plumbing woes

Mischief Update: So Very, Very Busy

I’ve regaled my public with accounts of my larger exploits–the hard drive failures, the pipette tip madness, the wholesale emptying of one classroom, the autoclave, etc. , but I don’t want you to think I haven’t been looking for other ways to annoy the humans.

Here, in no particular order, my crimes and misdemeanors:

I sent another invoice from the Vendor Who Was Swallowed Up By The Vendor Who’s Responsible to Qatar, in the Persian Gulf.   The people in Qatar sent it on to the human female, who had to call the Vendor Who’s Responsible yet again and explain how this was never going to result in payment.  She’s had to place another order with the VWWSUBTVWR–this one for An Abundance of Lampreys.  We’ll see how the billing goes, but she shouldn’t get her hopes up…  Actually, that was a fun order, because one of the items showed out of stock at the VWR and in stock from the VWWSUBTVWR.  Invoice and shipping will be from VWR.  Maybe.  Why didn’t she order from the Purveyor of Dead Things, you ask?  Because they are out of filthy, fish-sucking petromyzontidinous goodness until August!

The new first-semester freshman Bio labs, the ones with the new exercises that the female and her staff have been frantically trying to understand and order for and prep, have been rearranged in sequence.  This means that one of the bulletin board displays will go up, come down for a week, and then go back up.  So far the new labs are going fairly well, though they are running over time and the students seem quite reluctant to actually read the exercises and do the appropriate math beforehand.  Protocols that worked for the faculty when tried with small groups over the summer are proving difficult to scale up.  And remember the new micropipettors?  The students have already managed to break six of them.  You might think that they’re just being careless, being young mortals whose pre-frontal cortices are yet rudimentary, but mostly it’s because I’ve led them to believe that they can abrogate the laws of physics and aspirate 1.8 milliliters in a pipette that will only hold 1.0.  I’ve promised a prize of $100.00 to the first student to actually achieve this feat, and they do keep trying!

Ah, students.  The semester is young yet, but already they are showing their intellectual capabilities.  One astute young scholar attended the wrong lab for two weeks–just wandered into the wrong room at the right time, presumably liked it, and stayed.  another added the class late, was directed to a lab to make up the missed session, and then attended a different section entirely.  Several others overlooked emails, signs, and syllabus materials that told them when labs would start and missed the first lab, “Because I didn’t know labs were meeting this week.” Four put down the wrong TA’s name when filling out their Lab Safety Agreement.  Quite a few others put down the wrong section number or supplied their room number instead.  Our future scientists and civic leaders, folks! I should be able to gull them easily and direct them to do my bidding like good little sheep.

The Teaching Assistants are just as subornable.  One left a stack of homework in the classroom.  Another missed his office hours.  And one stellar individual remembered to refill the buffer bottles after their section but neglected to close the stopcock on the large carboy.  They do say mopping is good cardio.  The human female should know.  She knocked over a gallon jug of RO water in one of the prep rooms, and the plastic shattered like glass.  Mop, mop, mop…  Later that day, a bag of old, fermented, red-dyed, soaked lima beans that was triple-bagged fell and splattered on the same spot.  It’s a very clean floor now.

Remember whole reverse-osmosis/ distilled water flap?  The technician did finally come to run the antiseptic (bleach, basically) through the system.  It sat for 48 hours, during which time the bleach ate a few leaks into the lines. That got fixed.  It’s all over now and, apart from still not having distilled water, all seems to be well.  I had been hoping to string this project along until May, so I was a little disappointed that the work has been done.  I contented myself with having someone from Slow, Silent, and Costly come visit the human female the week after it was all over and say, “So, what’s all this about white chunks in the water?”

For years I’ve seen to it that the outlet the human female’s work computer plugs into is as finicky as a spinster aunt.  Jostle any cord that’s plugged into it and the uninterruptible power supply that’s plugged in for the computer beeps loudly about “interrupted power!” (It’s no coincidence that the acronym for those things is pronounced, “oops.”)  The other day, she happened to administer the barest brush to the phone charger she had in the outlet and the UPS started announcing Ragnarok at pitch and decibel levels worthy of Sif in the midst of one of her finest rants.  Every few seconds, BEEEEP!  She tried every combination of plug, unplug, reset, BEEEEP! shut down, restart, reset, and curse she could think of, but all she managed to BEEEEP! do was make her computer unhappy as well.  BEEEEP!  She thought it was the breaker, which is helpfully BEEEEP! behind a locked door to which no one but Slow, Silent, and Costly has the key, but when the fellow from SSC showed up BEEEEP!, he deemed it a faulty outlet.  He departed to get one (I’ve made it a rule that they never to travel with parts) and returned BEEEEP!, only to proceed to tinker with the innards of the wall.  Eventually, she was all sorted out and silence reigned, but it sort of shot an afternoon of (pretending to) work.

