Fed-up and Exhausted

Holiday Secrets and Mysteries

It’s very near Yule, and yuletide secrets abound!  What is everyone buying for me? What did the human male buy for the human female this year?  What did the human female get the human male?

Whatever it is…it seems to have gone astray.

where's David's book

Ehehehe!  She ordered four things.  Three of them were sent to a pickup hub rather than the house and arrived just fine last week.  The fourth, not so much.  Between the Large River in South America and Unrepentant Package Squashers, that thing is well and truly lost.  The online tracking is still showing the above.  The latest email the human female has received says, effectively, “Well, this is a tad embarrassing.  We’ll see if we can’t hunt down the package that traveled hundreds of miles and made it all the way to your home city and was out on the truck for delivery—and then vanished.”

She tried calling the Large River, and they said, “Sorry.  Our system shows it could still arrive.  If it hasn’t shown up by the 18th, then we’ll talk.”  How long do you think I can string this out?  New Years?

Another mystery:  Why didn’t they send all four items in one box on the same day instead of two boxes one day apart?  The better to serve you!

That’s not the only parcel that was wandering around out there with the human female’s name on it.  Behold the masterpiece that was the tracking for the gift ordered for the human male’s mother:

Mom’s sweater1

When Fex-Ex hands off to Usually Smashes Parcels Significantly, the results are delicious.

I updated that before it finally did show up:

Mom’s sweater

Three words for you, mortals:  Bricks and mortar.

Will anything arrive in time?  I’m not telling!

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Mischief Update–I Solemnly Swear That I Am Up To No Good

I always say that I’m going to keep up with documenting my mischief. After all, future scholars and chroniclers will want to be able to appreciate my long games, my spur-of-the-moment flashes of evil brilliance, and my witty prose. But I’m so *busy* doing the actual mischief (and fighting off vegetative nightmares) that I do sometimes fall behind and then have to jot down an elephantine wodge of insidious history. Like this one.

I continue to do some of my best work with vendors. My collaboration with They Had One Mission And Stumbled is proving to be a very fruitful one. The human female put in an order for cases and cases and cases of those green, biodegradable lab gloves she’s switched the whole teaching program to. Her two previous orders each had delivery problems, so she was hoping for a smooth transaction this time. As if.  No, the whole pallet of glove cases did arrive, but it came in in dribs and drabs over a few weeks’ time. Half the order came in one or two cases at a time. Each little portion had its own ship notice and its own packing slip. The packing slips weren’t all the same size or format, and things came via both Unrepentant Package Smashers and Fed-up and Exhausted. In the end, there were eight packing slips, and one of the larger shipments came addressed to Stephen Wolfe. Luckily, that particular addressee-fu has occurred before, and the stockroom personnel know now to just shrug and reroute-the shipments to the human female. Finally, when one of these multi-box shipments of four different sizes of gloves comes, all the cases need to be held somewhere until they all come in and are checked off. Basically, it takes over a whole room for a couple of weeks.

One particular order for a refill for an antibody demo kit never came in at all. The human female waited….and waited…and waited. Finally, she called the vendor directly. The vendor did the email equivalent of a blank stare. They’d never received the PO at all. Turns out that the purchasing software had “helpfully” directed it to the personal email of a person who is not at the company any more.  The human female fixed that, much to my annoyance. Perfectly good prank, and I only got to use it once.

Preparations for the annual Dead Cat Ballet have already begun. She asked for a quote from the customer rep at the Purveyor of Dead Things and eventually got one. Of course, it didn’t have the plethora of pickled piglets she wanted and they had to do it over, so… Starfish remain totally unavailable, so the human female had to order three-hundred some-odd sea cucumbers. (Is that even an animal? Or are they switching to vegetables for dissection?) In any case, she submitted the order for approval and waited….and waited. No PO. I’ve figured out that if I distract her just as she’s quadruple checking the order one. last. time, she forgets to file the This Order Must Go to the Purveyor of Dead Things/ sole source paperwork, which slows the whole process down to a crawl. The order’s been placed now; we’ll see if it actually shows up as promised….

Earlier, she ordered some sharks for the a different class. The professor very strictly specified 1 female and two males. I helped the PODT pick out three beautiful females.  At my behest, hey also shipped three female stiff kitties and no stiff tomcats on a two male, one female order.

Speaking of Dead Things–remember the room full of skulls? Most of the shipment came in at once but there were a few things backordered (cats, deer, and the ever-elusive platypus). They came in a few here and a few there. Then the human female received another shipping notice and another invoice for two deer and one platypus, with a different order number from the big main one. Cue panic. Turns out that fake invoices are the Purveyor of Dead Heads’ way of putting shipped backorders through their system.  The human female submitted it for payment, but she’s discovered it didn’t get paid because a few days ago, the Purveyor of Dead Heads sent it to her again.

