Alternate Purveyor of Squiggly Things

Mischief Update–It’s Not All Pens Around Here

It’s not all pens around here, though you’d never know it by the ink samples on the dining room table.

No, there is a lot of messing with the human female so that she gets her exercise running around.  Take, for instance, the time the stockroom folks delivered a package that patently was not anything she had ordered.  It contained petri plates full of nutrient goo, meant for doing environmental sampling.  She called the Vendor Who’s Responsible and asked whose name was on the original PO.  They told her it was for someone named Craig Bell.  Armed with that info, she searched the A&M directory for anyone named Craig Bell.  She found a Greg Bell, so she called him and said she might have his package.  Then, since the VWR had just sent the good that were manufactured by another company, Hardly Diagnostics, she called them and was told the package was something ordered by one B.E., who actually is in the Biology Department.  So the human female called B.E., who met her in the hallway for a handoff.  B.E. got her plates, the human female had thirty minutes of her day wasted, and I had a good laugh.  Win-win, I’d say!

The human female and her prep staff were in charge of the snacks for the big, ten-day Teaching Assistant workshop that took place right before the start of the semester.  They received a schedule of all the break times and the human female carefully calculated how many snacks and drinks they’d need–six snack breaks times sixty participants, etc..  She went on a huge shopping run.  Then she found out they were responsible for two other breaks, so she had to go again.  I made sure that, on the second run, the Big Box Store was out of the cookie assortments everyone likes so much.  Or rather, they had them, it was just that each one had been opened. No idea what happened there (munch, munch…)

I also saw to it that on one of those runs, the human female’s university ID fell out of her pocket.  She didn’t know about it until she got an email from someone who works on campus saying that someone had found it and put it on the windshield of her doesn’t-work-on-campus boyfriend’s truck in the Big Box Store’s parking lot.  Rather than turning it in to the store, the boyfriend had taken it home.  The human female had to call him up and arrange to get it.  He wanted to take it to some coffee shop he was going to and leave it there.   The human female actually had to explain to him why leaving a card that identifies the worker’s department and which functions as, you know, a KEY in a public place was not a good idea.  She and the human female ended up driving all over the southern part of the city, out in the country, to catch up with him and get the card back.  That was a good one!

The first week of the semester was an absolute joy–for me.  One lane of the humans’ route to work was closed on the first day, and I arranged a fender-bender-tieup on the second.

The Thursday Night Home Football Opener caused as much trouble as predicted.  Traffic was a zoo.  Some employees were told they could leave at 1:00 and others were not.  Students were told to attend their afternoon classes, but some buildings were locked up early so they couldn’t do that.  I worked with the Memorial Student Center to be sure lockers in the MSC were available for the students to stash their stuff so they could go right to the game from class.  And then the next day, I saw to it that offer was rescinded.  Confusion is so exhilarating.

I’m still having fun with Workdon’t.  I had it mess up September’s insurance deduction for a lot of people.  And since the human female was finally able to hire a fourth Tech, I’ve had opportunities for mischief there, too.  He was hired three weeks ago, and he’s not in the system yet as far as anyone being able to code his ID card for the door locks.  Ah, door locks.  Love’em.  I’ve favored some of the Teaching Assistants and Lab Instructors in the same way.  There are all sorts of people wandering around who can’t get where they need to go.

