Even though I had nothing really planned for the Labor Day holiday, the evening ended on a delightful note with a short-notice get-together put on by my landlords. Got delightfully intoxicated, met some new people, had fun chatting with said new people, and slept blissfully in the cool comfort of 50˚ overnight temperatures! Tuesday morning was a whole whizzbang of craziness, unfortunately.

Waking up with landlubber legs was an annoyance, but reasonably dealt with. Apparently 1/2 a bottle of vodka will do that to me. Since I don’t drink vodkda. *pensive confusion* Anyhoo, driving to work, the car was lagging and felt all kinds of wrong. Hit a bump on the way to work, and it sounded LOUD. That was disquieting. I thought perhaps my rear passenger-side brake was riding on the rotor again. When I got to the parking lot at the university, I went to inspect the brakes and saw that my rear passenger-side tire was flat. Wait, what? Flat? How in the…was all I could think. The tire was just fine Sunday when I last parked it, so this was completely foreign to me. And suddenly all the more frightening. That extra loud bump I heard on the way to work? I was envisioning that completely ruining my rim. Nothing was visibly wrong with it…but I couldn’t see what else was wrong beneath the tire.

Joy. I get to pop on my spare tire when I’m done with work and drive the flat over to Dunn Tire to get it repaired. What the fuck ever. Not thrilled, but I’ll deal. Getting in, checked on if we had received any packages yet, and only got a package I ordered later last week. Mind you, I’ve been waiting a week now for an item from BioRad that must be shipped overnight to keep it frozen when it arrives. Our purchasing system reported to me last Tuesday that the order (eReq) was “procured.” At this point, there’s got to be either some massive backordered state, or there’s been a mix-up at BioRad. Calling BioRad, they can’t locate an order from the university from last Tuesday, nor any recent order for my product. Of course, I only have our internal purchase order number, so I decide to go check our online requisition system to see if the order number was added to the eReq documentation. And this is where we begin with the chain of delight!

Logging into my eReq account, I no longer have access to initiate requisitions. This is bizarre, as I am the only one in the lab who is unable to. In being unable to initiate them, I’m also unable to view previous process requisitions. So I go to my boss, get him to view the requisition (since they have to be authorized by him anyways), and am stuck without an order number still. Great. Two issues to resolve: my lack of eReq access, and my AWOL order from BioRad. I place a call to the purchaser who handles the BioRad accounts, and she tells me she’ll get back to me after checking on the order, and will even call up BioRad and check on its status for me. Cool; I can deal with that. I have to leave a message with one of the staff in the eReq administrative department. In the time that I’m waiting for my call back from the purchaser, I decide to see if something just got muck up with my employee profile. Logging into UB’s Business site, I find all my employee information is gone. Utterly absent. Now I’m a bit disturbed. UB just adopted even more electronically-driven software to run administration stuff, and things have been wonky for a lot of people at random (e.g. boss’s inability to access email, a friend’s inability to even log into eReq). My day was looking utterly fucked at this point forty minutes later, so I decided leftover Chinese for lunch wasn’t cutting it; Dr. Hohle and I went for lunch.

On our way over to lunch, I get an email and check it on the way over to Zetti’s. It’s the purchaser. Blah blah this, blah blah that, order never got placed, so sorry, this has never happened before. Actually, it has. The first (and most recent) time I ordered from BioRad, I had this exact same issue. I had checked in on that order sooner, because it just never got to the “procured” status, indicating an issue with our purchasing division. Regardless, my order didn’t get placed until today. I’m half livid, because I placed this order last week, specifically flagged as “Urgent,” and needing it by last Thursday/Friday. Well, that certainly isn’t happening anymore. Dr. Hohle elucidates that this is not a unique case with this purchaser. It has happened repeatedly for them (they order from BioRad far more often than my lab does). Now I’m just appalled that she constantly responds like this is a rare or never-occurring occurrence.

Great, that’s at least going. I’m getting near-minutely updates as the order number, approval, shipping confirmation, and delivery date are coming in. Great, yeah, let’s itch that aggravation some more. I get back from lunch, and the eReq department has called back, and left a message to call her back, and my coworkers are just saying if what she said is true, I’ve got bigger issues to deal with than loss of using the eReq system. I get back to her, and it was as I had feared: somehow I got removed from the employee system. My appointment as a research assistant was terminated back on Friday, and never got renewed.