Oh, and remember the papers the human female has to sign every year for the Vendor Whose Responsible, saying that she promises not to use any of her chemicals to set up a meth lab in the basement?

VWR-Intended Use 2019

She filled them out this year and sent them in. Then they sent another request. “I already did this!” she whined. “How about you have your supervisor sign where it says, ‘supervisor’?” they replied. So she had him sign them and sent them back. They sent a third request. “I SAID I already did this!” she type-screamed at them. “But it’s a different account!”the VWR shot back. And setting her up with two account numbers wasn’t the best part of the joke. After all the wrangling–it turns out that the new lab exercises don’t even USE the chemical that triggered all the DEA paperwork in the first place!

That wasn’t the only fun the VWR and I had with the human female!  Oh, no!  Not by a long shot!  The new 111 labs use an astonomical number of test tubes–and now that the Powers That Be have decreed that they should be single-use (or at least tossed in the glass waste at the end of the week), the program is going through mounds and acres and tons of the things.  The human female ordered FIFTY THOUSAND of them.  She waited.  And waited.  Finally, there was a shipping notice!  She tracked it very faithfully on the Unrepentant Package Smasher’s website.  It got as far as Waco (which is, as they say in this part of Midgard, “up the road a piece”) and that’s when I stepped in.  You see, fifty thousand test tubes–fifty cases of 1,000) comes on a pallet.  When UPS has a pallet to deliver to the Department’s stockroom, if the driver doesn’t feel like working his large vehicle down the alley, he doesn’t.  He may take it to Central Receiving or just dump it somewhere else.  Which is what I suggested to him this time.  He dumped it down at the UPS hub facility back in Waco.

testtubes-vs-ups

The tracking said, “Will attempt delivery the next day,” but they didn’t.  And they didn’t call.  When the human female called them, asking if they could pretty please route the package to Central Receiving so that she could get it from them, they said, “NO,” and insinuated that she was somewhat lower than pond scum.  They made her get an Authorization For Reroute from the VWR, e-mailed to UPS and not sullied by her hands or her mail program.  She managed to do this, resigning herself to the $110.00 change of address fee she incurred in the process.  While she was waiting for the authorization to go through, the UPS tracking said, “Out for Delivery”–which induced a panic, because it wasn’t supposed to go anywhere until the paperwork cleared.  Frantic, she called the UPS depot in Waco who looked and said, “Nope, sitting right here.” It took a day or two after that to have the package show up at Central Receiving, and finally all the test tubes came to their “forever home.”  She should thank me!  She knows now to split the big test tube order into parts or to specify that it not be on a pallet.

Sometimes, when I finish with the human female for the day, I have a little mischief left over. Then I start looking for other mortals to tamper with. One of the human female’s techs, for example, played a big part in the acetone scare of a few months back. Funny, was it, coworker?  How “funny” did you think it was when I had HR lose your paycheck?

For the 111 labs, this summer was the second go around with the new labs. The professor wanted to try something different with the Forensics lab, the one that uses invisible bits of DNA and gooey/gelly agarose and lethal amounts of electricity. The first time, the results were deemed “okay,” but apparently they could have been better. So the human female ordered a different set of DNA primers. (Whatever those are…) The test gel–ehehehe! The test gel was completely blank except for the ladder of reference DNA fragments! Now, it’s a multi-step process from sample to gel, so they had to re-run it with various combinations of old and new primers and old and new regents. (I don’t need to know what “taq polymerase” is to mischief it up a bit!) Nada. Zip. Zero. They never did figure it out and ran out of time and had to do the lab the “old way.” I think the human female needs to read fewer articles on gel electrophoresis and more on chaos theory.

She won’t have too much time to read for a while. She’s been sad in recent years to do less with botany than in days of yore. I’ve been whispering in her ear that she’s a washed-up has-been and that she will die in ignominy, and I’ve been looking for opportunities to torture her further.  And now I have my chance! Years ago, she worked with a team of other plant nerds to write The Big Book of East Texas Planty Things That Only Other Plant Nerds Will Care About.  Recently, she’s agreed to collaborate as editor on Volume Two Much (which is FINALLLY in production), meaning she’s going to need to lay in a stock of red pens and patience with other people’s prose. About 157 pages of daisy-related gibberish is going to land in her mailbox any day now. I’m especially tickled because she’s going to have to shell out over $100 dollars to increase the size of her Dropbox space to handle this project. Time-consuming, unpaid, tedious, AND expensive. I’m enjoying this and she hasn’t even started yet.

