Month: June 2018

This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things, Part II: The Problem Is More Widespread Than We First Believed

All of the soft rubber balls have been humanely disposed of, and the humans have made a mental note not to bring any more into the house.

I’ve got news for you, mortals:  It’s not just the stress-foam balls that are falling prey to the ravages of the Terror Twins.

No, indeed!  Inspired by my own savagery, the felines have perpetrated horrors upon the toy population that make the ancient Midgardian practice of decimatio look like a pillow fight.

Blue Mousie is sans most of his tail,

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while Green Mousie is hemorrhaging stuffing from his ventral suture.  It’s barbaric.

And it’s not just the neon mousie population that has suffered.  These are just the victims Sigyn and I could find.  Many of them just Disappear.

For behold!  Here are the three sparkle pom-poms and the fifteen crinkle balls given to Taffy and Flannel.  Here are the three grey fabric mice with the colored ears, the grey fur mouse, the white fur mouse, and old black Turdmouse himself.

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The package-to-oblivion record for a crinkle ball is under ten seconds.

I am so proud.

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This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things, Part I: The Slaughter of the Innocents

Sometimes the humans come home to find something small and helpless has been…tortured by the felines.  It’s always distressing, and no one wants to be the one who has to clean up the carnage.

I have taught them well.  Both of them are avid hunters, chasing down their prey with unflagging energy, relentless in their pursuit, swift to catch and claw and rend.  Swirly-striped Taffy is deadly, no question, but it’s wide-eyed little Flannel Cat, the sweet-faced grey one, who leaves the most corpses in her wake.

Just look at this poor victim, cut down in its prime just yesterday.  It didn’t stand a chance against her vicious fangs.

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It… it was still soggy when the humans found its lifeless remains.  And they keep finding bits of it about.

And it wasn’t an isolated incident, either.  There’s a pattern of wanton destruction here that is frankly disturbing.

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Sigyn says (and I agree) that she hopes all the missing bits are accounted for.

Otherwise, the litterbox is going to be very colorful this week.

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Mischief Update

I’m trying to make good on my resolution to keep my populace up to date on my doings.  Since I last reported, I had all that good fun in New York, but not all of my mischief has been travel-related.

Vendors continue to be the bane of the human female’s existence.  Well, one of them, anyway.  I saw to it that the outfit that sold her the brobdingnagian paper shredder for the office ignored the billing instructions.  She received a “Past Due” notice on the not inconsequential purchase price , even though a) she hadn’t received the first notice and b) the invoice shouldn’t have been presented to her anyway.

The last batch of mosses and liverworts (ugh!–liverworts!  Sounds like something you’d need to take strong antibiotics for!) from the Purveyor of Squiggly Things is doing pretty well, survival wise, but some of the little sealed trays have been sprouting Arabidopsis seedlings right, left, and center.  I gather that the plant is the botanical equivalent of glitter.

The two new hires on the human female’s team are working our surprisingly well.  They and the two old tech are forming a really stable, cohesive unit.  I shall have to see if I can drop a few accusations in a few ears and turn them all against one another—or against the human female— before the cheerfulness level reaches annoying proportions.

Both new techs were hired at the same time, but I am having extra fun with one of the new employees and Workdon’t.  I made it so that he wasn’t showing up in the system and couldn’t log in.  Workdon’t didn’t recognize him.  It took about a week to get him to show up, and even then, he was only in there as his ID number.  “Good morning, ID number!”  It took another week to get the system to call him by his actual name.  Everyone was happy, until he realized that somehow, Workdon’t has latched onto his Social Security number and is using that for everything.  All attempts to code his ID card for building access and room access have failed, because Workdon’t’s number for him is his SSN, not his ID.  Meanwhile, he is also unable to select insurance options, so he’s completely uninsured.  No one seems to know the magic words to make him a Real Boy as far as Workdon’t is concerned.  He exists in Administrative Limbo. vENN

Everything works perfectly for the other new tech, of course.

