Thursday, July 29, 2010

It's a hard-knock life.

It's extremely difficult to work your ass off, only to watch it go down the drain. Literally.

Last night at work, I clock in and walk inside the lab. To find a note taped to the chemistry analyzer that says, "STOP. Do not run! Call LAR first!" (LAR being initials for the day shift supervisor . . . trying to keep some anonymity here). Before I can get my cell phone out to find her cell number, the lab phone rings. It's my boss, HBL, who is already inquiring if I've talked to LAR about the machine, which I haven't, because it's only been about 15 seconds since I've seen the note. Which, by the way, no night is ever a good night when signs that say "STOP" are involved. Trust me on this. She tries suggesting how we can run and move people around so it'll go smoothly. She's currently in our Tampa, FL lab helping out. And she doesn't realize that apparently MJJ has rearranged the schedule this week. (hehe) As soon as I get off the phone with HBL, the phone rings. It's LAR. I find out the reason for the sign - the deionized water system is down. Which means, we have to manually pump water into the chemistry analyzer. All night. Manually. She asks me to go across the hall into the supply room. There I find 600 gallons of Alhambra water. 600 GALLONS. FYI, that's a lot of water. (Just in case you were curious). Although I'm sure Alhambra was thrilled at the prospect of selling that much water to one company in one sitting. I'm totally picturing the happy, glazed over look on the face of the person who took that phone call. She wishes me luck and we hang up.
Now, to put things into perspective, our chemistry analyzer sucks up an enormous amount of water. Not exactly 600 gallons in a shift, but according to our maintenance guy, at least 200 to 300 gallons just for night shift. That's not including day shift, nor the swing shift that runs research samples between day and night crews. And more perspective. The water tank that we have to fill up, drains in about 1 minute if water is not pumped into it. Not joking. SSHAW was up first in pumping water. She timed it to 11 minutes per 5 gallon jug of water. By the time 4am rolled around, I was changing out the 5 gallon water jugs every 5-6 minutes. (For the first time ever in owning a cell phone, I used the stop watch thing on it. Very handy when timing how quickly you're having to change out jugs of water.) I pumped water from 3:15AM to 8:00AM. My arms hurt. What hurts more are the heels of my hands. And of course, the jokes that went on for 8 hours about pumping water never got old. Or just pumping in general. Seriously. Most immature adults ever. But we had fun. It's really the only way to get through a night like that. Laugh about it. Crack jokes about it. Even totally (technically) improper ones - because those are typically the best.

This was our basic setup for last night. We got so fast at changing water, that we would have rivaled the guys in the pit at Nascar. Seriously. (Well, without their fancy tools . . . those weren't required).
SSHAW was so nice and posed for us at the beginning of the night. Later we were a little busy to continue with photo shoot. Behind her you see the cart load of Alhambra jugs. The one guy on our crew was totally awesome and filled it up at least 4 times last night.

So literally, our hard work ended up down the drain. 200-300 gallons of our hard work. My arms are tired.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Did you ever have a bug on your car that apparently just felt the need to go for a joy ride? And it seems to hang on . . . at least until you get on the freeway? Call them the unconventional stowaways if you'd like. Or hitchhikers (without the thumbs, obviously). It's kind of comical to see a fly hanging on for what appears to be dear life on the driver's side window. What, did it's wings get tired? Seriously. Lazy, worthless insects.

Anyways . . . today I found the most unconventional stowaway to date. And I never knew it was there, until I came home. After work, I got in my car, drove home, parked, got out of my car, happened to look down as I pressed the alarm button. And laughed. The poor little guy never saw it coming. 70mph down the freeway. A freeway change. Several stoplights. A close encounter with a driveway gate. And as always the scary entrance into my parking space. It was probably the scariest, most exhilerating experience of it's life. Because when I looked down, clinging to the front bumper, I saw . . .

. . . the snail.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

So there are still some honest guys out there? Yay!

I wasn't going to write about this . . . thus my earlier rant on bad drivers in round-a-bouts, however, it was on my mind while I was trying to nap and thought "why not?" BTW, for those who might be reading this and don't know, I work graveyard, thus my line about napping.

I went on a lunch date today, with a guy named Steve. I could have listened to Steve all day. He's Australian, apparently, and of course, has the wonderful Australian accent to go with it. Now, no sparks flew (sucky), but he was, at least, a nice guy. Honest, actually. It was refreshing. After an hour at lunch, and semi-decent conversation (I did find out this important fact: America is known for cheap jeans. All over the world. Oh and Wal-Mart. Shocker, right?), we leave the restaurant. We get to my car, we each say how nice it was to meet the other, and then he kind of laughs a nervous laugh. Then proceeds to say, "Well, I guess maybe we could be friends?" I kind of laughed myself, and said, "Sure. That's fine." I got in my car, pretty sure I will never see or speak the nice guy again in my life, but I was relieved that he didn't say "I'll call you" (which most women see as the "kiss of death"), and then doesn't and winds up ignoring me out of existance.