I suppose it’s not true that she hasn’t been doing any botany this summer. She hasn’t been in the field because a) hot, b) foot in a boot, and c) did I mention hot? She has been working on the Herbarium’s database, fixing errors, checking label information, and other very boring jobs. Recently, she found that I told the student workers they could make changes to the database, an apostasy that was supposed to be Forbidden At All Costs. They’d been editing their version and she’d been editing her version, with the result that she had to re-enter a couple of work sessions worth of data. Now she has to work, not on her saved version of the file, but on the main version that I have urged the Herbarium to host on its server. She has to do all sorts of computery gymnastics just to log on and reach it, and there’s always the chance that the file she needs will be locked for use by someone else.  (Like when I had someone leave for the weekend still logged in with the file open!) And I’ve peeked–the student workers, busy little bees, are always adding new records, all of which will have to be vetted, so the proofing is very much a moving target.  She’ll never be done!

You know…sometimes, all it takes to put the finishing touches on the human female’s day is something very simple. The other day I saw to it that her ugly silver car had a nasty-gram on it when she went to get it from the church parking lot, where she had left it for a few days. During the week, the church makes a little income from charging students to park there while they’re at the university. “Your license plate has been recorded,” the note said, “and the next time we find you here without paying, you will be towed at your own expense.” This note was left under her windshield wiper, right next to her properly displayed parking permit, whose number– along with her license plate number–is duly recorded in the parish office.  You should have seen her eye twitch!

The human female was making (delusional)  gardening noises and plans for a while there. “I’m going to plant this,” and, “I’m going to plant that,” and “Oh, this would look good out front.” She was starting to be really annoying. Then the heat hit, and now she’s just hoping nothing expires from pure despair.  She tried to plant a shrublet the other day and couldn’t manage to chip a hole in the hard-as-iron dry clay.  She had to let the soaker hose run for an hour before she could scrape out a spot for it.  I did nudge a little rain her way to help. But is is *my* fault the accompanying wind broke off 1/4 of her beloved Vitex bush? Or that the five lush, now-house-high elm trees that planted themselves neatly along the property line are, she’s beginning to suspect, not native winged elms but invasive Chinese lacebark elms? Yes. Yes, it is.

In the backyard, the big dead oak is still looming over the house, making the human female fret every time the wind blows.  The tree service folks she’s called either want an amount with a lot of zeros, or they quote a price so low that it’s pretty certain that their “company” is just Joe Bob With a Chainsaw.  The one reputable outfit that comes highly recommended has a voice mailbox that’s full and doesn’t answer email.  (They wouldn’t come take the tree down anyway.  I’ve warned them what a loOnY the human female is, and they have a file on her that says, “do not respond.”)

Inside the home, I’ve been egging the Terror Twins on.  They stage wind sprints and wrestling matches every night about 11:00.  If you’re a betting person, bet on Flannel.  She outweighs Taffy by a fair amount and knows a little judo (I think she’s been taking lessons from Muffy.)  Recently, she gave Taffy a scratch on the chin that made a big scab.  The humans had to take off work, come home, crate up Boo Boo Kitty,  and haul her–screaming all the way–to the vet.  The vet cleaned it up and administered an antibiotic shot, to the tune of over-a-weekly-grocery-bill or half-a-nice-fountain-pen.  It took four adults to hold Miss Wriggle on the table for the shot, and by the time the fur-slinky was back in the crate, the entire exam room, all its occupants, and all its contents were covered in drifts and fluffs of cat hair.  They’ll remember Taffy for a long time.

So, you see, I have had my fingers in all her pies, as the mortal say.  Work, church, home –you name it, I’ve done it.  “But, Loki!” you cry.  “Can you keep this up?  Aren’t you running out of ideas?”

Not even close…

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No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Remember last July when the human female and her crew switched from regular lab gloves to biodegradable nitrile gloves?   I had fun with that shipment.  It arrived in tatters and parts had to be replaced.  They’ve been patting themselves on the back for “helping the environment.”  Well, I’ve been helping the work environment,  making sure it is one of cHa0$ and obfuscation.

The very first thing the human female did when she got back into the office after Yule break was to order the “green” gloves for the semester.  That was on January 2.  She ordered 4 cases of extra large, 23 cases of large, 32 cases of medium, and 32 cases of small, ten boxes to the case.

This time I wanted to make sure they all arrived in good condition.

Just not all at once.

On January 9, about half the gloves arrived via Fed Up and Exhausted.  There was more than a bit of confusion, and the stockroom clerk almost didn’t sign for them, because They Had One Mission And Stumbled (THOMAS) had helpfully addressed the boxes to “Stephen Wolfe,” which just happens not to be the human female’s name.  She couldn’t check the packing slip, because there wasn’t one, just the freight weight statement. The shipment sat in one of the lab rooms while she worked with the vendor to figure out a) were the gloves hers and b) where were the rest?

About that time, the human female received four shipping notices from Unrepentant Package Squashers.  No explanation for the change in shipper.  The four shipments arrived on January 10.  Each one was a single case of small gloves.