I’ve arranged more fun surprises for the female’s work group.  There are some Mysterious Damp Patches in the hallway ceiling and in one of the rooms just adjacent.  Slow, Silent, and Costly came out to look, replaced the wet tiles, banged around, and said it was fixed.  (This was before the female went to New York).  The spots reappeared.  SSC decided it was the fire sprinkler system and sent three more techs, who said, “Nope, not our problem.”  Supposedly there is another work order in, but no one’s holding their breath.

I invited some little beetle-y friends to overrun the break room and the offices.  For days, no one could figure out what they were or where they were coming from.  Slow, Silent, and Costly sent out someone to set traps.  The human female returned from New York, took one look, and said, “Pantry pests.  Find the infested cereal and get rid of it.”  All sorts of nooks and crannies and drawers were investigated, to no avail.  Finally, after much consternation, the custodian found an old, abandoned carton of oatmeal behind some dishes in the back of a high cabinet.  Well, to be more precise, it was a carton of 75% insects and 15% insect frass, and 10% actual oatmeal.  I was peeved they found it so quickly!  Next time, it will be rotten shrimp heads behind the refrigerator.  Let’s see them suss THAT one out.

It wasn’t my only arthropod amusement.  The lawn, upon our return from New York, was courting-city-citation long, so the human female mowed.  I was trying to nap, and the mower annoyed me, so I tucked a green lynx spider inside her sleeve when she wasn’t looking, and it BIT her.  How was I to know she’d spring up in a big red welt and itch for a week?

Coming home from a trip is always a let-down.  There is always a huge pile of bills and junk mail to sort through  (I arranged a “buy a commemorative brick in the sidewalk” appeal from a church the humans don’t belong to, along with several “renew your membership” pleas from organizations they don’t belong to), the houseplants look floppy, there is weird stuff in the cooling unit, and no magic hotel staff to do the cleaning.  I’d left the felines instructions to shed copiously, which they did enthusiastically.  The human female has been sweeping regularly, and there are still cat-fur tumbleweeds drifting lazily from room to room.

The house clamored for some attention too.  The sprinkler system is old and crotchety, so it wasn’t much of a chore to get it to run in the middle of the night when the dial was actually set to “off.”

Then the human male decided to shave one day and pulled up the stopper thingy in the sink.  Imagine his surprise when the stopper-pull plunger bit came off in his hand!  (Yes, of course this was one of the faucets installed just before we left!)  He decided to investigate one of the two other identical faucets, to see if he could figure out how to fix it.  In so doing, he pulled the knob out of that one as well!  Ehehehehehe!  The human female was not happy.  She managed to get the stoppers out so the sinks could be used, and she made the male stay home from work so the plumber could make a return visit and do the work properly.

She was also not amused when the male, still suffering from a bum knee, used a towel rack to help lever himself up off the necessary.  Have you ever calculated the force necessary to pull one end of a towel bar out of sheet rock?  Hint:  it isn’t much.

I’ve had some fun with the weather as well.  Last week, it was supposed to pour buckets of rain for five days.  The Big City to the South had flooding, the humans had about two or three inches after getting nothing for three days of near 100% chance, and the local airport recorded half an inch total.  It often happens this way.  The human male’s hypothesis is that there is a thirsty bird at the airport, one who drinks out of the rain gauge.  That’s ridiculous!  Everyone knows it’s an opossum.

While the weather was gloomy, the human female got the notion to make a chicken pie, despite the fact that it was WARM and cloudy and not cool and cloudy.  She tried a new crust recipe.  It tasted all right, but she’s lost the knack of getting the top crust on straight and had to patch it up.

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The joins leaked in the oven, and the crust stuck to the shielding foil and ripped off.  it was tasty, but Volstagg’s beard crumbs!, that was definitely the “don’t do this” illustration for a pie-making article.

