bills bills bills

Mischief Update–

Sigh.  I don’t know why I always let so much time go by between updates.  It’s just makes it longer and more tedious to write up.  Not that I don’t relish reliving my naughtiness, you understand.  It’s just all the typing.  Can Frost Giants get carpal tunnel?  I may be the first to find out.

Remember the trip the human female took to visit her sister?  On her first day, I saw to it that she got an automated message that several of the lab rooms were over temperature.  She spent a lot of time on the phone trying to figure out, long-distance, what was wrong and who could fix it.  Turns out there was a chilled water outage and there was nothing anyone could do but wait for maintenance.  In the meantime, I arranged fifty-six further alarm messages (ding!), coming every little while, day and night.  Since she was bunking with her mother, I was able to deprive two people of sleep with one misdeed.  I like to be efficient.

The estimate for the humans’ property tax bill for the upcoming year has arrived.  The city and I like to do a little jiggery-pokery.  One year we’ll claim not to have raised taxes, but we up the evaluation by about ten percent.  The next year, the evaluation will remain nearly constant and we’ll protest, “But we didn’t raise rates last year, so we need to do it now.”  It all ends up the same, eating into the human female’s quilt fabric budget.

I’m growing daily richer, since I now own the traffic cone and big orange barrel concession for the county.  I’m making a mint off University Drive alone, where they’ve taken away two lanes so that they can re-do medians and turn lanes and traffic signals.  I also like to nudge people to cross against the light or else do a left on red.  If I time them right, I can back traffic up on University Drive from Texas Avenue to Wellborn Road!  Meanwhile, Wellborn Road itself is under construction, as is the whole Harvey Mitchell Parkway-FM 60 intersection.  They’re building a Diverging Diamond interchange, but hte locals have already dubbed it the Death Diamond, which is hurtful.   I mean, just because I designed it so that  drivers will end up on the wrong side of the road if they want to turn left, is that any reason to resort to name calling?

So, basically, throughout town, one can’t get there from here.  I advise you to invest in anything that comes in safety orange.

The Purveyor of Squiggly things shipped an order of delicate little hydra on Monday, not Tuesday.  They didn’t actually arrive until late on Wednesday, nearly too late to be useful.  Living on the edge is good for her.  Another order of the beasties arrived all dead.

The Purveyor of Paper Goods, usually vastly obliging, is not returning the human female’s telephone calls.  Probably because he’s found out she’s going to go with a different supplier for her enormous glove order.  (That’s an enormous order, not enormous gloves.  They only come up to extra large unless you special order them.  Then you can get ones that would fit Hulk.)   She’s ordered biodegradable gloves, which I actually do approve of, because they’re green.  I don’t care two of Volstagg’s waistcoat buttons about conservation–I mean the gloves themselves are green.

A different vendor keeps sending the human female past-due notices for orders she didn’t make of goods she didn’t receive. She has helpfully pointed out to them that A) she does not work at the Vet School or in the Chemistry department, B) she is not the person clearly named on the invoice, and C) she couldn’t pay the invoice even if she wanted to, since all  university’s invoices are handled by the Chief Bean-counters.  Every time she has to respond to one of the vendor’s dunning emails, her own terse reply gets shorter and pricklier.  I plan to keep this up until she’s returning nothing but key-smashes.  @*#%$^7fh&6$#!

Another purchase was a ladder.  I got very excited, because I can have all sorts of fun with ladders and high places and heavy objects and slippery floors, but it turned out to be a DNA ladder, which is just a little tube full of little bits of stuff that the humans use to do Science with.  I was able to work with that, though.  She ordered two, 1 kb ladders and I sent her one.  Plus one 100 bp ladder.  Nyeah, so there.

She also tried to order oculars—eyepieces—for some of the student microscopes.  The Purveyor of Expensive Optics (POEO) told her that some of her scopes were too old, and the part was no longer available.  She searched surplus sites online and found a different vendor, who told her that a different part would work just fine, and she should buy some and prove it to herself.  She did, and lo!  The part fit not only the older scopes but the newer ones as well.  Thus did she discover that Mister Slightly Smarmy POEO cannot be trusted.  Rats!  He was one of my better operatives.

