bean counters

Scandal! Outrage! How DARE SHE?!

I hinted about this last week but didn’t share details, knowing that it would take me several days to formulate a response to the human female’s latest unspeakable actions.

Having thought about it long and carefully, I can now state, categorically:

AS!# 9&*kdk j$%@m-pa7^)aq–WTFBBQ?!!

I…I honestly did not see this coming. Huginn and Munnin did not see this coming. What catastrophic event has my horns all bent out of shape? What has shaken my world upon its mischiefy foundations?

Just this:

The human female is retiring.

I know! I didn’t believe it either, at first. But she’s doing it. She’s turned in her mountain of papers to the University. She’s turned in her further mountain of papers to the Pension People, written her resignation letter, and started putting all her work affairs in order.

What am I supposed to do for fun if I can’t harass her via the Vendor Who’s Responsible, the Purveyor of Dead Things, Usually Smashes Parcels Significantly, Slow Silent and Costly, the Purveyor of Squiggly Things, Fed-up and Exhausted, and all the various Bean Counters at all the various levels of administration?!

It’s unthinkable.

This calls for a reinforcements.

Let me introduce to you my new ally, Timey McWatchface.

He may look a little dorky, with his underwear on the outside and all, but don’t be fooled. He and I have an insidious and cunning plan to undermine the human female’s sanity.

Tick…

We simply have to suggest that she’s running out of time to finish up the Technical Laboratory Coordinator’s Manual she’s working on.

Tick… Tick…

She has years of e-mail to sort through, archiving anything important that her successor might need.

Tick… Tick… Tick…

Files to transfer. Accounts to close. An office to clean out.

Tick… Tick… Tick…

She needs to train her Techs to do some of the purchasing.

Tick… Tick… TICK…

And what about after retirement?

Timey, I think that’s where we can really start putting the pressure on.

What are you going to do with your time, woman?

You can’t just sit around all day, you know. No, you have to improve yourself and get to all the home repair projects you’ve neglected and do the document shredding you’ve been putting off and sort those books and clean up the craft room and catch up on your mask-making and finish some of the quilting and stitching projects.

TICK…!

You promised yourself you’d start exercising regularly and doing more volunteer work and sort the closets and keep up with the housework, or have you forgotten?

TICK…! TICK…!

You’re not getting any younger! What about the travelling? The novel you want to write? What about the English country garden you’ve always wanted? The stamp collection you need to revive? Huh? Huh?

TICK!!!

What happened to learning to juggle?

TICK! TICK! TICK! TICK!! TICK!!!

Good work, Timey! She’s now a quivery ball of overwhelmed dread! Between the existential angst and all the work she has left do do before they knock her down and pry her office keys from her little clenched fingers, she’s paralyzed. The mind is working a thousand miles an hour but the wheels are just spinning in place.

How long has she been sitting here, staring at nothing while the rest of the house sleeps? What time is it getting to be?

Gonna be a loooong day tomorrow!

>|: [

Mischief Update: Set Chaos to Maximum

The contractors swear by all they hold holy that the second floor of the human female’s workplace will be finished on time.  Well, except for the air conditioning.  And the stools.  And maybe the electrical.  Or the water.  Or the phones.  But finished!

The New! and Improved! second floor is going to have multiple fume hoods, safe enclosures where scientists can work with nasty chemicals, DNA, and other cooties.  Evacuating so much air in a steady flow requires a VLF (Very Large Fan), and there’s no place those fans can go except the roof.  So a delivery was scheduled and a massive crane procured, and all the building’s inhabitants were told to stay home for a day and not approach the premises at all, to eliminate the chance of a) a  VLF landing on their pointy head, or b) a VBC (Very Big Crane) toppling over and making a pancake of someone or someone’s car.

The VLFs arrived, oh yes they did! But I had a word or two with the Purveyor of VLFs and they made their appearance sans the bolts required to actually attach them to the building.  So it was deferred until the following weekend when, once again, everyone was invited to stay very, very far away.

The old internet wiring in the part of the second floor that is going to become Biology and Chemistry teaching lab rooms was meant to have been stripped out, to make room for bigger/better/faster connections, and the contractors took this charge very much to heart and set to with a will, encouraged by myself.  So eager were they to accomplish the ripping and stripping that their zeal quite got away from them and they removed all the internet wiring from the part of the floor that is supposed to remain offices.  Ehehehehe.  Oopsie!  There is, unfortunately, no provision in the builders’ remit or room in their timetable for replacing what they took out–and no budget, either.  All parties involved are having a fine squabble and a round of finger-pointing about who’s to replace it.  And, more to the point, who’s to pay.