It’s good to be home…

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Sigyn the Fierce

Sigyn doesn’t usually like scary movies.  For some reason, though, she has just loved all the Jurassic Whosits films.  I’ve no idea why.

What’s that, my love?  It’s because the dinosaurs are cute and you’ve always wanted a pet stegosaurus and velociraptors probably just need hugs?

Oooookay.

Anyway, I mention this because we are out and about and Sigyn has just found something that she really,  wants.

It’s a dinosaur mask, and if the label’s to be believed, the jaws open and shut and it makes a realistic screeching noise while they do.

Yes, my dear, I can absolutely see that that is something everyone needs.  (?)

dinomask

But maybe you need a smaller size?

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It’s Time for the Annual Festivities!

It is officially summer, and you know what that means!

IT’S TIME FOR THE ANNUAL CHERRY-PULL!!!!

Every year I swear it’s going to be my turn to win, and every year, Sigyn ends up with the bigger piece of stem.  I don’t know how she does it, unless she just somehow has a rapport with fruit.

Sigyn?  Sorry, love, but this year, you are going down.

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Wait!  Wait–before you start tugging, I want to inspect the goods and make sure there aren’t hidden flaws in my stem!

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All right.  It looks sound enough.  On your mark… Get set…. PULL!

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Nnnnnnngh!   Sproing!

What the…?

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Sleipnir’s fetlocks!  I don’t believe it!  I’ve got the bigger piece!  I got the stem connector!  I’d better examine it carefully to make sure I’m not dreaming.

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Looks legit.   I…   Hang on just one minute.  Was Sigyn’s stem pre-nicked?

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You… You wouldn’t throw a match, would you???

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I…I don’t know.    She looks innocent enough, but don’t let that wide-eyed smile fool you.

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Back in the Saddle

Adventure over, the humans needs must settle back to work.  Back to students and faculty and vendors and invoices and strange directives from above and, and, and…

…And Workdon’t.  

They really have no room to complain, because I’ve given it a major overhaul.  No need to thank me, it’s a labor of love.  There is a whole new interface for them to enjoy!  (I’ve worked so very hard on it.  Behold!

new-workday

See?!  It must be improved.  I got rid of all the garish colors in favor of a nice monochrome scheme.

And the icons!  I’m particularly proud of them.  Don’t you think it’s convenient to have the same one for Team Performance,  Performance, and Career?  And for My Team and My Team Management?

And don’t say  you can’t tell the difference between Talent Management and My Team Management?  Those icons are very different.  It’s not my problem if you don’t know what they refer to!

I’ve heard mutterings that folks can’t decipher the symbols on the Benefits worklet.  Seriously?  It’s a heart and a tooth and a pair of spectacles.  Duh.

Best of all–just look at the Time Off icon!  That stuffy old briefcase is gone.  Gone, I say!  Look at it, people!  The suitcase now has zipper pockets.  And wheels!  See?!  It must be better!

Oh–you wanted improvements to how Workdon’t  functions.

Yeah, no.

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Loki Takes New York, Day 13: Home Again, Home Again

Wake up, my love, it’s time to get ready to go home.  I know, I know, there are at least three botanic gardens we haven’t been to, but the humans need to get back to Texas and back to work so that they can afford to take us somewhere nice next year.

Blast it!   I had another very good prank lined up, but it has fallen through.  The humans, knowing now that the Air Train involves an inordinate amount of luggage hauling and walking, were easily persuaded that it was a good idea to use one of their last Pass Package options to summon a shuttle to the airport.  The female asked the inn’s concierge how to schedule this.  The concierge, curse her, told the female that such shuttles make stops all over the city and can take HOURS to reach the airport and that they would be better served summoning a taxi.

Which they have done.  (That is eight methods of transportation on this trip!)  I am having to console myself with the fact that the human female, through a combination of stop-and-go traffic and road fumes, is contemplating ending this sojourn by puking here in the back seat.  Um, Sigyn, let’s you and I go sit up front with the driver.

