Facing a deadline.

It never fails. When I have a deadline, one of my students has a pressing problem. The phone/doorbell won’t stop ringing. The toilet mimics Old Faithful. The garbage disposal falls off and the sink empties into a basement closet. What is that dripping?

Okay. I’ll admit it. I’m exaggerating just a tiny bit for comedic effect. All of that didn’t happen for the same deadline. They were spread out over the years. But it doesn’t seem to matter how well I plan, something always happens when I’m on deadline.

I’ve conducted my last phone interview standing in my son’s fort, my head cocked to one side. Why? Because the power went out and the only operating cell tower was not close at hand. I’ve done hard copy edits leaning on the wall in the emergency room. And I finished keying a manuscript in parked at the corner of the library to use their wifi because ours was down. I’ve also done an edit in the car zipping off to my father-in-laws because my disk (remember disks?) failed and I had hours to retype and submit my article. No, I wasn’t driving.

Honestly, in the time of pandemic, deadlines are actually less stressful. My son is finishing his last class for his associates degree and he’s doing it from his room. That’s his office for tutoring as well. My husband? His desk is right behind me. If something comes up, they can handle it. That’s a huge relief.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to check my footnotes and make certain I alphabetized the bibliography. It doesn’t pay to wait until the last minute. The deadline gremlins may be lurking.


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