What’s Behind Door Number 302? Part I: Leggedy Things

Sigyn, do you know what the human female is keeping in room 302?  No?  Neither do I.  It’s uncharted territory.  Like most unexplored places, it can be very difficult to get to.  Mostly because I magicked the card reader on the door and it almost never works.  The human female doesn’t even try anymore.  She just punches in the code —which I have managed to suss out.

So now, while the humans are sleeping off their enormous turkey dinners,  we can explore!

Aha!  This is where the human female and her staffers keep the living organisms.  I guess this is where all the beasties obtained from the Purveyor of Squiggly Things reside.

Let us greet the denizens in order of legginess.  First up, with eight apiece, are the tarantulas.  They all have names.  This one is called Rose.   No need to be frightened, Sigyn.  She can’t get out.


I think…

Actually, if we are going by order of legginess, by all rights we should start with the crickets, which are the tarantula equivalent of Chex Mix.  Crickets have six legs, but they’re boring and smelly, so that’s why I skipped them.

Next would be the centipedes, but they’re fast and bitey, and intent on escaping, so they get to go to Centipede Valhalla soon after the students look at them.  There aren’t any live ones this late in the semester.

So that brings us to millipedes, which have more legs than I can be bothered to count.  They don’t do much, just crawl around slowly and occasionally munch on some potato slices.


They like to nap curled up like little watch mainsprings.  You know, if watch mainsprings had legs and antennae and were detritus feeders…

Then there are the hermit crabs.  I’m not sure how many leggies they have, because they seldom venture out of their borrowed shells long enough for anyone to get a good count.

Just to make the human female’s life a little more surreal, I think I’ll leave this Broken Equipment Report Form in the crab enclosure.


Start the clock—let’s see how long it takes for anyone to notice.

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Mischief Update: Sometimes I Even Make Myself Tired

I am getting so good at beating the human female into the ground that sometimes I even exhaust myself.

She was whingeing the other day that she hasn’t a pain-free day since last September.  If it’s not a headache it’s a stomach ache or her wonky elbow or her crummy eyes.  Mostly it’s her trotters feet.  The surgery has mostly healed, but what with one thing and another, a lot of days it’s hobblesville.  I might need to stop warping her orthotics and messing with her shoes, though, because it has cut down on the number of walkies, and Sigyn is sad about the lack of botanizing.  I keep telling Sigyn that she really doesn’t want to go out these days, because the temperatures are about a squillion and a half degrees.

I have been keeping busy on the home repair front.  I managed to make repairing the garage ceiling into the handyman’s version of If You Give A Mouse A Cookie.  So the fellow came and re-attached the ceiling panel to the ceiling studs, but when he pulled off the drywall tape, it pulled for pretty much the entire length of the garage, meaning the tape and refloat was going to be a BIG job.  So he put the first coat of “mud” on the tape and turned his attention to replacing the two bathroom ceiling fans, both of which died horrible, squealing deaths some time back.   So he went to the store to buy two fans and came back to put them in.  Installation requires playing the game known as Now? No! How About Now?, otherwise known as find-the-breaker-by-flipping-them-all-one-at-a-time.  The humans’ list of what breakers go with what was sadly incomplete.  But eventually they got that circuit off and the fan went in without too much fuss.  But then the handyman came down from the attic and informed them that their AC unit was leaking—blowing cool air all over the attic— and that they should call the AC people and get it sealed up.  Then he went to put in the other fan and delivered more bad news.  That fan wasn’t actually tied into any duct–it was just venting into the attic and had probably died of insulation inhalation.  Oh, and the FAN ITSELF was a different size than the one he bought.  So he went to go back to the store to return one and buy one of the proper size, only he couldn’t GO anywhere because his truck battery had exploded in the humans’ driveway.  So the human male had to drive him up the road to buy a battery so he could come back and put it in and then go back to the store for a new fan.  When he finally returned from his search at three different stores, it was to inform the humans that no one made a fan that size anymore, so they could choose between a smaller one, which would mean patching the ceiling drywall around it, or a larger one, which would mean cutting a larger hole in the ceiling.  They opted for the larger, but by then it was so late in the day that he couldn’t do it.  He had to come back on the following weekend to do it, and to do the sanding and the second round of floating on the garage ceiling.  The second round of floating didn’t go so well.  He tried a “fast drying” mud so he could sand it soon after and finish up, but it didn’t work, so he got to scrape it off and start over with the regular stuff.  So now there are finally fans and a fixed ceiling, but the garage now needs repainting, and their is taping mud sanding dust all over the garage floor.

