Terror Twins

In Which I Am Grudgingly Thankful

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:

  1. Sigyn, of course.
  2. Good health.  I am the epitome of perfection, so no complaints here.  Sigyn is fine too.
  3. Plenty of work.  There is always something to bung up, disconnect, unbalance, leave fingerprints on, loosen the cap of, cancel an order for, or submit a bogus requisition for.
  4.  It is still Too Wet to Mow.  I’ve gotten out of more yard work this fall, and the human female is ashamed of the state of the lawn.
  5.   The Terror Twins.  I’ve trained them well, and they are now expert-level toy stashers.  The house is full of mice and balls and none are in evidence.  Taffy is into everything, and Flannel has learned how to barf from the top level of the cat tree.
  6. Colored leaves. (Sigyn made me add that one.)
  7. The human female.  With her penchant for falling down, running into doorways and desk corners, and bludgeoning herself with lawn equipment, she’s an endless source of amusement.  If I were making Thanksgiving dinner and she didn’t live in the house, I wouldn’t invite her, but she has her  uses.
  8. Pie.

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.

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Mischief Update: All In a Day’s Work

So busy!

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…

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Mischief Update–Improvement in My Cash Flow

A busy Loki is a happy Loki, and boy, am I happy! I’ve also found some clever ways to bring in a little extra income, as you shall see.

Mostly, I continue to make the humans’ work environment and strange and surreal place.

First off: Slow, Silent and Costly continues to play dice with utilities and maintenance. Faucets drip or stop dripping at random intervals. Chilled water lines drip spots into ceiling tiles. One section of campus had both a chilled and a heated water outage–at the same time. Another week, most of west campus lost landline telephone service. And recently it came to light that the sewage from a large dorm complex had been tied into the storm drainage system and was routinely discharging gallons and gallons of wastewater into a local stream. (That wasn’t my idea, but I have been amused by the outcry and all of the digging up that fixing things has necessitated.)
Closer to home, two men showed up and installed a new break-room faucet in the human female’s area, unasked for and without warning. The work order for the new countertop in one of the main Intro Bio prep rooms involved multiple entities, none of whom, apparently, was talking to the others. All of the work (remove sink, replace counter, replace sink) had been written up and approved–and was in fact due to begin. Then two plumbers showed up, saying they’d been sent to look at a “leaking faucet.” No, the human female explained, the problem wasn’t a leak, it was that splashed water had, over time, warped the particle board counter and laminate covering. The two men hemmed and hawed, looked at the sink in the counter and its attendant plumbing, said, “Yep, this is a job for a plumber,” and left. Bill a visit from two techs.
The doorlock people finally finished their work, but it did take a while. One day they were delayed because someone who was supposed to show up and do part of a job, simply didn’t.  And once the locks were installed and hooked up, it took several further days before they were activated.  One professor still can’t get into his office.  And another two days for the old locks to be removed. I made sure to adjust the cordless power tool’s whine to the particular frequency that resonates with the human female’s fillings.
The policies of the University continue, at my direction, to remain mysterious and capricious. On the Third of July (a holiday devoted to the purchasing of watermelon, charcoal, and fireworks), the Powers That Be declared that staff could take early release and get a jumpstart on the festivities. Fifteen minutes later, another announcement came out– “Ooops! Sorry! We forgot summer school’s in session! If you’re involved with the actual teaching of classes, you don’t get to sneak out early. Our bad.”
The University’s first home football game of the season has been scheduled for Thursday, August 30th, to launch the career of our new circus-elephant-monikered coach. Since this is a work day, all of the staff and student parking lots are bound to be full. To better serve game-goers, however, many of the parking lots must be vacated. The Powers That Be have given notice that staff in these lots should make alternate arrangements on that day or vacate by a certain p.m.  It was even said that they could get a $10 credit for an Uber ride to work that day.  Most recently, “non-essential” staff have been told they can leave early, so that Moneyed Alums can have free run of the campus. Rest assured, I’m getting my cut.