Water remains an iffy prospect.  There has been spotty low water pressure, a drip that doesn’t drip when the plumber comes, and hot water that takes for. ev. er to arrive once summoned.  The human female, having forgotten her water bottle at home, poured herself a mug from the break room tap.  Imagine her revulsion (and my glee!) when what she ended up with was pale yellow in color, with a fine black sediment and a rather disagreeable taste.  That will teach her to look before she sips.

The workman have created such a clutter outside the door that needs to be utilized for the annual Dead Cat Ballet that there is no way for the delivery truck to access the alley and no way for a pallet jack to approach the door. The human female, having made all the arrangements for delivery, removal of door posts, etc., was forced to do a little something I like to call “grovel and backtrack,” cancelling the door work order, arranging future delivery (at some as yet to be determined date) of the shipment with Central Receiving, and notifying the Purveyor of Dead Things that their payment will be tardy, since she cannot pay for what she has not received and checked.  Of course, I will make sure the person she spoke to in customer service at the PODT doesn’t tell the Bean Counters at the PODT, and there will be a nice dunning letter in the post for her, you mark my words.

The human female and her coworkers were told week before last that the phone lines were going to be cut at some unspecified date and be out for a while.  Another outage!  It has come to light, however, that there is no plan to replace the land lines and that the entire building is being switched to something called VOIP.  I was, I admit, confused.   Is not “voip!” the sound it makes when one wraps a piece of hot dog bun wrapper around a stick and lights it in a campfire, causing drips of molten plastic to fall with a very characteristic “Vvvoip!  Vvvoip!” ?  Apparently, though, no pyromania is involved, merely Voice Over Internet Protocol.  I am not dismayed, however, because I am fully capable of causing mischief with computers, so expect some good fun there!   (At a yet to be determined date, of course.)

The human male has not been exempt from my mischief.  He had ordered a number of Spanish language computer keyboards for a new faculty member arriving from Chile.  They did not come and they did not come and they did not come.  When he called to find out why, he was told that they were out of stock for educational customers.  When the male pursued it further, he talked with another person, who took a look around at the simply massive pile of Spanish language keyboards in the warehouse and said they would ship them out.  We will just see about that…

Another order, comprising some dozens of laptops, was dispatched to the human male by a carrier I had not previously meddled with.  But I adore making a new business connection, so I had a little chat with the good folks at Doin’ Hella Little, who subsequently informed the human male that they were completely unable to parse the delivery address (the University does not use street names and numbers but internal mail stops, building names, and room numbers) and that the laptops were going to rest comfortably in a warehouse at their distribution center in Humble, a small town rather closer to the Big City to the South than to here.  When the human male asked whether they could not reroute the delivery to Central Receiving, which does have something that is recognizably a street address, he was told that they could not do that and, if he didn’t want to drive an hour or more each way, he could take it up with the vendor.  Which he has done, and the vendor has supposedly Explained Things to Doin’ Hella Little, but we shall see if the laptops materialize.  

In the meantime. the human male was contacted by another shipper, inquiring about his shipment of over 100 tablet computers.  A bit of detective work uncovered that these were, in fact, not his at all but destined for some establishment in a town about two hours and more from here.

Recently, an old friend sent the humans a photo taken of them a decade and a half or so ago.  They were thinner then, and not so gray, and there’s a light in their eyes that is lacking now.  I simply can’t imagine why, can you?

>|: [

A Visit to the Mischief Archives

It  has been some time since I shared some of the mischief I have done but not previously written about, mischief that didn’t spawn a photo or a blog post of its own.  I herein admit gloat that all of the following was my doing.

Remember the time she was short some cat skulls so she sent off  some preserved Dead Cat heads to the Purveyor of Head Bones to see if their hungry beetles would eat the flesh off?  Not only did the beetles not eat their têtes de chats morts et conservés, but they all up and died.  True!  The human female killed a dermestid colony.

I put her name in all sorts of fun places on the internet, so she got a very interesting email inviting her to log back in and complete her PayPal purchase of some very lewd shoes named “Private Desire.”

I arranged for an ordered chair to show up with no packing slip whatsoever.   This makes the Bean Counters all purple in the face and it never, ever gets old.

At the beginning of the semester, I nudged a bunch of students, and they all went to the wrong labs, including one who put his head in the right lab room.  The teaching assistant, who already had a full classroom, asked him what section he was in.  I whispered in his ear, and he told the TA the wrong one.  So the TA sent him next door, where there was one seat left and the TA made him welcome.  It wasn’t until the second TA was taking up the signed Lab Safety Agreements that she realized he wasn’t hers.  But, subtracting the wrong student, she was one student short. And just where had that missing student been?  Independently wrongly next door with the first TA, which was why that class had been full!  There’s a reason the human female is going bald.

