Mischief Update: Is Mischief an Event at the Olympics? (part II)

Why, look!  There’s more wickedness over here!

Every now and then I act against my Frost Giant nature and fiddle with the cold rooms in the human female’s workplace.  Two weeks ago, both of them went out.  What, you don’t like 80 F for storing things?  They got fixed over the course of several days, during which time the repairman asked for the human female’s cooler key approximately ninety-five times.  That was such fun that I decided to do it again!  Only one’s out this time, though. I saved some mischief for the electrical outlet in one of the lab rooms so it could make pretty sparks.

(Augh!  The human female is listening to the same video again!)  I think she’s become quite obsessed.  She has tried to buy a DVD of one of the group’s concerts, stalking Amazon, Amazon UK, and ebay, but there appear to be no region 1 or region-free DVDs available.  I tantalized her with a a listing for one, but it turned out to be for Europe.  Then she saw another advertisement, but the seller wasn’t in the same place as the merchandise, so he couldn’t check. I can keep this up indefinitely. So if you notice that the view counts for this video just keep climbing, it’s because there is one person in Texas, watching it over and over.)

The human female has recently hired a new lab prep tech.  (She goes through them at an alarming rate.  They say they’re leaving for grad school or better jobs or to join the circus, but really, it’s to get away from her and the weird things she leaves in the break room fridge.)  There were two very strong candidates.  The top pick was most enthusiastic when offered the job, but as soon as a background check was mentioned, she quickly changed her tune and declined.  Whatever for?  Nothing could be as embarrassing as what’s in the human female’s file, surely?

Sweet Glittery Bifrost, but it is hot today!  Outdoors is no place for a Jotun like me.  I can use the heat, though, to distress the human female.  A twitch here and a nudge there and the sprinklers don’t quite work as advertised.  Remember all the lovely plants the she planted back in March?  Well, first they stopped blooming.  Then they pined for cooler weather.  Now they are almost entirely dry, brown, and crispy.  The nursery has a free-replacement-within-a-year policy, but she is too embarrassed to dig them up and take them back!  Eehehehe!  I can see her now, “Excuse me, but even with my two degrees in horticulture and botany, I was unable to keep these poor, unfortunate plants alive for longer than six months.”  I’m sure the nursery has her face on a poster in the back somewhere, right over “Do not sell plants to this woman” in 48 pt. type.

The aphids and spider mites, though, don’t mind the heat.  They’ve taken care of the milkweed, sage, and marigolds the drought hasn’t decimated. Hugs and kisses to my little arthropod friends.

The nutsedge, grass, and assorted weeds in the cracks in the sidewalk and driveway don’t mind the heat, either.  They’re the greenest part of the yard!  I just love bermudagrass.

All this heat means that one has to be very strongly motivated to want to do anything outdoors, and any outdoor tasks are performed as early in the day as is polite and accomplished as quickly as possible.  A dab of magic on the lawn mower’s throttle cable and another on the clamp that holds the cable’s little housing means that all attempts to start the mower result in the cable clamp coming off the handle so there’s not enough pull on the throttle.  I got her to waste a solid half hour the other morning, trying unsuccessfully to get the clamp to stay put.  Finally, she did an end run around the cable, wedging the throttle open with a piece of wood.  Very well, mortal, you have bested me in this one thing, but may I point out that by the time you began to mow, the heat index was already flirting with triple digits?  I still win.

Later that same day, the humans, showered and cool, ventured out to what was billed as a Food Truck Festival at the local Expo Center.  Twenty trucks, plus 120 merchants inside the pavilion, full of crafts and antiques.  Sigyn and I tagged along because it sounded like an adventure.  I will admit to being torn between having it all be wonderful so that the humans would wander from truck to truck in the heat and get all nasty sweaty again and having it be a total bust.  Sigyn was looking a bit on the warm side, so I decided on total bust.  Nine food trucks, three of them shave ice or ice cream, and the others serving nothing novel, exciting, or appropriately priced.  The most interesting one was the one that is parked on the campus almost every day of the week.  Indoors, things were no better.  Maybe fifty vendors, all selling complete crap (the human female has underwear older than your antique table, lady.)  The “entertainer” was singing a song about punching someone in the face. Classy!  We left in short order.  All in all, it was $5.00 admission the humans wish they had back!

