The Midgardian calendar may SAY that it is autumn, but it is still uncomfortably warm for my taste. Only the fact that the days are noticeably shorter than they were gives any hint of the season. The human female grows more frantic this time of year because my meddling and plotting mostly gets condensed into the available daylight hours, yielding a higher mischief per hour (mph) figure.
I have mentioned before that the human female is decrepit in many respects. It has reached the point where physicians have determined that she needs pointy interventions to render her foot functional. She showed up to her pre-op appointment the other day, not knowing I’d had a word with the medical team–who went on to to describe to her a procedure that she was not having. She finally was able to convince them that no, she did not want her bones sawed up, and the surgery was duly scheduled. She ran around like Sleipnir avoiding the farrier, taking care of all sorts of errands against the day she was going to have to become immobile for a week. Such preparedness! I couldn’t let that stand, so I spread some flu germs around and she became ill and had to reschedule. Many of the preparations will have to be made over again. Another month and a half of fretting! And when she frets, the human male is annoyed, so it’s a very nice package deal.
I do try to keep the human female off balance. In her job, she gets many queries from the general populace, usually having to do with plants, which she knows a bit about. I like to mess with her head sometimes, though. Last week, I made sure that the call about maintaining a colony of spotted ground squirrels was left in her voice mailbox. She’s not allowed to ignore messages, so she was forced to call back and admit her woeful ignorance. What should the next random question be about? I was thinking underwater welding, but I’m open to suggestions.
I have been working more closely with the students in the human female’s workplace. Last week, they were working with some nasty enzymes, and I arranged three separate chemical spill incidents. (Usually, over-filling reagent dropper bottles is enough, but sometimes I have to nudge the students into picking up reagent bottles by the stoppers.) This week it is nasty chemicals, flammable alcohols, and flames, so there have been more accident reports to fill out. She always says she needs more to do at work, but then she complains when I give her something. Wishy-washy hypocrite, that’s what she is.
I have stepped up my spam email production. Far East Publish! Give the Dog a Luxury! Stop! This Luxury is not Ready Yet! Best Impact Factor:: Call for Paper! Vacancy #627! It’s an odd sort of post-modern poetry. To make it more surreal, there are a few in every batch that purport to be from herself.
Oh, and Dead Things. Dead Thing Paella. Attentive readers will recall that the Purveyor of Dead Things (PoDT), owed the human female upwards of 400 clams and nearly 700 squid from this fall’s course order. She arranged with the PoDT to hold all of these invertebrates and ship in one big batch with the 24 stiff kitties they owe her from LAST DECEMBER, which TPoDT assured here were Ready To Ship Any Minute Now And We Mean It This Time. So she gets a ship notice–minus any tracking info!–for 241 clams. Now, that’s enough for a sizable batch of Dead Bivalve Linguini, but it isn’t the whole order. She called the PoDT, who said, “Oh, no, it’s all coming. And don’t bother to talk to your account rep. She’s leaving.” Cue a scramble to choreograph a small but important Dead Thing Ballet. A whole pallet of boxes arrived. Early. With very little warning. No packing slip, just a hand-scribbled tally of contents. This tally, of course, listing contents only by product number and not by name. “Fine,” says the human female, “I can look up the product numbers. ” And she could have, if the PoDT hadn’t assigned some arbitrary, made-up number for half of the items, necessitating opening each of those boxes to see if, in fact, they contained squid who had octopodically shuffled off the mortal coil.
Two days later, in a separate shipment, some cats arrived unannounced. Real, actual, dead cats. The human female had ordered 10 triple-injected kitties and 14 double-injected kitties, 8 male and 6 female. What do you think she got? No triples! Only doubles–5 male and 9 female. Recall that there is a shortage of defunct felines. Thus, defeated, she meekly signed the packing slip and offered thanks for what she received. She suspects I told the PoDT to just ship whatever (and I did!), but she can’t prove it.
And of course, dealing with all of these orders means dealing with BAMN. There are rumors it might be replaced, so I am making sure it will go out with a bang if that’s the case. The university has rolled over a new fiscal year, which means there is a new account number. Too bad that the old one comes filled in on all of the human female’s orders. She has to delete it and then search for the new one–usually twice, since the program will not just let her type the numbers in.
Nor, when she braves the tragically-flawed punchout to the Vendor Who’s Responsible, can she enter an account number on the PO. At all. In any way. This always makes her feel stupid, and she has to work with the departmental accountant, which makes her feel stupider. By the time I am finished with her, you will be able to put her self-esteem in a gnat’s thimble. Or the pouch Odin keeps his kindness in. Something tiny like that.
But sometimes BAMN just likes to tease. From time to time, it will throw up an “Invalid subcode 9999, what were you thinking, you stupid person?” error message. Which would be educational and correctable if, you know, “9999” was actually entered into the subcode field. Which it never is. No amount of typing or deleting will convince my beautiful program that the subcode field is and always has been EMPTY. When this happens, the human female has to send the whole mess to the departmental accountant, who issues instructions, which don’t work, and the whole mess goes round and round until the dead or squiggly or toxic or whatever items are successfully ordered and the human female is banging her head on the desk. I can eat up half an afternoon with this!
BAMN also likes to keep users informed of its progress. “Your PO is ready for submission.” “Your PO has been submitted.” “This PO has been sent to the vendor.” “This PO has been paid.” “This PO, now paid, has been cleared.” Lots and lots of mail. This week, I had it urp up a dozen “Your order has been sent to the vendor” notices–for orders she made as long ago as August, for goods that were received weeks ago. But let us not say we failed to tick all the boxes!
Let us also not say that all the orders always actually get TO the vendors. The human female ordered a shipment of small, tentacly invertebrates from the Alternate Purveyor of Squiggly Things (APoST), because it is too warm where the regular PoST is for the tentacly beasts to be happy at the moment. The day for their arrival came. No tentacly beasties. She called APoST who had NO record of the PO at all, let alone shipping it. She was able to place the order over the phone, but the whole business swallowed another afternoon, and it was cutting it close to have the critters here on time.
Finally, on the home front, the shower is dripping, the cobwebs are approaching Halloween Decoration status, and all the doors squeak.
Coup de grace: She made herself a beautiful pair of dangly opal glass earrings. I hid one, and I’m not saying where.
I give it an eight.