departmental bean-counters

Mischief Update–Woe is Everyone

I am the God of Mischief, but sometimes I wonder if there isn’t someone higher up the food chain, because I began typing this last week and everything I had just… disappeared.  I have tried several more times since, with the same result.  I suspect the human female’s computer is infested by evil spirits.  An exorcism may be in order.

But anyway, I’ve been busy.  You’ll recall that the human female has been having trouble with her trotters.  She was feeling better, so I convinced her and the human male to go to the Other Big City to the North and traipse all over the botanic garden, the zoo, and several art museums.  Well, she’s been having a lot of pain.  She finally hied herself to the farrier and guess what?

fracture-ads

Boom! Stress fracture!  If she didn’t weigh quite so much, her skeleton would not be self-destroying.  Anyway,  it appears to be healing, but I’ve seen to it that her sidebar ads are now all full of foot-related item.  Also crockpots, because fractures notwithstanding, nothing is more important than her getting my dinner on the table.

It’s August. The yard looks horrible, even though the human female has had the irrigation people out again.  She is starting to suspect the business model I’ve coached them on:  On each visit, fix the problem at hand, but break/misalign/misadjust something else so that a return visit is necessary.

The A/C people who were contacted in early July have been unable to schedule the humans for a service call.  “Too busy,” they say.  More likely they’ve heard about how scary the humans’ attic is and are just to polite to turn them down flat.

The City, without warning, has decided to rip up and re-pave the humans’ main route of egress and ingress around the house.  (I have friends on the Roads Committee.)  Last night I arranged for a steamroller to be parked in their alley so they had to go home the long way around the block.  Surprise!

Most of my work lately has been done at the human female’s workplace.  For starters, I have tinkered with the annual registration process for buying chemicals which the Drug Enforcement Agency considers particularly indicative of illicit pharmaceutical activity.  Not only has she had to register all over again this year, but she’s been asked to submit multiple copies of her affidavit, and instead of one which covers all of her suspect purchases, she’d been required to fill one one form for each item.  Who knew iodine was so problematic?

There have been all sorts of fun doings in the hiring department.  The human female’s new Tech I’s do not particularly like one another, and one of them is preternaturally breaky, feckless, and easy to distract.  Trying to replace the recently-departed Tech II is proving to have its own pitfalls.  Two people whom the human female has expressly asked to apply have expressly declined.  One applicant is in another state and will probably not want to travel on her own dime for an interview, one would require months of paperwork to obtain a work permit, and a third is someone rejected for the earlier Tech I position.  The likelihood of identifying and hiring anyone suitable before fall diminishes daily.

The human female was patting herself on the back for coming up with a way to display live centipedes in such a way that they were actually visible to students.  They come in moist paper towel and soil and are very good hiders.  Her idea was to decant them to clear containers with moist filter paper and clear Easter grass.  Last semester, it worked. This semester, they all died. Out of spite, one presumes.

They aren’t the only fatalities.  Someone–by this I mean someone NOT me!– has been sabotaging the live animals.  Two fish tank bubblers were  unplugged under mysterious circumstances, leading to the death of several fish.  Then a millipede was transported from its cozy terrarium to the cold hard lab bench of a room down the hall, where it likewise expired  The culprit remains at large and everyone is nervous. (Please don’t tell Sigyn; she would be most distraught!)

The human female received a cryptic email about a recent Environmental Health and Safety Department (EHSD, AKA Eek! Hazards, Sickness and Death) safety inspection.  She was rather confused, because usually she knows when the inspectors are coming and goes around with them.  After some calling around and some confirming emails, it came to light that it was not the teaching labs being audited but the EHSD.  Next the auditors wanted to examine the human female’s labeling, storage, and handling of dangerous chemicals, again with the purpose of auditing EHSD.  Then the actual EHSD inspectors came through.  The human female feels very, very inspected.  All in all, her work group came through very well, but that is only because I did not show them the Scary Room in the basement.

