I had such fun breaking things yesterday that I just can’t stop. What can I get my hands on today? Which of the human female’s oft-used belongings shall I mangle next?
Ohhh. That’s a good one! It’s summer, and sometimes she comes all over warm and has to fan herself furiously while she blushes and sweats. She usually has this or another fan handy, and when they snap mid-waft–or else come out of the purse or backpack broken– it’s always good for a chuckle. As you can see, it’s usually one of the outside blades that breaks.
Yep, broken again, down near the pin that holds it all together. Perdóname, señoras elegantes. Estoy a punto de acercarme mucho y sacar el pegamento. Prometo no mirar debajo de tus faldas.
Yup, snapped clear through.
Are we ready?
We’ll just let that cure for a bit.
And then we’ll see if it holds any better than the previous three breaks she’s mended.
She does have another fan, a pleated paper one. It has a metal handle in two parts so that it can fold up into a case–no plastic to break. Looks sort of like this:
She got it years ago as a thank-you from the two Asian students who came to pick up a sofa she and the human male were giving away. She forgot she had it until she found it when she was dealing with the wreckage in the craft room the other day. It moves a lot of air and fits neatly in her purse and she really likes it.
The humans buy a lot of things on line. Not that they buy a lot of things, but they do a lot of their purchasing online. The reasons for this are threefold:
It is too blasted hot to want to get in the car to go anywhere. In the female’s old car, this is particularly true, since it sits outside and it takes the AC at least ten minutes to make the car remotely bearable.
It is easier to shop online than wander around town looking for the bizarre items they do buy.
Local stores seem completely unable or unwilling to stock clothes and shoes that fit the female’s peculiarly-shaped body.
If you think this makes their life easier, you would be correct. But I can’t have that now, can I? From time to time I like to tinker with their online shopping experiences. Low-level mischief includes PayPeople timing out or the captcha on a particular site not working–or working too well, forcing them to identify seventeen levels of buses, street signs, and scribbly alphanumeric gibberish.
Middle-tier mischief involves items which are temporarily out of stock.
Sometimes, though, I like to escalate to Full Mischief Mode and really have some fun.
Case in point: The human female has not bought new jeans in approximately three years. For over a decade, she could walk into one of the local clothing emporiums, select her brand, style, and size, and walk out. I couldn’t let that continue, now, could I? First, I saw to it that the usual Purveyor of Denim stopped carrying her brand. Then I fixed it so that no store in town has them. Then I worked with the manufacturer to change the fit and fabric so that ordering them online was a gamble.
Recently, she’s become desperate enough to try to order them online anyway, direct from the manufacturer. (Ordering pants online and expecting good results is one of the first signs of impending dementia.Fact.) She was so pleased with herself! They were even on sale.
That limbic happiness lasted for three days, until this showed up in her mailbox.
No “Sorry,” no coupon, no explanation. Since that was the entirely of her order, she was left high, dry, and poorly-clothed. She tried to make sure the order had been refunded, since it was obviously a lost cause, but the PayPeople website was less than helpful. (I’ve been working with their IT team, and I’m really proud of my efforts there!) She was able to chat with a cheerful customer service bot, who asked her a lot of questions and then told her she’d need to try back in the morning when the meat sacks were actually present. The fine print on the PayPeople site suggested helpfully that pending charges that aren’t resolved after 30 days automatically roll back to the purchaser. Will that work? We shall see…
You remember my recent shefanigans with the ceiling fan ? The human female spent a good quantity of time online trying to find some good, sturdy chain with strong connectors so that they could repair the fan once and for all. She finally found some guaranteed to be the same chain used for military dog tags! She ordered it gladly and waited for it to come.
Crickets chirping in her mailbox. Eventually she thought to check the tracking on the purchase and found my little bit of fun:
Ahhh. Who doesn’t love a good UnspecifiedProblem?
Daunted but not defeated, the humans made their way to the local hardware store and carefully selected some chain which, while not necessarily up to military standards, looked as if it would do the job. They stood on the bed, disassembled the fan, connected everything all up again, reassembled it, and tried the fruits of their efforts.
Broke on the first pull. The human female is *just* tall enough to pull that short chain and completely fed up with this project, so this is how things will be going forward, I believe. I might tie something ugly on as a fan pull later… Maybe something the cats will think is a toy. . .
