obstreperous appliances

Lest You Think I’ve Been Idle…

Baldur’s biscuits!  Looking back at this blog, I realize that it has been an age since I posted a Mischief Update.  I’ve been busy with other…things, and the human female has been monopolizing the computer.  But she’s doing some actual work at the moment, so I will try to summarize.

The human female returned to work after her recuperation to find that some misguided individual had plugged/unplugged/switched/turned off/relocated or otherwise tampered with all of the cords for the two fish tanks, leaving them with no running filter.  Now, the lungfish was unperturbed because lungs, but the reef tank suffered a catastrophic drop in water quality.  I kept Sigyn away so she wouldn’t see the human female wobbling atop a stool with her foot in a boot, trying to scoop the poor dead fish from the top of the tall tank.  Then she had to remove two moribund brittle stars, one of which fell apart as she tried to do so and one of which was still writhing in the discard bucket.  Now, this piscicide was not my doing, but I did enjoy watching the human female hobble up and down the hall fetching nets and buckets and trying frantically to reach the aquatics tech on the phone. She walks so funny, especially since her not-chopped foot is bad too.

On her second day back to work (the very day she was cleared to drive), one of her colleagues threw his back out and had to be taken to the healer.  I finagled things so that it was the human female who had to take him, and I had a good giggle watching her struggle to push him (at nearly twice her weight) in a wheelchair, get him down the elevator, put him in her tiny car, stow the wheelchair, and then reverse the process to get him into the clinic.  Well, the doctor *did* say he wanted her to put some weight on that foot.

She’s still paying for the whole foot thing, too. I had a chat with the hospital and the insurance company, because it’s more fun if the bills trickle in a little at a time instead of all at once.  It’s also fun if the folks at the check-in desk for all of her pre- and post-op appointments tell her there is no charge but then she gets billed anyway.  I coached the service representative on what to say.  “It’s a courtesy not to charge you but to just roll it all into the inexplicably large tab for the surgery, the anesthesiologist, and all the supplies.  So you owe it, but we think it’s kinder and less confusing to tell you that you don’t.”

To round out my selection of medical and medical-adjacent mischief, I tinkered with her prescriptions.  The Tiny Blue Pills had been on automatic refill with the mail-order pharmacy, but when the human female’s doctor gave up and quit, the prescription lapsed from auto–but no one notified her of that fact.  She was mere days away from running out (and trust me–no one wants to see that!) by the time it occurred to her to inquire and put the order in herself.  She was told that no,  you cannot re-activate auto-refill without a new prescription from the new doctor.  Well and good, but how about an interim prescription until the now-ordered medicine arrives?  She got one, but the local pharmacy wouldn’t fill it, because the mail-order pharmacy had just filled it.  So she asked for just a few days’ worth, which usually isn’t a problem, but I had the local pill-pushers suddenly say they couldn’t do it and  refer her back to mail-order for authorization.  They in turn sent her back to the locals, saying all they needed was an override code. Still with me?  Another trip back to the local pharmacy, and she finally had a few of the precious rounds to swallow.  Another, unrelated call to the mail-order pharmacy to check on her headache medicine reveals that this one cannot be put on auto-refill at all because some cretin coded wrong.  It thinks 11 pills (all they’ll let her have in a month) is coded in as an 11-day prescription, which is not eligible for auto-ship (only 30- or 90-day ones are.)  Funny, she needed one of those as soon as she hung up the phone.  It was all good fun, but I think I prefer her better when she’s medicated, so I may not do this again.

Until the next time…

I saw to it that there was some first-class BAMN goodness waiting for her upon her return.  The invoice for all of the dead cats she was finally able to purchase from the Purveyor of Squiggly Things (And Sometimes Dead Things) was returned UNPAID!  A few phone calls and emails revealed that those defunct kitties were ordered so long ago that the departmental account number had changed in the interim.  The human female suggested that the transaction be transferred to the NEW account.  Because that would make sense. No can do!  The bean-counters had to re-open the old account, put money in it,  pay the invoice, and then close it down again.  It was fixed. No, it wasn’t–there was another, newer invoice that bounced in the same way.   It positively tickles me to think that the human female’s name is probably on the industry equivalent of the “Do Not Accept Checks From This Person” list.

