Did I tell the Terror Twins they could help themselves to toys?
I might have done…
Why do you ask?
Did I tell the Terror Twins they could help themselves to toys?
I might have done…
Why do you ask?
Another of the human female’s hobbies is needlework. She didn’t do much last year and was hoping to do a lot this year, but then the THUMB happened, and everything’s on hold. Still she’s been very busy, charting a design she wants to cross stitch. This is the design–a rug from Portugal.
So she’s been carefully studying closeup photos of the thing, painstakingly transcribing it onto graph paper.
She has to label each page with its adjacent pages and make little red registration marks for lining them up. It’s going to take over 100 colors of floss–and how many pages of chart so far, Sigyn?
Seventy-one? She’ll die of old age before she finishes it.
Especially since I’ve convinced the Terror Twins that graph paper is a tasty feline treat!
She is putting all the graph paper charting into a computer program—which I’ve finagled so that it only runs on her old computer, the one with imminent hinge-failure. Since the program allows only 100 colors in any one design, she’s had to split the fool thing into five files which will need to be jigsawed back together after printout. If anything happens to those computer files and their backups, it’s a couple years’ work–poof! down the drain. She’s very near finishing. It would be terrible if anything happened to it…
Lenny! Fancy meeting you here! I innocently had no idea you’d be coming by today. But as long as you’re in the neighborhood, I have a little job for you…
(rub, rub, rub…)
I knew I liked this guy!
Let us see what else is under the tree that isn’t marked “Loki” but which can be turned profitably to my use.
I am sensing a theme here…
The pencil matches the puzzle from yesterday. That’s cute, but how does one help with the other? It’s a fancy pencil, one that rotates the lead so that it is always worn to a sharp point. Clever. Bet I can “adjust” the mechanism for maximum mischief. Or, if not, a very pointy pencil makes a very good improvised weapon…
Ah. This has even more promise.
Blue ink! One of the human female’s fountain pens is currently filled with a very lovely but thoroughly misbehaving blue called Liberty’s Elysium. Misbehaving, because I nudged it with a trifling little curdle spell, which was just enough to make it clot up and stop writing in the middle of a sentence, which is hilarious–at least for me.
The human female admired this ink at some point in the past, so it showed up in her stocking. It’s a pricey brand, so that’s a good present. I won’t meddle with this one. I’ll see that it behaves in an exemplary fashion, with nary a blot. Note, however, that it was a one-off, made by Menteverde for the big stamp show in the realm’s capital this year. I’ll let the human female fall in love with it, then make sure no other bottle is ever available again.
Sigyn is in raptures over another of the human female’s presents.
I am the farthest thing from a needlework connoisseur, but even I can tell that someone took a lot of pains to make all of those tiny stitches.
There’s a little thumb latch, so it would appear that this is meant to open. What’s inside?
Just the most beautiful face in the whole world!
I shall create a diversion involving the felines and something chewable or smashable, and in the resulting confusion whisk this lovely mirror away where Sigyn can enjoy it and the human female can’t foul its glass with her ugsome visage.
Still playing by the Cat Rule: What’s mine is mine, and what’s yours is mine if I can get it.
Oh, look. It’s the annual eat-until-you-are-more-than-half-afraid-you’ll-burst holiday. Didn’t we just do this?
Sigyn says it’s also a day for giving thanks. She says I should make a list of my “blessings.”
I am not one naturally given to gratitude–or platitudes–but I suppose I am at least marginally thankful for the following:
It’s a short list, but again, I’m not one for huge displays or mushy emotions. It will have to do.
Pass the pie.
I woke the human female up early, because both of her Tech II’s were out, which meant she had to do the opening up.
She was really awake once she stepped on all the cat litter the Terror Twins had kicked out of the box.
I started by loosening the cap of the human female’s water bottle in her backpack. I wanted to make her morning a little more memorable. With a certainty, she will remember excavating all its contents and spreading them around her office floor with the space heater on low all day. I don’t know why she’s whining–only one little notebook was ruined. I mean, it’s not like her phone got wet. Mostly, because she forgot her phone at home.
She *almost* got all the morning duties done before the first class started. She was delivering gloves and paper towels at 8:05, but no one threw anything at her.
Her boss was out, so she was holding the fort in the office.
It poured rain a good part of the day–she’s been trying to get out to mow the lawn, because in spots you could hide a jaguar. I guess ten or twelve inches of rain in a month keeps things a bit on the soggy side.
She was showing the Tech I something in the dishwasher, and she mashed a thumb opening it up. I don’t know how, but she managed! She’s a bloody idiot–in all senses of the word!
The Head IT People on campus have decreed that henceforth everyone will have to have something called “dual factor authentication” if they want to use a Virtual Private Network from off campus. I’ve set things up so the human female can’t set get it working. The operating system on her phone is too old. It wouldn’t have done her any good today anyway, as I amused myself by sending every person who tried to connect with dual factor a cute little message saying that A&M was “out of telephony credits.”
And the reverse-osmosis water line in the plant and animal room started disgorging weird white chunks along with the water.
Then there was a professor looking for some graded exams, and the human female couldn’t find them.
Then she broke a fingernail.
And the needlework she ordered in January still hasn’t come.
And that was only Monday…
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:
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.
Why yes, I did tell the Terror Twins that there were delicious mice and small, flightless birds nesting in the sofa.
Why do you ask?