back another six months if I'm doing analysis. But writing? What's the worst that could happen? A bad day writing would set me back ONE DAY. I cannot wait for mid-April. I have a lot of work to get there, but it will be worth it. I won't be able to travel for the August graduation ceremony, so I think I will try to finish shortly after the summer deadline so I can attend the one in December instead. As my grandma said "She's going to be holding a two year old and a newborn when she gets hooded? Wow."
Yesterday at the playground Charlie climbed over a low concrete retaining wall into the mulch-filled pit that houses the swings. He sat down on the other side, his bare legs (it was 70 yesterday) stretched out in front of him. In an INSTANT his entire lower half was covered in fire ants. I have never seen anything like it. There were thousands of ants all over the mulch around him and hundreds on his legs. I ripped him out of there by one arm and dropped him onto the grass where I started furiously slapping at his poor legs. Charlie was freaking out, partly because of the ants biting him and partly because I had clearly lost my mind. By the time I ripped off his shorts and shoes a small crowd had gathered. Other mothers helped me squish the ants and take off his shirt. One lady checked between each of his toes while I checked his diaper area. After we had gotten them all I carried Charlie over to a water fountain and rubbed his legs (which were covered in bites) and tummy with cool water (this he thought was great fun, practically naked in the park AND I get to play with water?). When I turned around I saw four other mothers, each holding a piece of Charlie's clothing, carefully inspecting it for stowaway ants. I put Charlie in the stroller in his diaper and put the clothes in the basket and someone offered her little girl's blanket for Charlie to wear home (it was plenty warm and we only live a block away, so I declined).
Charlie was fine before we even left the park, but I was so impressed by the way the other mothers there were so helpful and genuinely concerned for Charlie. I want to write each of them a thank you note, but I don't even know their names.
When I related the ant story to Ryan on the phone last night I didn't even think that talking about our seventy degree weather while he's in Madison, Wisconsin, where it's TEN degrees IN THE FREAKING SUN, might be a little bit gloaty. Some toolbag left the AC on in his hotel room so when I talked to him he was writing his presentation sitting at the desk with his coat on while he waited for the room to warm up. "It's so much colder than The Old Town," he said "And it SNOWS. And the snow doesn't melt until MARCH!" I think it's for the best that we did not move to North.