And the students broke, did break, have broken, will break, will have broken, will have been breaking more and more micropipettors.   Basically, anyway you conjugate it, they break ’em.

wonkypipettes

Every semester.  And every.  Single.  Time, the Pipette Repair People send her an invoice that doesn’t say invoice. With the wrong address.  Then she has to get them to send a corrected one, one that says invoice, and she turns it in to the Departmental Bean Counters,  About 10 days later, the Pipette Repair People shriek at her that they haven’t been paaaaaaaaid.  Then the human female has to remind them that the University is a Net 30 operation and that they will get their payment in due time.  Then about two weeks later, they shriek at her again, and she reminds them to count to THIRTY.  The human female says it gets really, really old.  For her, maybe.  I still get a good laugh out of it.  Especially since each cheery little email from them ends with, “Please don’t hesitate to contact us for any questions. Have a wonderful day!”

You know what else got old?  All the calls from TAs about broken respirometers that turned out not to be broken.  How hard it is to screw the lid on a fat tube and to measure liquid accurately?  Pretty hard, apparently!

The week after that, the big fifty liter carboy of Chlamydomonas (a friendly little green alga that is part of the photosynthesis experiments) grew up all “ooky” and contaminated.  The human female was never able to prove that I was the one who meddled with the autoclave so that the growth medium was contaminated, but from the epic side-eye I received, I think she suspected.

That same week, i had the fun of watching the human female and her Prep Staff tear the entire third floor apart, looking for one of the colored light boxes used in the Photosynthesis lab.  The human female knew she’d put it in the cabinet in room 305, but it wasn’t in there.  Until it was, after they all tore the floor apart another two times.  Turns out that lying on your side makes you invisible to biologists.

Then there was the day when she burned her fingers, her watch broke, one of the prep rooms overheated, and there was cat  puke to clean up.  I can’t remember if it was a Monday.  But I bet it felt like one.

I DO remember that it was a Sunday, though, when the low-tire-pressure-you’re-going-to-die warning light in the human female’s car came on.  She drove it very carefully to the nearby shop attached to a discount store, where they told her that they couldn’t find anything wrong with the tire, so she drove it carefully home, planning to take it to the dedicated tire place later.  When she went out to do so, the light was gone.   Teasing her is such fun.

I made it rain on her when she was returning the very heavy liquid nitrogen tank full of bull spunk.

It rained on a Tech I interviewee, too.  How to make a good first impression?  Don’t show up looking like a drowned rat!

How to make a good impression with Admin?  Have a whole batch of hazardous waste come back from waste collection because Environmental Health and Safety didn’t “like” the way it was tagged.

Then WorkDon’t cancelled the Tech timesheets that had some overtime hours on them.  When that was finally straightened out, their checks didn’t come on time.  (See?  It’s not just the human female I like to mess with.)

As always, the devil–and the mischief–are in the details.   And that takes us up through the end of last September!

>|: [

Deranging the Strange Arrangement With Grainger–Now With Bonus BAMN!

A box has arrived for the human female.

grainger1

Well, I don’t know if I’d call her “one who gets things done,” but I certainly am.

You see, this box represents several weeks’ worth of first-class mischief.

Humans are clumsy by nature, always dropping things and breaking them.  Last semester, the students broke a number of the glass graduated cylinders used in the urinalysis experiment.  Terrible things, students.  Can’t be trusted.

At any rate, the decision was made to order a bunch of plastic cylinders that the feckless little darlings couldn’t break.  So the female ordered 24 of one size and 6 of another, so as to fit the hydrometers on hand.

And she waited.  And waited.  Finally, exasperated, she called the vendor and was dismayed to learn that they had never received the PO at all.  So she jumped through all the hoops and asked the Bean Counters to re-send it.

And they did.

So she waited some more, and still no box of plastic piss-jars.  She called the vendor again, who told her yet again that no such PO had ever been received.  At this point, the human female recalled that it had been long and long since she had ordered from this vendor, and it occurred to her that, back in the glory days of BAMN, the program administrators wanted all POs to be emailed to a person, rather that to a helpful or useful address not tied to a transient and mortal meat-sack.  She asked the person on the other end of the phone what address would actually reach the orders department.

Armed with this little nugget of information, she contacted the Bean Counters and asked them to transmit the PO one more time.

