hiring woes

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.

>|: [

 

Advertisements

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

>|: [