An administrator liked my idea.
It wasn't their idea -- it was something I proposed out of the blue -- -and that solves a problem we've had. The rate of acceptance for these kinds of proposals is pretty low... maybe my problem was timing all along...
Also, an administrator seemed to like the first version of my sabbatical application. I got good feedback and need to do some basic editing, but it seems as if the general idea is acceptable.
Now -- I need all the stars to align so that I can take it ---
A year with most of my annual salary and all of my benefits to finish my dissertation without distraction -- sounds like complete paradise.... and, there is a distinct chance that I'll not even have to do it long-distance... to be IN residence... wow! Maybe the years of a 5/5 load and 200-250 students per semester earned me that... it has to be worth a lot of philosophical karma, no?