Still trying to get the AC people to come out.  Funnily enough, they are very busy in the summer.

We are also waiting for the sprinkler people to come again.  Remember that the human female had to grovel abjectly to get them to come out last time?  Well,  I have fixed it so that now a different station is not watering at all.  This explains the general unthrifty look of all the shrubs around half of the front and down the left side of the house.  Poor little quince bush can’t catch a break…

I have seen to it that the humans’ favorite cherry yogurt, the male’s favorite Asian noodle bowls, and their favorite sun-dried tomato paste are no longer available anywhere.  It’s a nice little racket.  I find out what products they like, then seek out the manufacturers or supermarket purchasing clerks and make sure those items are no longer made or carried.  I get paid for this by the manufacturers of competing products.  Oh, and I also totally rearranged their favorite grocery store so they they can’t find a thing anymore.

Mostly, though, it’s the human female’s work group that has been occupying most of my attention.

Long–time readers may recall that the human female and her staff spent a lot of time and energy to convert a basement Rat Room (AKA Room of Doom) into a functional classroom.  When they first moved in, it was a Botany classroom.  With the demise of Botany, it became a Non-majors Intro Biology lab (NMIB).  Last year, the lab for that course was downgraded to a short demonstration period. Now the Powers That Be have decreed that an Honors section of Majors Intro Biology (HMIB) is moving in, so NMIB is being shunted to the basement of a nearby building, one that is infamous for leaking like a sieve and/or flooding at the slightest provocation.  (The human female worked in that basement for twenty-eight years before moving to her current location, so she knows to be Prepared.)  This room originally belonged to Bio but was lost to Wildlife and Fisheries Science in a poker game.  Or so the story goes (when I tell it.)  But anyway, the human female and her staff are having to clean up and fit out a new room.  Demo microscope?  Computer?  TA desk? Whiteboard?  Projector?  Screen?  Safety equipment?  It was all decided, then it all changed– one day while the human female was at her yogurt class, a meeting was held in which all the decisions made at the meeting she just left were abrogated.  She’s not in the loop.  She’s not anywhere near the loop.  She’s heard the rumors that there IS a loop, but you couldn’t prove it by her.

The creation of this HMIB raises all sorts of questions.  Will the human female be doing the buying for this course?  Will her Prep Staff be prepping the labs?  The answers change almost daily.  HMIB will be autonomous and will order all of its own supplies.  HMIB would like back some of the equipment that NMIB moved out of the room.  HMIB has changed the door lock code so that NMIB can’t get back in.  HMIB would like Prep Staff to keep the gloves and paper towels stocked.  HMIB wants to know how to purchase X, Y, and Z and can you arrange to have all our pipettors recalibrated?

Well, the powers that be have now decided that NMIB should become an online-only course after the one upcoming semester, which means all the hard work on both rooms will become worthless and all the materiel toted into the room will have to toted right back out.   And just today she heard a rumor that the HMIB class will move *out* of the room of doom after one semester.  It’s all one big hilarious shell game and I’m loving every minute of it!

Now, has anyone noticed that all the courses associated with the human female seem to be doomed?  First the two junior-level botany classes, one after another; then introductory botany; then a full non-majors course; now the non-majors course in live form.  She’s an academic Typhoid Mary, that’s what she is.

Meanwhile, the Summer Session Majors’ Intro Biology Part II has begun.  I had a chat with the registrar, and the room numbers for the five sections were listed incorrectly. Chaos ensued on the first day.  One student was so confused that she went to the wrong lab section twice before figuring out she was supposed to be somewhere else.  Ehehehehe!

The door locks are malfunctioning again.  The swipe card lock on the Prep Staff office has failed altogether and the others operate more or less as the mood takes them.

Speaking of Prep Staff…  You recall all the fun and drama associated with hiring a new Prep Staff technician? Well, a second Tech left to pursue lofty educational goals (or just to get away from the human female.)  Trying to hire a replacement has been even more fun (for me) than the first–and that one was made more complicated by an offer letter that vanished before the new Tech could sign it.  For this second posting, fewer people applied.  Then, right in the middle of the hiring process, both people in the department who can actually navigate the proliferous piles of paper necessary to effect a hire went on vacation.  The hiring certificate could not be found.  The interview documents and the hiring matrix were misplaced.  Then HR (Having Regrets) demanded the new Tech’s Selective Service form before an offer letter could be produced, rather than as part of the first-day-paperwork.