The human female has turned to her hobbies for solace. With her stitching light dead and the contents of the craft room piled all higgledy-piggledy in the guest room, it’s only stamps she can work on. There’s an order she made with a company in Spain, of all places, and it should be arriving any time now.
Most of it, anyway.
Muchas gracias España. Al menos dijiste: “Lo siento”.
Still no word from the roofer or the adjuster on the roofing claim, and still no paperwork from the AC technicians. Can you say, “holding pattern”?
The humans have some errands to run today. Going anywhere is like gearing up for an expedition to the Gobi Desert. Water? Check. Phone, just in case one of the adjusters or contractors calls? Check. Pocketful of fountain pens? Check. Sunscreen? Might not need it; they’re indoor errands. Mask? Check. Glasses?
That’s not a missing screw, it’s a broken arm! If you think this looks familiar, you are absolutely correct. When I find a good bit of mischief, I’m not too proud to reuse it. The human male’s glasses broke in exactly the same way in December of last year. They were replaced. They broke in exactly the same way again in April of this year, when it was just outside the 100 day guarantee, so he had to buy a new set of frames then. He and the human female are quite frustrated. I can practically see the steam coming out of their ears! No little clerk had better try to make them pay again!
Eehehehe! I have trained the clerks at the optometrist’s shop well. She agreed to replace the frames for free and said she had them in stock. Then she said no, she didn’t. They were the wrong size. Raise hopes; dash hopes–always a recipe for fun. She’ll have to order them in, which will mean another trip to the mall at some future date. When the humans suggested that having the same critical failure each time probably indicates a faulty product that Corporate might want to do something about, the clerk rather condescendingly pointed out that they were the least expensive frames in the shop and they “couldn’t be expected to last like the pricier pairs.” Apparently a lifespan of two months is deemed adequate for the money-conscious.
Back to the house, after purchasing the lone replacement bulb in the city.
The human female has been in contact with the fine folks at Obsolete Technology Troubles, and they have given her instructions about ripping a part out of the lamp itself so that a new bulb will fit. Yes, let’s involve tools! This sounds to me like a primeopportunity for mischief, so let’s take a look.
Well, I’m no task lamp technician, but even *I* can see that that metal bar is going to make getting a new bulb in more than a bit tricky. What does the part where the bulb actually has to go look like?
Great Frigga’s hairpins! That is one very fancy, proprietary socket! And you can see how the bulb toasted its label over its lifetime.
Let’s try the new bulb.
How lucky do you feel?
It fits! Does the lamp light?
It does! But–ehehehee! It has a dizzying, stroke-inducing, high-frequency flicker that would drive the human female crazy in about fifteen seconds. Tsk, tsk. Looks like you may need to do the modification the OTT representative suggested.
The human female is requesting clarification with regard to just what part needs to come out.
Yes, yes, just grasp with a pair of needle-nose pliers and yank.
The human female has pulled. And pulled. And pulled. The little metal piece is very slippery and it’s hard to get a grip. The human male is trying now. Ouch! This is now officially a properly-mischiefied project. In this duel, first blood goes to the lamp! While the human male avails himself of antiseptic and bandages, the human female is going to get a bigger pair of pliers. Grr—1, 2, 3–yank!
It just looks like a troublemaker, doesn’t it?
No, not me–the piece of metal, stupid.
So, does the bulb work properly now? It does not! Which raises multiple questions–Do you have a bad bulb? Will a new bulb ever work in the old lamp? Or have you just ruined your lamp forever by ripping out that little metal piece???
Well, you have other things to think about. You need to prepare for the restoration folks with their water-remediation equipment. Time to move the treadmill so they can get to the craft room through its own door and not by traipsing through the bedroom
Now we know where Taffy Cat’s pom poms all ended up. Also all the dust and cat fur on the planet.
Maybe this other pom pom is better?
And where does the treadmill need to go? The garage is the logical place, but it really doesn’t fit through the door to the garage without mashing fingers.
I know! Since you won’t be using your stitching corner any time soon, you should just park it in front of the sofa!
There! Hardly noticeable at all.
(later) The we-make-it-like-it-never-happened folks have come and gone. The wet sheetrock has been removed from the ceiling.
Looks like a bit more of the tape and plaster came down. The folks who put up the new ceiling are probably going to have to cut some more sheetrock out. You know, so some more insulation can fall down.
