Sunday, 23 November 2008
Another week, another extended farce in preparation for some important guy's big visit. Only this time, instead of trying to find inventive places to hide stuff, we're trying to think of cunning places we can hide ourselves. If he can't find us, he can't demote us.
Though to be honest, as a placement student I don't think I can be demoted anyway. I'm so low down the pecking order that I have to salute the vending machines in the canteen.
And yet I still seem to have been somehow instrumental in the complete reorganisation of an entire department. At the start of the week, there was still quite a bit left to do, and some folk were getting a bit twitchy. On Monday morning, I found myself in a meeting with ML (Engineering Manager, always smiling like a politician, ghastly American accent that seems to come out through his nose) and JH (Process Owner, tall and ginger with a crippling stammer, answers to ML).
ML: What do you need to get this area finished?
ML: Don't tell me now. Go around with JH, make a list of what you need - not what you think I'll get you, but what you need - to get this area finished. Get that list to me and I'll make it happen.
And so I went around with JH, and together we made a pretty complete list of everything that we needed. JH took the list and gave it to ML; ML gave the list to my boss; and and my boss gave it to me, thus completing the cycle of incompetence.
Sometimes I start to think that I quite it like it here; but I think that might just be Stockholm Syndrome.
Meanwhile, I seem to have lost another housemate this week; a girl called Ruth, who rented the other room in the Exeter house up until yesterday. Marco didn't tell me much about her before I moved in, other than to say that we would probably get along, because she is thirty also.
I don't quite follow his logic; perhaps he thought we would hang out together and talk about cool thirty year-old stuff. In actual fact, we mostly talk about what a jerk Marco is (Ruth doesn't have any living room privileges either); if we talk at all. Her boyfriend Sam is over most nights, so they are usually hidden away in her room discussing domestic policy making processes, or whatever it is that young couples do nowadays.
But one night a while back, Sam wasn't about; and in the absence of anything better to do, we sat around in the kitchen exchanging mouse stories...
A few years ago, Ruth was living in a student house with a bit of a mouse infestation. This would usually only manifest itself in the sudden and mysterious appearance of little nibbled holes in the bottom of cereal packets, coupled with the sudden and mysterious disappearance of the cereal itself; but as time went on, the little critters got more inventive, and started knocking boxes over in order to spill their delicious contents. It all went wrong for them when they tipped over a bottle of ice-cream topping syrup. Sure enough, a pool of sticky sweet deliciousness formed in the base of the cupboard, and sure enough, the mice did gorge themselves upon it. Unfortunately, being small and feeble little creatures, they couldn't then free themselves from the Yummy Pink Tarpit of Death; and so they all drowned in it. When Ruth opened the cupboard the next day the syrup had all set; and so the tarpit (along with it's cargo of little furry corpses) had to be chiseled off of the bottom of the cupboard with a ruler...
And finally... my family bimbled down this weekend for eats and drinks and birthday merriment. My sister made cakes happen. Behold!
Many cakes were decorated with the shattered corpses of jelly babies; some crushed beneath jelly bean rockslides, some cleft in twain with deadly chocolate buttons.