Today I was in the back yard with Wes, wearing an old pair of jeans and tshirt, hair in a messy ponytail, hacking up a plot of painstakingly weeded grass with a shovel for a vegetable garden when Dr. Advisor sent me a text. "Can you come meet me now?"
He was in South today for a meeting and had brought with him the form I needed to sign, along with the members of my committee, saying that the committee approved of my dissertation (it's due on Friday).
I wiped the hair off my forehead with a dirt-stained hand and texted him back "I'll be there in an hour" thinking I could take a quick shower, or at least change my clothes. "Get here as fast as you can, within reason" came the reply. Knowing Dr. Advisor, I knew "within reason" meant "don't commit too many moving violations" and not "spend twenty minutes making yourself presentable," so I ran inside, threw on a pair of dress pants and a nice shirt, re-did my ponytail (with a brush! am fancy!), packed Wesley a bottle and some banana yogurt (in case of spontaneous lunch invitation with whoever he was here to see, in case that person wanted to give me a job, I didn't want to introduce myself over my bare nipple, although in this job market anything you can do to distinguish yourself is supposed to be positive), and ran out the door.
When I typed the address Dr. Advisor gave me into Google Map it produced a pleasant pastoral scene with a little creek and a grove of oak trees. I figured Dr. Advisor hadn't come to South to experience the region's natural beauty, even though it is lovely, so I was on my own as far as finding the mysterious office building in which Dr. Advisor's meeting was taking place. When I thought I was getting close I called Dr. Advisor and he tried to talk me through the rest of the drive without the benefit of an exit number or name or knowledge of the region of any kind. When I finally found it, Dr. Advisor was standing out in the parking lot waiting for me. Unable to find a pen between us, we had to all go into the office building where his meeting was taking place, Wesley included. I am nothing if not professional. Cowboy committee member met us at the door and provided the pen and fussed over Wes while I signed my part of the form, then he signed his part.
My other committee member and Dr. Advisor had already signed, so when I handed the form back to Dr. Advisor it meant that I was free! Six years of work, worry, and pain, over, just like that, in a nondescript office park on the side of the highway. After handshakes all around I picked Wesley up in his seat and awkwardly picked my way across the grass in my heels to the car. I offered to drive the professors to the airport, but had to reneg when I realized someone would have to ride in the Britax to make that possible, and that even if I had moved Charlie's seat into the trunk, the two-week old grilled cheese sandwich on the floor of the back seat would not be as endearing to my committee as it was to me.
Instead we returned home where I celebrated by doing the grocery shopping.