Oh, the fine folks at Transportation Services are some of my favorite minions. Recently, they “discovered” some arcane tax law that says that the University’s faculty, staff, and students can no longer pay for their parking permits pre-tax. So essentially, parking is going up. More pennies in my pocket.
The University sends out various congratulatory newsletters every week. Here’s a screen shot of one of the most recent:

science

There is nothing like good, clean contrast in web design, and that is NOTHING like good, clean contrast.  When the human female asked the web folks about it, they assured her that the page was coded for maroon and white.  It’s just that the campus’ Exchange email program doesn’t seem to want to talk with the design software.  But they’re Looking Into It.

The University generates a lot of waste. I mean, a LOT, a lot. The hazardous waste, such as is generated by the human female’s program, is all tagged and contained and sent for proper disposal. Recently, the protocol for so doing has changed. Unfortunately for most users, I tickled the license for the software that lets folks fill out the disposal tags and requests online, such that only one user on the entire campus could log in and do it at any given time. Remember, folks, to beat the crowd: before 8:00 and after 5:00 are Hazardous-Waste-o’Clock!

The human female actually is all about the safety. And compliance. She harps on it all the time. Blah, blah, blah, “Use a hemostat to change that scalpel blade.” Nag, nag, nag. “Tie your hair back before you light that bunsen burner.” “Don’t lick that petri dish.” Whatever. Apparently the Vendor Who’s Responsible, though, has its doubts about her, because it asked her again to sign the “I am not going to use this iodine to make meth” declaration again, for the second time in six months. I keep telling her that if she’d let me set up a little…special lab down in the basement we could fund pretty much anything she wants to do with the Intro Bio program, plus have enough left over to stop looking like she dresses out of the charity box.

I may set up that lab anyway.  The price of horn polish just went up.

Negotiations with various vendors continue to be one of my favorite ways of annoying her. She managed to do an end-run around me recently, though. When she called the Purveyor of Squiggly Things to change the amount of squigglies in an order, she discovered that I’d changed the delivery date from the 6th to the 9th and was able to correct it. Rats! I was looking forward to the wailing and gnashing of teeth.

She also remembered to order the 700-plus pig intestinal roundworms that she’d forgotten to order. She forgot the live Penicillium culture, though and had to order it at the last minute on the credit card, with ru$h air $hipping. Meanwhile, it’s almost time for the annual Dead Cat Ballet involving the Purveyor of Dead Things.  You just know I’m not going to let that go off without a hitch. (I can tell you that I already know that there will not be any actual dead cats. They’re on indefinite back-order.)

And the packing slips for all of these orders! Who knew that little pieces of paper could be such fun? I had the new video camera and tripod show up without a packing slip. The packing slip for a couple of items off the human female’s enormous fall order from the Vendor Who’s Responsible showed ALL the items on the order, so that one had to leaf through the many pages to figure out what was in that particular box. Then the free goods that enormous order garnered were sent with double and triple packing slips so that she had to make sure that there weren’t extra free goods her conscience wouldn’t let her keep.

Sometimes, when I run out of new ideas, I just revisit an old one. Remember the hurricane last September? I fouled up orders and shipping and deliveries for weeks, when Fed-up and Exhausted and Unrepentant Package Squashers couldn’t get any live materials in or out of Houston? The human female put all sorts of notes into the purchasing system, explaining the work-arounds she’d had to do and pointing out which goods weren’t coming. The other day, the Bean Counters, trying, no doubt, to be ahead of things when it came to closing out the fiscal year, dredged the whole mess up again, asking her to do receiving on the things she didn’t get, or to indicate they weren’t coming if that were the case. She pointed them at her months-old comment and let them know that, no, there are no more live termites coming in on that P.O.

I don’t let the male rest on his laurels– or his haunches– either. Some server or other is always going down, one round of soft ware updates breaks something the last one fixed, and the parade of clueless users through his office is never-ending. The other day, one of the machines hooked to the network was causing an error message, so Central Information Services disconnected it. Except they didn’t–they mistakenly shut down the system of one of the Department’s super-users, who was in the middle of a days-long backup of his squillionty terrabytes of data. The resultant shouting wasn’t at the human male, but it was human male-adjacent, which was nearly as draining for him and just as amusing for me.

Traffic around town continues to be a sick, twisted joke. I’ve managed to tap into the traffic-barrel rental business, so I have money coming in there, too. The new Diverging Diamond of Death opened this week. I get the feeling that, after it has been open for a while, the local populace will promise me anything if I just put things back the way they were.