The warped counter around the sink in one of the prep rooms has been approved for replacment.  But I’ve delayed the epoxy countertop indefinitely.  Even if it comes in, the crew may need to wait for a semester break to do all the rip out and install.  Prep staff had all the drawers removed or emptied. They’ve put them all back–which of course will mean the slow,  silent, and costly folks will be here the very next day.

The office ran out of Bio 112 lab manuals, so the human female had to put out a call for anyone with a used one from a previous semester.

The honors sections of 112 lab are two weeks behind the regular sections (different curriculum), so the human female won’t be able to carry over live materials from regular labs one week to give them.  Nope!  She’ll have to order all the live goobers in a second time.

The rush order for human sickle-cell anemia hemoglobin (miscalculated on initial order) wouldn’t go through online, so the human female had to call with a credit card and enjoy the fun of trying to explain the whole convoluted mess that is any mailing address at the university.  Eventually, the order went through.  However, when she had to do another rush order for something else last week, the vendor couldn’t pull up her account or address or anything.  Why?  Because it’s another company that has swallowed a bunch of other smaller companies.  Though they all say, “We’re proud to now be a part of Expect Major Delays (AKA, United Amalgamated Consolidated Lab Supplies Unlimited),” they’re still actually, legally separate companies, and they don’t share account info, and you can’t order Company A’s product from the Umbrella Company.  The phone operator actually sent her to the website.

The pet store was out of crickets.  A hungry tarantula is nobody’s friend.

I told the spiny urchins in the two main salt water aquaria to make themselves at home.  This they have done, consuming two lettuce sea slugs and a sea cucumber.  Perhaps the aquatics tech confused gentle, herbivorous sea urchins with carnivorous ones that just like to eat invertebrates named for vegetables.

The copier ate a page of the multipage packing slip the human female was scanning to send for payment.  You know, the big one from VWR?  That big order that has been coming in in dribs and drabs since December?  That’s right, the one where every packing slip includes every item on the whole order, even a particular box has only a single item.  Pages and pages of packing slip!  Except, of course, for the boxes that arrive with no packing slip…  Meanwhile, the three outstanding cases of pipette tips have generated not one but two “update on your shipment, here it comes” emails, but still no joy.

The elevator and key card doors on the floor randomly refused to work during the first week of the semester.  No reason, other than I like to mess with people’s heads.

All is far from perfect on the home front.  A free annual inspection of the heating system showed that my repeated kicking of the infrastructure is paying off.  Something about the supports for the plenum box about to give way…I think.  Something expensive, anyway.

The aerator on the kitchen faucet, with my help, went a little wonky and was spraying water sideways.  The mortals’ old bachelor friend removed it to clean it, and it wouldn’t go back in.  He promised to fix it, but the first new aerator he tried didn’t fit.  He was prevented from returning with the proper part, so the humans had an aerator-less faucet that shut off with a “blurt!” for a few weeks.  It’s mostly fixed now, but it still has a tendency to splatter a bit at low pressure.  I find it’s the little annoyances that can really grind a person down, don’t you?

I made the human female drop a sock in the felines’ water dish.

I made sour milk when the female wanted to eat cereal for breakfast.

The human female finally gave up on the embroidery kit she ordered LAST January (2018).  Come to find out, the kit maker, who is in Europe, has a minimum overseas order, so the human female’s order, which was much less, was just going to sit until several hundred dollars’ worth of additional orders were submitted by the stitchery shop.  The human female gave the shop a Stern Talking To about not advertising items they couldn’t actually procure.  That prank took a full eleven months, start to finish, so bonus points for that.

I made the jam go bad in the fridge.  Do you have any idea how hard that is?  I’m sure the human female could spin you a very boring lecture about osmotic potential and microbes and oxidation and how jam has too much sugar in it to spoil, but Rancid Jam, apart from being a very good band name, is a thing that can happen.  What can I say?  It’s a talent.

So you can see, I’m at the top of my mischief game.  I give it a 9.5 for execution and a 10.0 for creativity.