I’ve been having fun with other bills, too, ones sent from the local medical clinic.  Last fall, when the human female was having such trouble with her trotters feet, she made several trips to the podiatrist, making the requisite $30 copay each time.  Now the clinic says she owes an additional $26.32 for each visit, no explanation given.  It also wants an additional $6.00 for a visit she made to a regular doctor last September.  She has talked to them three times on the phone, and each time, she’s told that they are Looking Into It because These Things Take Time.  They also billed her for her annual physical, which should have been free.  They further billed her for a visit to the doctor when she hurt her back at work.  She tried to call and get that refunded, since Workman’s Comp should cover that, but the clinic’s bean-counters just said they’d apply it to her outstanding balance–which consists of those extra payments she doesn’t actually owe.  She’s tried talking directly to the insurance people, who all agree she’s owed a refund. She asked them to talk to the clinic people, but so far no rapport has been reached because, as they keep reminding her, These Things Take Time.

And she has a plethora of places to keep up with her health online, because the Midgardian motto is:  Applicationem ad eundem finem destinari est.  She tried to get to one of the websites the other day, only to find that her “personal” login wanted her to enter the University’s “token.”  Which no one had bothered to give her.

I’ve been tinkering with the elevator in the human female’s work building.  It started smoking one morning, which made everyone in the building a little nervous.  even after the smoke cleared, it was a little like playing Elevator Roulette–one never knew if it would actually stop on the floor selected.  Or if it did, whether the doors would open.  The repairmen fiddled with it for days.  One of the human female’s Techs ignored the “out of service” signs and got stuck in there for half an hour one day.  That was fun.  It’s working again now, but I can think of at least three large orders the human female’s going to have to bring up before the summer is out, so I will have some more opportunities.

I’ve actually sort of taken up meddling with machinery as a hobby.  The humans’ dryer has been turning itself on and off at random recently, as well as cycling through various settings at random during a load.   The human female stayed home one day to have the repairman in.  He could not, of course, duplicate the problem.

On the same day, a plumber came to replace all the leaky  ever-running bathroom faucets.  The human female bought the faucets ahead of time.  It took two tries, because the salesman gave her two of one kind and one of another, when they should have all matched.  The clerk at the checkout was Deeply Suspicious when the human female wanted to exchange the odd duck for a more conforming clone.  When the plumber arrived and put his hand to the valve to shut off the water, it came off in his hand!  So it was all more hassle and expense than intended, which is how I like my DIY projects.

It wasn’t my only foray into the fascinating world of faucets.  I arranged that the one in room 303 of the human female’s building would suddenly start fountaining water from the top of the tall fixture-stand.  It rendered the sink in the busiest dishwashing room completely unusable.  The maintenance man did arrive, eventually, and showed the human female and her techs how to fix the problem in under a minute.  Now that they know how to fix it, next time, I will make something else go wrong.

I dosed a TA with sleepy pills so that he missed proctoring his lab final.  The human female had to cover for him, putting the finishing touches on his exam at short notice and running his students through it.  Was he properly apologetic?  No, not so much.  Another TA had to have it explained to him that telling a student to meet him “by 4:00″ was not the same as meeting him “at 4:00.”  The student couldn’t figure out why his TA wasn’t there in the morning, and the TA wondered why, at 4:00, there was no student in sight.

I made grades and assignments disappear randomly from the electronic gradebook.

I made the plagiarism-checker website send nearly everything back with a “0% match” report, which ought to be impossible (ehehehehehe) because there should be at least a little match if the students all typed “test tube” and “experiment” and the names of the reagents.

I put mealybug on the ferns and scale on the pitcher plants.  I trained the felines at home to nestle in the African violets and shove them off the window ledge.

I fixed it so that the office copier/printer/scanner/coffee maker will send a fax, but not receive.

I had a talk with the sewing machine, and as she was putting the last bit of binding on a baby quilt, the human female mitered a corner wrong and had to pick it all out.