Despite my best efforts at further delay, the long-awaited expansion of the church facilities has commenced. The human female is in mourning, though, because the entire beautiful courtyard has been turned into a construction-staging area, and all the trees have been cut down. That wasn’t my idea. I was hoping they could be saved, because Sigyn liked them. She hasn’t had a glimpse of the denuded courtyard yet. I’m hoping to keep it from her as long as I can.

On the home front, the Terror Twins and I keep things lively. Every night I let in June bugs and click-beetles so the felines can have an arthropod frenzy. The click beetles are their favorites because they make! noise! AND are fun to chase. So far, my record is three in one night. One of these days, the human female’s going to tire of getting up off the sofa, catching the clicky little goobers and chucking them outside and just let the kitties have their fun. When that happens, I’ll make sure Flannel Cat eats one and leaves the bug barf in the main traffic pattern in the house…

I’ve recruited the large appliances to my cause. The dryer still turns itself on at random intervals. The little end-stopper thingy came out of the dishwasher’s left top rack-glide, so now it’s possible to actually remove half the top rack completely. And the refrigerator, from time to time, will piddle a little puddle of very cold water into the middle of the kitchen floor. Always, you understand, when someone can discover this transgression sock-footed.

The local market has stopped carrying the humans’ favorite kind of shredded cheese, while no store the humans can find in four different cities carries the female’s favorite flavor of yogurt. I keep offering them more and more opportunities for spiritually-enriching penance and self-mortification– you’d think they’d be grateful, but no. Hypocrites.

I hid last month’s utility bill, and no one thought to contact the company and volunteer payment, so when this month’s bill showed up, it was for two months of triple-digit-heat-fighting AC and dear-Idunn-please-don’t-let-the-lawn-die watering. That was a real shocker, I can tell you. The human male looked like a gaping codfish there for a minute or three.  I took photos.

So, as you can see, I’ve been up to some first-rate mischief, and even managed to monetize it a bit. Life (for me) is good!  I give this update a 9.75.

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This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things, Part III: Oh, Flannel…

Midgardians have a lot of holidays and special days.  Every time I turn around, some politico or commission is designating this or that day National Navel Lint Day or International Gorgonzola Week or some such nonsense.  Just plain silliness, if you ask me.

Perhaps the oddest one of all is Red Nose Day.  Ostensibly, it’s a fundraiser benefiting small, sticky humans.  A few years ago, the mortals in this house purchased a nose, intending to take it with them on their trip to London, since Red Nose Day fell during their time away.  Once there, however, I distracted them until the perfect moment, at which point I reminded them that, in the U.K., Red Nose Day comes only every other year and they were the only ones feeding everyone else’s coulrophobia.

It’s become something of a tradition—the humans find the nose and swear that this is the year, the day approaches, I distract them until Red Nose Day has come and gone once again, and the Nose remains unworn.   Since the human female’s housekeeping “routine” doesn’t specify where the Nose is supposed to reside between failed attempts to actually participate, the Nose moves about from spot to spot.  For the past year, it has been sitting on top of the tall case that holds the humans’ collection of music CDs.

Scrabblecrashthud!

Fandral’s mustache!  What was that?  It sounded like it came from the living room.  Stick close behind me, Sigyn, and let’s go and investigate.

There’s something red on the floor.

clown-nose1

Oh.  It’s just one of the kitties’ foam balls.  Whew!  For a minute there, I thought we were being burgled or something.

But hey–what’s with all the holes?  And what’s all the fuzz from?

clown-nose2

And why does Flannel Cat look so guilty?

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This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things, Part II: The Problem Is More Widespread Than We First Believed

All of the soft rubber balls have been humanely disposed of, and the humans have made a mental note not to bring any more into the house.

I’ve got news for you, mortals:  It’s not just the stress-foam balls that are falling prey to the ravages of the Terror Twins.

No, indeed!  Inspired by my own savagery, the felines have perpetrated horrors upon the toy population that make the ancient Midgardian practice of decimatio look like a pillow fight.

Blue Mousie is sans most of his tail,

poorcattoy3

while Green Mousie is hemorrhaging stuffing from his ventral suture.  It’s barbaric.

And it’s not just the neon mousie population that has suffered.  These are just the victims Sigyn and I could find.  Many of them just Disappear.