There is a fan in the attic, drying out the insulation. There is a fan in the craft room.
There is a big, portable dehumidifier in there, too.
I’m sure they want you to say it like “Dries Air,” but you can’t tell me you’re not reading it as “Drizz Air.” And what happened to the other 1,199?
It has a long, long drain hose that snakes its way to the human male’s bathroom sink.
The gurgley noises are freaking out the cats…
You will also have fun trying to keep the cats out of the craft room, since the door has to be open every now and then.
Well, That’s a good day’s mischief. Not every day can be like Tuesday, so I’m reasonably satisfied. After all, I just made a mosquito bite the human female on her elbow. Indoors.
The human male’s mother, as the wife (as I understand it) of a military man, has lived all over Midgard, including some realms somewhere in “The East.” Over the years, she acquired many items of an artistic or knick-knacky nature, some of which have found their way into this household.
One such is a set of Yule ornaments fashioned from very thin shell, decorated with an assortment of beads and sequins.
Sigyn admires them greatly, and I will allow that they have a certain snowy charm, even if the silver-lined beads have tarnished about the ends. The human female has never used them on the large Yule Tree, but she has dangled them from the ficus in the dining room. Since they are practically weightless and quite pretty, they resided there day in and day out for years, slowly twirling in any stray air current and, thankfully, largely ignored by the felines.
As I said, there is a whole set of them, and they are all different.
This was all well and good until the human female decided that 2020 had been such a year that she did not feel up to decorating a large Yule tree (a process which, in this house, takes days and costs lives.) Instead, she festooned twinkly lights around the dining room window and in the aforementioned ficus. The capiz shell ornaments remained, and were joined by some other light-weight trinkets and baubles. It was simultaneously festive and sad, and the tree drooped miserably.
As soon as practical after Yule, the poor beleaguered ficus was un-decorated. The lights and most of the ornaments were banished to their respective boxes in the attic, and the capiz shell ornaments remained on the dining room table until such time as the ficus had recovered somewhat.
Well, as is often the case in this house, things were swept off the dining room table to make room for some other project or game play or baking experiment. The ornaments disappeared and, though the human female has wondered from time to time where they’d got to (*I* could have told her, since I helped clear the table and put them away “safely”), she didn’t do anything about locating them until today, when she needed something out of one of the bookcases in the room and the stack of ornaments slid out of hiding and crashed to the floor.
I am sad to report that vintage glue is no match for such a concussive impact. F=ma, and all that.
There were small losses to the ornamentation before, but quite a lot of sparkly bits are now scattered all over the floor, leaving the translucent disks absolutely bare in spots.
Norns’ nighties, what a mess! There is nothing for it but to sweep up the detritus and think about making repairs.
Unfortunately, though the human female can probably source silver-lined bugle beads fairly easily, some of the more unusual, antique sequins are just not available any longer. The plain ones, yes, and probably the snowflakes as well, but those flower shaped ones or the ones with the crimped edges or the pointy leaves? Not even Sequins Upon Sequins Ad-infinitum (Sequins USA) can help.
The humans have checked the date on the calendar and tailored tonight’s menu accordingly. Taco Tuesday falls on Wednesay this week, I guess. They are now exploring the market to ascertain whether suitable decorations might be available for purchase.
Ouch! My eardrums! Such squeeing! Sigyn has discovered that they do, in fact, have a selection of small piñatas. Sigyn loves games involving candy, and I like hitting things with sticks, so this is a notion we can both get behind.
Yes, yes. The saguaro is very cute, my love. However, even I, with my rudimentary knowledge of things cactaceous, know that it is native only to the Sonoran desert and thus not entirely appropriate for this part of Midgard.
What is this next one supposed to be?
I see gilded hooves, so maybe it’s supposed to be a burro? It’s so ugly that bashing it to death with a club is probably a mercy.
Ah, yes. Let’s celebrate Mexican victory over the French with a crispy-shelled taco, a dish developed on this side of the border.
And how challenging a piñata can a crispy taco be, anyway? In my experience, those things self-destruct the minute you touch them…
The pounds and pounds of seed beads the human female has are all very well and good, and Sigyn finds it fun to just run her fingers through him and roll around in them, but they really are just useless bits of glass if nothing is done with them. To that end, the human female is going to string some up today.
