Sigh. I don’t know why I always let so much time go by between updates. It’s just makes it longer and more tedious to write up. Not that I don’t relish reliving my naughtiness, you understand. It’s just all the typing. Can Frost Giants get carpal tunnel? I may be the first to find out.
Remember the trip the human female took to visit her sister? On her first day, I saw to it that she got an automated message that several of the lab rooms were over temperature. She spent a lot of time on the phone trying to figure out, long-distance, what was wrong and who could fix it. Turns out there was a chilled water outage and there was nothing anyone could do but wait for maintenance. In the meantime, I arranged fifty-six further alarm messages (ding!), coming every little while, day and night. Since she was bunking with her mother, I was able to deprive two people of sleep with one misdeed. I like to be efficient.
The estimate for the humans’ property tax bill for the upcoming year has arrived. The city and I like to do a little jiggery-pokery. One year we’ll claim not to have raised taxes, but we up the evaluation by about ten percent. The next year, the evaluation will remain nearly constant and we’ll protest, “But we didn’t raise rates last year, so we need to do it now.” It all ends up the same, eating into the human female’s quilt fabric budget.
I’m growing daily richer, since I now own the traffic cone and big orange barrel concession for the county. I’m making a mint off University Drive alone, where they’ve taken away two lanes so that they can re-do medians and turn lanes and traffic signals. I also like to nudge people to cross against the light or else do a left on red. If I time them right, I can back traffic up on University Drive from Texas Avenue to Wellborn Road! Meanwhile, Wellborn Road itself is under construction, as is the whole Harvey Mitchell Parkway-FM 60 intersection. They’re building a Diverging Diamond interchange, but hte locals have already dubbed it the Death Diamond, which is hurtful. I mean, just because I designed it so that drivers will end up on the wrong side of the road if they want to turn left, is that any reason to resort to name calling?
So, basically, throughout town, one can’t get there from here. I advise you to invest in anything that comes in safety orange.
The Purveyor of Squiggly things shipped an order of delicate little hydra on Monday, not Tuesday. They didn’t actually arrive until late on Wednesday, nearly too late to be useful. Living on the edge is good for her. Another order of the beasties arrived all dead.
The Purveyor of Paper Goods, usually vastly obliging, is not returning the human female’s telephone calls. Probably because he’s found out she’s going to go with a different supplier for her enormous glove order. (That’s an enormous order, not enormous gloves. They only come up to extra large unless you special order them. Then you can get ones that would fit Hulk.) She’s ordered biodegradable gloves, which I actually do approve of, because they’re green. I don’t care two of Volstagg’s waistcoat buttons about conservation–I mean the gloves themselves are green.
A different vendor keeps sending the human female past-due notices for orders she didn’t make of goods she didn’t receive. She has helpfully pointed out to them that A) she does not work at the Vet School or in the Chemistry department, B) she is not the person clearly named on the invoice, and C) she couldn’t pay the invoice even if she wanted to, since all university’s invoices are handled by the Chief Bean-counters. Every time she has to respond to one of the vendor’s dunning emails, her own terse reply gets shorter and pricklier. I plan to keep this up until she’s returning nothing but key-smashes. @*#%$^7fh&6$#!
Another purchase was a ladder. I got very excited, because I can have all sorts of fun with ladders and high places and heavy objects and slippery floors, but it turned out to be a DNA ladder, which is just a little tube full of little bits of stuff that the humans use to do Science with. I was able to work with that, though. She ordered two, 1 kb ladders and I sent her one. Plus one 100 bp ladder. Nyeah, so there.
She also tried to order oculars—eyepieces—for some of the student microscopes. The Purveyor of Expensive Optics (POEO) told her that some of her scopes were too old, and the part was no longer available. She searched surplus sites online and found a different vendor, who told her that a different part would work just fine, and she should buy some and prove it to herself. She did, and lo! The part fit not only the older scopes but the newer ones as well. Thus did she discover that Mister Slightly Smarmy POEO cannot be trusted. Rats! He was one of my better operatives.
I’ve been having fun with other bills, too, ones sent from the local medical clinic. Last fall, when the human female was having such trouble with her trotters feet, she made several trips to the podiatrist, making the requisite $30 copay each time. Now the clinic says she owes an additional $26.32 for each visit, no explanation given. It also wants an additional $6.00 for a visit she made to a regular doctor last September. She has talked to them three times on the phone, and each time, she’s told that they are Looking Into It because These Things Take Time. They also billed her for her annual physical, which should have been free. They further billed her for a visit to the doctor when she hurt her back at work. She tried to call and get that refunded, since Workman’s Comp should cover that, but the clinic’s bean-counters just said they’d apply it to her outstanding balance–which consists of those extra payments she doesn’t actually owe. She’s tried talking directly to the insurance people, who all agree she’s owed a refund. She asked them to talk to the clinic people, but so far no rapport has been reached because, as they keep reminding her, These Things Take Time.
