How Much Fun Can I Cram Into One Week? Part I: Thursday

It has been an amusing week for me.  Because we’re having a continuous heat advisory, I orchestrated an unannounced chilled water outage, on Monday and Tuesday, so there was supposedly no cool air for a couple of days.  Nonetheless, I made sure the human female’s office was sitting at about 65 degrees F, so while the rest of the world was trying to determine how much clothing they could wear without being arrested, she was huddled in her chair, wrapped in a sweatshirt and wearing a mask by herself indoors just to keep her lumpy nose warm.

I also saw to it that the promised phone line cuttage did, in fact, occur on Monday.  The lines were just working one day and not the next.  Something no one thought of was the fact that without the phone line, the fax machine didn’t work, and, while people could scan things with the big copier, the machine refused to let anyone mail the scans to other people.  But it was only until Thursday, so…

Please note that I have talked the Bean Counters out of springing for any more internet connections/routers/cabling/connections, so all of the internet phones that are coming will be more traffic on existing ethernet.   When the power or the internet goes out in the future, no one will be able to call for help!

The plumbing work order is still open, because the RO water lines continue to drip–but only when the plumber isn’t looking.

Wednesday was more or less status quo, with everyone preparing for the very busy Thursday.

The human female had a lot planned for today.  She has a Teaching Assistant meeting to go to, there’s a backlog of tasks for the computer, and this afternoon it’s Moving Day for the Honors Freshman Biology course, as well as the day that one of the Professors is coming to pick up a load of out-of-date biology books for donations.  There are student workers lined up and everything!

I suppose I should explain that the Honors classes are moving to the third floor of Heldenfels because they’re supposed to move to the second floor of Heldenfels from the basement of Butler but, since the second floor of Butler still looks like a war zone and does not bid fair to be finished before the start of the semester, the current move is being made, with the notion that the human female’s Prep Staff will be close at hand to prep the labs.  Luckily, since Bio 111 and 112 labs will be taught online this fall, there are rooms up here available.  Still with me?

Today dawned bright, hot, and humid.  Everyone toting boxes and pushing carts is going to finish up wet and smelly.  I think I will stay far, far away.

The phones are still out, of course.   No one is coming on today after all.  But we have a promise!  Surely by 8:00 on Friday!

Great Frigga’s corset! The elevator, which has been behaving for a few days with all the equanimity of a tired, hungry toddler, has just decided that it had had enough and  is refusing to open, close, or travel.  Bad elevator!  No biscuit. (Ehehehehe!  Stairs are good cardio, mortals.)

The Prep Staff is needing to make things ready in the basement for the Dead Cat Ballet but has discovered that someone has locked the door to the basement stairs, and with the elevator sulking, there is no way to get to the Room of Dead Things.  Does the Bio Facilities Coordinator have the key?  Or the building proctor?  They do not!  It seems clear that no one is going to be looking at Dead Things until after 11:00, when the custodian who has the key gets back from lunch…

Say, has anyone noticed?  It is suspiciously…warm in here today.  And still.

A few phone calls turns up the fact that the air conditioning is out.  Completely.  Plumbers on the second floor needed to the thing to thing so they could do the other thing, and it will surely be back on by this afternoon.

Looks like you have to decide now, woman, whether you want to be moving boxes and carts and such with no elevator to take you anywhere and no cool air when you get there.  Perhaps you’d better alert the student workers and the book-collecting professor that moving is not likely to happen, because it is supposed to be over 100 F today, and the building is already more than a little on the sauna side of comfy…

Bing!  The first of many, many emails and texts letting the human female know that rooms are beginning to overheat has just rolled in.

Meanwhile, the human female has been tasked with gathering all the info for the VOIP-phones-that-don’t exits yet.  What are the office room numbers, phone numbers, Net-ID’s, and emails of everyone on the third floor.  Hmmm.  Wouldn’t it be funny if three or four people didn’t answer her email request and had to be hunted down?  And it would be funnier if people couldn’t remember their Net-ID or gave her their university ID number instead.  Oh, no–wait!  How about two people turn in the same phone number!  They moved offices, and do the numbers follow the person or remain with the office?  Ehehehe! And it would be even funnier if some rooms weren’t even on the list the human female has to complete.  Minor rooms like, oh, the Prep Staff Office, for instance…

Bing!  Temperature alert!  The remaining people on the floor are definitely starting to wilt.  Portable chillers have been called for for the room where all the plants, fish, and other critters have been gathered (recall that the room where plants and critters usually reside is currently under destruction).  The human female is making a series of phone calls and emails, wondering how she can arrange to have all the alerts go to someone else…  Good luck with that.