I’m kind of freaking out here now. No appointment = no pay. Seriously? All I wanted to do was check a purchase order status! And now I find out I’m technically unemployed now?!? I get in touch with our departmental secretary (who originally sets up and reappoints the graduate students) to let her know about the situation. I hear back from her a little later with the news that UB was smart enough to extend my conferral date (it was originally set for 2011, but I didn’t quite get to graduating last summer, ugh), but neglected to reappoint me as a graduate student researcher for my stipend. So now, my reappointment has to be resubmitted for all the administrative signatures (my boss sent his along ASAP, thank goodness) and is sitting somewhere in upper-tier administrative limbo; the Dean of the college’s office, I’m guessing.

Now I’m freaking. Paycheck disruption may suckass in light of having to buy a whole new tire (if the current one isn’t patchable and/or vandalized), and potentially new 17″ aluminum rim as well (motherfucking Volkswagen). I finally finish off the workday, get around to going out to my car to deal with the spare swap, only to find that my wheel bolt is completely in absentia. I have not opened my spare compartment since being in Maryland last summer, so I refuse to believe that I had lost it (it’s stored with my spare tire tools). It would have had to have been lost at Dunn Tire after my last rotation. I eek the car over to Dunn Tire, and there’s absolutely nothing they can do about it. They can’t patch the tire because they can’t get the wheel off the car. And the service rep at the counter refused to assume any liability for this, as they “always put the bolt back in the glove compartment or beverage holder so the owner can store it where they like.” Right. Which is why I always stored it with the spare. Volkswagen’s service always put it there. Dunn left it there when I got the new tires on the car. Apparently not after the rotation though!

My anxiety is just eating away at me. My stomach’s tied in knots, because now I have to go to the dealer and get a new wheel bolt ordered before I can even have anything done to get my spare back on the car or get the flat fixed! Dunn threw some quick air in my tire, and I just mentally prayed it would last until I got to the dealer to see if (a) they can get me a replacement bolt (or be stuck with having to get all new bolts), and (b) have it in stock, lest they have to ship it in. Thank god both (a) & (b) were true. The parts fellow said many of the older wheel bolts are being discontinued, so all one can do now if they lose their wheel bolt, they have to have the dealer (with their master collections) remove the old bolts and the customer is forced to buy either a whole new set of lock bolts or go lock-bolt free. $30 out, and I finally have access to removing my wheel from the hubs again. Phew.

At this point, it’s beyond 7pm; Dunn Tire is closed. The tire is looking okay on the air still, so I decide to chance it making it all the way home. So it’s just sitting on the street, and I’m now I’m just hoping it keeps air until tomorrow. If not, it’s popping it into the driveway, tire swap, and stopping in at Dunn Tire first thing in the morning. Even if it is holding, I probably still need to take it in and have them examine it for whatever is causing the slow(ish) leak.

Today’s lesson(s) so far?

  • Sometimes it’s a bit dangerous, disappointing, and/or distressing to follow that candy trail of problems, but unfortunately it may pan out for the better in the long run (despite sucking ass as it compounds in the immediate short term)
  • If you own a Volkswagen with wheel-lock bolts on it, don’t let that goddamn wheel bolt out of your sight after any servicing
  • Apparently you can get a “case of the Mondays” on a Tuesday
  • Always have a liquor backup, despite how epic the night before was

On that note, I’m going to sincerely hope that this week can’t throw anything worse at me. If it does, someone may need to come physically bail me out of my psychotic episode. As my coworker Chris said…

“I swear, if one more thing goes wrong today, dead people are going to just start appearing, whether Jamie is aware of it or not…

1 Comment

  1. HAHAHA! I am so sorry to laugh. It’s just so bizarre how swiftly your day deteriorated that I almost have to laugh. And I know exactly how frustrating it is to deal with someone like your Purchasing Department Person. Seriously, do these people not understand that they need a system of organization that they unerringly adhere to, or ORDERS WILL BE LOST!? If you work in Purchasing and you are frequently failing to, um, PURCHASE THINGS that are requested and authorized…well, you are pretty much failing in the most epic way possible. And the lies about it being a one-time occurrence? Ew. That’s all I can say about that one.

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