The Purveyor of Squiggly Things continues to be a willing and able partner in the human female’s mental demise.  They are located in one of the states that bore the brunt of Hurricane Florence, so they shut down for a few days.  The human female had to put in her weekly order with them early, and then hope it came in time.  Then there was the time they canceled one item without notice (no Nostoc for you!).  The female didn’t notice it until the shipment arrived without it–no backorder notice had been sent.  Quickly, she scrambled to put in a phone/credit card order with the Alternate Purveyor of Squiggly Things–who also cancelled without any notice, on the exact same item.  The human female and her staff had to make do with prepared slides.  Then on the same lab, it wasn’t until Tuesday that the human female discovered that in one room, the jar of Nitella (a lovely freshwater alga) from the APOST contained no actual Nitella, just a lot of Bazania, a weedy aquatic liverwort that I’ve had fun spreading through all the freshwater tanks on the floor.  The human female called up the APOST to chew them out for sending bad merchandise, but they couldn’t find the PO in their system.  Why?  Because the human female had canceled the order when they couldn’t ship the Nostoc, so the Nitella in the lab was from a previous semester.  Didn’t she look like an idiot for not remembering?  Yes, she did!  And even moreso when she discovered that the Oedogonium in one of the lab rooms was also mostly Bazania.  Have I mentioned how much I like Bazania?

Then, on another order, the Purveyor of Squiggly Things just randomly changed the shipping date from one in September to one in October.  The human female caught it in time.  I still don’t think she’s realized that half of the employees at POST actually work for me.

I’m still playing my favorite game, Vendor Roulette.  The human female ordered a bunch of prepare microscope slides from several different vendors.  She received most of them.  That was too boring, so I had the Vendor Who Was Recently Swallowed by the Vendor Who’s Responsible (VWRSbVWR) send the invoice to the university’s satellite campus–in Qatar.  Never mind that POs are distributed with the email to which invoices should be sent.  Nope!  The invoice went all the way to some foreign fellow in the Middle East.  Someone there sent it to the human female, who let the VWRSbVWR know what to do with the invoice.  That was such fun that I started a whole ‘nother round–VWRSbVWR to Qatar to the human female to VWRSbVWR. That time she talked to an actual person, and it seems to have been resolved for now.

I’m still having another vendor, Lonza, send the human female Angry Past Due Notices for any university invoice, regardless of whether it is hers or not.  It’s such fun that now I’m doing it with a second vendor as well.  She’s everybody’s scapegoat, and I love it!

The last time the human female’s set of teaching labs and prep rooms was inspected, the inspector seemed preternaturally fascinated with the breaker boxes.  In one prep room, he found several slots without circuit switches, and he wrote them up, promising to send a tech to fix this Very Dangerous Problem No One Else Had Ever Found.  Nothing happened.  Then more nothing.  The human female called the department’s safety officer, who promised to put in a work order.  Not too long after, someone from Slow, Silent, and Costly came out and did the job.  A week later, someone else from Slow, Silent, and Costly came out to do the same job.  Also, the one worker at SSC who came when he was needed, actually called with updates, and did a good job the first time has retired.  I love it when smoke curls out of the human female’s ears.

The human female lost her yoga t-shirt, and I hid it so well that no one ever turned it in to lost and found.  She couldn’t ask the custodian if she’d found it, because said custodian quit on no notice.  The new custodian can’t figure out how to lock the human female’s office door, or that of her nearest office neighbor, since their locks lock and unlock “backwards.”

Construction continues to make driving anywhere in town a misery.  Lanes disappear for no reason at all, with no warning.  Getting to work is more and more like a video game every day.   And the TexDOT  (i.e., the Texas Department of Ongoing Torture) has just announced that in the next few years, they are going to widen the east bypass around the city.  Yes, the one they just spent five years redoing all the on-ramps on!

And one day, anyone trying to approach the Blocker Building suddenly found there was no actual way to do it.

construction on campus

The human female occasionally likes to listen to books on tape or books on YouTube while she works.  She was really enjoying a good murder mystery.  Too bad I saw to it that the last two hours were missing.  Never fret.  Waiting a few weeks for the book to arrive on interlibrary loan was a good exercise in patience for her.

On the homefront, the felines continue to offer me amusement and the humans bemusement.  The swirly one, at my prompting, has begun a new routine of rubbing up on the human female if she sits on the floor, with each arching rub going a little higher up her back, until she can nibble on her shoulder or her hair.  When she’s not tearing around the house or rubbing, she’s Sitting Funny.

goobercat

I taught her that too.  The humans have since had to barricade that lower shelf of that bookcase you see there, because she likes to NEST.

