sometimes it helps to read slowly

The problem with taking over some of the responsibilities of departed colleagues is that you almost always find things out a little too late.

Monday, I get a call from our Tour Consultant, who has suggested that we ("we" meaning "I") submit a grant application to the Canada Arts Council Flying Squad program -- the very same program to which we'd applied in the spring -- the very same program that rejected our request. Sure we'll give it a shot. Why not? "By the way," he adds, "the deadline is October 1st."

The application guidelines specify that we are supposed to contact the Program Coordinator to describe the project for which support is being requested, before submitting anything. A message was left yesterday. No response yet. I'm down to two days before the deadline, with my regular job stuff piling up. This is my Choose-Your-Own-Adventure moment. Do I:

a) wait for her to call back; have her tell me that we don't qualify because we've already requested this fiscal year; breathe a sigh of relief; continue with all the other tasks in my Inbox.
b) wait for her to call back; scramble to throw something together when she gives me the green light.
c) go ahead and write up the application ANYWAY -- whether or not she'll get back to me/say "yes" this will be good practice anyway.

The tour consultant advised that I read the proposal written for the Ontario Arts Council Compass program, from where we did secure a sizable gift. All I had to do was perform a little copy-and-paste-and-wordsmith magic. Sounded straightforward enough.

The first letter I see in the Compass folder came with our cheque in the spring. My eyes are drawn to the final sentence of the third paragraph.
Your project report is due on September 28.

Feck. Then I tell myself "Pshaw, I'm sure they won't mind if we submit it a few days late. I'll just call them up and explain our little personnel situation." Then I get to the Project Grant Final Report form. This is what it tells me.
You must submit a report by the date identified in your grant notification letter. If a report is not received when due, OAC may require repayment of the grant and will not accept any further applications from or issue any grant payments to you until the grant is repaid or an acceptable report is submitted.

The first half of that passage reads a lot more harshly than the rest of it. But that's all that registered. I thought "Fucktacular, my only option right now is to:"

d) drop everything else; have a [non-menthol] cigarette; forget about your dentist appointment and get cracking on this final report; do not leave your desk -- do not breathe -- do not answer the phone -- do not go to the bathroom no matter how badly you need to go -- until it is done.

But when I re-read the last line, slowly, the vagueness of it -- the total lack of sternness -- revealed the emptiness of the threat. Either pay us back or keep submitting reports until we deem them acceptable. Doesn't sound so dire after all :)

Of course, I could be fooling myself by thinking that the folks at the OAC are merely pussycats or, to quote from a conversation I had today, big tubs of goo. In reality, they could be the Nazis of the arts councils. This meh attitude of mine could cost us a chunk of dough. Meh.

I re-read the notification letter, and four magical digits made the pain in my shoulders disappear.
Your project report is due on September 28, 2007.

The fun never ends. Looks like we/I'll be going with option C.


At 7:11 AM, Blogger MUPO said...

Well at least you can get an early start on that final report now!


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