Now we’re at the airport. Very, very early.  Which is good, because I’ve had a little fun with the gate assignments.  Once the human female finally succeeded last night in printing out the boarding passes (a task made insufferable by the inn’s woefully inadequate wifi), the mortals were fairly certain that they were leaving from a C gate.  However, the helpful TSA man scribbled B-something on his pass.

They’re hoping it’s C, because it looks like one reaches the B shuttle via Pet Poop Lane.

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They’ve checked the departures board.  There is good news and bad news.

The good news?  It’s C for sure.  And here we are!

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The bad news?  According to the text the female has just received…

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We’re leaving an hour late.

There is definitely time for some lunch then.  What to eat? What to eat?

The human female has quickly chosen a sandwich and some fizzy water.

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The sandwich is good, she says, but the cherry water tastes like “melted cough drop.”

The human male has gone to a little shop that will custom make you a sandwich and is patiently waiting.

And waiting.

And waiting.

“Oh, sorry.  Did you order something, sir?  I’ll get right on that.”   Eh he he he!  That cook will be getting a big tip from me.

(much later)

We took off at 67 degrees F and foggy.  We have arrived to find 99 degrees and blazing sun.  Now, how do we get to the long-term parking lot?

And how much will that bill be?

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Loki Takes New York, Day 12: Last Chance for Anything

Well, even though it is our very LAST day in the city, and thus our last chance to try to get to any of the sights or shops or events that the humans have on their long, long list of unfinished business, they are most definitely slow off the mark this morning.  AT my nudging, the weather has deteriorated to cold and rainy, the male’s knee is bothering him, and the female is twitchy because she feels certain that whatever they don’t get to see will have been the best thing ever.  They’ve made one false start, going back to the hotel for jackets, so now the day is half gone and tempers are fraying.

Breakfast or lunch?  Breakfast or lunch?  Lunch it is.  We are trying one last international meal.  Sigyn, I’m not sure we’ve sampled any of these things before.

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“Soft bean curd?” “Ox-knee jelly bone?!”  Um…  Let’s say I have… reservations.

And, um, please tell me that “Bat” is the name of the proprietor, and not something else that’s on the menu.

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I do not think this is what we ordered.  I think this is just the previews.

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(nibble, nibble)  Wah!   By Volstagg’s straining belt notch!  Sigyn, I know  you like red, but be advised that the color in the red cabbage and the red potatoes is not due to tomato but instead owes more than a little to our friends of the genus Capsicum.

Ah.  The entrees are here.  The human female has ordered something I didn’t quite catch the name of–it sounded like “beep beep boop,” but I don’t suppose that’s right .

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Looks just like egg and vegetables and meat over rice.  Harmless enough, I suppose.  Unless the meat used to like to hang upside down in a cave

I have just learned that our prime destination today is another museum.  Auuuugh!  Shoot me now.

And here we are, dripping and ready resigned to look at more stuff.  Hmm.  The humans say this used to be someone’s house and that most of the contents belonged to him.  That’s a little different.

Now this is what I call a study!

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Plushy furniture, silk damask wallpaper, huge display of private opulence.  The sheer excess of it all makes my greedy little heart go pitter-pat.  The tourguide/guard is kind of sour and cranky and is giving the human male and his fancy camera the stink-eye, which is a nice bonus for me!

Off the study is a room-sized steel vault, where Mister Moneybags used to keep the cream of his book crop.

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No, I’m not drooling; you’re drooling.

The next room is a vast library full of thousands of volumes, each one worth more than the humans, their felines, and the pitiful entirety of their worldly possessions all rolled together.

Sigyn and I especially like this book, which is open for display.

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Why?  If you look closely, you can see that the people in the illumination are having pretzels for supper.

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(a bit later)  That was a lot of books!  Most of them old and very rare.  I approve of books, though I wish that they weren’t all locked up.  I’d have liked to page through them.

