Sunday, September 13, 2009

Matchmaker, Matchmaker, Make Me A Match!

Let me start off by telling you how ridiculously clumsy I am. I have a terrible sense of balance. When I am on my treadmill I have to be facing forward. I can't even turn to look at something without grabbing onto the handrails because I WILL tip over. You'd think I would know this by now. Apparently not. This is what happens when you tip over on a treadmill:
Yay, the belt skinned me! Yay! My ankle hurts...and I just looked at it, and it looks way worse now. Scabby.

So now I will tell you the wonderful story about work this week. Everything freaking breaks, but this isn't news. So here's how it went down: This week was a short week since we had Labor Day off, and that was just awesome. However, it seemed LONGER than all the normal weeks because I stayed late almost every day because of the ginormous amount of stuff from another lab we sontract with (fortunately, when you're crazy busy time seems to go by much more quickly, so it wasn't so bad except my feet hurt).

Well, Wednesday I was doing the mercury testing, and BOY did I have a ton of it, when on my last few samples the computer started acting screwy. I would start a sample, then the computer would go all blue and tell me it couldn't record data onto the hard drive, Please Press Any Key, so I did and the screen went away and then it let me do the next sample. So, I just did this several times and finished up all my samples before worrying about figuring out what was wrong with the computer. So fortunately, Wednesday's samples were done. So I decided that I should reboot the computer and see if it did it again after it had a chance to reset itself (or whatever computers do when they reboot). So I rebooted, and then I waited...and waited...and finally I just left the room to do something else, and I came back later and it was still stuck. Sad.

I called our IT guy and he was going to be able to come in the morning, and since I had finished testing and wouldn't need to test more on that instrument until the next afternoon, this was fine by me. So Thursday morning Tim came in and it took him all of five minutes to determine that the hard drive was D.E.A.D. dead. Which is never good. So he went to see what he could dig up as a replacement computer, and when he came back he essentially said he could make a temporary fix but he would have to come back the next day and do it all over again on a new machine, so we all decided to just have him come back the next day with the new machine and save him the hassle. It isn't the end of the month or anything so people can go without results on something for one more day and the world won't end.

So Friday Tim came (earlier than he said he was going to, AWESOME, that never happens) and he installed the new computer and the software and it took ten minutes and then I was able to finish all the samples and go home early.


He brought in the new computer. He brought the software. Now here's the thing: the old computer was running Windows 98 (ancient, I know) because the instrument is so old and the software that goes with the instrument is so old and so it only functioned on 98. However, there are no longer computers with 98 on them, so then Tim had to search and call the software company and reinstall with a patch (that it took an hour to get) and then once we got the patch installed, we had it up and running on a brand new XP system that has a three year warranty. Awesome.

Next came the time to go into the program and set it up for the specific instrument we have. I had an SOP (standard operating procedure) that outlined all the settings that should be in the program, but it didn't specify which version of the software we should use (there were two) and it didn't specify the configuration settings, and so we spent another hour trying different combinations to see which one would work, and finally, after about the tenth time seeing "Error: software not communicating with spectrometer" we decided to call the company we use to fix the instrument when it's broken. So that took a while, and each time we thought we had it we had to call them back and clarify things again, and it was a long and annoying process and finally we got it working
after almost four hours, by which time I would normally be going home. BUT, people needed their results! So I did our samples from Thursday and Friday as quickly as I possibly could and decided to skip a large batch of another lab's samples until Monday, and finally I got to go home and I was so tired that I ate a ton of ice cream and then felt horrible about eating ice cream because I was going to be healthy (don't ask me how that's working out, I hate that I have health and weight and eating problems).

So basically, on Monday, here are the samples I get to run:
And these:

Oh, and these:

Also these:

And we can't forget the monthly water testing:

So Monday will be a long day. Because Richard is also coming in to do a preventative maintenance thingy on the furnace.

OH! I almost forgot. To add to the drama, Friday morning my furnace autosampler wouldn't autosample. I tried everything I could think of before calling Richard to ask for help, and (poor thing, it was his day off and I didn't know) he walked me through a ton of stuff over the phone but it's hard to describe the specific tube and knob and whatever to check over the phone so finally he just came over and helped me fix it. I learned something new, as usual, so if it ever happens again, I won't have to call him.

Now, since this has been a post about crazy depressing things, here's a picture of a crazy UNdepressing thing:
Buster in a kerchief. He did not like it. Now, I have the matchmaker song from Fiddler on the Roof stuck in my head.

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