You can see by the presence of the package and all of this boring wrapping paper that a shipment eventually resulted, so how did it come about?

grainger2

Not long after the PO was transmitted to the vendor for a third time, the human female had a missed telephone call, and then an email, from chipper customer service rep saying that if the human female would call them, they’d be more than happy to set up an account and process the order.

Account?

Everything involves an account these days, so the human female called and proceeded to try to navigate the vendor’s byzantine account setup.  The Helpful Person on the other end of the line (trained by me, of course) tried to walk her through the whole process but the human female could never quite get her to understand that the University is a rather large place and the Biology Department only a small part of it–and the human female smaller still.  The Helpful Person wanted to create an account for the whole of the Department and make the human female the contact person for it—or perhaps the person in the stockroom, since that is the delivery address.  Or maybe whoever is in charge of Departmental Billing…

After about twenty minutes of internal zip codes, building abbreviations, and increasing frustration on the part of all parties, the human female had finally had enough.  Abandoning the idea of an account (for which she did not wish to be Responsible), the human female asked if they could just abandon the notion of an account and process the order some other way.

Why, yes!  Yes, they could!  Relieved, the human female launched into placing a guest order with the credit card.  Everything went swimmingly right up to the point where the Helpful Person read out the total.

Including tax.

Rule One of purchasing:  The University never pays tax.  Ever.  Slight snag, yes?

No worries, the Helpful Person told the human female!  All she had to do was make the purchase, request the tax refund form, fill it out, provide a copy of the University’s tax exempt paperwork, and sit back and wait for the tax to be refunded to the card.

At this point, if the human female had been listening instead of grinding her teeth, she’d have heard me giggling in the background.  It’s a known fact that initiating a tax refund stunt like that would make the Bean Counters purple in the face and bring on a spitting apoplexy.

Followed by a stern reprimand and a lecture about Rule One of purchasing:  The University never pays tax.  Ever.

It was at this point that the human female reached her limit.  She thanked the Helpful Person for their help  time and rang off.

Next, she contacted the Chief Bean Counters and asked them to cancel the PO entirely.

Now, obviously, here are the cylinders.

grainger3

So how did she get them?  She remembered, belatedly, that this particular vendor has a punch-out right at the front of the purchasing software site, one that takes the user straight to the catalog where they can load up a cart and check out easy-peasy.  Once the PO was cancelled, she logged in, went through the punch-out, put in the order, hit a button, and took delivery about 48 hours later.   No problems, no tax, and no escaping that it was her own incompetence that led her down the garden path in the first place.

Well, I may have helped a little.

So now there is a full set of plastic cylinders for the urinalysis experiment.  The Prep Staff are always quick to point out that it isn’t really real urine, just something they whip up out of water, food coloring, and chemicals.

Theoretically.  No one has yet connected the strange results they keep getting with my capacity to quaff and process ale…

>|: [

 

Behold the Slide

Remember, O reader, the order of  microscope slides for which the invoice went to the University’s campus in Qatar Not once but twice?  The order that was partially back-ordered, with each part of the shipment being billed to the fine folks in the Persian Gulf?  The order for which the human female spent many hours on the phone and with email, trying to straighten out the billing so that she could pay for her thrice-damned microscope slides?

I thought you might want to see what all the fuss has been about.

schistosome slide

Behold Schistosoma japonicum.  Three of these slides formed the back-ordered portion of the order.  You see, it take a while to prepare them, since each features not one but two parasitic beasts–a tiny male surrounded by a more massive female.  Yes.  You read that right.  Schistosoma japonicum in flagrante delicto.

These slides arrived last year.  Last week the human female received yet another tender note from her colleagues in Qatar, a note which enclosed a note from the Vendor Who’s Responsible helpfully pointing out that the account is now 120 days in arrears. 

Cue wailing and gnashing of teeth.  The human female remonstrated yet again with the Vendor Who’s Responsible, begging them to do as the original PO says and submit the invoice to the proper email address.

All good fun comes to an end, I suppose, because the invoice was finally correctly submitted to the Bean Counters here on the main campus.

Who refused to pay it.

For you see, in my quest to make the human female’s life as frustrating as possible, I had the Vendor Who’s Responsible engulf the entity now known as the Vendor Who Was Swallowed Up By The Vendor Who’s Responsible, in much the same way that the large female schistosome surrounds and dwarfs the much smaller male.  The original order was made to the smaller company, but the invoice was sent by the Vendor Who’s Responsible.  The invoice could not be paid because the vendor names do not match.

The human female pleaded, and tried to explain the situation, outlining how the two entities were fundamentally the same, and would they pleeeeeeese pay the invoice?

What is that delightful Midgardian expression?  “No dice.”  Is that right?  The Bean-counters cancelled the invoice and demanded that the Vendor Who’s Responsible issue a new one with the name of the VWRSbVWR instead.

