Month: August 2017

A Most Massive, Mysterious Box

While the humans were at work today, some delivery man rang the doorbell and ran off before Sigyn or I could answer.  He left behind a rather large and intriguing parcel.

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It looks like it had some rough times on its way.

There’s no telling what it is.  We know it’s from China, though.

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Could be anything.  Willoware service for ten.  Six bolts of Cathay silk.  Forty Chinese Checkers sets.  90 lbs of water chestnuts.  Two baby pandas…

Hmm.  Whatever it is, it isn’t in one piece.  There are long, cylindery bits and carpety bits and a whole bag of hardware.  And everything has little stickers.

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It’s either very woolly bakeware or …

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…something else.

Whatever it is, there are instructions and allen wrenches and muffled cursing and mashed fingers involved.  Watching the humans try to cooperate on any sort of building or home repair project is enormously entertaining!   They’re neither of them very handy and each is sure the other is responsible for all the crooked bits.

(a bit later)

Ah.  Now it makes sense.  It seems no expense is to be spared when it comes to the fur beasts and their amusement.

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I for one welcome our new feline overlords.

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It, um, wasn’t me

I swear it wasn’t me.

http://www.npr.org/2017/08/15/543702067/truck-with-20-tons-of-nutella-and-chocolate-vanishes-police-hunt-for-semis-sweet?utm_source=tumblr.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=npr&utm_term=nprnews&utm_content=20170816

Or Sigyn.

And Fisi was with me all day.

Maybe it was Steve Rogers. No one can be that goody-goody.  Bet it was him.

Or that Tony Stark.  He’s not above a little larceny.

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Odin’s Eyepatch! I Was Right!

Saying, “I told you so!” doesn’t always bring satisfaction.  My worst-case scenario imaginings have proven to be preternaturally accurate.

Sigyn and I used to have to share the house with one ancient, somewhat crotchety cat who spent most of her time sleeping, but it appears that the household has been augmented by not one but TWO young, energetic felines.

Sigyn is already smitten by the gray one.  She says it looks “sweet and so, so soooooft.”

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Be careful, beloved!  It might just be lulling you into a false sense of security.

Still, I have reason to believe we might have less to fear from it than from the other, swirly-sided one.

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Stop, you foul beast!  Do not lick my sweetie’s head!

Oh, these two will require careful monitoring as they seem to be very, very pouncy.

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They are quite cunning, as well as ceaseless in their pursuit of amusements.  Cat treats in an empty carton slowed the swirly one down for mere moments.

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Still, I suppose I should look upon this as an opportunity rather than a catastrophe (pun very much intended.)

There is all sorts of mischief I can teach these two.  The prolific shedding is an innate talent, so they need only be introduced to black dress pants and white blouses.

(later)

I believe this is going to be great fun!  I have already taught the Terror Twins to play in their water dishes, scrabble across the laminate in pursuit of toys with the frenzy usually reserved for Stanley Cup finals, sharpen their claws on the doorways, dodge in and out around the humans’ ankles with stealth and agility proportionate to the bulkiness and/or fragility of what the humans are carrying, and meep piteously at 5:00 a.m.  The swirly one eats anything in sight, while the gray one must be shut away with her food until she deigns to finish it, or else the swirly one will ferret it out and wolf it down.

These two felines have two cat beds, a carrier, and two capacious laps upon which to recline.  Yet, at my urging, what are their preferred lounging spots?

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The cardboard box from the grocery,

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and the human female’s laptop bag!  It has gone from being black and smooth to patchily grayish and fluffy.  Ehehehehehe!

Fickleness, thy name is “Feline.”

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Uh, Oh.

The humans are, by nature, untidy beings.  In this house, the tables are cluttered, the floor needs sweeping, and the less said about the state of the shower, the better.

Against the background squalor, however, new additions to the flotsam and jetsam are often quite noticeable.

Take this for instance.  It has recently appeared.  Sigyn is entertained, but it makes me uneasy for some reason…

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Ugh, Sigyn, don’t hug it.  Look at the gunk caught in its sparklies.  You don’t know where it’s been.

Great Frigga’s Hairpins!  Here’s another new something. Sigyn just sees something furry. I see the eviscerated portent of great and sweeping change.

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Uh, oh.  Sigyn, you know what this means, don’t you?

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(to be continued)

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The Dead Cat Ballet, Acts I-IV

It is nearly time for the annual Dead Cat Ballet.  You will recall that I recently provided a synopsis of the Overture.  We have now had Act One, in which the human female was informed that a PO was generated for her requisition.  But there already WAS a PO, and the Purveyor of Dead Things was already working to assemble the requisite number of corpses!  Would the human female receive double the Dead Things?! Cue flurry of frantic emails.  Did she need to cancel this new PO?  Yes?  No?  Turns out that the PO number stayed the same as was mentioned in the Overture, but to avoid confusion, a new requisition number was given when the request moved from out-for-bid to bid-awarded.  Because that’s not at all confusing…

Act Two has involved Central Receiving  which, as you recall, is among the dramatis personae for the Ballet because the large trucks from PODT cannot navigate down the alley along which the human female’s workplace is located.  They originally acceded to the human female’s request to receive the shipment from PODT in early August and deliver it to the human female on the 11th.  Except now it is going to be later, a far less auspicious day.  Pick a day, mortals!  I need to know when to make it rain.

