Chicken or Egg Situation

Today was one of those days where, at the end of the workday, you look at the clock and go, “Oh CRAP, it’s 4:30 already?”

Today I exchanged one bank of CO2 tanks – that’s five. They’re heavy and awkward and dirty, and for me, stressful. That’s a whole lot of compressed gas, plus if I mess up and damage the manifold everyone’s experiments are wrecked for two weeks. I unpacked and set up a shaking incubator, no big deal, just lots of time hunched over twisting ittybitty screws. I unpacked (with help) and moved (okay, the guys helping me moved) a huge heavy new centrifuge. It’s where it’s supposed to be now, except for one wee problem. The person I replaced clearly didn’t think about the whole flavour-of-electricity thing, or the fact that we have to plug it in somewhere. There are no suitable receptacles in the room. Joy. Nothing I haven’t solved before, but just a hassle. I solved the mystery of where the invoices were supposed to go, since with purchases like that the invoices go to accounts receivable, not me. I had a safety meeting, where I found out how I’m supposed to handle people working in a biomedical research facility wearing flip-flops and micro-shorts. The rules are that you’re supposed to wear pants (or shorts/skirts that go below the knee), and shoes where your toes are covered. What really got me was that the girl in question acknowledged the risk in what she was working with by wearing gloves and a lab coat. And this wasn’t news to her, it was the third time I’d spoken with her about proper lab attire, shoes specifically. I met with the area rep for the company that’s setting up a Supply Centre in the facility. Basically, I’ll be running a store for them in my spare time. We’ll see how that goes. I ordered a few thousand dollars worth of supplies, antibodies, and reagents. I troubleshot the fluorescent microscope’s software for someone, amazing, given that she has around two years more experience than I do (which is next to zero) on the thing. I fielded suggestions on how to improve the virus facility, and contacted all virus facility users about upcoming repairs that will mean a week shutdown. Oh, and I stared blankly for a moment at one of the lab managers who asked me what a “biohazard protocol application” was and if I knew how to do it. “Sounds like it’s an application you need to do detailing your biohazard protocol, doesn’t it? Nope, I don’t. Look on the web, come find me if you still don’t know.”

Every time I sat down to sip my coffee – thankfully I have an office and can do this – someone arrived at my door. I did take twenty minutes for a walk for a break. I bought sushi. Yeah, yeah, yeah I know. Money. It was necessary, salad and fruit just wasn’t gonna do it for me today. I’d just popped the first mouth-filling round of California roll into my mouth when the Supply Centre guy arrived. “Mrrrph?” was how I greeted him.

At the end of the day while I was trying to order stuff, one of the grad students came in. Wearing gloves of course, but I was too wiped focused on my task to notice until it was too late. Oh well. Anyway. She asked me about the weekend, and I gave her a quick description. She hadn’t realized I was a mom. Then I mentioned I’m a single mom. Her jaw dropped. “So you come here and you work all day then you pick him up, make supper for both of you, get him into bed? Do you get any down time? How do you do it?”

Seriously. I think either my job is training for being a single mom, or being a single mom is training for the job. Maybe a little of both.

Happinesses for today

  • There was a nurse-in at H&M! Okay, that in itself doesn’t make me happy. But my friend Joanne, one of my best friends though I’ve been appallingly distant lately, went with her wee one. She’s totally featured in the CTV web page and in the news clip, she’s in the pic hovering over the anchor’s shoulder at the intro. Very cool. She’s expressed that she doesn’t know why they chose her, as there were hundreds of women. I know why. She’s gorgeous, and the look she’s giving Beth is perfectly wonderful. THAT makes me happy.
  • I didn’t wreck the CO2 system. Given that last time I did an exchange of tanks something went wrong and the whole thing went into error, this was a relief.
  • Productive days, while exhausting, make me happy.
  • Cameron pooped on the toilet at daycare! This was, I think, a first. And was also an hour-ish after he pooped in his pants.
  • Swimming with Samuel and his dad in the evening was amazing. The pool was crowded, and I figured both boys would have a problem with this. But nope! Cameron didn’t even bat an eyelash at the crowds. He wore his new swim goggles, and they made a huge difference; he even put his face in the water, and let me dunk him! He dunked himself! He wanted so badly to swim, trying to push my hands off him, but he wasn’t kicking or paddling, so it didn’t work so well. He pretty much leaped from holding onto the edge, into my arms, squirmy-kicking as he went, and back again. Samuel did much better than last time, but I must say that again it was nice for Cameron to hear, “Samuel! Watch Cameron do it, see, you can do it too if you try!” The look of pride in Cameron’s eyes, the confidence that gave him (since it’s usually the other way around) was heartmelting.
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