Now we are in part of the house that is more museum-y.   There’s an exhibit of works by a modern sketch/paint artist.  I can’t say I think much of most of it…

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… but this one is making me hungry.

There is one whole room full of engraved cylinder seals from ancient Assyria.  I must admit, these are frankly amazing.  They look like shiny pieces of stone, but when rolled into wet clay, they create very intricate impressions.  When I take over Midgard, I will have to re-institute these as a means of authenticating documents.

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Look at that detail!  That lion is so very fierce and lifelike.  Truly fit for a king!  Although, for some reason, I find that I identify with that antelope…

If the seals were astonishing, the collection of autographs in the next room is even moreso.

This one was signed by a man who would become a famous, if doomed, medieval English King.

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Hmm.  Perhaps I should practice my flourishy penmanship.  When I come to rule this corner of the cosmos, my scribblings will be worth millions.

That was a pleasant way to while away a few hours.  The humans are hoping the weather has improved while we were indoors.

Not so much.

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The skyscrapers have all been cut off about fifteen stories up.  So sad!   If it’s this foggy in the afternoon, there’s no chance at all that there will be clear viewing tonight.  Four tries and four misses!  I have succeeded in doing the humans out of their much-awaited trip to the top of that very tall building.

Faced with that sad reality, they have decided to trek to the human female’s favorite building.  Here it is in all its glory:

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In the photograph of it that hangs in its lobby.

And, oh, look!  A photo of it lit up at night!

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Eh he he he!  And that’s as close as you’re ever going to get, mortals!

The human male has had enough walking.  The female, despite blisters forming under her blisters, has decided there are a few more things she simply has to see, so now we are striding off in search of a pair of famous statues.

Found them.

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She wanted to explore the inside of this building–I take it it’s another library–because a) books! and b) there’s an art exhibit inside she wishes to see, but I can’t pass up an opportunity for some mischief, so they have announced closing time about four minutes after we entered.

Nothing for it now but to go back to the inn and try to decide on a place to eat our last dinner in this city.

(later)  With a predictable lack of imagination, the humans have ended up back at one of the first places they ate at!  More shawarma,  but this time accompanied by these strange dark balls.

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The human male says they’re called fall-awful.  And you really propose to eat them?!

Well, Sigyn, that’s pretty much the end of this trip.  We’ve seen a lot of art (possibly too much, but I’m glad you liked it all), and I have some fine ideas for my eventual palace and a few notions of how to make correspondence less dull.  We’ve had some interesting food, looked at some flowers, and tried at least seven methods of transportation that I can think of (plane, foot, train, ferry, sailboat, bus, private car.)

Now there’s nothing left to do except sit back, think over our adventure, and watch the humans try to wedge all the accumulated clobber into their very-overstuffed suitcases…

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Loki Takes New York, Day 11: I Think I’m Stuck In a “Do” Loop

I think that somehow, somewhere, I must have angered the Powers That Be, because I think I have had this day already.

Wake up, eat yogurt, ride the subway, ride a bus, visit the Met. We did this!  I swear we did this already!   

The human male is resting his knee again today.  Given her choice of ANYTHING to do in this city, the human female has opted to go back to the Met and look at more art.  I would stay in the in and read or nap or stick needles in my eyes or something, rather than go back, but Sigyn is enthusiastic, and I need to keep an eye on her.  I don’t trust the human female not to leave my sweetie behind somewhere.

We are beginning with Egypt again today.  I swear this woman has NO imagination.  We saw mummy stuff yesterday, for Thoth’s sake!

We didn’t see these yesterday, though.  There is a whole room full of model boats, a veritable flotilla of funereal facsimiles.  Or that’s what the labeling says, anyway.   I think these are actually little dioramas left over from some children’s summer craft camp.

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We can’t tarry too long in here.  Sigyn has that unfortunate compulsion to moo at bovines, so we had best move along before she starts and we all get thrown out.  Funny as it would be to see the human female bounced from the museum, I know that Sigyn wishes to continue browsing.