After many emails to and from the customer rep, the human female managed to get THOMAS to agree to finish sending the order.  On January 11, more packages showed up, via Fed-up and Exhausted.  The human female and her minions counted and counted again, and came to the conclusion that they had the right number of cases of extra large and one extra case each of large and medium.  They were, however, still short a case of small.  No packing slip here, either.

Email, email, email, moaning, wailing, gnashing of teeth.  The customer rep was busy, busy, busy and ended each of her “I’m working on it” notes ended with a cheery “Let’s make 2019 the best year ever!”  

On January 14, the female managed to squeeze a packing slip out of THOMAS, but it showed only 23 large and 32 medium.

The human female finally gave up and called customer service directly.  They promised to make it all right.

On February 5, she received a shipping notice from Unrepentant Package Squashers that the long-awaited gloves were finally en route.

They arrived on February 11–and here they are!

glove box

I dragged it out as long as I could, and considering that many of the glove boxes sat in the big middle of the main prep room bench until all was completed and that turning in the non-existent packing slips required a novel-length explanation for the bean counters, I’d say it was one of my better jests.

And to think they’ll be ordering again for summer or fall!  Ehehehehe!

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Mischief Update: I Had Help

Lest my loyal readers think I’ve been doing nothing but swanning about gaming conventions and rescuing Sigyn from the odd bit of macabre glassware, I present for your delight a compendium of my latest exploits.

While the human male and I were up at the gaming con, the human female was on her own.  I made sure that every morning she was driving in to campus, there was a wreck on the way, slowing her down and making her late.  One day I actually blocked the entrance to campus!  I do some of my best work with traffic cones and vehicles with blinky lights.  A couple of days, I parked a big pickup in the lane she needed to be in to reach her parking spot.  Love pickups.

To make the human female’s work life a little more surreal and the job of her Prep Staff more difficult, suborned one of the undergraduates.  Together, he and I dismantled the human torso model in one of the lab rooms and hid the various body parts all around the lab room.  It made for a very visceral treasure hunt!

Then there was the week the students were playing with working with DNA.  Prep staff always has the very expensive reagents measured down to the microliter.  Someone spilled a whole tube of DNA ladder (a mix of DNA bits of known sizes), and two groups added ladder to every single sample, instead of just loading one lane of it in the electrophoresis gel they were running.   Cue the human female doing a mad scramble to order more over the phone with a credit card.

It’s not just the undergrads I’ve warped to my service.  I nudged one of the Lab Instructors, and she accidentally sent a copy of the lab final to every student in one of her sections.  Since what she sent was the base exam for a whole group of TAs, all those TAs had to write completely different exams.  This same LI also (thanks to my meddling) left her thumb drive in the computing lab.

Another TA decided to change the due date on a homework assignment.  This is strictly forbidden, as there’s a master calendar.

Another decided to ignore the rules about food in the lab and  bring cookies for his class.  Admonished, he removed them.  And put them back later.  Honestly!  Grad students are so suggestible!

And yet another decided to let the students into the lab final one at a time.  It took him about forty minutes to get them all started on the twenty-five station exam.

And yet another TA lost a whole set of ungraded homework papers and a set of ungraded quizzes.  Cue a big tizzy over what to do.  The human female thought someone on Prep Staff found them, and told everyone the good news. Unfortunately, what was found was four *other* sets of papers this TA had left in the Prep Staff office, so she had to untell everyone the good news.  The human female got chewed out for speaking too soon and muddying the situation.  Isn’t it funny how I can always work it round to her disadvantage, even when it’s not her fault?

Honestly, I’m finding TAs to be some of my best minions!

The human female ordered some pond weed that was urgently needed for a lab.  The Purveyor of Squiggly Things obligingly sent it on a Monday for arrival on Tuesday.  Then Fed-up and Exhausted, for reasons that were never explained, held onto the package in Memphis, Tennessee for twenty-four hours, so that it arrived on Wednesday, cold-damaged and kind of sad looking.  Salvageable, but too late to be useful for the lab.

Of course, I can’t leave the other vendors out of the mix.  I don’t always have time to think up new tricks, but the old ones are still good.  I sent the invoice for the human female’s latest order from the Vendor Who’s Responsible to Qatar in the Persian Gulf again, and then I  made sure an invoice from another vendor, one that wasn’t hers and didn’t have her name on it showed up in her mailbox with “Please pay this PAST DUE BILL NOW” all over it.  She spends half her time trying to tell vendors where invoices really ought to go.

One of the lab rooms has been too cold–about ten degrees colder than the other labs and the hallway.  *I* think it feels good in there, but humans are wimps, so the human female filed a work order.  Come to find out, some worker from Slow Silent and Costly, on some prior visit, had removed the valve that lets hot water for the climate control system into the room.  Not closed it.  Removed it. Possibly because it was leaking.  No one’s sure.  Now someone else has to come out and put it back.