Act Three involves outsourced Area Maintenance because, as always, to get ready to receive Dead Things, one must be able to drive a pallet jack through the doorway, which has a nice, convenient post in the middle.  The human female placed a work request to have this done on Ballet Day, only to be told that this is not actual maintenance and so she will have to PAY for the privilege of being able to shuffle Dead Things.  She didn’t ask me.  I could get rid of that pesky post once and for all.  Also some floor tile and some actual doors, but hey, there’d be room for the pallet jack.

Act Four has been a total surprise to everyone involved.  The human female went to the stock room to pick up a few things and was presented with not one, not two, not three, not four, but FIVE boxes of…..drum roll……dead cats from the Purveyor of Dead Things!  Unexpected, unannounced, and not part of the regularly scheduled Dead Cat Ballet–which, this year, was not even supposed to include Dead Cats.  The human female had to perform some accounting archaeology to figure out which ancient PO these erstwhile pussycats fulfilled.  Any guesses?

LAST August.  That’s correct!  These were ordered LAST August.  Incredible.  Just to make life more interesting, 26 were ordered and 21 were shipped, which raises the question:  If you are going to wait an entire year to ship, why not wait a bit longer and ship the whole benighted order?

That’s all right.  The Departmental Bean Counters are going to just LOVE this partial receipt which is sure now to make this PO overhang the end of one fiscal year and dangle into the next…

And we haven’t even gotten to Ballet Day yet!
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A Cerasiferous Conundrum

Sigyn, look!  It’s another set of twin cherries!  Maybe you and I should have another try at cherry-pulling.  I did win the last one, you know.

Hmm.  This set of cherries has the stems “helpfully” pre-mangled.  They’d be no use for pulling.  I wonder what happened to them?

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(Twenty minutes earlier)

Whatcha got there, pup?  Cherries, huh?  Never could afford those growing up, and sure didn’t get any in the war.  Gee, I’d really like to try some, but they’re not mine.  Hey, those aren’t yours either!

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Stop!  Bad hyena!  Let go!

: D

Mischief Update–Woe is Everyone

I am the God of Mischief, but sometimes I wonder if there isn’t someone higher up the food chain, because I began typing this last week and everything I had just… disappeared.  I have tried several more times since, with the same result.  I suspect the human female’s computer is infested by evil spirits.  An exorcism may be in order.

But anyway, I’ve been busy.  You’ll recall that the human female has been having trouble with her trotters.  She was feeling better, so I convinced her and the human male to go to the Other Big City to the North and traipse all over the botanic garden, the zoo, and several art museums.  Well, she’s been having a lot of pain.  She finally hied herself to the farrier and guess what?

fracture-ads

Boom! Stress fracture!  If she didn’t weigh quite so much, her skeleton would not be self-destroying.  Anyway,  it appears to be healing, but I’ve seen to it that her sidebar ads are now all full of foot-related item.  Also crockpots, because fractures notwithstanding, nothing is more important than her getting my dinner on the table.

It’s August. The yard looks horrible, even though the human female has had the irrigation people out again.  She is starting to suspect the business model I’ve coached them on:  On each visit, fix the problem at hand, but break/misalign/misadjust something else so that a return visit is necessary.

The A/C people who were contacted in early July have been unable to schedule the humans for a service call.  “Too busy,” they say.  More likely they’ve heard about how scary the humans’ attic is and are just to polite to turn them down flat.

The City, without warning, has decided to rip up and re-pave the humans’ main route of egress and ingress around the house.  (I have friends on the Roads Committee.)  Last night I arranged for a steamroller to be parked in their alley so they had to go home the long way around the block.  Surprise!

Most of my work lately has been done at the human female’s workplace.  For starters, I have tinkered with the annual registration process for buying chemicals which the Drug Enforcement Agency considers particularly indicative of illicit pharmaceutical activity.  Not only has she had to register all over again this year, but she’s been asked to submit multiple copies of her affidavit, and instead of one which covers all of her suspect purchases, she’d been required to fill one one form for each item.  Who knew iodine was so problematic?

There have been all sorts of fun doings in the hiring department.  The human female’s new Tech I’s do not particularly like one another, and one of them is preternaturally breaky, feckless, and easy to distract.  Trying to replace the recently-departed Tech II is proving to have its own pitfalls.  Two people whom the human female has expressly asked to apply have expressly declined.  One applicant is in another state and will probably not want to travel on her own dime for an interview, one would require months of paperwork to obtain a work permit, and a third is someone rejected for the earlier Tech I position.  The likelihood of identifying and hiring anyone suitable before fall diminishes daily.

The human female was patting herself on the back for coming up with a way to display live centipedes in such a way that they were actually visible to students.  They come in moist paper towel and soil and are very good hiders.  Her idea was to decant them to clear containers with moist filter paper and clear Easter grass.  Last semester, it worked. This semester, they all died. Out of spite, one presumes.