Which they won’t do.

So now, the Vendor Who’s Responsible, sick unto death of trying to sort this out, has given up in defeat and cancelled that line item of the original PO, saying, “Forget it, pretend you never ordered those amorous schistos, and let us never speak of this again.”

You would think that this would bring an end to the human female’s misery, and that six months is a good enough run for a bit of mischief.

But you’d be wrong.

The latest email from the Bean Counters on campus to the Customer Service Rep at the Vendor Who’s Responsible is short, sweet, and promises more fun to come:

“Per your email below, I have cancelled PO line item 4 on the PO.  What about the other PO lines?  I do not see where we have been invoiced for them.”

>|: [

 

The Saga of Reginald the Recalcitrant

Friends, let me introduce you to Reginald.

autoclave1Reginald may look like a standard oven, but Reggie is something much more special.

autoclave2

He is an autoclave, an indispensable part of the human female’s Lab Prep team, and 110% my devoted minion.

Reginald gets pressed into service on a regular basis, sterilizing media, pipette tips, and glassware, and rendering biohazardous materials somewhat less noxious.

For him to operate properly, the steam has to be working, all the moving parts need to be working, and his little computer brain has to be firing on all circuits.  Otherwise, the human female and her staff aren’t treated to the sweet, sweet aroma of baking agar.

So recently, Reggie and I launched a campaign to turn the human female into a gibbering mess.  First, I had him clench up his door so that it wouldn’t open.  The repairman was called, and he manged to get the machine to unclench.

Next, Reggie went on strike and wouldn’t work at all.  The repairman came back out and determined that it was most likely one of the three computer boards that constitute Reggie’s brain. Because We Are All Scientists Around Here, he put this notion to the test by purloining the control boards from an autoclave in a lab in a different building and trying them one by one.  Lo and behold!  When new main board was swapped out, Reggie woke up and grudgingly started working.

Did I mention that Reggie is a 1997 unit?  This is lateish middle age in autoclave years.  Finding a new controller board to replace the bad one is going to take some time.  In order to inconvenience even more people, the repairman has decided that the lab from which he stole the replacement controller board is just going to have to make do with only the two new autoclaves they have.  The human female gets to keep the trial board, and he will look for a new card for the unit from which it was pilfered.

While this was going on, I arranged that Reggie’s steam manifold should clog and need to be rebuilt.  (It’s the local water–it’s full of badness.)  Also that the little printer that logs sterilization cycles should be printing on the back of the paper roll, so that the whole roll has to be removed before anything can be read.

More tinkering.  Finally, finally, the human female and her staff had a working autoclave again.

For the time being.  Because, let’s face it, it’s only a matter of time before Reggie blows a gasket–literally–and finally shuffles off his mortal coil.  Or his main steam valve, or whatever.

Thus, the human female having to write another one of her cheery little Notes of Doom and Impending Expenditure.  I.e., “The autoclave is threatening to die, and we should be thinking about replacing it.”   There are rumors that the human female could get a used hand-me-down if someone else gets a new one.  Or that a new one could be possible when the mythical second floor renovation takes place, because autoclaves will be needed on that floor.  The Department’s Chief Bean Counter has said he will ask for three autoclaves for the second floor, so that if funding is short, he can grudgingly accept two.

I love this.  One more thing in the human female’s life that is unresolved, with the promise of future misfortune…

It’s good to have plans.

>|: [

Mischief Update–Improvement in My Cash Flow

A busy Loki is a happy Loki, and boy, am I happy! I’ve also found some clever ways to bring in a little extra income, as you shall see.

Mostly, I continue to make the humans’ work environment and strange and surreal place.