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Mischief Update

I’m trying to make good on my resolution to keep my populace up to date on my doings.  Since I last reported, I had all that good fun in New York, but not all of my mischief has been travel-related.

Vendors continue to be the bane of the human female’s existence.  Well, one of them, anyway.  I saw to it that the outfit that sold her the brobdingnagian paper shredder for the office ignored the billing instructions.  She received a “Past Due” notice on the not inconsequential purchase price , even though a) she hadn’t received the first notice and b) the invoice shouldn’t have been presented to her anyway.

The last batch of mosses and liverworts (ugh!–liverworts!  Sounds like something you’d need to take strong antibiotics for!) from the Purveyor of Squiggly Things is doing pretty well, survival wise, but some of the little sealed trays have been sprouting Arabidopsis seedlings right, left, and center.  I gather that the plant is the botanical equivalent of glitter.

The two new hires on the human female’s team are working our surprisingly well.  They and the two old tech are forming a really stable, cohesive unit.  I shall have to see if I can drop a few accusations in a few ears and turn them all against one another—or against the human female— before the cheerfulness level reaches annoying proportions.

Both new techs were hired at the same time, but I am having extra fun with one of the new employees and Workdon’t.  I made it so that he wasn’t showing up in the system and couldn’t log in.  Workdon’t didn’t recognize him.  It took about a week to get him to show up, and even then, he was only in there as his ID number.  “Good morning, ID number!”  It took another week to get the system to call him by his actual name.  Everyone was happy, until he realized that somehow, Workdon’t has latched onto his Social Security number and is using that for everything.  All attempts to code his ID card for building access and room access have failed, because Workdon’t’s number for him is his SSN, not his ID.  Meanwhile, he is also unable to select insurance options, so he’s completely uninsured.  No one seems to know the magic words to make him a Real Boy as far as Workdon’t is concerned.  He exists in Administrative Limbo. vENN

Everything works perfectly for the other new tech, of course.

I’ve arranged more fun surprises for the female’s work group.  There are some Mysterious Damp Patches in the hallway ceiling and in one of the rooms just adjacent.  Slow, Silent, and Costly came out to look, replaced the wet tiles, banged around, and said it was fixed.  (This was before the female went to New York).  The spots reappeared.  SSC decided it was the fire sprinkler system and sent three more techs, who said, “Nope, not our problem.”  Supposedly there is another work order in, but no one’s holding their breath.

I invited some little beetle-y friends to overrun the break room and the offices.  For days, no one could figure out what they were or where they were coming from.  Slow, Silent, and Costly sent out someone to set traps.  The human female returned from New York, took one look, and said, “Pantry pests.  Find the infested cereal and get rid of it.”  All sorts of nooks and crannies and drawers were investigated, to no avail.  Finally, after much consternation, the custodian found an old, abandoned carton of oatmeal behind some dishes in the back of a high cabinet.  Well, to be more precise, it was a carton of 75% insects and 15% insect frass, and 10% actual oatmeal.  I was peeved they found it so quickly!  Next time, it will be rotten shrimp heads behind the refrigerator.  Let’s see them suss THAT one out.

It wasn’t my only arthropod amusement.  The lawn, upon our return from New York, was courting-city-citation long, so the human female mowed.  I was trying to nap, and the mower annoyed me, so I tucked a green lynx spider inside her sleeve when she wasn’t looking, and it BIT her.  How was I to know she’d spring up in a big red welt and itch for a week?

Coming home from a trip is always a let-down.  There is always a huge pile of bills and junk mail to sort through  (I arranged a “buy a commemorative brick in the sidewalk” appeal from a church the humans don’t belong to, along with several “renew your membership” pleas from organizations they don’t belong to), the houseplants look floppy, there is weird stuff in the cooling unit, and no magic hotel staff to do the cleaning.  I’d left the felines instructions to shed copiously, which they did enthusiastically.  The human female has been sweeping regularly, and there are still cat-fur tumbleweeds drifting lazily from room to room.

The house clamored for some attention too.  The sprinkler system is old and crotchety, so it wasn’t much of a chore to get it to run in the middle of the night when the dial was actually set to “off.”