They aren’t the only fatalities.  Someone–by this I mean someone NOT me!– has been sabotaging the live animals.  Two fish tank bubblers were  unplugged under mysterious circumstances, leading to the death of several fish.  Then a millipede was transported from its cozy terrarium to the cold hard lab bench of a room down the hall, where it likewise expired  The culprit remains at large and everyone is nervous. (Please don’t tell Sigyn; she would be most distraught!)

The human female received a cryptic email about a recent Environmental Health and Safety Department (EHSD, AKA Eek! Hazards, Sickness and Death) safety inspection.  She was rather confused, because usually she knows when the inspectors are coming and goes around with them.  After some calling around and some confirming emails, it came to light that it was not the teaching labs being audited but the EHSD.  Next the auditors wanted to examine the human female’s labeling, storage, and handling of dangerous chemicals, again with the purpose of auditing EHSD.  Then the actual EHSD inspectors came through.  The human female feels very, very inspected.  All in all, her work group came through very well, but that is only because I did not show them the Scary Room in the basement.

The human female, ever the miser, has been trying to cut costs in her work group by exploring less expensive formulations of some of the chemicals they use.  For instance, the lab in which the students study the sense of taste by inflicting mysteries upon one another surely does not require the most pure formulation of sucrose for the “sweet” solution.  She has been successful in identifying cheaper alternatives.  Her Prep Staff is enthused.  Her boss is not.

The human female got a lot of test tubes the other day.  Except she didn’t.  They were for someone else.  Recent deliveries have been about 5% Other People’s Stuff.  I know, I know, it’s a really appalling figure, but I swear I’m doing my utmost and I hope to have it up to 10% shortly.

In the meantime, I have fun with the shipments that are hers. She recently had to purchase a pull-down projector screen to replace the one in room 323 that would no long retract.  (Who knew that swinging on one would do that?)  She bought it over the phone from Stapler (no mean feat, since they do not admit to having a purchasing phone number on their website), since she had to make sure it was sold tax-free, as this realm refuses to pay taxes for any reason whatsoever.  She specifically requested that they mail her an invoice showing the lack of fees assessed as well as the word INVOICE in very large, very obnoxious letters, as the Departmental Bean Counters cavil at paying from mere packing slips.   She received the shipment the very next day, along with a packing slip showing a price different from what she was quoted, along with a heaping helping of state sales tax.  She called asking for rectification and was helped by a lovely individual who promised to take care of it right away and send a re-rectified, tax-free INVOICE.   What appeared in her email box was a credit memo for the tax, but no INVOICE.  She called and talked to a different helpful person who provided her with the number of a  third helpful person who proved to be associated with Stapler’s rewards program but who promised to re-re-rectify the situation.  The next day the human received a PACKING SLIP with the right price but without the magic word.  She called and spoke with another delightful person who abjectly apologized and promised to send a re-re-re-rectified INVOICE. The next day the human female received a PACKING SLIP showing the correct price and a credit memo showing the tax coming off the original purchase.  The human female, deciding that for once the Departmental Bean Counters could just *deal*, forwarded both to them with an explanation of the whole sorry fiasco.  It’s quiet so far, but I’m hoping to have more fun when the credit card bill comes in.

Remember the piglets and the human female’s case of PPP?  After multiple calls to the vet school and the chicken farm, no action on getting those porkers on a pyre was forthcoming.  The piglets began to mysteriously disappear by ones and twos into the dumpster (which is legal, just not preferred.)  Then one day, the vet school called, offering to use the defunct swine to test their new incinerator—for free!  Success!  That only took, what four months and ten phone calls?

Everything takes longer than estimated.  One of the new Tech I’s pointed out, quite rightly, that the emergency eyewash in one of the prep rooms was positioned in such a manner (at a sink which is below some overhead cabinets) that it was physically impossible to put one’s eyeballs into it.  A Work Order was submitted to move the eyewash to the other sink in the room.  This was accomplished.  Sort of.  Something something about the top of one of the faucets being lost, thus engendering a geyser, and then more something about another visit to fix that and not having the right part and then still more something about finally having to actually swap the whole faucets and something else about the workman in charge being sacked.  You can tell I didn’t really pay attention.  The human female had to run up and down the hall multiple times, letting workmen in, which is all I cared about.

It seems the human female herself cannot perform even the simplest of tasks in one go.  Recently she was tasked with affixing the new emergency contact signs to each of the lab room doors.  Not only were the little signs of a size not easily divisible into a sheet of laminating film, forcing her to piece the things, she ran out of laminating film halfway through the project.  And she ruined one.  And this woman has two degrees?

All of this flopping about like a headless fowl tends to give the human female a bit of an appetite.  Most days I make sure she packs a healthy lunch. Sometimes I even do it for her.  Why, just the other day, I made her a delectable cheese sandwich.  And hygiene is so important to me that I even left in the little protective square of paper on each side of the cheese.

I’m thoughtful like that.

So:  home, yard, work, food.  I have, as the Midgardians say, “all the bases covered,” (whatever that means) and I count myself content.

For now.

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