Countdown to Completion

I am an archaeologist – a very tired archaeologist.

“Piled Higher and Deeper” by Jorge Cham


My original completion date for my PhD was to be December of 2014. I lost six months due to a family death and there is just no way I will meet that goal. I am now shooting for a March deadline. My dear husband has only eleven weeks until his four year mark and must turn in his thesis for his PhD in archaeology on that date. So our family has two very stressed eleventh hour writers and a never-stop-even-to-sleep toddler. (He is awesome! To the full extent of that great American world).

My Day of Archaeology is a how a typical day goes:

7:00 – Toddler decides we have slept in long enough the sun is up (and has been since 3 am) so it is now time for us to be up. We resist waking up as we staid up the night previous until 2 am working on our thesis. Husband and I decide to cheat and bring the tablet into bed with a bottle of milk. Toddler feels like king of the world getting to watch ”The Incredibles” while kicking mummy.

8:00 – Everyone finally awake, fed, and most importantly dressed.

8:15 – Husband takes toddler to nursery. Yeah, both husband and I get to work today. I feel extra inspiration and excited to work as Thursday was mummy day, the day I get to stay home all day and just be a mummy with toddler. Thursdays are great days – most of the time.

8:30 – Laundry monster!!!! Housework is a huge distraction, long laughed at in PHD comics. I have a theory though. A PhD is a long term stressful event that seems to have no end. Housework also has no end, but when you get a sense of accomplishment when you finish the dishes or have filled the airer to max capacity (thus cannot do any more laundry).

10:00 – Arrive at office at University of Central Lancashire. Decide to go against norm and check email, as I know there is one I really want to read. (I peeked at my email the night before). Glory in receiving information for the former Soule Steel of San Francisco on their production of T-posts. (I do a lot of rural archaeology). The have sent me some great research material. Husband arrives at office minutes after me.

10:30 – Check out a Modern Conflict Conference in Bristol in October, papers due at the end of the month. Put a pin in that one.

10:45 – Discover for Day of Archaeology Routledge has 100 free journal articles. Downloaded a few but for the most part not really my subject area.

11:50 – Husband fetches some printing and brings mine down.

11:00 – Am really excited to read the Soule articles.

11:30 – Finish Soule articles (very short but very promising – hint #133 is a weight). Feel even more excited at having decided to try my luck with the TESS database from the United States Patent and Trademark office.

11:35 – Start to read a chapter of Husband’s thesis on Incised Stones of the Great Basin. The things we do for love!

12:45 – BRAIN HURTS – Can’t shake this dreadful feeling I have already willed away half the day and I have not yet written a single word for myself. I must quite all distractions and get some REAL work done.

12:46 – Start trolling through GPS and photo logs to make sure all artefacts are accounted for in the artefact log for Santiago Corrals in the San Emigdio Hills. (Link is my blog.)

13:00 – Husband surprises me with Subway. Yeah Husband. Start eating but continue working as long as I can do so one handed.

13:20 – Delude self a minute of Facebook is allowed as I am technically on a lunch break.

13:40 – Distracted by a chemistry video on the way different chemicals interact in very cool ways. Can’t remember a single name but the cool feeling remains. (Sorry I can’t seem to relocate the video for your enjoyment. )

14:00 – Get back to work feeling overrides, yet feel like I have forgotten something… Yikes we forgot to sign in for the month per the UCLAN understanding of Tier Four Student attendance compliance. The Government wants to make sure we do not secretly desire to live here forever, and falsely use a student visa to gain entrance. I have missed a sign-in before and received a note that I could be reported to the Home Office if I miss another sign-in. The thought of the Graduate Research Office reporting me to the Home Office feels like some crazy black and white spy movie plot, but a very real fear. Unlikely, but the though of getting kicked out of the UK this close to completing my PhD would kill me.

14:05  – Rally husband and we set off to the Graduate Research Office to sign in. Small talk on archaeology that cleans the air of stress begins.

14:45 – Return to office. Demand of myself more focus. Continue to sort out artefacts for non-feature artefacts.

14:50 – Finish non-feature and send all documents to the printer.

14:55 – Start on description for Feature#1 a pasture with no artefacts but a good selection of wooden and metal t-posts. (Now you understand my excitement about the Soule email.)

15:30 – Finish description and other paperwork for Feature #1 and send to the printer, decide to head upstairs to pick up printing. Actually a fun thing to do as they have builders in demolishing and rebuilding a lab (not for the archaeologist so not sure what is for). The builders have put down sticky plastic to protect the carpets, but someone was not very good at their job, THANKFULLY, and the sensory experience of popping floor bubbles as you walk is highly entertaining and stress relieving.

15:40 – Return from printer and correlate work into respective binders.

15:45 – Check email, and for once have an important email. Finance office telling me to sign a promissory note if I want to get any money off of them. I am very happy to oblige not even thinking about future pay back of student loans.

15:50 – Start paperwork for Locus #1 a homestead which predates the Corrals. Spend a lot of time checking photographs to photo logs and turning them into slides ( A holdover from my CRM days with Pacific Legacy), and check artefact logs.

16:50 – Another trip to the printer another trip across bubble floor. Life is awesome.

15:00 – Correlate. Oh no missed a few documents need to go back to the printer, Oh darn.

15:10 – Get back from printer. Have a quick chat with husband to see who cooks and who get son from nursery. I get the sacred bus pass, and he gets to battle the oven, I win. Toddler loves the bus.

18:00 – Return from nursery find Husband has bought kebabs so we finish watching The Incredible.

21:30 – Toddler FINALLY goes to bed. Ditch all plans for working.

1:00 – Not sure how it happened again but finally make it to bed. Feels like a scene out of Date Night.