I took the Biology Image Library down one day, so all of the students trying to study were met with a giant Error 404.  It’s an old program, and the underlying software, I think, is scratched onto rough stones in primitive runes.  The human male will be lucky if he can keep it running.

In the meantime, the University has decreed that all users have to have dual-factor authentication if they are logging in from off-campus.  They keep changing the adoption date, too, moving it up and up.  People are scrambling to get the software on their phones and such.  The human female’s phone wouldn’t take the software (thanks to a little jiggery pokery from Yours Truly), so she had to go over to a hidden room in an unmarked building and purchase a little doodad that generates a  log-in code at the push of a button.  So far, she hasn’t lost it, but it’s only a matter of time…

Computers are such fun to mess with.  I arranged a campus-wide cascade of computing, web, and email outages one day, starting with an equipment failure in the main computing center.  The systems were supposed to be multiply redundant so that if some bit failed, things would still keep going.  If you have all the systems in the same building, though…  Hey–they should thank me!  It was a good exercise in disaster recovery.

That caused such merry chaos that I’ve had random email outages and slow downs once a week or so since then, just to keep things interesting.

I’ve kept it rainy.  4.75″ just the other day.  The human female has given up trying to mow.

The human female had to get new glasses, just for a slight prescription change in one eye.  Would they let her get just one new lens?  They would not!  Because of her frames, it was all or nothing.  She wanted to get frames just like the ones she had.  Ehehehe!  Of course they don’t make them anymore!  She had to settle, which is always demoralizing for her and fun for me.

She bought a box of her favorite orange cookies, Mexican polvorones.  When she opened them, she found them smashed to crumbs.  I think she needs to look up the definition of “polvo” and not whine so much.  And that old quip about broken cookies having no calories?  Yeah, not true.  You should see the size of her!

Then there’s all the stress of Yule preparations, but that’s a tale for another time…

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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.

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‘Tis the Season for Mysterious Packages

Yuletide is certainly the time for mysterious packages and parcels.  Everyone loves surprises, right?  I know I do–when I’m arranging them for other people.  For instance, take this box that the human male received at work just the other day.

d-package1

Oooo!  Priority Overnight!  Fed-up and Exhausted can be very speedy!

d-package2

When it arrived, though, he was flummoxed.  He couldn’t imagine what was in it.  He hadn’t ordered any copier toner waste receptacles recently.

A look at the packing slip cleared things up.

Not.

d-package3

The events of the dim past slid up from the depths of his memory.  Back in February, he had ordered a number of these copier accessories and asked that one of them be shipped most expeditiously.

That’s this one.

Of course, it didn’t help that it got addressed to the Geography Department…

d-package4

…with two different room numbers.

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What If You Gave a Wood-Destroying Insect Party And Nobody Came?

Ehehehehe!  I know I said I’d be moving on to other projects, but I haven’t wrung all the mischief out of Harvey yet.   (I know it’s a disaster of Ragnarokian proportions, but that doesn’t mean I can’t amuse myself at the human female’s expense.)

Monday was supposed to be the first day of the semester, but the University closed for two days–days on which it did not actually rain.  So now, it is midweek of the first week and everyone is behind and things are confused and everyone wants things done YESTERDAY.

Even though the U. was closed on Monday, the human female came up and put in several hours of work because her sole Tech II is out this week.  They met and mapped out work for the week.  The human female made all sorts of hurried notes.  Here are some she made on the very elegant notes the Tech II made — on whatever was handy.

aftermath1

That silver Sharpie marker is so classy.

Most of the human female’s morning has been taken up by logistics.  You see, Usually Squashes Parcels Significantly suddenly terminated mail delivery to the local area on Monday.  No warning, no delivering mail that was already out on route. Nope, back to the barn, no mail for you, no projected date of return to service.   Never mind that when they closed the local sorting center a few years ago, it was with the idea that it could be resurrected if need be.  Well, needs be now, people!

On top of Usually Squashes Parcels Significantly, Fed-up and Exhausted, which has a major hub in the Big Inundated City to the South, suspended all deliveries there and in the surrounding area, which includes here.  Unrepentant Package Squashers followed suit.

So here is the human female, trying to prep lab for next week, the lab that includes our old friends the fragile, ship-overnight-and-hope-for-the-best termites, with no way to get said Blattodeans here to play with!

termites1

(Sad, over-exposed photo of the container the termites will inhabit, if they come.  The green pan of water is a moat to keep out the ants, which like to dine on tasty Isopterans.)