The Affair of the Unpurchased Cats was such a lark that I had to try it again.  Not long thereafter, the human female received a cranky email from the Purveyor of Dead Things asking WHY the large shipment of Dead Thing Paella and other assorted specimens (the one that arrived in August and involved the Dead Cat Ballet) had still not been paid for.  That resulted in another flurry of emails and calls between the vendor, the bean counters, and the human female.  Apparently the invoice (upwards of $14k) had been electronically mislaid.  So that’s two Hot Checks lists she’s on…  If I can keep this up, there won’t be a purveyor out there who will take an order from her.

Then there were the Special Small Opaque Black Microcentrifuge Tubes she had to order via the Vendor Who’s Responsible’s very, very broken BAMN punch-out.  She keyed the order in, put the goodies in the cart.  And it was empty.  She restarted it.  The price was wrong, because it added the Special Extra Teeny Opaque Black Microcentrifuge Tubes instead.  She got that straightened out eventually, but what should have been a five-minute purchase ate up considerably more fun than that. I had time to make popcorn and settle in to watch.

While she was still getting places on her little knee scooter, I tweaked the elevator one morning, so she had to carry the thing up two flights of stairs.

The ice machine went on strike the week all the labs needed ice.

The door on oom 324 spent one day refusing to open with anything other than the master key.  The next day, I had it refuse to lock. With an exam set up inside.

I pointed out to the copier that the elevator, the ice machine, and the automatic door locks were having all the fun, so it took itself offline. When it was coaxed back online, it decided it didn’t need codes and let everyone have unlimited copies for free.  Then it decided its energy-saver shut down period should be about one minute.  I don’t know–what do you think should malfunction next?  Is it time for microwave sparks?

When one is stressed at work and recovering from an injury, good nutrition is important.  The human female purchased a packet of dried apricots to keep in her desk for “healthy” snacking.  Imagine her surprise when she opened them to find I had doctored them with some sort of vile chemical (don’t ask  me –I don’t know what it was.  I just went in the prep room and grabbed something) and they were inedible.  That occasioned an indignant return to the market, so now the folks there think she is a trouble maker too.

The Feline, already on prescription food and several daily meds, came down with a bug that required the humans to administer an oral liquid medicine every day for ten days.  Would the cat eat it on her food?  She would not! (I taught her well.)  Catching her, holding her down, and squirting it into the flailing beast provided a healthy dose of drama to each day, especially since said medication makes her FOAM at the mouth like a rabid weasel.

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And as a final unfortunate event, the humans’ credit card was hacked.  What? No!  I know nothing about that.  And no, I don’t choose to explain my recent acquisition of three pounds of gummy septopuses and six shiny new knives.  I’m hurt you would even think to ask…

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Mischief Update: Many Happy Returns

I’ve been a busy little bee this week.  It’s a two-headache week for the human female, and it’s only Thursday!  (Can’t we find something else to call this fourth day of the week?  It galls me to cite my oafish brother every seventh day.  And can we talk about Wednesday = Odinsday?  Honestly, honoring those two every week spoils two perfectly good days and makes me cranky right through to the weekend.)

But on to the mischief.

–The campus IT lackeys finally responded to the memo the human female sent about an outage of the Very Important Campus-wide Grade and Bulletin Board Program outage.  That occurred on September 29.

–The human female’s Tragic Snacking Habits have caught up with her.  I saw to it that some friendly ants found the two granola bar wrappers she left in the car trashcan.  They’re scurrying in and out of orifices in the dashboard.  It’s coming on winter–they’re very happy to have a warm place to nest!