This has been such fun that I have started the whole process AGAIN.  On Monday of this week, with the human female’s boss out of town and unreachable by any means known to mortals, one of two upper-level Techs handed in her slightly-less-than-two-week notice.  Now, this removes the lid from a whole new container of annelidous squigglies, because hiring a Tech II is hard.  The job requires knowledge of the University’s Introductory Biology Program that most people won’t have.  It is also hard to bring in and outsider to supervise people who have been in place for a while.  Even getting permission to hire this Tech II is not a given, since the Dean has to approve.  No doubt she is going to ask, “What did you do with the last one I gave you?” Even if approval is given, there might not be any good applicants.  It might be better to hire a third Tech I and promote one later, but the technicalities of getting a position reclassified make even my head hurt.  TLDR:  The human female faces the very real possibility of starting the big fall semester one tech short, and even if she manages to hire one, THREE of the four will be new.

Ordering fun continues unabated.  The human female received the multi-page quote for the big fall course order from the Vendor Whose Respnsible, but it was missing two items, and one item had a similar but not identical product switched in.  One line item quotes the price for the needed  pack of 10,000 pipette tips but lists it as 1,000 tips.  Since 1,000 tips has the same product number as 10,000, I think I’ll see if I can’t get them to charge the bigger price for the smaller number.  If it goes the way the Great Glove Incident of 2013 went, she’ll be required to send back the 1,000 before they’ll ship the 10,000.  Also, I noticed that the vendor’s website, for one of the items, shows that a case of six, one-liter bottles is out of stock, but six single bottles are available–for the separate one-liter price, of course.  The human female as asked for clarification on all of these questions from the sales rep, but none has been forthcoming.  Time’s a-wasting, mortal.  You need to order now so I can start working my mischief with the shipping and billing.

The humans have been dithering about adding a feline to their household.  They say it just doesn’t feel right to come home to an empty house.  They seem to have forgotten the “joys” of cat-fur tumbleweeds, mysterious pukings, litterbox-misses, and intemperate midnight serenades.   I’d just as soon do without, thank you, but Sigyn also likes kitties, so it looks as if there will be one.  The mortals have interviewed several likely candidates at the local pound and at the Vet School, which has some research cats being retired from a study.  They found a truly beautiful cat, one with a magnificently multicolored, marbled coat and mesmerizing eyes, a true paragon of feline pulchritude, one possessed of every virtue and no doubt a tenth life to boot—but someone else snagged it.  Their second choice bit the human female by way of introduction.  They are now dithering between one relatively calm gray cat of no especial beauty and a strikingly-patterned amber tabby that bounces about at warp speed and who ought to come with a friend to keep her amused.  The human female wishes she could adopt all the kitties, including the old fat ones and the yowly orange ones.  The human male is leaving it up to the female.  Fenrir’s fleacollar, woman!  It’s just going to shed, poop, scratch, and annoy me, whatever you pick, so just pick something.

Folks, I hate to brag, but on a scale of one to ten, the mischief this time is a solid ELEVEN.

I need a nap

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Mischief Update: Yes, Again Already!

It seems as if I just wrote a Mischief Update, but I’ve been really busy. If I don’t jot it all down today, I might forget!  Let’s see…

You may recall that in seasons past, I have tinkered creatively with the electronic swipe-card door locks in the human female’s workplace. I purposefully haven’t done much with them recently, and everyone was nicely lulled into a false sense of security.  So this week I decided that two of the lab doors would start showing “Invalid Facility” whenever someone swipes. Not “Invalid Card” or “Bad Scan”–No, the whole building is not recognized at all.  Staff managed to get one of the doors open via a connecting door to another room.  So now that one won’t LOCK.  The lock shop on campus tried to re-boot the doors over the network, but no joy (naturally.) So now the human female and her staff are just waiting for an actual live person to show up…

The human female, rightly appalled at her advancing avoirdupois,  has taken to arising just shy of sparrowfart and walking a mile or two in the neighborhood.  I simply cannot allow her to develop feelings of superiority over this.  I’ve had a little midnight cobbling session with her shoes, so now every time she goes out, she comes back footsore and miserable.  Shoes aside, I suspect she consists of inferior construction and is possessed of substandard-cartilage.  She tried to make an appointment with the podiatrist but was informed that she’d have to secure a referral from her PCP, who can’t see her for about ten days.   By then, she’ll probably have given up all the walking in favor of sleeping in and eating donuts anyway.

She tried to balance the checkbook the other night.  She’s so hamfisted with the calculator that she mashed in $3,000 some-odd instead of $30, which put her waaay off balance. She accused the calculator of malfunction.  That’s right, monkey woman, blame the tools.  She found and fixed her error, but she works in ink, so the checkbook register for last month rather resembles a work by the Midgardian painter Pollock.  This annoys the human male to no end, so hey! Two-fer!