The human female, ever the miser, has been trying to cut costs in her work group by exploring less expensive formulations of some of the chemicals they use.  For instance, the lab in which the students study the sense of taste by inflicting mysteries upon one another surely does not require the most pure formulation of sucrose for the “sweet” solution.  She has been successful in identifying cheaper alternatives.  Her Prep Staff is enthused.  Her boss is not.

The human female got a lot of test tubes the other day.  Except she didn’t.  They were for someone else.  Recent deliveries have been about 5% Other People’s Stuff.  I know, I know, it’s a really appalling figure, but I swear I’m doing my utmost and I hope to have it up to 10% shortly.

In the meantime, I have fun with the shipments that are hers. She recently had to purchase a pull-down projector screen to replace the one in room 323 that would no long retract.  (Who knew that swinging on one would do that?)  She bought it over the phone from Stapler (no mean feat, since they do not admit to having a purchasing phone number on their website), since she had to make sure it was sold tax-free, as this realm refuses to pay taxes for any reason whatsoever.  She specifically requested that they mail her an invoice showing the lack of fees assessed as well as the word INVOICE in very large, very obnoxious letters, as the Departmental Bean Counters cavil at paying from mere packing slips.   She received the shipment the very next day, along with a packing slip showing a price different from what she was quoted, along with a heaping helping of state sales tax.  She called asking for rectification and was helped by a lovely individual who promised to take care of it right away and send a re-rectified, tax-free INVOICE.   What appeared in her email box was a credit memo for the tax, but no INVOICE.  She called and talked to a different helpful person who provided her with the number of a  third helpful person who proved to be associated with Stapler’s rewards program but who promised to re-re-rectify the situation.  The next day the human received a PACKING SLIP with the right price but without the magic word.  She called and spoke with another delightful person who abjectly apologized and promised to send a re-re-re-rectified INVOICE. The next day the human female received a PACKING SLIP showing the correct price and a credit memo showing the tax coming off the original purchase.  The human female, deciding that for once the Departmental Bean Counters could just *deal*, forwarded both to them with an explanation of the whole sorry fiasco.  It’s quiet so far, but I’m hoping to have more fun when the credit card bill comes in.

Remember the piglets and the human female’s case of PPP?  After multiple calls to the vet school and the chicken farm, no action on getting those porkers on a pyre was forthcoming.  The piglets began to mysteriously disappear by ones and twos into the dumpster (which is legal, just not preferred.)  Then one day, the vet school called, offering to use the defunct swine to test their new incinerator—for free!  Success!  That only took, what four months and ten phone calls?

Everything takes longer than estimated.  One of the new Tech I’s pointed out, quite rightly, that the emergency eyewash in one of the prep rooms was positioned in such a manner (at a sink which is below some overhead cabinets) that it was physically impossible to put one’s eyeballs into it.  A Work Order was submitted to move the eyewash to the other sink in the room.  This was accomplished.  Sort of.  Something something about the top of one of the faucets being lost, thus engendering a geyser, and then more something about another visit to fix that and not having the right part and then still more something about finally having to actually swap the whole faucets and something else about the workman in charge being sacked.  You can tell I didn’t really pay attention.  The human female had to run up and down the hall multiple times, letting workmen in, which is all I cared about.

It seems the human female herself cannot perform even the simplest of tasks in one go.  Recently she was tasked with affixing the new emergency contact signs to each of the lab room doors.  Not only were the little signs of a size not easily divisible into a sheet of laminating film, forcing her to piece the things, she ran out of laminating film halfway through the project.  And she ruined one.  And this woman has two degrees?

All of this flopping about like a headless fowl tends to give the human female a bit of an appetite.  Most days I make sure she packs a healthy lunch. Sometimes I even do it for her.  Why, just the other day, I made her a delectable cheese sandwich.  And hygiene is so important to me that I even left in the little protective square of paper on each side of the cheese.

I’m thoughtful like that.

So:  home, yard, work, food.  I have, as the Midgardians say, “all the bases covered,” (whatever that means) and I count myself content.

For now.

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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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