First off: Slow, Silent and Costly continues to play dice with utilities and maintenance. Faucets drip or stop dripping at random intervals. Chilled water lines drip spots into ceiling tiles. One section of campus had both a chilled and a heated water outage–at the same time. Another week, most of west campus lost landline telephone service. And recently it came to light that the sewage from a large dorm complex had been tied into the storm drainage system and was routinely discharging gallons and gallons of wastewater into a local stream. (That wasn’t my idea, but I have been amused by the outcry and all of the digging up that fixing things has necessitated.)
Closer to home, two men showed up and installed a new break-room faucet in the human female’s area, unasked for and without warning. The work order for the new countertop in one of the main Intro Bio prep rooms involved multiple entities, none of whom, apparently, was talking to the others. All of the work (remove sink, replace counter, replace sink) had been written up and approved–and was in fact due to begin. Then two plumbers showed up, saying they’d been sent to look at a “leaking faucet.” No, the human female explained, the problem wasn’t a leak, it was that splashed water had, over time, warped the particle board counter and laminate covering. The two men hemmed and hawed, looked at the sink in the counter and its attendant plumbing, said, “Yep, this is a job for a plumber,” and left. Bill a visit from two techs.
The doorlock people finally finished their work, but it did take a while. One day they were delayed because someone who was supposed to show up and do part of a job, simply didn’t.  And once the locks were installed and hooked up, it took several further days before they were activated.  One professor still can’t get into his office.  And another two days for the old locks to be removed. I made sure to adjust the cordless power tool’s whine to the particular frequency that resonates with the human female’s fillings.
The policies of the University continue, at my direction, to remain mysterious and capricious. On the Third of July (a holiday devoted to the purchasing of watermelon, charcoal, and fireworks), the Powers That Be declared that staff could take early release and get a jumpstart on the festivities. Fifteen minutes later, another announcement came out– “Ooops! Sorry! We forgot summer school’s in session! If you’re involved with the actual teaching of classes, you don’t get to sneak out early. Our bad.”
The University’s first home football game of the season has been scheduled for Thursday, August 30th, to launch the career of our new circus-elephant-monikered coach. Since this is a work day, all of the staff and student parking lots are bound to be full. To better serve game-goers, however, many of the parking lots must be vacated. The Powers That Be have given notice that staff in these lots should make alternate arrangements on that day or vacate by a certain p.m.  It was even said that they could get a $10 credit for an Uber ride to work that day.  Most recently, “non-essential” staff have been told they can leave early, so that Moneyed Alums can have free run of the campus. Rest assured, I’m getting my cut.

Oh, the fine folks at Transportation Services are some of my favorite minions. Recently, they “discovered” some arcane tax law that says that the University’s faculty, staff, and students can no longer pay for their parking permits pre-tax. So essentially, parking is going up. More pennies in my pocket.
The University sends out various congratulatory newsletters every week. Here’s a screen shot of one of the most recent:

science

There is nothing like good, clean contrast in web design, and that is NOTHING like good, clean contrast.  When the human female asked the web folks about it, they assured her that the page was coded for maroon and white.  It’s just that the campus’ Exchange email program doesn’t seem to want to talk with the design software.  But they’re Looking Into It.

The University generates a lot of waste. I mean, a LOT, a lot. The hazardous waste, such as is generated by the human female’s program, is all tagged and contained and sent for proper disposal. Recently, the protocol for so doing has changed. Unfortunately for most users, I tickled the license for the software that lets folks fill out the disposal tags and requests online, such that only one user on the entire campus could log in and do it at any given time. Remember, folks, to beat the crowd: before 8:00 and after 5:00 are Hazardous-Waste-o’Clock!

The human female actually is all about the safety. And compliance. She harps on it all the time. Blah, blah, blah, “Use a hemostat to change that scalpel blade.” Nag, nag, nag. “Tie your hair back before you light that bunsen burner.” “Don’t lick that petri dish.” Whatever. Apparently the Vendor Who’s Responsible, though, has its doubts about her, because it asked her again to sign the “I am not going to use this iodine to make meth” declaration again, for the second time in six months. I keep telling her that if she’d let me set up a little…special lab down in the basement we could fund pretty much anything she wants to do with the Intro Bio program, plus have enough left over to stop looking like she dresses out of the charity box.

I may set up that lab anyway.  The price of horn polish just went up.

Negotiations with various vendors continue to be one of my favorite ways of annoying her. She managed to do an end-run around me recently, though. When she called the Purveyor of Squiggly Things to change the amount of squigglies in an order, she discovered that I’d changed the delivery date from the 6th to the 9th and was able to correct it. Rats! I was looking forward to the wailing and gnashing of teeth.

She also remembered to order the 700-plus pig intestinal roundworms that she’d forgotten to order. She forgot the live Penicillium culture, though and had to order it at the last minute on the credit card, with ru$h air $hipping. Meanwhile, it’s almost time for the annual Dead Cat Ballet involving the Purveyor of Dead Things.  You just know I’m not going to let that go off without a hitch. (I can tell you that I already know that there will not be any actual dead cats. They’re on indefinite back-order.)

And the packing slips for all of these orders! Who knew that little pieces of paper could be such fun? I had the new video camera and tripod show up without a packing slip. The packing slip for a couple of items off the human female’s enormous fall order from the Vendor Who’s Responsible showed ALL the items on the order, so that one had to leaf through the many pages to figure out what was in that particular box. Then the free goods that enormous order garnered were sent with double and triple packing slips so that she had to make sure that there weren’t extra free goods her conscience wouldn’t let her keep.