Moving along.  There are whole rooms dedicated to armor and weapons!  Maybe today won’t be a total dud after all.

Ah!  Didn’t see this yesterday either!  What a magnificent suit of armor!

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My horns are better, though.

(later)  Sigyn and the human female have been standing in front of this one painting for half an hour now.

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It’s supposed to show a scene from a famous play.  Let’s see:  historical-ish theme, flowing clothes, graceful figures, cute dog…  Yes, it does indeed tick all of the human female’s boxes for “what makes a good painting.”  I think Sigyn just wants the red dress the one woman is wearing.  And the dog.

Here is a famous painting.

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I bet I could get a lot of money for it, if I could pry it off the wall…

Bwahahahahahahaha!  Snort!  Ahahahahahaha!  Perfect!  Great Frigga’s Corset, I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried.  The human female has just done something so quintessentially her.  See this painting?

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She was drawn to it because of all the “brilliantly-rendered needlework” on the three fancy fellows.  She read the title card to see who it was by, and the card described a “touching family scene, one in which St. Joseph features prominently.  “Note,” the card says, “the sweet domestic still-life of fruit and wine in the foreground; very unusual for a painting of this kind.”  No mention of kings or gold or anything of that sort.  So she went and found a guide/docent/painting-herder and asked if the Met was quite sure that the right card was on the painting.   That guide/docent/painting-herder went and fetched two more, and they all stood around looking wise and poking at their hand-held computers and debating.  They finally agreed that this was, in fact, NOT the painting identified by the card.  One of the guide/docent/painting-herders identified it as something else entirely.  Apparently, in the last gallery re-shuffle, something went awry.

So the human female, insufferably smug and wearing a ghastly know-it-all smirk, walked around for the next twenty minutes congratulating herself for finding an error in the museum.

It was about then that she realized her purse was missing--money, cards, inn key, identification, Metro pass— all of it.  Zoom!  Genius to idiot in nothing flat.  She had only her phone, and the battery was down to about 10%.  How would she get home to the inn?  How would she board her return flight with no ID?

She consulted the museum map to see where the lost and found might be.  She was able to locate it, and now we are standing at the security desk, looking over.

And there is her purse, contents and all.

I know what you’re thinking.  Yes, of course,  I took her purse while she was gloating and hid it.  But Sigyn was starting to get a little panicky, so I settled for dishing out a heaping helping of crow and called it good.

But the phone is still dying and the day is getting on, and the human female wants to try one more time to get tickets to go up to the top of that tall building.  So, that is Enough Excitement and Enough Art for today!  Goodbye, Met!

(later)  The female was able to procure tickets for 9:10 this evening.  She has caught up with the human male for dinner.  We are back in the tavern-like restaurant, and since the weather is turning cooler and damper, she has ordered a hearty chicken pot-pie and the male, shepherd’s pie.

There’s a huge party ahead of us, so the food is taking quite a while.  Sigyn, while we wait, let us study the view we shall have from the top of the tower.  If we were to go up in daylight, it would look like this:

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But since it is going to be dark, it will look like this:

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The food has finally arrived!  We shall have to eat quickly if we are to make our ascent time.

I think there is some chicken under this pastry pillow…

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We have finished just in time to march smartly down the street for our Rendezvous With the Sixtieth Floor.  It’s finally time!  It’s exciting!

It’s pea-soup foggy.  Ehehehehehe!   That’s three times I’ve prevented them from going!  They’ve exchanged the tickets for tomorrow, which will be the very last chance, since it will be our last day.

Since we are not going up, we have a little time to poke in this novelty store before it closes.

I can’t decide if these are named after me or not.

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Odin’s Eyepatch!  No matter where I go, I can’ get away from this idiot’s ugly mug.

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On that oafish note, I think I will call it a night.  I crammed a lot of mischief into one day, and I’m a little tired around the edges.

Tomorrow:  the finale!

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