Those weird, barely-there flesh color (Odin’s eyepatch! WordPress’ color-picker isn’t working!) ones are the ones she wants to start with.
Through trial and error, she has determined that a string of 39.5 inches (100.33 cm for my minions in civilized realms) will go twice around her fat head.
Hmm. These beads are bigger than her usual size 11/0 (I have no idea what that means—I just saw it on the package). Will there be enoughof them to measure out 39.5″? There’s only one way to tell. She will just have to start stringing—after six or seven attempts to thread the itty-bitty beading needle. (I broke all but the ones with the microscopic eyes.)
Wanh wanh! There are NOT enough beads to make her preferred length. She’ll have to settle for a once-around, with some left over.
There should be enough for a full double length of these.
But after staring at that rosaline for a bit, she’s in the mood to work with something other than pink. Perhaps something multicolored?
Those mixes aren’t too bad. I can see how a string of those might match just about any outfit.
Great Frigga’s corset! This lot, though–augh!
Sigyn thinks they’re “fun” and “cheerful.” I think they might need to have a little meet-up with a vacuum cleaner. I’m leaving. Call me back, Sigyn, if she decides to work with something that won’t burn out my retinas..
Ah. These are much better. This is a real mix. The human female is going to have to be clever to get all the different colors and sizes evenly distributed in her 39.5″.
Ehehehe! I distracted her and she put too many of the long, skinny bugle beads near one end. She had to unstring everything and start over. She’s doing better this time, but I’m not sure she’s going to have enough beads! 26″…30″…33″…36″…37″… 38″…39″… Will it work? Will it work? She is holding up the unfinished strand to see if it will loop twice around her head…
Historians in years to come will argue about what just happened. It may be that a sharp-edged bugle cut the thread as she was unwinding it from around her noggin. It could be that she lost her grip on the needle and the thread pulled itself out. I suppose it is even possible that I gave string the tiniest of yanks. What is certain is that one minute she was holding an unknotted strand of beads that did, in fact, loop ’round her capitulum twice, and the very next minute she was gaping and listening to the boink, tinkle, tinkle of a gazillion little bits of glass hitting the table, her lap, and the laminate flooring. There followed a period of frantic hunting and sweeping, in hopes of recovering them all. I’ve hidden a good few. Will she make it?
Sweep, sweep, string, string, string…
She will not! Too short for a double loop, too long for a single loop. She could make a short single loop, but with a mix like this, the few leftover beads wouldn’t be useful for anything else. She’s opted for one single loop that she can tie a “decorative knot” in. There you go, mortal. You just keep telling yourself it’s “fashionable.” I’ll be over here feeding the missing beads into a pocket-sized black hole from which they will never be recovered.
The contractors swear by all they hold holy that the second floor of the human female’s workplace will be finished on time. Well, except for the air conditioning. And the stools. And maybe the electrical. Or the water. Or the phones. But finished!
The New! and Improved! second floor is going to have multiple fume hoods, safe enclosures where scientists can work with nasty chemicals, DNA, and other cooties. Evacuating so much air in a steady flow requires a VLF (Very Large Fan), and there’s no place those fans can go except the roof. So a delivery was scheduled and a massive crane procured, and all the building’s inhabitants were told to stay home for a day and not approach the premises at all, to eliminate the chance of a) a VLF landing on their pointy head, or b) a VBC (Very Big Crane) toppling over and making a pancake of someone or someone’s car.
The VLFs arrived, oh yes they did! But I had a word or two with the Purveyor of VLFs and they made their appearance sans the bolts required to actually attach them to the building. So it was deferred until the following weekend when, once again, everyone was invited to stay very, very far away.
The old internet wiring in the part of the second floor that is going to become Biology and Chemistry teaching lab rooms was meant to have been stripped out, to make room for bigger/better/faster connections, and the contractors took this charge very much to heart and set to with a will, encouraged by myself. So eager were they to accomplish the ripping and stripping that their zeal quite got away from them and they removed all the internet wiring from the part of the floor that is supposed to remain offices. Ehehehehe. Oopsie! There is, unfortunately, no provision in the builders’ remit or room in their timetable for replacing what they took out–and no budget, either. All parties involved are having a fine squabble and a round of finger-pointing about who’s to replace it. And, more to the point, who’s to pay.