–You’ll recall that the dishwasher died.  It was replaced.  Workmen came out and installed a shiny new one.  It despaired of the human female’s cooking so much that after three washes it uninstalled itself.   Both mounting screws came out.  She had to call service personnel and take time off work and be home while they re-installed it with New Improved Bigger Screws.  Any bets on how long this job will hold?

–Several of the filters and pumps on the various aquaria at the human female’s workplace have taken to making rather alarming squealing, gargley noises.  So has the cat.  Do you suppose the two are related?

–At my instigation, the incubator in the Room of Doom, which was ancient when the human female and her staff cleaned out the room and moved a class in, played a game of hockey with the human female.  She was trying to set it to 37C, but all it has is an outdated analog dial marked 1 to 10.  A setting of 4 didn’t get it warm enough, so she turned it up.  Then it was too hot, so she turned it down a smidge.  Too cool.  Too hot, Too cool.  After six or so adjustments, I took pity on her and let it settle at 38C, which she hopes is good enough.  Enzymatic reactions are such finicky, temperature-sensitive things.  I wish her well…

–My biggest project this week has been a fine piece of work to do with two little piddly microscope camera power supplies.  This sort of thing used to be readily available and cheap at Wireless Hut, but most of those stores have gone out of business.  The human female and one of her techs poked about and finally found an acceptable item online at Humongous River Supply Company.  Since ordering from HRSC takes a credit card and not the usual ordering software, the human female asked the Department’s purchasing officer to conduct the transaction, and to buy two.  The purchasing offer declined, because the electrical doo-dads were actually from a third-party vendor, who would insist on charging tax, which the University steadfastly refuses to pay.  So the human female called the actual manufacturer who said that no, they would not sell them direct, but if she were to purchase through HRSC, they would lop the tax off when the order was billed.  The human female conveyed this info to the purchasing officer, who put in the order.  Then there was some question when the order total came to much more than the sum of the items.  The human female (duh!) forgot about a little thing called shipping charges. The bits and bobs came the day before yesterday.   Mindful of my influence, the human female had one of the techs test them.  Hooray! One worked.  Boo!  One did not.  (ehehehehehe!)  The human female contacted the manufacturer, who said, “Take it up with HRSC.  They’ll contact us about a return/refund. Order another, then we’ll refund one.”  With a headache building, the human female tried and failed to find a contact number for HRSC on their website.  She could send an e-mail query, but only by logging in with her own account, which has nothing to do with the University and, of course, has no record of camera power supplies.  So she asked the purchasing officer to ask for a return, since the transaction was tied to that account.  The purchasing officer declined to be of use, but did direct the human female to the part of HRSC’s jungle of a website where she could put in a request for someone to call her.  So she tried that, and was almost immediately called back.  And put on hold.  When a Helpful Person finally answered, they insisted on having all of the personal information belonging to the purchasing officer, just to make sure the human female had no nefarious purposes in mind. The 17-digit order number was not enough, oh no! This took some time, as everyone here has a mailing address and a billing address and a ship-to address, which are not always the same.  With the purchasing officer and the human female involved, that was a total of six addresses.  It was a delightful conversation, with background noise, interruptions, misunderstandings, and unclear diction.  I’m pretty sure both parties were speaking English, but here wasn’t a lot of actual communication going on.  Eventually, the Helpful Person said she would mail  a return label to the purchasing officer, who works in a different building from where the defunct merchandise resides.  The human female then made the mistake of asking if the label could be sent to her instead, since she’s the one in possession of the Useless Object. That started another round of What’s That Address?  The human female finally got the Helpful person to agree to send a call tag from Unrepentant Package Squashers to the Departmental stockroom, where the package may or may not get picked up.  There’s an 18-digit tracking number for the call tag.  That is thirty five digits to return a $9.00 cable.

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So here is the pesky little item, all boxed up and on its way to the stockroom, where a call slip may– or may not– show up for it.

This has been a fun little project.  I haven’t decided whether I’m done with it yet.  After all, she still has to try to order a replacement!

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