Then the human male decided to shave one day and pulled up the stopper thingy in the sink.  Imagine his surprise when the stopper-pull plunger bit came off in his hand!  (Yes, of course this was one of the faucets installed just before we left!)  He decided to investigate one of the two other identical faucets, to see if he could figure out how to fix it.  In so doing, he pulled the knob out of that one as well!  Ehehehehehe!  The human female was not happy.  She managed to get the stoppers out so the sinks could be used, and she made the male stay home from work so the plumber could make a return visit and do the work properly.

She was also not amused when the male, still suffering from a bum knee, used a towel rack to help lever himself up off the necessary.  Have you ever calculated the force necessary to pull one end of a towel bar out of sheet rock?  Hint:  it isn’t much.

I’ve had some fun with the weather as well.  Last week, it was supposed to pour buckets of rain for five days.  The Big City to the South had flooding, the humans had about two or three inches after getting nothing for three days of near 100% chance, and the local airport recorded half an inch total.  It often happens this way.  The human male’s hypothesis is that there is a thirsty bird at the airport, one who drinks out of the rain gauge.  That’s ridiculous!  Everyone knows it’s an opossum.

While the weather was gloomy, the human female got the notion to make a chicken pie, despite the fact that it was WARM and cloudy and not cool and cloudy.  She tried a new crust recipe.  It tasted all right, but she’s lost the knack of getting the top crust on straight and had to patch it up.

pie

The joins leaked in the oven, and the crust stuck to the shielding foil and ripped off.  it was tasty, but Volstagg’s beard crumbs!, that was definitely the “don’t do this” illustration for a pie-making article.

It’s good to be home…

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Mischief Update–

Sigh.  I don’t know why I always let so much time go by between updates.  It’s just makes it longer and more tedious to write up.  Not that I don’t relish reliving my naughtiness, you understand.  It’s just all the typing.  Can Frost Giants get carpal tunnel?  I may be the first to find out.

Remember the trip the human female took to visit her sister?  On her first day, I saw to it that she got an automated message that several of the lab rooms were over temperature.  She spent a lot of time on the phone trying to figure out, long-distance, what was wrong and who could fix it.  Turns out there was a chilled water outage and there was nothing anyone could do but wait for maintenance.  In the meantime, I arranged fifty-six further alarm messages (ding!), coming every little while, day and night.  Since she was bunking with her mother, I was able to deprive two people of sleep with one misdeed.  I like to be efficient.

The estimate for the humans’ property tax bill for the upcoming year has arrived.  The city and I like to do a little jiggery-pokery.  One year we’ll claim not to have raised taxes, but we up the evaluation by about ten percent.  The next year, the evaluation will remain nearly constant and we’ll protest, “But we didn’t raise rates last year, so we need to do it now.”  It all ends up the same, eating into the human female’s quilt fabric budget.

I’m growing daily richer, since I now own the traffic cone and big orange barrel concession for the county.  I’m making a mint off University Drive alone, where they’ve taken away two lanes so that they can re-do medians and turn lanes and traffic signals.  I also like to nudge people to cross against the light or else do a left on red.  If I time them right, I can back traffic up on University Drive from Texas Avenue to Wellborn Road!  Meanwhile, Wellborn Road itself is under construction, as is the whole Harvey Mitchell Parkway-FM 60 intersection.  They’re building a Diverging Diamond interchange, but hte locals have already dubbed it the Death Diamond, which is hurtful.   I mean, just because I designed it so that  drivers will end up on the wrong side of the road if they want to turn left, is that any reason to resort to name calling?

So, basically, throughout town, one can’t get there from here.  I advise you to invest in anything that comes in safety orange.

The Purveyor of Squiggly things shipped an order of delicate little hydra on Monday, not Tuesday.  They didn’t actually arrive until late on Wednesday, nearly too late to be useful.  Living on the edge is good for her.  Another order of the beasties arrived all dead.

The Purveyor of Paper Goods, usually vastly obliging, is not returning the human female’s telephone calls.  Probably because he’s found out she’s going to go with a different supplier for her enormous glove order.  (That’s an enormous order, not enormous gloves.  They only come up to extra large unless you special order them.  Then you can get ones that would fit Hulk.)   She’s ordered biodegradable gloves, which I actually do approve of, because they’re green.  I don’t care two of Volstagg’s waistcoat buttons about conservation–I mean the gloves themselves are green.