Water remains an iffy prospect. There has been spotty low water pressure, a drip that doesn’t drip when the plumber comes, and hot water that takes for. ev. er to arrive once summoned. The human female, having forgotten her water bottle at home, poured herself a mug from the break room tap. Imagine her revulsion (and my glee!) when what she ended up with was pale yellow in color, with a fine black sediment and a rather disagreeable taste. That will teach her to look before she sips.
The workman have created such a clutter outside the door that needs to be utilized for the annual Dead Cat Ballet that there is no way for the delivery truck to access the alley and no way for a pallet jack to approach the door. The human female, having made all the arrangements for delivery, removal of door posts, etc., was forced to do a little something I like to call “grovel and backtrack,” cancelling the door work order, arranging future delivery (at some as yet to be determined date) of the shipment with Central Receiving, and notifying the Purveyor of Dead Things that their payment will be tardy, since she cannot pay for what she has not received and checked. Of course, I will make sure the person she spoke to in customer service at the PODT doesn’t tell the Bean Counters at the PODT, and there will be a nice dunning letter in the post for her, you mark my words.
The human female and her coworkers were told week before last that the phone lines were going to be cut at some unspecified date and be out for a while. Another outage! It has come to light, however, that there is no plan to replace the land lines and that the entire building is being switched to something called VOIP. I was, I admit, confused. Is not “voip!” the sound it makes when one wraps a piece of hot dog bun wrapper around a stick and lights it in a campfire, causing drips of molten plastic to fall with a very characteristic “Vvvoip! Vvvoip!” ? Apparently, though, no pyromania is involved, merely Voice Over Internet Protocol. I am not dismayed, however, because I am fullycapable of causing mischief with computers, so expect some good fun there! (At a yet to be determined date, of course.)
The human male has not been exempt from my mischief. He had ordered a number of Spanish language computer keyboards for a new faculty member arriving from Chile. They did not come and they did not come and they did not come. When he called to find out why, he was told that they were out of stock for educational customers. When the male pursued it further, he talked with another person, who took a look around at the simply massive pile of Spanish language keyboards in the warehouse and said they would ship them out. We will just see about that…
Another order, comprising some dozens of laptops, was dispatched to the human male by a carrier I had not previously meddled with. But I adore making a new business connection, so I had a little chat with the good folks at Doin’ Hella Little, who subsequently informed the human male that they were completely unable to parse the delivery address (the University does not use street names and numbers but internal mail stops, building names, and room numbers) and that the laptops were going to rest comfortably in a warehouse at their distribution center in Humble, a small town rather closer to the Big City to the South than to here. When the human male asked whether they could not reroute the delivery to Central Receiving, which does have something that is recognizably a street address, he was told that they could not do that and, if he didn’t want to drive an hour or more each way, he could take it up with the vendor. Which he has done, and the vendor has supposedly Explained Things to Doin’ Hella Little, but we shall see if the laptops materialize.
In the meantime. the human male was contacted by another shipper, inquiring about his shipment of over 100 tablet computers. A bit of detective work uncovered that these were, in fact, not his at all but destined for some establishment in a town about two hours and more from here.
Recently, an old friend sent the humans a photo taken of them a decade and a half or so ago. They were thinner then, and not so gray, and there’s a light in their eyes that is lacking now. I simply can’t imagine why, can you?
The mirthful outlet shenanigans have been resolved, though there will need to be another power outage in a few days. More fun on the horizon!
While all of this was going on, I was also playing merry Hel with the telephones. The human female got a voice mail on her office phone, which she was able to reach remotely and listen to. It was a sweet, southern-grandmotherly-sounding woman from the local telecommunications service, asking about the multiple phones on the floor.
The human female called her back and got called “darling” and “honey,” (so I don’t need to tell you it wasn’t a video-call…) The nice woman told her that there were several phone lines on the floor that were out of service because, “there is a hole in the wall and some lines were cut.” She rattled off a set of numbers. Two were the human female’s number, which presumably was working. Another was the front office. The human female had to look the others up and could only find one of them. Mysteries!
So the human female promised to check into things and get back in touch. Ehehehehehe! Now someone has got to go around the whole floor and call all the phones and see if they actually ring, because there’s some question as to whether, when called, the phones will just ring and ring and ring or whether they’ll come up as “out of service.”