So, thanks Steve, for being the first honest and completely upfront guy I've been out with in awhile. You earn a gold star.

And a cookie.


I'm just curious as to when Americans decided driving the in the wrong direction was acceptable? Did miss I that headline on Yahoo? Did no one forward that piece of junk mail to me? I'm only asking because apparently many who live in my apartment complex think it's legal to go the wrong direction in the round-a-bout at the entrance. Now, yes, I do understand that it's only an apartment complex entrance and there isn't a ton of traffic. However, we do still live in America and the last time I checked, we still drive on the right side of the road. Now, Wikipedia has this to say about round-a-bouts:

"Round-a-bouts are safer than both traffic circles and regular junctions - having 40% fewer vehicle collisions, 80% fewer injuries, and 90% fewer serious injuries and fatalities."

Yeeaaahhh. They'd be safer if you went in the right freakin' direction, ya jackass.

Would you believe once that a Mini Cooper attempted to run me down? (Did I mention that I drive an SUV?) And last week, I nearly got into two accidents . . . from people who think its okay to go the wrong direction in a round-a-bout.

So, the moral of the story? Remember folks, that we live in America, home of baseball, Mt. Rushmore, Yellowstone, Rachel Ray and her 30 Minute Meals, and driving on the right side of the road. Remember that the next time you happen across a round-a-bout. Even in an apartment complex. My new car thanks you.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Stainer Conversation

Have you ever been sitting at work, doing your job, when suddenly a conversation pierces the radio you're listening to? And that conversation makes you stop, roll your eyes, shake your head, and almost start talking to yourself? Out loud. Where your co-workers could possibly hear you. The other night, at work, this very thing happened. Although I may have mumbled a few things out loud . . . hopefully not loud enough for anyone to actually overhear said mumbles. Here's the set up:

Two ladies are hollering at each other over machines in regards to a stainer that stains blood smear slides. For anonymity's sake, I shall call them Lady 1 and Lady 2.

Lady 1: Is there something wrong with your stainer?

Lady 2: I don't know. Is there something wrong with my slides?

Lady 1: There's something wrong with your slides. I think there's something wrong with your stainer.

Lady 2: I don't know what's wrong. What's wrong with my stainer?

(At some point Lady 1 comes to Lady 2 to try to figure out what is wrong with said stainer. Turns out, the stainer was out of Methanol, which fixes the blood to the slide so it won't wash off when the slides go through the actual stain cycle and the rinse cycle. There was a long pause in this conversation because apparently neither lady knew where the Methanol was stored if it was in the magical cabinets within our department. When they find some, Lady 1 has Lady 2 refill the Methanol in her stainer, and the conversation proceeds . . .)

Lady 1: You're slides are still messed up. Did you prime the stainer?

Lady 2: Is priming cleaning?

Lady 1: Yes. Cleaning is priming.

Lady 2: How do I prime?

Lady 1: Just prime the stainer.

Lady 2: So priming cleans the stainer?

Lady 1: What? No. Priming isn't cleaning.

Lady 2: So what is priming?

(Now mind you, at least three people who are hearing this conversation know the difference between "cleaning" and "priming". For starters, there's a button that says "CLEAN". And there's no direct button for priming. Also, these three people -including myself - are chuckling to ourselves because this all sounds totally ridiculous. They are literally hollering to each other over machines. And any one of us could easily have walked to the stainer and shown Lady 2 the difference and how to do it. Yet . . . we didn't. And finally Lady 1 comes back to the stainer . . .)

Lady 1: We need to prime the stainer. It's washing the blood off the slides.

Lady 2: I've been telling you I don't know how to prime. Isn't priming cleaning?

Lady 1: Oh . . .no, it's not. I have it priming, just clean it when it's done.

Lady 2: What do I do to clean it? (Oddly enough, she actually does know this, but by this time I'm not sure she could find the stainer, which sits right next to her, considering Lady 1 has her turned upside down).

Lady 1: Just clean it once it's done.

Lady 2: It won't let me clean it, I have to prime it again.

Lady 1: Why are you priming again?

Lady 2: You want me to clean it after priming?

(By this time, I'm ready to either burst out laughing or scream in frustration.)

Lady 1: (back at stainer) I'm cleaning it. Stain some slides when it's done and I'll check to see if your stain is ok.

Lady 2: So you don't need me to clean it?

Seriously. Almost sounds like a horrific version of "Who's on First" to me. Yes, granted, I could have stopped it. Two others could have stopped it. However, we were busy. And though it was annoying as hell, it was also quite entertaining. Because at some point it really hits you as to who is having this conversation.

They're your supervisors.