Aaaaand the human female  is still waiting for the needlework kit she ordered in January.  Some jokes never get old.

So you can see that I have been very busy.  And a busy Loki is a happy Loki.

Sometimes I smirk so hard my face hurts.

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Mischief Update: A Lot to Pack Into A Month, Part III—Odds and Ends

So much mischief, it won’t all fit in one post!

Remember the parking lot/garage foul-up?  I hinted that the humans might end up back in the garage, having to hike from there into work every way.  Well, back they are, since their parking space is currently behind a fence.  A fence, I’m tickled to say, that went up behind their car one day, meaning that the human female had to undo some wires and dismantle a joint of the fence so that they could get the car out and drive home.  And people say *I* am into vandalism!  The whole parking lot project was supposed to be over on January 29, then a memo that came out that advised parking patrons that there’d been yet another delay.  Late last week, parkers were told that their spots would be available today.  Ehehehehehe.  No.  Who knows when–or if!–they’ll ever get their space back.  Do I even need to mention that there’s no provision for reimbursing them for the difference in price between a reserved, numbered spot and the free-for-all that is the garage.

Meanwhile, purchasing continues to offer many opportunities for me to make the human female’s life a nightmare.  She did eventually get the termites she had to emergency order from the Alternate Purveyor of Squiggly Things when the Purveyor of Squiggly Things shut down operations for a few days, due to the same ice storm that knocked out the first day of the semester here.  Unfortunately, said termites all lost the will to live and were engulfed in some strange fungus within forty-eight hours.  In a tizzy, the human female turned to one of the entomology labs on campus, one that studies structural pests.  They were happy to give her a small bucket o’ blattodea.

She also arranged for some of the program’s micropipettors to be repaired and calibrated.

Image result for micropipette

The repair people were accurate and speedy, but the paperwork they gave the human female didn’t say “Invoice” at the top, so the Departmental Bean Counters wouldn’t pay it.  She had to ask the repair folks for more paperwork.   When she turned that in, someone dropped the ball somewhere, because the Pipette People have sent her a nastygram, asking where their payment is.

The human female had to order some of these the other day:

Image result for volvox

That’s the remarkably photogenic green alga Volvox.  Given that they are living, breathing things, one has to loosen the cap on the jar immediately upon receipt.  Unfotunately, one of the jars in the human female’s shipment had been opened prior to packing, so it was–alas!–spilled all over inside the carton.  The human female called the Purveyor of Squiggly Things to ask if they couldn’t just put a replacement jar in with the following week’s supplies.  That’d make sense, wouldn’t it?  Oh, no no no!  The POST insisted that materials from different POs couldn’t possibly be sent in the same box.  They were perfectly willing to ship a single jar air freight, overnight at their own expense, but no way was a jar of Volvox going to be put in with anything else.  Some days I don’t think I will have to do much at all to take over this realm.  They are going to inefficient themselves out of existence with no help from me.

The human female continues to look for errors in the online textbook that’s going to be adopted in the fall.  She’s in chapter eleven and has twenty-plus pages of notes.  She found one figure that has 8 separate things wrong with it and was properly horrified.  Then she found another with 10 errors…  I’m not sure she realizes I’m messing with it all before she looks at it and fixing it after she’s been through.  I just like to watch her get all exercised and red-faced.  She can send those corrections to the publishers all she wants. They’re just going to toss them in the garbage, I’m sure.

Everyone around her and the human male has had the flu. They haven’t—yet—but have had their share of colds and snotty noses.  It’s winter.  It’s cold.  It’s drizzly.   Everything is damp.  Everyone feels at least a little unwell.  The human female is lucky when she has three staffers in place, let alone all four.  Consequently, she’s been doing a fair amount of lab prep.  Today, two of her techs are out, and even though she is sick, she came in to help prep!  Stop whining, woman!  Hefting microscopes and wiping down lab benches is good exercise.