It’s going to be too hot to want to have a TA meeting up here later, isn’t it?  But look!  A notification has just popped up that there’s a nice, cool room reserved in Butler for the meeting.  Surely that’s a mistake, but the human female is checking whether the room is available anyway, because 80 F indoors and rising.


Yes! The room is available!   But no!  The person calling the meeting says a little heat never bothered anyone and we’re not wussies and don’t need the room.  Farewell, cool air…

Ugh!  Out into the heat!  The other day the human female had to fax some important papers (back when fax was still an option). When she called yesterday, she found that the fax never arrived, so she is using her lunch to drive to the post office and mail them.  When she comes back on campus, she’ll see my next little surprise–a big (f)utility vehicle parked in the center of the intersection she has to drive through to reach her parking space…


(later)  That was one roasty meeting.  The elevator is still out.  There’s no word on the AC.  Everyone but the human female has dripped their sweaty way home.  The human female is thinking longingly of escaping herself, but where are the promised chillers? Let us go see if they ever arrived.

No sign yet.  Back to the offi—

Odin’s Eyepatch!  I thought Thor was stupid!  The human female, now the only non-contractor person in the building, has locked herself out of her office!  She thought he had her office keys in her pocket, but no—those are the car keys from lunch.  You could call someone.  Where’s your swipe card woman?  Oh, in your backpack, in your office.  How about your phone?  Back on your desk.  Too bad!  Why don’t you just go into the open, scary, under-construction Prep Staff office and use their ph—

Oh, right!  Ehehehe!  Sucks to be you.  You have two choices, don’t you?  You can sit in the 85 degree break room and wait for your husband to miss you at the end of the work day, or you can walk over to his office and see if he’ll come over and let you in.

Ugh!  Even hotter outside.  The human female’s appearance now approximates that of someone who has been standing under a sprinkler.  Up to the fourth floor of BSBW.  Blah, blah, husband, blah, blah, locked out, back we go, out in the heat, and back to Heldenfels.  Back to the office and the keys and the phone and the no AC.

Bing! Bing! Bing! Bing!  You missed a lot of texts.

Glorious day!  The workmen are finally here with the chillers!  Once  they’re set up, the human female can go back over to the human male’s workspace and chill (literally) in the graduate computing lab and work there until it’s time to go home.

Bing!  Ahhh.  4:15 p.m. and finally, some cool air.  It is lovely here.  She’s just going to sit right down here and log in and do the work she hasn’t had a chance to do yet today and…

That is a Macintosh, you dolt.  Of no use to you.  Go ahead now, disinfect the mouse and the keyboard and the surroundings.  You know the protocol.   There, that machine over there is a PC.

Typetty, typetty.  Log in.  Hmm.  You need to map yourself to the network drives you need.  The document you need to remind you how to do that is on your Google Drive, which you can reach from…

Oh.  It wants your dual authentication code.  And just where is your Duo fob?  That’s right.  At home.  Face it woman, you have bothered other people enough for one day and neither the universe nor I like you and your are done for the day.  But don’t forget to sanitize the computer.  Which you shouldn’t have been using because it’s not one of the ones distantly spaced, can’t you see that?  Yes, it has an “I used and cleaned this computer” sign on it from yesterday.  No, it doesn’t have a “don’t use” sign on it.  Yes, there’s no computer to the left and the one to the right says, “repair work in progress don’t use,” so this one is actually six feet from any other working system, but it’s only those other unmarked ones, over there, that you’re supposed to use.  How stupid can you be?

You know what?  Time to admit you’re licked.  Give up.  Just sanitize your I-was-sweaty-when-I-sat-down chair, sit on the floor quietly and read something.  And I’ll turn the AC down some, so you can shiver while you’re doing it.

And just think!  You get to come back tomorrow!