A different vendor keeps sending the human female past-due notices for orders she didn’t make of goods she didn’t receive. She has helpfully pointed out to them that A) she does not work at the Vet School or in the Chemistry department, B) she is not the person clearly named on the invoice, and C) she couldn’t pay the invoice even if she wanted to, since all  university’s invoices are handled by the Chief Bean-counters.  Every time she has to respond to one of the vendor’s dunning emails, her own terse reply gets shorter and pricklier.  I plan to keep this up until she’s returning nothing but key-smashes.  @*#%$^7fh&6$#!

Another purchase was a ladder.  I got very excited, because I can have all sorts of fun with ladders and high places and heavy objects and slippery floors, but it turned out to be a DNA ladder, which is just a little tube full of little bits of stuff that the humans use to do Science with.  I was able to work with that, though.  She ordered two, 1 kb ladders and I sent her one.  Plus one 100 bp ladder.  Nyeah, so there.

She also tried to order oculars—eyepieces—for some of the student microscopes.  The Purveyor of Expensive Optics (POEO) told her that some of her scopes were too old, and the part was no longer available.  She searched surplus sites online and found a different vendor, who told her that a different part would work just fine, and she should buy some and prove it to herself.  She did, and lo!  The part fit not only the older scopes but the newer ones as well.  Thus did she discover that Mister Slightly Smarmy POEO cannot be trusted.  Rats!  He was one of my better operatives.

I’ve been having fun with other bills, too, ones sent from the local medical clinic.  Last fall, when the human female was having such trouble with her trotters feet, she made several trips to the podiatrist, making the requisite $30 copay each time.  Now the clinic says she owes an additional $26.32 for each visit, no explanation given.  It also wants an additional $6.00 for a visit she made to a regular doctor last September.  She has talked to them three times on the phone, and each time, she’s told that they are Looking Into It because These Things Take Time.  They also billed her for her annual physical, which should have been free.  They further billed her for a visit to the doctor when she hurt her back at work.  She tried to call and get that refunded, since Workman’s Comp should cover that, but the clinic’s bean-counters just said they’d apply it to her outstanding balance–which consists of those extra payments she doesn’t actually owe.  She’s tried talking directly to the insurance people, who all agree she’s owed a refund. She asked them to talk to the clinic people, but so far no rapport has been reached because, as they keep reminding her, These Things Take Time.

And she has a plethora of places to keep up with her health online, because the Midgardian motto is:  Applicationem ad eundem finem destinari est.  She tried to get to one of the websites the other day, only to find that her “personal” login wanted her to enter the University’s “token.”  Which no one had bothered to give her.

I’ve been tinkering with the elevator in the human female’s work building.  It started smoking one morning, which made everyone in the building a little nervous.  even after the smoke cleared, it was a little like playing Elevator Roulette–one never knew if it would actually stop on the floor selected.  Or if it did, whether the doors would open.  The repairmen fiddled with it for days.  One of the human female’s Techs ignored the “out of service” signs and got stuck in there for half an hour one day.  That was fun.  It’s working again now, but I can think of at least three large orders the human female’s going to have to bring up before the summer is out, so I will have some more opportunities.

I’ve actually sort of taken up meddling with machinery as a hobby.  The humans’ dryer has been turning itself on and off at random recently, as well as cycling through various settings at random during a load.   The human female stayed home one day to have the repairman in.  He could not, of course, duplicate the problem.

On the same day, a plumber came to replace all the leaky  ever-running bathroom faucets.  The human female bought the faucets ahead of time.  It took two tries, because the salesman gave her two of one kind and one of another, when they should have all matched.  The clerk at the checkout was Deeply Suspicious when the human female wanted to exchange the odd duck for a more conforming clone.  When the plumber arrived and put his hand to the valve to shut off the water, it came off in his hand!  So it was all more hassle and expense than intended, which is how I like my DIY projects.

It wasn’t my only foray into the fascinating world of faucets.  I arranged that the one in room 303 of the human female’s building would suddenly start fountaining water from the top of the tall fixture-stand.  It rendered the sink in the busiest dishwashing room completely unusable.  The maintenance man did arrive, eventually, and showed the human female and her techs how to fix the problem in under a minute.  Now that they know how to fix it, next time, I will make something else go wrong.

I dosed a TA with sleepy pills so that he missed proctoring his lab final.  The human female had to cover for him, putting the finishing touches on his exam at short notice and running his students through it.  Was he properly apologetic?  No, not so much.  Another TA had to have it explained to him that telling a student to meet him “by 4:00″ was not the same as meeting him “at 4:00.”  The student couldn’t figure out why his TA wasn’t there in the morning, and the TA wondered why, at 4:00, there was no student in sight.