Over the last few days, she has sent and received numerous calls, texts, and emails, trying to get the termites here.  It goes like this:   If  Fed-Up and Exhausted won’t do it, can Unrepentant Package Squashers do it routing through Big City to the North?   The Purveyor of Squiggly Things, who prefers to ship only FU&E, says they’ll look into it. She calls Unrepentant, who says they can.  The human female also contacted the Vendor Who’s Responsible, since she has glassware to order, and they say Unrepentant can’t.  She calls Unrepentant again and they say they can, and she lets Vendor of Squiggly Things and Vendor Who’s Responsible know.  Vendor Who’s Responsible  responds with a screen capture of the Unrepentant website, listing the local zip code as one they will not ship to. Human female responds with a screen capture that says the local area is unaffected.  Vendor Who’s Responsible emails back that both FU&E and Unrepentant have changed their tune and are now accepting *ground* shipments for delivery here, but not live or refrigerated materials.  The human female still insists they ought to be able to do air shipments through Big City to the North, and if not, she will drive to Random Small City to the North and pick them up there.   They’ve been going around and around all morning, with no clear path to Termiteville yet in sight.

If we could somehow rope in the Purveyor of Dead Things, we’d have some sort of twisted Vendor/Shipper Bingo going on.

So here I sit, with all the party props needed to entertain the termites properly, and no one to play with.

termites2

Guess we could always test whether Sigyn has trailing pheromones that are mimicked by Bic ink…

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Mischief Update: Little Things Mean a Lot

The past week or so looks like the collision between a train carrying aluminum to the recycling plant and Billy Joe Bob’s Bait Barn–cans open, worms everywhere.

In the human female’s workplace, this is the first week of student labs.  The students, many of them first-semester freshmen, mill about like motherless lambs.  There is the one who confuses her Chemistry and Biology schedules and misses lab.  There are the ones who can’t read their schedule and show up in not just the wrong section but the wrong COURSE.  And there are the ones who come to the office to complain that their ID cards won’t let them swipe to enter the labs.  Look, children, just because you see the instructors swipe in doesn’t mean YOU get to.  But since I’ve seen to it that some of the electronic locks randomly refuse to recognize actual authorized card holders, I can see that someone might misunderstand how the system works.

The first week of labs means it’s TERMITE TIME!  The split delivery plan actually worked.  Or it would have, had the damned hexapods managed to stay alive.   The human female swears she spent all week on the phone, ordering replacements and tracking the incoming shipments on Fed-up and Exhausted.  It soon bored me, so I had the chat window for shipping from North Carolina to Texas show up in French.  Also, it was loads of oodles of manies of fun driving up on to campus which was in kicked-over-anthill mode in the celebration of the first home football game to deliver the termites shipped to her house. She wonders if they are doing something wrong in how they house the  delicate little creatures, since they die if you look at them funny.  Again, no.  Accommodations are satisfactory.  I merely tell the little white crawlers bedtime horror stories about the experiment they’re to be a part of, and 70% just up and die of fright on the spot.  (Ballpoint ink is surprisingly terrifying.)

In other Squiggly Things news, you will be relieved to hear that the local bovine genetics company (We-R-Cowspunk) is still selling gift certificates.  Says so right on their website.  Sleipnir’s fetlocks!  Is it time for yule shopping already?

BAMN continues to delight me and baffle the mortals.  Some high mucky-mucks met with the tribal chieftains of BAMN recently, and made it quite clear just how large of a rubbish heap it is.  One user brought in a Voluminous Binder documenting the 1,400 problems he had had with the 2,800 orders his group had placed.  The human female hasn’t ceased whining about BAMN, either.  She has discovered that when she receives the jolly little “This PO #xxxxx has been sent to the vendor!” email, she has to consult the spreadsheet she meticulously keeps, log into the website, pull up all of her requisitions that have been sent to PO, and try to match the e-mail with the requisition. When she has only one open requisition, it’s not that hard.  But on a busy day, when she’s made more than one order, she has to open all the just-gone-to-PO ones in BAMN, click on the requisition number, and find out what the new PO # is to make the match. Because they’re not the same.  (And then click on the PO number if she actually wants to look at it.) She’s asked that the emails tell WHICH requisition # has been turned into PO #xxxx, or at least mention  the vendor, but pfft! where’s the fun  in that?  Since BAMN generates one email when a requisition is submitted into routing, one when it converts to a PO and is sent, one when it is approved for payment, and one when it is paid, her mailbox is as full as Volstagg after a three-day food bender.

And the fun doesn’t stop there!  Sometimes the vendors bobble the ball.  Two so far this semester have either e-mailed or come by in person to inquire with varying degrees of civility why they have not been paid.  Usually it is because they failed to notice the giant “Bill To” address on the purchase order and have not submitted an invoice. It’s not the human female’s fault, but she gets to track down and clean up the messes.

Ah, September…  It’s that time again, the start of the Fiscal Year, when all the university employees’ insurance benefits can be updated.  Everyone was encouraged to log in and make sure their current coverage choices are accurate.  Of course, I arranged an outage on the website for that day–do you even have to ask?

I do hope the humans’ policies are up to date–they might need them.  Three sinks on campus have tested positive for huge amounts of lead, and there is small but growing epidemic of flu.