So there it is.  It’s been a busy month.   All in all, I give it a solid eight out of ten.

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NOT Better Late Than Never

The human female has a regular routine for her orders from the Purveyor of Squiggly Things.  She puts the orders in ahead of time and has them arrive on Wednesday morning of the week before she needs them.  That way, if something goes wrong, she can get a re-ship on Thursday for Friday arrival, because Fed-up an Exhausted can’t do overnight air from Sunday to Monday, and by Tuesday it’s too late–8:00 a.m. labs.  She used to order two weeks ahead of time, but because my BAMN can be counted on to snarl things up somehow, she has moved that out to three to four weeks ahead, so she has time to unsnarl.  Or at least re-arrange the snarls.

So recently she ordered eighteen jars of Hydra, a tiny, freshwater invertebrate with a simple body plan and cunning little tentacles.  Actually, she ordered two packs of six jars each plus two singletons. Cheaper that way, but making two line items in BAMN for double the fun.  BAMN suggested she was ordering HYDRAulic machinery, so she had to settle for the “Biology Materials, subcategory specimens and cultures (not microbial)” code.  That’s pretty specific–the Department seems to be ordering a lot of “Miscellaneous” lately…

So, anyway, the Hydra arrived bang on schedule, and they were gorgeous!  Fat and happy and lively and budding. Tuesday, though, they were all stone dead.  Passed on to some Protostome Valhalla.  Cue funereal dirges.

Well, since it was Tuesday afternoon before the human female was informed of the mass suicide pact, when she called the Purveyor of Squiggly Things, she was told that thehad missed the window for shipping Tuesday for Wednesday arrival.  They did, however, promise to ship Wednesday for Thursday arrival, so at least the Thursday labs could see live Hydra.

Well, Wednesday came and went, with a reassuring shipment notice.  Thursday arrived.  No Hydra in the morning delivery.  No Hydra in the afternoon delivery. The last labs of the week finished late on Thursday, Hydra-less.

At four-forty p..m. on FRIDAY, the human female got a call from the front office that she had a parcel waiting for her.  Thirty hours late.  Cue cranky phone calls.  Bad weather, blah, blah, blah.  Planes delayed, blah, blah, blah.  REFUND, blah, blah, blah!  I’ll give the human female this–she is tenacious.  She knows it’s Fed-up and Exhausted’s fault, but she got the Purveyor of Squiggly things to refund a good chunk of the price of the Hydra.  She told them they could pester Fed-up and Exhausted for their refund.

So what does one do with sixteen jars of now-unneeded Hydra? Labs are over for the week, and it is now Spring Break.

hydra1

Well, if one is Sigyn, one squeals at how cute and tiny they are.  Then one plays Funhouse Mirrors with the jar’s refractive properties.

hydra2

Sigyn, my love, you appear to have two of each shoulder.

hydra3

If you are the bloody-minded, science-driven human female and her Prep Staff, you set up an experiment with four treatments.  Eight jars go into the regular animal room at 72 degrees F, and eight go into the walk-in cooler at about 38 degrees F.  Four jars in each location remain unfed, and four will be served with the leftover live Rotifers left from this week’s labs.  (They’re the only things on hand small enough for Hydra to eat.)  We shall see what conditions they prefer, so maybe the next batch will survive long enough to actually be studied by students.

In the meantime, this semester’s students have had to content themselves with this truly amazing video of Hydra tearing itself a new mouth any time it wants to eat something.

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Update:  Hydra, or at least those provided by the Purveyor of Squiggly Things, prefer to be fed and housed at 72F.  Apparently it is only Hydra from Alternate Purveyor of Squiggly Things who prefer to “chill out” in the cold room.  The more you know.