I made grades and assignments disappear randomly from the electronic gradebook.

I made the plagiarism-checker website send nearly everything back with a “0% match” report, which ought to be impossible (ehehehehehe) because there should be at least a little match if the students all typed “test tube” and “experiment” and the names of the reagents.

I put mealybug on the ferns and scale on the pitcher plants.  I trained the felines at home to nestle in the African violets and shove them off the window ledge.

I fixed it so that the office copier/printer/scanner/coffee maker will send a fax, but not receive.

I had a talk with the sewing machine, and as she was putting the last bit of binding on a baby quilt, the human female mitered a corner wrong and had to pick it all out.

Lest you think that the human female is the sole recipient of my mischief, let me tell you about the long-term prank I’ve been pulling on him.  The Department has a Really Exceptionally Expensive System (REES) which is supposed to monitor temperature and water leaks, etc., and call people automatically if something goes amiss.  Earlier this year, the system was overhauled/replaced, at Great Expense.  Things went well, until the techs couldn’t tie it properly into the system.  At one point, all the alarm calls were going to the human male’s server room and his office phone was turned into the REES number.  The system is not what was ordered.  There are monitoring nodes no one can physically find in the building.  The system self-checks and keeps saying, “Yep, all good!” when all it means is that it has been able to ping a node and get a reading.  Telling what that reading actually is?  Pfft!  That’s for sissies.  It won’t properly connect to anything and no one at REES wants to take the credit for having sold the Department something that doesn’t work or schedule someone to come out to fix it.  The whole shebang could be on fire for all anyone on the emergency call list knows.  Oh, well, at least it eliminates those pesky in-the-middle-of-the-night robo-calls!

And you remember my treasure, my jewel, WorkDon’t?  The humans have discovered a few other features.  It is incapable of encumbering funds for grants.  There is no way to tell it to set aside a particular amount to be spent later.  Also, pretty much all HR communications pass through the Dean’s office, often bypassing the peons at lower levels who actually need to see them.

But oh!  The Dean!  She was such an able ally,  manhandling the budget and inflicting her whims upon the Biology Department, but she is departing to make some other university’s faculty and staff miserable.  So you see, it hasn’t been all beer and skittles  (or Kool-aid and Twinkies) for me, either.

Odin’s Eyepatch!  I didn’t realize, until I had written it all down, just how much I have accomplished since last I updated.  A busy Loki is a happy Loki!

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Mischief Update: Mostly More of the Same But With a Few New Twists

I’ve been up to a few things this week, mostly continuations of previous projects. Still, I’ll have to give this one a six just for attention to detail.

1. The work order that keeps on giving: Do you recall the water outage some days back? The one that deprived all of the human female’s workplace of functional bathroom sinks? That bit of mischief is still paying dividends! She submitted a work order. Then the building proctor got involved and– I believe the term is–“chewed her out” for bypassing said proctor’s authority. Then her supervisor took her to task for the same thing. Days later, when she thought the incident was behind her, I had her “randomly” selected to complete a satisfaction survey on the work. Being of a very literal bent, she filled it out candidly, marking off points for communication because, no, she wasn’t kept updated on the work (the proctor was.) I then prompted the King (or something) of the Maintenance Contractors, who called her to inquire about just how his minions had disappointed. When she tried to explain, he delivered yet another dressing-down on the chain of command regarding reporting! Ehehehe! But the fun didn’t end there, because later she received another survey about the selfsame issue! She deleted the email. Two days later, another appeared. She responded to the email (and I quote), “Been there, done that, got the lecture.” No no no, she was told, there is a separate survey for the University’s side of the contractor arrangement and she must do both! It was such fun that I have since arranged for her to be randomly selected for a survey on every transaction she undertakes and a review of every product she purchases.