Lest you think that the human female is the sole recipient of my mischief, let me tell you about the long-term prank I’ve been pulling on him.  The Department has a Really Exceptionally Expensive System (REES) which is supposed to monitor temperature and water leaks, etc., and call people automatically if something goes amiss.  Earlier this year, the system was overhauled/replaced, at Great Expense.  Things went well, until the techs couldn’t tie it properly into the system.  At one point, all the alarm calls were going to the human male’s server room and his office phone was turned into the REES number.  The system is not what was ordered.  There are monitoring nodes no one can physically find in the building.  The system self-checks and keeps saying, “Yep, all good!” when all it means is that it has been able to ping a node and get a reading.  Telling what that reading actually is?  Pfft!  That’s for sissies.  It won’t properly connect to anything and no one at REES wants to take the credit for having sold the Department something that doesn’t work or schedule someone to come out to fix it.  The whole shebang could be on fire for all anyone on the emergency call list knows.  Oh, well, at least it eliminates those pesky in-the-middle-of-the-night robo-calls!

And you remember my treasure, my jewel, WorkDon’t?  The humans have discovered a few other features.  It is incapable of encumbering funds for grants.  There is no way to tell it to set aside a particular amount to be spent later.  Also, pretty much all HR communications pass through the Dean’s office, often bypassing the peons at lower levels who actually need to see them.

But oh!  The Dean!  She was such an able ally,  manhandling the budget and inflicting her whims upon the Biology Department, but she is departing to make some other university’s faculty and staff miserable.  So you see, it hasn’t been all beer and skittles  (or Kool-aid and Twinkies) for me, either.

Odin’s Eyepatch!  I didn’t realize, until I had written it all down, just how much I have accomplished since last I updated.  A busy Loki is a happy Loki!

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Mischief Update—Oh, So Busy!

I know that all the recent pictures of house-clutter make it seem as if I’m slacking, but nothing could be further from the truth.  I have been plenty busy, and the mischief level around here is such that the human female daily threatens me with a kiddie pool full of acetone.   Here is a recap of my recent misdemeanors.

It is tax evaluation statement time.  The humans have just received a document stating that the value of their dwelling has gone down, which would be great, tax-wise, if I hadn’t suggested to the local taxing authority that the rate should go up.

BAMN, my greatest weapon to date against the human female’s sanity, may be a thing of the past, but I am still finding ways to make the human female’s purchasing job more fun.  (For ME.)  Several months ago now, she sent several of the laboratory’s automatic pipettors for recalibration.  The work was done, and she received a bill.  She received the bill late because the Tech responsible for getting it to her misplaced it for a good few weeks.  The female hastened to pay it, but the DBC  (Departmental Bean-Counters) refused to pay it, because it did not specifically say “Invoice.”  Never mind that she could swear on her miserable life that the work was performed.  The DBC told her to pay with the workgroup credit card, which she did.  Fast forward to recently, when she received a communication from the pipette-fixing people, informing her that her bill was unpaid due to a problem with the card.  She spent a merry half-hour on the phone, during which time it was determined that someone on their end had mis-recorded the credit card’s expiry date.  (Jotun static does wonders for cell phone calls…)

No longer having BAMN also doesn’t prevent vendor-side amusements for me.  The human female recently received two “Your items have just shipped” emails from two different vendors (Including the Vendor Who’s Responsible), later in the day on which the goods had already arrived.   The next day, I saw to it that she received an email saying that she had to fill out a new-asset form for the computer that she had ordered.  Except she’s not James Hutchins, she didn’t order a computer, and that wasn’t her PO.  She had fun trying to disassociate herself from that purchase, because it is Inventory Time, and someone is going to be looking for that laptop.

Then the Purveyor of Dead Things shipped the order of sharks early.  The labels on the boxes delivered did NOT match what the human female ordered, which was a specific mix of sexes and pregnant/not pregnant.  She and one of her staff opened each of the boxes to discover that the pregnant sharks were in fact included, but that the male:female ration of the non-preggers sharks did not match her order.  Someone in the PODT’s shipping department decided that 8 females and 14 males was the same as 10 females and 12 males.  Twenty-two chondrichthyous corpses is twenty-two chondrichthyous corpses, right?  When she called to bellow at them, they explained they’d sent all the females they had.  If they had heeded the note attached to the order which said that this shipment could be held for the larger Dead Cat Ballet which occurs every August, they’d have been able to amass the proper number of sharkettes.  Oh, and while she was counting, I saw to it that one of the bags leaked all over, so she came away, wet and fishy to the elbow.  That’s worth two points, right there.

