The human female was heard to say, “2016: Wow, what a dumpster fire!! 2017: I miss the dumpster fire– at least it was contained. 2018: I welcome our new alien overlords–at least they put out the fire.”
After a quip like that, I couldn’t very well fail to step up and fulfill the prophecy, now could I? Thanks to my meddling:
Both humans were sick for the annual Feast of Thanksgiving and Overeating
The file server in the Biology Department died a spectacular death on the Eve of Yule, ensuring that the human male had a very interesting holiday.
The Terror Twins made off with the human female’s prized university ring, prompting five days of fretting and more furniture-moving and sweeping than has transpired in a decade. It was finally located. In the pantry. Under things.
Do you recall the malfunctioning fridge? The departmental fix-it man did, in fact, find a replacement and brought it over. And it worked! Prep Staff moved it from the drop-off point to its new home. To make sure that the door didn’t swing open in transit, they very helpfully put the hasp on the outside of the door over the little knob and turned the little knob. Which is how the human female got to pay for a lock being cut off.
The Alternate Purveyor of Squiggly Things duly sent the multiple jars of Hydrda (wonderful little beasts with sting-y harpoons!) when requested. They failed to send the invoice to the university’s Bean Counters, though, so it didn’t get paid. I’m doing everything I can to ruin the human female’s good name with every vendor on the continent.
Despite the hard work of the human female and her Prep Staff, the vast quantity of Dead Things ordered last year and delivered, put away, counted, and paid for with great difficulty didn’t include everything required. The human female had to order 3 more sharks and 100 pig kidneys from the Purveyor of Dead Things over the semester break. Learn to count, people.
The Powers that Be, trying to discommode as many persons as possible, blocked off two parking areas for “utility work” in December, forcing space-holders to park in one of the campus garages. The humans ended up in the Scary Garage, the one that has wicked little cut-through lanes to let cars zip across the spaces. The parking lots themselves were devoid of any signs of activity beyond big piles of pipe and some Big Yellow Machines until mid January. Up to this point, the humans’ spot has been entirely unaffected, and they could have parked in it every single day. They’re back in it now, but the piles of pipe are still hanging around, so they may yet be back in the garage.
The annual Gaming Weekend in the Big City to the North was scheduled for mid-January when most of the humans had a three-day weekend. The human female was sick and couldn’t go. The human male got 2/3 of the way there when someone called him to tell him that, this time, it was the Mail Server which had thrown two hard drives and died. He had to turn around and drive all the way back and spent most of the holiday getting it back up and running. I think I am three for four on ruining holidays with server issues… Not bad, not bad!
Several big boxes of textbooks for the new teaching assistants showed up. Lovely big book. Hummingbird on the cover. Lots of glossy photos. Unfotunately, it’s not the textbook in use. Bye-bye little hummingbirds.
Speaking of books, the Department, at my urging, has elected to adopt an open-source, online textbook beginning in the fall. The human female is reading it through. She’s on Chapter 9 and has about thirteen pages of errata. It’s such fun to watch that vein in her head pop out.
Then there’s the usual beginning-of-the-semester-fu with TAs who can’t teach because they don’t have a valid passport (how did they even get here?), a lost day of class due to ice and snow (these humans become undone at the slightest sign of a flurry), mangled syllabi, a shortfall of lab manuals, unavailability of live termites because of ice and snow somewhere else, crazy drivers, and general influx of different germs from all corners of Midgard.
The days are just packed!
Oh, look, it’s some of that new stuff, non-stick aluminum foil.
The humans are messy cooks, so this could be very handy when it comes time for clean-up.
Let’s open it up and see what we have.
By Gungnir! That is one sharp cutting edge. I like!
Hmm. Yup. Shiny on one side and dull on the other.
What? You need a piece for lining a baking sheet? Well, that’s serendipitous. Just grab and pull out what you need.
You’re all set.
As long as all you need is six little inches.
Remember the mystery package that turned out to be a very large, very unhappy whiteboard? I proposed a betting pool as to whether the board would still be languishing in the stockroom in the new year. I didn’t have many takers, but the time has come to call the question.
The human female was finally able to get the Vendor Named “Estado” (VN”E”) to understand the problem. They agreed to ship out a replacement, which didn’t come and didn’t come. When asked for an explanation, they told the human female that there was some problem with delivery and that it had been rerouted to a warehouse. Said warehouse, thanks to my tinkering with their inventory, was massively backlogged, and VN”E” said that the warehouse was clearing the oldest merchandise first. No ETA! Sorry, human female. Guess it ‘s time to pull out more of your rapidly graying hair.
Just to keep her on her toes, I had the new whiteboard show up almost immediately it the stockroom. The human female and her staff unpacked it carefully. This one was fine. Apart, of course from NOT HAVING A PACKING SLIP BECAUSE THAT WOULD JUST MAKE SENSE.
The human female called VN”E”, and they emailed her a packing slip, so things were just peachy. You know, apart from having the damaged one still sitting in the stockroom.
The human female emailed and called VN”E” again and was given a very reassuring and precise window of time for when the cursed whiteboard would be collected.
The window opened and shut. And apparently is rusted shut.
It’s still heeeeeeeere.
If any of you had the “never” square, you win.
And to put the office-supply cherry on the workplace sundae, nothing has been done by the outsourced maintenance folks toward hanging the good one.
On the other hand, our other new neighbors, the Walkers, seem like really decent, thrifty people. I understand they come from an old, noble line.