Sometimes, when I run out of new ideas, I just revisit an old one. Remember the hurricane last September? I fouled up orders and shipping and deliveries for weeks, when Fed-up and Exhausted and Unrepentant Package Squashers couldn’t get any live materials in or out of Houston? The human female put all sorts of notes into the purchasing system, explaining the work-arounds she’d had to do and pointing out which goods weren’t coming. The other day, the Bean Counters, trying, no doubt, to be ahead of things when it came to closing out the fiscal year, dredged the whole mess up again, asking her to do receiving on the things she didn’t get, or to indicate they weren’t coming if that were the case. She pointed them at her months-old comment and let them know that, no, there are no more live termites coming in on that P.O.

I don’t let the male rest on his laurels– or his haunches– either. Some server or other is always going down, one round of soft ware updates breaks something the last one fixed, and the parade of clueless users through his office is never-ending. The other day, one of the machines hooked to the network was causing an error message, so Central Information Services disconnected it. Except they didn’t–they mistakenly shut down the system of one of the Department’s super-users, who was in the middle of a days-long backup of his squillionty terrabytes of data. The resultant shouting wasn’t at the human male, but it was human male-adjacent, which was nearly as draining for him and just as amusing for me.

Traffic around town continues to be a sick, twisted joke. I’ve managed to tap into the traffic-barrel rental business, so I have money coming in there, too. The new Diverging Diamond of Death opened this week. I get the feeling that, after it has been open for a while, the local populace will promise me anything if I just put things back the way they were.

Despite my best efforts at further delay, the long-awaited expansion of the church facilities has commenced. The human female is in mourning, though, because the entire beautiful courtyard has been turned into a construction-staging area, and all the trees have been cut down. That wasn’t my idea. I was hoping they could be saved, because Sigyn liked them. She hasn’t had a glimpse of the denuded courtyard yet. I’m hoping to keep it from her as long as I can.

On the home front, the Terror Twins and I keep things lively. Every night I let in June bugs and click-beetles so the felines can have an arthropod frenzy. The click beetles are their favorites because they make! noise! AND are fun to chase. So far, my record is three in one night. One of these days, the human female’s going to tire of getting up off the sofa, catching the clicky little goobers and chucking them outside and just let the kitties have their fun. When that happens, I’ll make sure Flannel Cat eats one and leaves the bug barf in the main traffic pattern in the house…

I’ve recruited the large appliances to my cause. The dryer still turns itself on at random intervals. The little end-stopper thingy came out of the dishwasher’s left top rack-glide, so now it’s possible to actually remove half the top rack completely. And the refrigerator, from time to time, will piddle a little puddle of very cold water into the middle of the kitchen floor. Always, you understand, when someone can discover this transgression sock-footed.

The local market has stopped carrying the humans’ favorite kind of shredded cheese, while no store the humans can find in four different cities carries the female’s favorite flavor of yogurt. I keep offering them more and more opportunities for spiritually-enriching penance and self-mortification– you’d think they’d be grateful, but no. Hypocrites.

I hid last month’s utility bill, and no one thought to contact the company and volunteer payment, so when this month’s bill showed up, it was for two months of triple-digit-heat-fighting AC and dear-Idunn-please-don’t-let-the-lawn-die watering. That was a real shocker, I can tell you. The human male looked like a gaping codfish there for a minute or three.  I took photos.

So, as you can see, I’ve been up to some first-rate mischief, and even managed to monetize it a bit. Life (for me) is good!  I give this update a 9.75.

>|: [

Dead Cat Ballet–Just When You Thought It Was Safe to Open Your Email

This was in the human female’s email, courtesy of the Purveyor of Dead Things.

past due nasco

You are correct!   This is in reference to the bill for the large Dead Cat Ballet, the one the human female has been struggling with since AUGUST.   I’ll wait right here while you scroll through the archives and refresh your memory.

It’s invoices again!  Apparently, BOTH invoices (the one from the right vendor ID and the one from the wrong vendor ID) got cancelled!  The human female had to write MORE emails explaining what happened and telling the Bean Counters that yes, they could pay for the dead seafood paella and all the other goodies.

Friends, I’m not sure I’m ever going to be able to top this one.

>|: [

 

Return of the Dead Cat Ballet

You didn’t really think I’d let this go, did you?

Astute readers may recall that the human female was struggling to pay for the latest shipment of Dead Things.

She’s still struggling.  The whole flap initially was that there was one invoice for the Purveyor of Dead Things at the right Vendor ID Number and one with the wrong VID.  As far as the human female knows, it should have been possible to just tear up the wrong one, but both had been cancelled.