The human female is suffering from PPP Syndrome–plethora of preserved piglets.  Every semester, the students generate a number of fetal pig cadavers that have been fully digested, and these all have to go somewhere.  One cannot put that many pounds of latex-injected porkers into the dumpster, so they must be incinerated.  A call to the Vet School, which has an incinerator and will eighty-six the piggies for a fee, turns up the fact that the Vet School is selling their incinerator to the University’s poultry farm.  Now the sale is not final, so they still HAVE the incinerator, but they’re unwilling to use it because they already have a big pile of ashes they need to get rid of from prior conflagrations and they want to get out of the incinerating business.  The human female called several times, and each time, the person on the other end assured her they would find out from the poultry farm when they’d start taking piglets for incineration, but no info was forthcoming.  She then tried calling the poultry farm, and the person there said they’d have someone call her right back the next day.  That was week before last.  The piglets remain uncombusted.  If only this sort of run-around counted as physical exercise!

Speaking of the Vet School, they have found a way to further traumatize the humans on the loss of their cat.  Despite the original bill for the feline’s treatment having been paid in full and even showing a credit, the Vet School sent a second bill, referencing a different account number, and showing an additional charge.  A call to the Vet School turned up the fact that the original case had been put under the humans’ friend’s account, since he was the one who took the cat to the vet since he was feeding her that day.  The new bill represented their account, and the fee was for for the disposal of the  defunct pussy’s remains.  What a cheery reminder.

In other news, the leaky ceiling in the Prep Room has been fixed, one month and one week from the time the human female filed the work request.  But nature abhors a dry ceiling as much as a vacuum, so when there was a terrific rainstorm last weekend, I arranged for quite a bit of said rain to enter the human male’s workspace.  Three ceiling tiles came completely down in the computer server room, simply drenching a whole rack of spare system components.  The water eventually found its way into all five floors of the building, necessitating taking apart a large number of things so they could be spread out to dry.  The human male was NOT amused, especially since this event meant the humans had to race back from out of town to deal with it.  They’re always complaining that they want rain.  I wish they’d make up their minds, the hypocrites.

I now have fewer people to annoy in the human female’s work group.  Her Prep Staff is shrinking.  They say are leaving to further their education or careers, but we all know they’re just trying to get away from her.  She has a job posting up, for a Biology Lab Technician, and has so far received applications from a two computer specialists, a psychologist, a salesman, a grandmother, a recent biology grad with not a single day of work experience anywhere, a foreign national whose paperwork would take months, and someone who might be qualified but who attached the cover letter for an application to a different posting.  Still another attached two copies of the resume and no letter at all.

All this stress is playing havoc with her sleep and her waistline.  So much so that yesterday she purchased a larger pair of jeans.  Though they were extensively pre-washed, this morning they fit worse than her old jeans.  Meanwhile, people keep bringing her cookies. 

She was looking forward to a concert in November, by two of her favorite musicians. She’s going to have to look forward a bit more, though, because the concert’s been postponed from November until January of NEXT YEAR.

There is a new mewling infant in the family, this one a new grandnephew.  The human female has a quilt all planned out—has had it planned out for months now.  She just can’t find her sketch.  (Cue innocent whistling.)

That’s not all she’s missing.  Last month, she signed herself and the human male up for some Dotage Insurance.  Since she’s becoming more decrepit by the day, it seemed like a good idea.)  There was Paperwork Aplenty, but the new policy documents were taking forever to arrive.  She called the agent to gripe ask after them, and as soon as she did, the human male said, “Oh, you mean these?”  they had (wait for it…) BEEN BURIED IN THE DINING ROOM TABLE CLUTTER!

And finally, the human female has discovered that her little silver car (she still misses the smashed blue one and has yet to get the hang of parking this one) is missing a piece.  It’s true!  The bit that is supposed to cover the cargo space when the hatch is closed is absent.  The manufacturer lists it as an “accessory,” so maybe it was never there.  Still, its lack is a frequent annoyance, which is all I care about.

I’m a bit out of practice scoring my mischief, but I thinks this has to rate a solid NINE

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