And she has a plethora of places to keep up with her health online, because the Midgardian motto is: Applicationem ad eundem finem destinari est. She tried to get to one of the websites the other day, only to find that her “personal” login wanted her to enter the University’s “token.” Which no one had bothered to give her.
I’ve been tinkering with the elevator in the human female’s work building. It started smoking one morning, which made everyone in the building a little nervous. even after the smoke cleared, it was a little like playing Elevator Roulette–one never knew if it would actually stop on the floor selected. Or if it did, whether the doors would open. The repairmen fiddled with it for days. One of the human female’s Techs ignored the “out of service” signs and got stuck in there for half an hour one day. That was fun. It’s working again now, but I can think of at least three large orders the human female’s going to have to bring up before the summer is out, so I will have some more opportunities.
I’ve actually sort of taken up meddling with machinery as a hobby. The humans’ dryer has been turning itself on and off at random recently, as well as cycling through various settings at random during a load. The human female stayed home one day to have the repairman in. He could not, of course, duplicate the problem.
On the same day, a plumber came to replace all the
leaky ever-running bathroom faucets. The human female bought the faucets ahead of time. It took two tries, because the salesman gave her two of one kind and one of another, when they should have all matched. The clerk at the checkout was Deeply Suspicious when the human female wanted to exchange the odd duck for a more conforming clone. When the plumber arrived and put his hand to the valve to shut off the water, it came off in his hand! So it was all more hassle and expense than intended, which is how I like my DIY projects.
It wasn’t my only foray into the fascinating world of faucets. I arranged that the one in room 303 of the human female’s building would suddenly start fountaining water from the top of the tall fixture-stand. It rendered the sink in the busiest dishwashing room completely unusable. The maintenance man did arrive, eventually, and showed the human female and her techs how to fix the problem in under a minute. Now that they know how to fix it, next time, I will make something else go wrong.
I dosed a TA with sleepy pills so that he missed proctoring his lab final. The human female had to cover for him, putting the finishing touches on his exam at short notice and running his students through it. Was he properly apologetic? No, not so much. Another TA had to have it explained to him that telling a student to meet him “by 4:00″ was not the same as meeting him “at 4:00.” The student couldn’t figure out why his TA wasn’t there in the morning, and the TA wondered why, at 4:00, there was no student in sight.
I made grades and assignments disappear randomly from the electronic gradebook.
I made the plagiarism-checker website send nearly everything back with a “0% match” report, which ought to be impossible (ehehehehehe) because there should be at least a little match if the students all typed “test tube” and “experiment” and the names of the reagents.
I put mealybug on the ferns and scale on the pitcher plants. I trained the felines at home to nestle in the African violets and shove them off the window ledge.
I fixed it so that the office copier/printer/scanner/coffee maker will send a fax, but not receive.
I had a talk with the sewing machine, and as she was putting the last bit of binding on a baby quilt, the human female mitered a corner wrong and had to pick it all out.
Lest you think that the human female is the sole recipient of my mischief, let me tell you about the long-term prank I’ve been pulling on him. The Department has a Really Exceptionally Expensive System (REES) which is supposed to monitor temperature and water leaks, etc., and call people automatically if something goes amiss. Earlier this year, the system was overhauled/replaced, at Great Expense. Things went well, until the techs couldn’t tie it properly into the system. At one point, all the alarm calls were going to the human male’s server room and his office phone was turned into the REES number. The system is not what was ordered. There are monitoring nodes no one can physically find in the building. The system self-checks and keeps saying, “Yep, all good!” when all it means is that it has been able to ping a node and get a reading. Telling what that reading actually is? Pfft! That’s for sissies. It won’t properly connect to anything and no one at REES wants to take the credit for having sold the Department something that doesn’t work or schedule someone to come out to fix it. The whole shebang could be on fire for all anyone on the emergency call list knows. Oh, well, at least it eliminates those pesky in-the-middle-of-the-night robo-calls!
And you remember my treasure, my jewel, WorkDon’t? The humans have discovered a few other features. It is incapable of encumbering funds for grants. There is no way to tell it to set aside a particular amount to be spent later. Also, pretty much all HR communications pass through the Dean’s office, often bypassing the peons at lower levels who actually need to see them.
But oh! The Dean! She was such an able ally, manhandling the budget and inflicting her whims upon the Biology Department, but she is departing to make some other university’s faculty and staff miserable. So you see, it hasn’t been all beer and skittles (or Kool-aid and Twinkies) for me, either.
Odin’s Eyepatch! I didn’t realize, until I had written it all down, just how much I have accomplished since last I updated. A busy Loki is a happy Loki!