Next week, after my cabin vacation with Ed (woot), I am flying to visit one of the graduate programs to which I have been admitted. I think I might get a pretty sweet financial deal there and I want to get a feel for the department. Meanwhile, given that I don't have financial packages piling up on my doorstep, I have made preparations for a solid Plan B.
Plan B would consist of doing a master's degree in applied math at a local public university. I hadn't applied to this school, but the deadline is April 1 (and it's not a very firm deadline), and today I filled out the application, wrote the SOP, had the transcripts and GRE scores sent, begged one more letter from my poor recommenders, and am about to mail them the signed forms and stamped, addressed envelopes, etc., so that should be completely taken care of. (In other news, I have gotten pretty good at doing at least basic graduate school applications.)
I don't feel that this master's program is very competitive, so I think I have a good chance of being admitted, especially as I am not seeking any funding. My plan would be to do this program full time, but cut back my actual job to half-time. I think a 20-hour job plus full time graduate study is doable (many TAships take 20 hours anyway), particularly at a perhaps not terrifically demanding program, and half-time at my job would pay more than most graduate stipends, even with full tuition and fees deducted.
In related news, today I let my boss at work in on my graduate plans. She was happy for me, and supportive, but afterwards also (jokingly) called me "bitch" and "ignorant slut." She was quite grateful for the ~ four months of notice, which should give them enough time to hire someone to replace me. She said she is selfishly hoping that the Plan B option is what happens, so that they can keep me part time. (This company is also quite possibly moving to within a few blocks of the Plan B University, which would be mighty convenient.)
I am pretty excited about both Plan A and Plan B at this point even though they are rather different paths. The idea of Plan B is that afterwards I could either work in industry (or government) in a more professional position, or apply to doctoral programs as a (hopefully) stronger candidate.