The good news is that I managed to win a small dissertation grant from the college's research support institute. That makes for a great way to finish a couple of frantic weeks. On top of that, having completed a longer NSF grant application this week puts me even closer to having a working dissertation proposal. I'll have more on that soon.
Of course, getting some money to hire an undergrad research assistant means that I'm now committed to actually doing a dissertation. Those occasional moments of panic that somebody, somewhere, is about to publish a manuscript that will make my project precisely worthless will just have to subside, because I'm going to work.