Engineering continues to try to take over the whole campus.  They now have designs on the second floor of the human female’s building, space her department sorely needs.    Also, Engineering wants all the service courses on campus (English, History, Biology, etc.) to move to issuing only grades of A, B, and C, so their students can have a higher GPA when they take these courses.  Now, I’m no mathematician, but someone has to be below average, right?  Still, their power-hungry bullying certainly has my attention. I am strongly considering jumping ship and joining them!

Parking and Transit, in a move certain to please Bean Counters and no one else, has decided to sub-let all of the 24-hour reserved parking spots in two campus lots, to make them available on home football game days.  This way, they can collect money on the spaces TWICE.  The human male is most definitely not amused, since no one ever asked him it this was all right, and since he has to come up on campus on weekends to do nerdly things with computers, and he would like to park in the space he pays $$$$ for, thankyouverymuch.  He says he can’t imagine who came up with this terrible idea. (Innocent whistling…)

The human male received a bill for the cop-pay for his eye exam–which he had already paid, since the battle maidens at the desk won’t let anyone pass without paying first.  It amuses me to see that payments post up to a week later than bills.  Everyone loves extra paperwork and the phone calls to straighten it out, right?

The humans’ shower is dripping, the front lawn looks positively leprous, the aged feline keeps missing the litterbox, the “check all the tires” light came on in the car yesterday, and the driveway needs weeding again.  All part of a special little thing I like to call Death By Little Things.  No one problem is large enough to do the humans in, but taken all together, they can some days erode the will to keep going.

It really is amazing how little things can really get to a person.  Take last week for instance.  It was nearing 6:00 p.m. and the human female was alone in her office, preparing to leave for the day, when suddenly, BOOM!  “Ah,” she thought.  “‘Tis the folks testing the cannon for this weekend’s football game.”  The boom was followed by a pop!, sirens, and then several long minutes of what was unmistakably automatic weapons fire.  The echoy-nature of a campus full of tall buildings meant she couldn’t tell where the shots were coming from. Alarmed, she called the campus police and asked whether there was some exercise being conducted by the Corps of Cadets or whether the campus was under attack from agent or agents unknown.  After being put on hold, she was informed that it was just a drill and that everyone should have received the advance email stating time and date.  Ehehehe!  With just one deleted Distribution-A email memo, I panicked everyone in earshot.

Supervillain tip #248:  Humans–the more tightly you wind them up, the more spectacular they are when they finally do snap.

 

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Mischief Update: The Top of the Roller Coaster

It’s that time of year again in the humans’ workplace.  Summer projects are winding down, and preparations for the fall semester are ramping up.  It’s like the top of the roller coaster:  Nowhere to go from here except down, with the concomitant screaming, unexpected turns, and occasional upchuck.

The students are back in town, which means driving, parking, and eating out have gone from pleasant pursuits to full-contact sports.

The City finally came and picked up the dead oak carcass that was decorating the front yard, so the human female is not confronted with her horticultural shortcomings each morning as she leaves the house.  No, the dead spots in the front lawn will just have to suffice for that.  The lawn is looking particularly patchy, as 8+” of rain in the last two weeks have precluded mowing.

I taught the front bathroom toilet how to make a startling high-pitched squeal.  Cue new float assembly.  Home repair is such fun.

You will recall that the human female has initiated a split-delivery order for termites.  She thought she had the situation well in hand, after having corrected the initial snafu.  Not so!  The Purveyor of Squiggly Things called to remind her that her requested second ship date was Labor Day, and thus no labor would occur.  Since the POST does not ship on Saturday or Sunday, the human female has had to stipulate that the insects be shipped to her home on the previous Friday for Saturday arrival.  She attempted a delivery like this once before, and a tag-team foul-up involving me, the Purveyor of Squiggly Things, and Fed-up and Exhausted resulted in the delicate little beasties being delivered to the loading dock on campus, where they languished and eventually perished in the early fall heat, while the human female sat awaiting them on the other side of town.  Will we have a repeat of this tangle this year?  Stay tuned to find out!

I am sure you are all eager to know:  Is there any progress on attempts to acquire the rest of the ingredients for Dead Thing PaellaWhy, yes indeed!  There has been a little flurry of back-and-forth e-mail between the human female and the Purveyor of Dead Things just this very morning.  The cephalopods are present and accounted for, with clams just now entering the processing stream.  Does the human female want squiddies now and bivalves now, or should the PODT wait and make a mega-shipment when the clams are done?  One shipment, please! That way the 24 dead cats on back order since last December (don’t you love a PO that stays open between one fiscal year an the next?  I know I do!) have a theoretical hope of hitching a ride.  “But what of the lampreys?” you plaintively ask?  (Or maybe you don’t ask, but I shall tell you anyway.)  The lampreys are supposedly inbound. As are the fourteen dead, naked felines ordered from the Purveyor of Squiggly Things (who also sells Dead Things), which the human female ordered from POST because the PODT had kitties on back-order since last December. In the meantime, the Anatomy and Physiology instructor has requested 25 more cats for next fall, which need to be ordered NOW if there’s a hope in Hel of obtaining them before 2018.