For behold!  Here are the three sparkle pom-poms and the fifteen crinkle balls given to Taffy and Flannel.  Here are the three grey fabric mice with the colored ears, the grey fur mouse, the white fur mouse, and old black Turdmouse himself.

poorcattoy4

The package-to-oblivion record for a crinkle ball is under ten seconds.

I am so proud.

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This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things, Part I: The Slaughter of the Innocents

Sometimes the humans come home to find something small and helpless has been…tortured by the felines.  It’s always distressing, and no one wants to be the one who has to clean up the carnage.

I have taught them well.  Both of them are avid hunters, chasing down their prey with unflagging energy, relentless in their pursuit, swift to catch and claw and rend.  Swirly-striped Taffy is deadly, no question, but it’s wide-eyed little Flannel Cat, the sweet-faced grey one, who leaves the most corpses in her wake.

Just look at this poor victim, cut down in its prime just yesterday.  It didn’t stand a chance against her vicious fangs.

poorcattoy1

It… it was still soggy when the humans found its lifeless remains.  And they keep finding bits of it about.

And it wasn’t an isolated incident, either.  There’s a pattern of wanton destruction here that is frankly disturbing.

poorcattoy2

Sigyn says (and I agree) that she hopes all the missing bits are accounted for.

Otherwise, the litterbox is going to be very colorful this week.

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Zooward, Ho!, Part V: Among the Slithery, Scaly, and Slimy Things

Grrr.  As if we haven’t had enough blechy weather this spring, it is starting to sprinkle AGAIN!  Sigyn and I have made a dash for the reptile house, which, though devoid of furry creatures, is at least indoors.

This is a beautifully designed facility, I must say. The background murals are quite effective.

I will admit a certain… fondness for snakes.  This handsome fellow is not nearly as good at cryptic coloring as he thinks he is.

reptile-snake1

But he color coordinates nicely with this poison arrow frog.

reptile-snake-frog

Usually poison arrow frogs are tiny, shy, and hard to see.  This supersized batrachian beauty, however, is downright eager to have his photo taken.

Sigyn wants to be friend with all of the animals, and it appears that they would all like to interact with her as well.

reptile-cobra2

Um, dear heart, I know you think that cobra’s being friendly, but that marking on his hood isn’t a smiley face.

This lizard is just hanging around–literally.

reptile-lizard

That prehensile tail is a handy appendage.  Hmm.  I might have to gift the felines at home with something similar.  It would help them be even BETTER climbers!

These two turtles seem quite amiable.  That’s a pretty small habitat, though.  I think it needs something.

reptile-turtle1

That wasn’t exactly what I had in mind.

reptile-turtle2

Sigh.  Hang on, sweetie.  Loki’s coming.

Looks like the alligator is in the display tank today.  Smile, Sigyn, and I’ll take your photo!

reptile-alligator

On one condition—you are not allowed to go in swimming with him.

If my beloved makes it out of here in one piece, it’ll be a miracle.

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Whatever Gave You That Idea?

It’s my birthday, but I am not happy.  I want everyone to know that I am very, very hurt.

The human female has accused me of teaching the felines to jump up on the stovetop.  Wounded!  I am wounded!

No one has actually seen them up there!  It’s easy to throw accusations around, woman, but where’s your proof?

catprints-on-stove

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I Have a Bad Feeling About This… Part II: Of Stitching and Smoothing

The human female has very carefully and neatly embroidered some of the designs from the fabric.  I helped her scan, enlarge, print, and trace them.

squilt5

Which is why this fellow is backwards.  Ehehehehe.

Let us examine the back of one of her stitcheries.

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Look!  Look at that big messy loop of thread.  Well done, you.

All of the fabric needs to be ironed before it can be cut.

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Careful, Sigyn!  The iron is not only hot, it’s wobbly.   

Also, I taught the cats to jump up on the ironing board.

The human female uses this stuff to make the fabric nice and smooth.

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Despite what the label says, it’s not magic.  Now, if it turned the fabric purple, or better yet, green when she sprayed it on, that would be magic.  Hmmm…

She was nearly out, so she asked the human male to pick up some while he was running errands.  He obliged.

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So, of course, the first thing I did upon receipt was joggle her elbow so she knocked the new can over and smashed the cap.

She’ll be finding blue cap shrapnel for weeks.

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