She looked again a few days ago, and there are STILL two invoices attached to the PO, but both are showing the right VID and one is for the mostly complete shipment, and another for the backordered things.  Both are cancelled.  The PODT has been asked to provide a new one.  Maybe it’ll get paid.  Maybe it won’t.  Only the Bean Counters really know (and they work for me.)

Meanwhile…

carolinacats

Three boxes of ACTUAL DEAD CATS have shown up!  These were ordered back in May from the Purveyor of Squiggly Things (who also deals in Dead Things, though they’re not as well-preserved as the Dead Things from the PODT–are you following all of this?)  They were ordered because the PODT couldn’t promise 14 stiff kitties, so the human female ordered these as backup, because the POST said they could deliver.

The ones from PODT got here weeks ago.

It doesn’t show on the packing slips, but the order was specifically for 6 female and 8 male.  What did she get?  10 female and 4 male.

Ehehehehe!  This may be my very favorite prank EVER.

>|: [

The Dead Cat Ballet, The Sequel

This year’s Dead Cat Ballet was such a smashing success (or maybe just a smash-up) that I am directing a Sequel!

The human female, after much back-and-forthing,  says that she finally convinced the Purveyors of Dead Things to send her the nine sharks, ten sheep eyeballs, ten fish, twenty-five clams, and two-hundred and twenty pig hearts that were missing from the order.  Actually, I’m not sure she did convince them, because the PODT rep kept saying things like, “But we sent you all the fish,” and the human female kept saying things like, “Yes, that is the number that was on the packing slip, but it is not the number that you shipped.”  I think what happened is that the PODT just got tired of dealing with her and decided it was worth a pallet of Dead Things to SHUT HER UP.  If they keep a black list, she’s probably on it.

When the Supplemental Dead Things arrived, the pig hearts were in boxes of ten.  Some of the boxes weighed about twenty pounds and some only half that.  Suspecting that the packers at PODT cannot math any better than the shippers, the human female opened some of the boxes.  All contained ten hearts.  It’s just that some were MUCH larger than the others.  Some porkers have more compassion, I suppose.

And now, the heart of this new drama:  The human female cannot pay for this colossal assemblage of once-living organisms.

I’ll let that sink in.

It’s not that her Introductory Biology Program is bankrupt, it’s that the Bean Counters are confused.  Or they hate her.  That’s equally likely.

You may recall that the Overture of the Original Production involved the issuance of one PO with two different requisition numbers, owing to the fact that the PODT has two entries in the ordering software database and the wrong one was initially selected.  (It is all about the Vendor ID number, people!)

Well, as luck Loki would have it, an invoice was generated for each requisition, even though there was only one PO and one shipment.  This engendered much flailing and wailing from the Bean Counters, who saw only one way out of this confounded, Ghordian predicament:

The human female was directed to write up another Purchase Order for the same purchase, complete with all seventeen line items and product numbers, etc., and submit it for purchase but clearly marked Do Not Distribute.  Thus, they reasoned, there would be two POs and two invoices and everything would be very tidy.   Except, you know, for the fact that generating a PO first generates a requisition.  But hey, if two is fun, three would be MORE fun.

The human female suggested that the Bean Counters A) Get hold of themselves and B) take the radical and unprecedented step of tearing up the invoice that is for the wrong VID.   After all, it is not as if the PODT is expecting to be paid twice for the same goods. (Or maybe they are… Perhaps as an “Idiot Tax” for having to deal with the human female.  That would be fun.)

There has, at this point, been much back-and-forth emailing and leaving of comments on the PO in the ordering system.  At one point, the human female was taken to task for responding to a comment via email and not as a further comment—by a Bean Counter whose reprimand she received only as an email and not as a comment.  The initial, you-must-make-a-duplicate-order Bean Counter has been strangely silent recently, with the thread taken up by two further Bean Counters.  By my count there are now at least three Bean Counters involved, all of whom keep asking “What should we do?!”   The human female has –in a comment, of course—explained everything, with dates and VIDs and requisition numbers, but still, no one can figure out how to cut a check.

The last time the human female looked at the history of the PO, BOTH invoices were marked as cancelled, so she has no clue what’s going on.

Ehehehe! I’m not done with this!  It’s my sincere hope that the human female ends up on some scientific blacklist for Bad Purchasers and that the PODT will never again sell her so much as a sheep pluck.   That way, she’d either have to find a vendor of inferior products or else go out and collect and pickle all the corpses and offal herself.

Stay tuned, kiddies, it’s not over yet!

>|: [