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She Honestly Doesn’t Know If She’s Coming or Going

I’ve spoken here before about the ongoing con/destruction in the human female’s workplace.  I’ve been working with Slow, Silent, and Costly and all the contractors to make sure it is the biggest headache possible.  I’m proud to say that my hard work is bearing fruit!

This is what the Prep Staff’s office looks like right now.


I believe that’s the ceiling sitting in a pile on the floor, there.

And then there are the Outages.

The human female and her techs knew there were going to be numerous outages, as bits of the remodeled second floor utilities are tied into the remainder of the system.

Every time there’s a scheduled outage, there are a million texts and emails beforehand, clarifying just what is and isn’t going to be affected.  Precious plants, animals, and perishable chemicals have to be protected with backup power.  Sometimes I think EVERYTHING on the floor needs to be hot, cold, or wet!

The inbox overfloweth.

All the computers on the floor need to be shut down ahead of a power outage, because a) they don’t like to run when it gets to be 90 indoors and b) there’s always the chance that the power will spike when it comes back on.  (Nobody trusts their UPS.)  Since people are logged in remotely, this means no one can do anything on their work system during an outage and all the computers need to be switched on again afterwards.  They’ve been scheduling outages for Saturdays, but nobody goes in to turn things on until Monday, so it’s a nice little “break” from work. (But see below.)

The power and chilled water/AC outage at the beginning of the month went more or less as planned.  Backup power went where it was needed and nothing died.  But many of the rooms are on automatic temperature monitoring, and when they get warm the human female gets a nice little text notification.  Bing!  Every minute or so for every room that edges up over 78.2 F.  She got to delete one hundred and twenty-two messages!  All day Saturday!  Then there were the accompanying emails…

Then there was an unscheduled water outage.   That was fun.  More email!  Does the building proctor know about this?  How about the facilities coordinator?  What’s affected?  Is it fixed yet? With every text and every email, the crease in the human female’s forehead got just a little deeper.

Then I made a water leak.

The next week, I scheduled a two-day outage of the hot and cold water, the RO water, the forced air, and  the vacuum lines.

Then a two-day outage for natural gas.

The vaccum is something that never gets used, gas wasn’t needed those days, and the forced air is only used for blowing up sheep lungs in what has to be the grossest demo in the whole Lower Division Instruction Program.  (The human female and her techs keep trying to write this out of the lesson plan, but it keeps being put back in.) 

The water, however, was a pain.  No water fountains, no faucets, no potties.

The human female is still working from home, so she was minimally inconvenienced.  I just had to make sure she got all her notifications.

The most recent outage was supposed to be a power outage.  Then everyone heard that it was only supposed to be for the north end of the building–which is where most of the offices are.  Something about “volts” and “buses” and blah blah blah.


Today, Prep Staff discovered that, while the lights and such were back on, there was no power in many of the wall outlets!  More fun!  More email!  This is part of the best one, from one of the contractors:

power outage 1

Apparently the “more information” was this:

blown transfomer

Now, you’ll recall that only the north end of the building was supposed to be affected, but Behold!  The outlet in room 302, down at the other end of the hall, went out as well, the one the ultra-cold freezer (-80F) is plugged into.

Cue a hundred more texts and emails

An unplugged freezer doesn’t freeze very well, so everything started to…t…h…a…w.   A poor Prep Staffer had to move everything into a regular freezer, with plans to move things to alternate storage in another building once it was all frozen again.

Nice try, but the things in that freezer are very, shall we say, finicky, so they will probably need to be replaced.  The human female drew up a list to present to the nice contractors, in hopes that they can be prevailed upon to make good the loss:

freezer losses

More email:  Were there other primers?   Is that all the ONPG that was spoiled?  Was some of it not mixed up and in the freezer?  The bacterial cultures aren’t replaceable, are they?  Just how much Sybr Green did we really have?  While all of this unscheduled swapping and counting and price-looking up was going on, someone noticed also that the water and RO water was off.



All while the human female was dealing with the flurry of activity and paper that vetting and interviewing applicants for the vacant tech position, put together a fall purchase list, and deal with a ton of other paperwork.

Out of all of this, I have confirmed one Biological Fact:  The human female is part chameleon.  No, really,  I can prove it! Her face definitely can change color, and her eyes can swivel to look in two directions at once.

And she’s going to be bald before all of this is over…

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