Sigyn, I think we should have them over for dinner very soon.
I have heard that there are some new residents in the neighborhood, a very sweet little family of three. Sigyn wishes to make their acquaintance. I shall accompany her, to make sure that nothing untoward transpires.
Well, look, Sigyn–I believe that is one of them now!
Mr. Gingergummy looks to be a handsome, cheerful sort of fellow
Mrs. Gingergummy, on the other hand, has a bit of a hunch and an odd little flat place on the side of her head. (I am trying not to stare, but once you see it, you can’t unsee it!)
Their son, George Gingergummy, sad to say, is prone to fits and appears to be blind in one eye.
Well, this got awkward quickly.
The humans try to save money wherever they can. One thing they’re adamant about is not paying for packaging. They have a collection of spice jars which they refill from the bulk bins at the store, rather than buying new jars.
Looks like today is Refill Day.
Sigyn likes the cumin. It’s a warm flavor, very savory and tasty in so many things.
Also soft to sit on.
The human male is a big fan of black pepper. This should keep him in speckles for a while.
Everyone in the house likes oregano, so buying in bulk is a good thing.
Except that today they had only a few tablespoons left. The human female bought everything she could get out of the canister, but it still wasn’t enough for the scale to weigh. The young man in the store had to write the price on the bag with a marker. A whole thirteen cents!
Which was fine with the human female. Except that when she checked out, the clerk weighed it there and said it was twenty-six cents.
Oh, well, all’s well that ends…
Hang on, sweetie, Loki’s coming.
The human female really does try to mend and repair and just generally keep entropy at bay around here.
Take this, for instance. I found it on her sewing table. It has the look of something that is an integral part of something else.
No doubt she is saving it to reunite it with the other bits of…whatever. I really haven’t the faintest notion what this goes to. Sigyn, do you have any idea?
I mean, it looks like a potato-masher, but without most of the mashy bits.
Oh, clever Sigyn! You found another piece in the human female’s backpack. That was very brave of you. A body could get lost in there.
Anyway, it would appear that what we have are two parts of a chip-clip. Those things are very handy. They can hold all sorts of things together. And the magnet on the back—so useful!
You’d think all we need to do is find the third piece, the other yellow, grippy bit. When we find it, the human female can reassemble the clip and keep all the separate pieces from ending up in the landfill.
Except I found the missing piece the other day and was playing with it and, well… sometimes I don’t know my own strength.
Maybe we can at least pry the magnet out and save it. Magnets are handy and useful things.
Odin’s eyepatch! This thing is in here good and tight. Even with my phenomenal Frost Giant strength, I can’t seem to pry it loose.
Which is weird when you consider that, nine times out of ten, the magnets just drop right out on their own.
The human female resolved at New Year’s to be a little more on top of things. (She has delusions of adequacy.) It’s all working out pretty well, except— I’ve been helping.
She’s noticed a spot on the dining room floor that needs cleaning up.
Except that isn’t a spot! It’s place where the top layer of the linoleum is flat-out missing. It showed up not long after the Terror Twins did.
Think there’s a connection?
The human female, always striving to be more ecologically conscientious, saves and recycles plastic and paper bags, which is a good thing.
Except my furry little minion there thinks the whole project is a toy stash, with some buried treasure at the bottom which must be excavated. Regularly.
Oh, I tell you, I am getting so much mileage out of the felines!
All of this artifact-gazing, ink-testing, and produce-squeezing has given us a prodigious appetite. There’s a new place in town that the humans are eager to try out.
What, really? They are willing to shell out restaurant dollars for something they could make at home for about twelve cents?
This stuff had better be gold-plated. Or buried under truffles and hummingbird tears or something.
I vote we order this one for the human female, at whatever number turns the spicy level up to something requiring a fire extinguisher.
No, no! Wait. THESE! The ultimate fake-you-out food! They’ll serve her pretty little nuggets of fried goodness and when she bites them, BAM!!! The devil’s own sprouts, and I think spitting something out in restaurant is a fineable offense.
Won’t that be fun, Sigyn? Sigyn? What are you—?
I’m sorry sweetie. You shouldn’t have to see this.
Isn’t it sad to eat this octopus? Um, no, of course not! These balls are made with the Takoyaki octopus, a really slow, stupid, ugly cephalopod that is nowhere near as cuddly, photogenic, or intelligent as its cousins. They’re so dumb and hideous and full of self-loathing that you’re doing them a favor by eating them. They practically leap into fishermen’s boats, just begging to be eaten. Really! We can look it up when we get home.
Ah. The starters are here. The human male calls them “gyoza,” which is a Japanese acronym for “Get Your Own ThingZ Already.” As in, “I ordered these for Sigyn and me to share, so no, you can’t have one.”
Mmm. Nothing like a nice bowl of hot, noodly soup on a cold day. Look at that chicken–and the spinach! and the crispy-fried onions!
You know what we need to eat this? One of those spoons that have a straw built in, so we can slurp up all the delicious, delicious broth
Let’s see: messy, dangly, slurpy, and designed to give you onion-breath and something green in your teeth. The perfect first date food!
I get the feeling we’ll be back. Oh, the humans will doctor up the cheap-o, packaged noodle bricks they have in the pantry, trying to get it to taste this good, but they’ll never be able to make that stuff as tasty as this. Especially if all goes according to plan and I introduce some weevils to the pantry. . .