One of these days, all of the utilities and amenities in this building are going to work, and the inhabitants will drop dead of shock.
I’ve spoken here before about the ongoing con/destruction in the human female’s workplace. I’ve been working with Slow, Silent, and Costly and all the contractors to make sure it is the biggest headache possible. I’m proud to say that my hard work is bearing fruit!
This is what the Prep Staff’s office looks like right now.
I believe that’s the ceiling sitting in a pile on the floor, there.
And then there are the Outages.
The human female and her techs knew there were going to be numerous outages, as bits of the remodeled second floor utilities are tied into the remainder of the system.
Every time there’s a scheduled outage, there are a million texts and emails beforehand, clarifying just what is and isn’t going to be affected. Precious plants, animals, and perishable chemicals have to be protected with backup power. Sometimes I think EVERYTHING on the floor needs to be hot, cold, or wet!
The inbox overfloweth.
All the computers on the floor need to be shut down ahead of a power outage, because a) they don’t like to run when it gets to be 90 indoors and b) there’s always the chance that the power will spike when it comes back on. (Nobody trusts their UPS.) Since people are logged in remotely, this means no one can do anything on their work system during an outage and all the computers need to be switched on again afterwards. They’ve been scheduling outages for Saturdays, but nobody goes in to turn things on until Monday, so it’s a nice little “break” from work. (But see below.)
The power and chilled water/AC outage at the beginning of the month went more or less as planned. Backup power went where it was needed and nothing died. But many of the rooms are on automatic temperature monitoring, and when they get warm the human female gets a nice little text notification. Bing! Every minute or so for every room that edges up over 78.2 F. She got to delete one hundred and twenty-two messages! All day Saturday! Then there were the accompanying emails…
Then there was an unscheduled water outage. That was fun. More email! Does the building proctor know about this? How about the facilities coordinator? What’s affected? Is it fixed yet? With every text and every email, the crease in the human female’s forehead got just a little deeper.
Then I made a water leak.
The next week, I scheduled a two-day outage of the hot and cold water, the RO water, the forced air, and the vacuum lines.
Then a two-day outage for natural gas.
The vaccum is something that never gets used, gas wasn’t needed those days, and the forced air is only used for blowing up sheep lungs in what has to be the grossest demo in the whole Lower Division Instruction Program. (The human female and her techs keep trying to write this out of the lesson plan, but it keeps being put back in.)
The water, however, was a pain. No water fountains, no faucets, no potties.
The human female is still working from home, so she was minimally inconvenienced. I just had to make sure she got all her notifications.
The most recent outage was supposed to be a power outage. Then everyone heard that it was only supposed to be for the north end of the building–which is where most of the offices are. Something about “volts” and “buses” and blah blah blah.
Today, Prep Staff discovered that, while the lights and such were back on, there was no power in many of the wall outlets! More fun! More email! This is part of the best one, from one of the contractors:
Apparently the “more information” was this:
Now, you’ll recall that only the north end of the building was supposed to be affected, but Behold! The outlet in room 302, down at the other end of the hall, went out as well, the one the ultra-cold freezer (-80F) is plugged into.
Cue a hundred more texts and emails
An unplugged freezer doesn’t freeze very well, so everything started to…t…h…a…w. A poor Prep Staffer had to move everything into a regular freezer, with plans to move things to alternate storage in another building once it was all frozen again.
Nice try, but the things in that freezer are very, shall we say, finicky, so they will probably need to be replaced. The human female drew up a list to present to the nice contractors, in hopes that they can be prevailed upon to make good the loss:
More email: Were there other primers? Is that all the ONPG that was spoiled? Was some of it not mixed up and in the freezer? The bacterial cultures aren’t replaceable, are they? Just how much Sybr Green did we really have? While all of this unscheduled swapping and counting and price-looking up was going on, someone noticed also that the water and RO water was off.
MORE TEXTS! MORE EMAILS!
All while the human female was dealing with the flurry of activity and paper that vetting and interviewing applicants for the vacant tech position, put together a fall purchase list, and deal with a ton of otherpaperwork.
Out of all of this, I have confirmed one Biological Fact: The human female is part chameleon. No, really, I can prove it! Her face definitely can change color, and her eyes can swivel to look in two directions at once.
And she’s going to be bald before all of this is over…