Fortunately, Austin took the day off to help me through everything which turned out to be a good idea. After uploading ("depositing") my dissertation into the ether, we headed to campus to finalize things. The campus parking garages seemed to be full so we parked in a private ramp which had the most narrow spaces I've ever seen. When we finally found a tiny spot for my tiny car, Austin had to get out to guide my car in. My mirrors were just inches from a concrete wall on one side and another car on the other. I had to use the hatch as the exit/entry point. That bad.
We headed to "The Tower" armed with a hard copy of my dissertation, my laptop, a jump drive, water, Kindles, our (dusty) checkbook, and the final paperwork. It was an uphill hike to The Tower in 90 degree heat with major humidity. Lovely. Given that it was the last day of the semester, we had no idea if we would be in line with hundreds, dozens, or a handful of other grad students. Fortunately, things were relatively quiet. We were shown into a "degree evaluator's" office that was plastered in pictures of horses, cats, and the occasional human. There was even a complete antique-y farm diorama on display. The evaluator--who was inexplicably wearing scrubs--checked off cryptic items on a form and declared that I had submitted a dissertation that had appropriately followed the formatting guidelines. Success!
We then went into Bob's office (Bob is a legend on campus) because I was allowed to draw a prize from the Mysterious Bag. Yes, seriously. I reached into a bag printed with a question mark and pulled out the above pictured graduation ducky. Bob also had a nice bust of Napoléon and a large portrait of him which Bob had draped in black crepe paper to commemorate Napoléon's May 5th death. Austin was delighted to see that Bob also had an R2D2 wastepaper basket. I got to look at his phrenology head model and finally discovered that the knob on the back of my skull that so many hair stylists have remarked on indicates a love of animals. I then went to the Cashier's Office to pay my final fees (with a check, no credit cards allowed) and that was that.
We were ready to leave campus and Austin helped me un-wedge my car from the parking space but we were held up leaving the cramped garage because a van had become wedged in the exit lane, floor to ceiling. People were furiously trying to release air from the tires and weigh it down to get it out. We finally left through a wrong-way lane.
It is now completely over and we will soon go out to one of my favorite Mexican dives in the area. I have a graduation duck, a Ph.D., and I am beyond grateful for my husband, family*, and friends who have made this all come together for me. Now where is that margarita?!
*Family includes my cat. Yes, Stinky actually got a mention in my acknowledgments. I'm that crazy. Austin has agreed to read it to Stinky because he is that crazy.