I got to laugh as she noticed she’d had a wrong answer in a character state matrix table for all the chordates, one she’d supplied to all the teaching assistants LAST SEMESTER.  Sometimes she doesn’t need my help to look stupid.

You may be wondering about the state of the ongoing Defunct Feline Conundrum.  Ten stiff, bald kitties arrived, courtesy of the Purveyor of No Longer Squiggly Things.  Fourteen more are promised from the same source.  The Purveyor of Dead Things has finally come up with FIFTY that they propose to send in the annual large, multi-pallet shipment of embalmed critters.  This large shipment launches what is colloquially known as the Dead Cat Ballet, a complex operation involving a semi, a smaller truck, two pallet jacks, three phonecalls, two emails, a work order, an elevator, multiple dragooned personnel, buckets of sweat, and the partial temporary demolition of a doorway. Fenrir’s fetlocks! The whole production puts the opening of the Midgardian Olympic games to shame.  So many ways I could muck this up–it’s hard to choose! This year’s ballet will be a bit smaller, owing to the presence of fewer Defunct Felines and an inexplicable shortage of both lampreys and clams.  You will be pleased to know that pig hearts, sheep eyeballs, and earthworms remain plentiful.

Meanwhile, the Purveyor of Squiggly things has managed to mangle the shipping for the first fall order of squigglies. This order includes live termites which, owing to their delicate nature, tend to shuffle off the mortal coil at the drop of a hat (or a frown from me.) The human female has learned the hard way to split the order so that a fresh supply arrives midweek.  I got my clever hands on her order and the Purveyor of Squiggly Things scheduled the two batches to ship via Fed-up and Exhausted on sequential days.  She thinks she has disabused them of this notion and corrected the dates, but there’s really no telling, IS there?

There are disturbing rumors that the University may abandon my glorious BAMN software and return the previous, much-loved ordering software.  As you can see from the above, I am QUITE capable of doling out heaping helpings of agita with just the vendors and shippers (Unrepentant Package Squashers, how I love you!), so while I am a bit disappointed, I am not altogether downcast.

The local constabulary are not the cretins I imagined them to be.  They have managed to track down two of the volunteers in my community service project involving auto glass.  The humans were requested to mail the police the receipt for their windshield replacement.  Too bad they couldn’t find it!  I have hidden it most carefully and secretly, along with their insurance card.  They have copies of both documents, but the mislaying of the originals is going to nag at the female for the foreseeable, so I am still in the plus column on the whole project.

The Blue-haired Goddaughter is lodging with the mortals for a fortnight or so.  I can use this!  She and the human female share a few interests, such as staying up far too late giggling, reading works of speculative fiction and discussing them in front of the human male, and geeking out over certain British actors  (to one of whom I bear no small resemblance.)  By the end of the visit, the human female will be a writhing mass of underslept bad habits with sore feet, and hence even more susceptible to mischief.

And finally, in the The-Norns-Must-Love-Me category, I found this most excellent item while out walking the other day.


Now, what to do, what to do…?

What do you think, 6.5?  Not my most productive week, but I do have prospects!

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Mischief Update: Bits and PIeces

No major mischief to report this week, but it’s still fun to just needle, needle, needle the human female and her coworkers.

I cast a little spell on the dispensettes, the gizmos used to dispense a fixed aliquot of various somethings in the teaching lab.  Suddenly, O-rings are failing left and right.  The humans are blaming the harsh chemicals in the chromatography solvent, but we know better, do we not?

I have continued to use what I learned from my dimwitted thunder god of a sibling, making sure that even though there have been multiple days with massing black clouds and thunder, no more than a smattering of drops have fallen on the human female’s yard.  Just to mess with her head, I leave random amounts of water in the rain gauge–a quarter inch here, half an inch there.  Not a day goes by that she doesn’t pray for a real, soaking rain.  The weather mavens have been calling for a cooler, wetter weather pattern for fall.  “El Niño,” they call it.  They haven’t reckoned with “El Loki.”

I have meddled with the electronic door locks YET again.  It never gets old.  This week I had one of the doors adjusted so that it could not be opened from the inside or the outside.  True, there is a back way into the room which may be used for entry or egress, but it is most inconvenient, and a bit of a safety hazard, should evacuation become necessary.  Oh, and by the way, is that gas we smell in the very same room?

Then there was the Great Banana Incident of 2015.

Most of this has been but a minor annoyance to the human female, which is why I have something extra special planned for today.  See this browser history?


Copied to her boss in 3…2…1…

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