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2. And oh, there are so many transactions! The human female has put in the big fall course orders, and it is no secret that I like to play with those. I have reprised some of my best tricks–the quote that is labeled for another university, the vendor who promises to accept a P.O. but who most emphatically does not, the vendor who sends a dunning letter for payment before the goods arrive, the vendor who responds only s-l-o-w-l-y to calls or email, and my personal favorite: the game called “Where Has My ___insert the name of chemical___ Gone Now?” Last year, it was two liters of chloroform. This year I just started at the top of the list and had the acetone on the Extremely Large Chemical order go astray. Vendor Who’s Responsible says they shipped it. Unrepentant Package Squashers have helpfully provided a tracking number which not-so-helpfully reveals that the missing bottles were last seen somewhere in Georgia. Three days ago. They might be delivered soon. Or they might not! The suspense is wonderful! Step up and place your bets! Meanwhile, the rest of the enormous chemical and labware order is coming in–twenty two boxes on one day, eleven the next, another yesterday, more coming! Each little packing slip must be checked, scanned, filed, and a copy sent to accounting, who most assuredly do NOT appreciate that the documents come bearing the human female’s scrawled notes such as “backordered until ???,” “still waiting for the other 1,000 pipette tips,” or the rather cryptic “ship.alt.whse” or “ship.dir.mfr.” That last means that the Vendor is having the hideous stuff shipped directly from the manufacturer because they don’t want to touch it! At last count, there were fourteen pages of slips from four different affiliated sources on just this one order. I always make sure that at least one page is so faint as to be nearly illegible, which causes the department’s accountant to chastise the human female and demand the original and not a scan. Little details are so important.

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3. A new twist–the scrutiny of the Feds. Apparently the nefarious actions of someone (insert innocent whistle) associated with the human female have caught the attention of the Powers That Be, who now suspect that some sort of drug-manufacturing operation has been set up in a broom closet by the human female and her cronies. Twice–twice!–in the last week, she has had to fill out and sign a form for the Drug Enforcement Administration and swear upon her sainted apple-pie-baking granny’s sweet rosy cheeks that she is not going to use either the malonic acid or the iodine to (gasp!) manufacture barbiturates or other illicit pharmaceuticals and sell them to all her druggie friends. She has jokingly said that she now has an idea of how to provide supplemental monies for purchasing new lab equipment. And now just by typing this and sending the electrons into the air, I have all but guaranteed that her computer is going to be seized, searched, and given to the DEA’s forensic computer specialists and she herself will get to spend some quality time in a small, well-lit room with some nondescript men in sensible suits. Ehehehe! I swear, sometimes all it takes is the merest whisper in the right person’s ear….

4. Things that go bang-whine-clomp and then just go silent for a week at a time. Construction in and around the human female’s workplace continues. I’d say, “continues apace,” but it does no such thing. Instead of finishing the restroom remodel on the first floor before progressing to third, but I convinced the workmen that it would be more efficacious to work on both at once. Or, rather, rip them all out to the piping, tear up the floors, make a mess, and then pause working for days at a stretch. They were instructed that they needed to observe some quiet when classes were in session, which they did for the ten days when no work was done because they were waiting on the tile whose delivery I had, shall we say, had a hand in. They recommenced with the sledgehammers and banging at precisely the moment the Anatomy and Physiology classes immediately adjacent began taking an important exam. They were told to stop. They did. Then they started. They were told to desist, and they did! Until they began again for a third time on the same day. The lab coordinator (who is a friend of the human female’s and who loses no opportunity to disrespect me) was forced to move her two classes to different rooms on two different floors for two weeks while the work proceeds. Except it doesn’t proceed. I am waiting for some groveling from the friend with the smart mouth.

5. Quiz time! Identify what is happening in this photo:

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I apologize. That is a trick question. Nothing is happening in this photo! As part of the “improvements” to the human female’s workplace, New! Shiny! Water-fountains! that will Deliver Filtered! Water! at the Touch of a Button! will be installed. To that end, all seven existing fountains were removed. Two weeks ago. I’ll let you decide whether a) I have delayed the arrival of the new fountains so that I can enjoy the grimaces of everyone as they drink tepid tap water*, b) the contractors see the installation of the fountains as the last step of the plumbing updates and much more nothing will happen here until the bathrooms are completed, which, see above, or c) I have done a deal with the company that has the soda concessions for this building, since the tap water here is definitely not tasty**

A Loki’s work is never done.

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*True fact:  The city’s water supply is a deep well of slightly brackish, very warm water that emerges from the ground at 108°F.  It has to sit in a chilling tower before it can be considered “cold.”  In the summer, the cooling towers work less efficiently, and the “hot” water that has sat for a while deep in the plumbing is often noticeably cooler than the “cold” water when it first begins to run.  It is a common sight to see someone run the “hot” water tap to get a cool drink or wash fruit.  Not my fault.

**850 ppm soluble salts, most of it sodium.  Not recommended for houseplants or hypertensives.  Murder on lawns, coffeemakers, and plumbing.  Also not my fault.