Fall 2018…That is when one noted Seller of Computers told the human male the urgently-needed laptops ordered for the Anatomy and Physiology labs would be available. They later amended that date to mid-September of this year, which is better, but not really satisfactory, as they are needed when the semester starts, and it is going to take some time to load up the software on them.  And that would be the virtual-cat-dissecting software that A&P is switching to because of the Dead Cat Conundrum! See how I have brought things full circle and tied them with a sparkly green bow?

Oh, and last week the human female received a call from the Purveyor of Squiggly Things asking about the simply enormous order for Mr. Unfamiliar Name in the Biology Department.  A little sleuthing turned up Mr. U. Name in the Biology Department of one of the university’s satellite campuses.  So close! She almost ended up with a ton of supplies she didn’t need and can’t pay for.

The humans have attempted to relieve some of the dead-animal-related stress by purchasing entertainment at a discount.  One of the local video and bookstores has been “circling the drain” for quite some time and has recently announced that it is going out of business. FORTY PERCENT OFF EVERYTHING! their advertisements screamed.  So down the humans hurried, only to find out that no, only the used books are 40% off.  The next week, they announced a massive SALE!  The human male (who should have known by now to call ahead) went over on his lunch hour only to find out that that sale did not apply to that particular store.  All hail Loki, god of misleading advertisements.

I have also taken over the position of god of unwanted Spam. (Wait, that’s redundant.  God of Spam.) The university’s mail program used to have a pretty good filter, catching most of the spam and unsolicited offers of riches, larger mammaries, and enhanced sexual prowess and just chucking it into oblivion.  I’ve been tinkering, and now the spam filter just flags all of these and then sends each user a huge daily (or twice or thrice daily) post stating, “We have quarantined all these and you may wish not to view them.”  Then it lists them.  Fifty or sixty or seventy at a time.  Sex dating online!  Make love use best men’s health medicine!  Perfect mood with strong health!  You are a winner! This would not be so bad in and of itself, but I have set it up so that each gargantuan serving of garbage goes back nearly three weeks, meaning users get notices of each message a dozen or more times before it ages off the bottom of the list.  As well, each BIG dump of verbal refuse is accompanied by a smaller dump of 7 to 9 messages, as if the system is gleefully interrupting with, “Oh, hey, look!  More crap here!” (This is the e-mail equivalent of  the Imodium not having taken effect yet.)  I’ve also arranged matters such that a good handful of messages in each user’s box appear to come from the user.  Congratulations, human female! You’ve just offered a lucrative job at K-Mart to yourself!  Pleas to the campus IT Help Desk result in 1) a copy of the plea being returned to the supplicant with no further verbiage, 2) a brief note which boils down to “Yeah, sucks, doesn’t it?” and 3) absolutely nothing.

And, of course, it wouldn’t be a Mischief Update if I didn’t have BAMN shenanigans to report.  One of the human female’s most reliable vendors, He of the Gloves, Bags, and Booties, dropped by to politely ask why he hadn’t been paid for the delivery he made back in June.  It turns out that with BAMN, which requires the human female to log in and do receiving for all received goods, she is no longer scanning packing slips and forwarding them to the Department’s accountant for payment.  The vendor was not presenting an invoice to BAMN or the Department as the human female was assuming he had.  It’s all cleared up now, but the human female looked petty and miserly for a bit there, which is not a good look on her.  I should do this more.

In other BAMN Receiving issues, the human female finally got in the very last of the huge fall order from Vendor Who’s Responsible.  In one of my finer touches, the program, when displaying a large PO for doing receiving, displays only 5 line items.  The user must manually expand it.  After the user  selects an item, receives it, and saves the receipt thereof, the view defaults back to just 5 items.  Every. Single. Time.  Also, saving the receipts as the items come in does not actually result in the receipts being submitted for payment.  No, the human female unknowingly ended up with a big pile of “open” receipts” that all had to be submitted in a two-screen process for each one.   My favorite part, though, is how if a user needs to view the PO to remind herself what has been received/submitted and what has not, the only way to do it is to hit the generate a receipt button, which makes a new receipt with its very own number, a receipt that may not actually have any received items on it.  It just sits there, open, until it is manually cancelled.

And the human female just sits there, open-mouthed, with a blank stare.  I think she might be broken…  Have I gone too far?  Should I relent in my campaign to reduce her to tears and bring the university to a screeching halt?  Should I be rethinking my life’s choices?   Hmmm.

Nah!

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