As satisfying as listening to the humans grumble about the heat is, most of my mischief these days is channeled through–what else?–BAMN. It’s a good thing the human female doesn’t mind a little gambling, because she never really knows if it’s going to work.  Sometimes the contact person that the program sends orders to isn’t at the company anymore and the orders hang up in limbo.  Sometimes the vendor has two addresses in the database and only one works.  Do you feel lucky today?  Do you?

But mostly, summer is when the human female puts in the giant enormous COLOSSAL order with the Vendor Who’s Responsible, for all of the upcoming year’s chemicals, glassware, plasticware, and suchlike.  It was a big order this year, some forty-five or so line items.  I’ve mentioned before that the punch-out for this vendor was due a YEAR ago.  A punch-out is a good thing, because it lets a buyer use the vendor’s online catalog and just drop things in the cart, rather than typing out all the catalog numbers and product descriptions.

Well, good news!  The punchout is finally ready!  Armed with the painstakingly crafted and revised quote from the Vendor Who’s Responsible’s customer service rep,


the human female eagerly fired up BAMN and started shopping her little heart out.  She was so careful, making sure she wasn’t ordering cases when she needs single bottles or ordering blue pipette tips when she needs the yellow ones.  She got ALL DONE and then looked at her cart before entering order info.  That’s when she discovered my help.  The items at the top of the list had been added four times, so there was four times as much of everything as she needed.  The items in the middle of the list had been added twice, so she was signed up for double goodies.  The items on the bottom of the list….failed to appear at all.  Poof!  Vanished!  Ehehehe!  A teensy bit of effort from me with the code meant two lost hours of the poor mortal’s time.

She tried again the next day, carefully inputting the order in the old way, item by item, typed line by typed line, saving early and often.  Finally, finally, it was perfect.  Click. Submitted!  She then had a long, hard e-mail conversation with her customer service rep and one of the BAMN liaisons, outlining all of her multitudinous woes.  That’s when the customer service rep told her that if she’d go up to the “my account” button and pull down that menu, she’d see a “my quotes” option.  Poking that would bring up the appropriate quote, which she could dump into a shopping cart with just one click!  Too bad, so sad, must remember that trick for next year!

So the Very Large Order went in to the vendor, but I’ve seen to it that it continues to misbehave.  Since items on it ship from various warehouses at different times, the human female is getting daily deliveries from all over the country.  It’s like Yule, but with packing slips and no toys!  Highlights of the festivities include:

–Having to fill out the “I am not going to use this to make illicit drugs” paperwork.  Again.

–Discovering that the P.O. number for this giant order doesn’t show in BAMN in her list of P.Os.  To do any of the receiving, she has to go to the list of all her requisitions, look it up by the requisition number, click on that, then click to open the P.O.

–Coping with the fact that once she gets to the P.O., BAMN’s default is to display just five lines of any order, so she has to tell it to “display all.”  Then once she’s checked off and saved what has actually arrived, it refreshes to only showing five.  Every. Single. Time.

–Keeping track of what has arrived when.  For example–three one-liter bottles of diethyl ether?  One of them shipped on one day from one city.  The remaining two followed the next week, arriving from a different place.  I keep hearing her mumble something that sounds like “herding cats,” but that can’t be right.

–Enjoying the fact that anything that ships directly from the Vendor Who’s Responsible comes with a packing slip that lists every item on the P.O., even if only one item is included in that particular shipment.  One bottle of creatinine arrives?  Here, have eight pages of useless paper!

–Making note of what has come in without any paperwork at all.  Six bottles of something or other showed up one day with no packing slip.  Two days later, a packing slip showing the six bottles showed up in a box they weren’t in.

–Receiving a telephone call from the Chemistry stockroom (different department, other side of campus), letting her know that they had her Benedict’s solution.  She got them to agree to label it correctly and explicitly and give it back to the delivery courier.  I’ve had a word with the courier, and it’s anyone’s guess whether it’ll ever actually arrive over here.  I am guessing it’s in Cairo.  (The Egypt one, not the U.S. one.)

I am opening a betting pool on which item in the order is going to be the last to show up.  My money’s on microscope slide cover slips, because the Vendor Who’s Responsible never has enough on hand.  The human female wrote “may substitute cover slips of similar size and thickness from this or other manufacturer” on the order, but my money’s on an indefinite backorder of this one particular product.  I’ll keep you posted.

The final kicker?  BAMN has behaved so abominably (Thank you!  I do try.) that the University has told colleges and departments that they can switch back to the previous, beloved ordering software if they choose.

A$ long a$ they pay for the $witch.

Is this the point where I should talk about the 4% budget cuts that loom upon the horizon?

Good times.

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