When you need stuff to work… they don’t!

What a stupid week!!! I know it’s only Monday, but has been a kind of weird couple of weeks. It’s almost Easter break, which means I get to go home for a few days and then I’ll be travelling to the US for 10 days, so I should be ecstatic, right? I am, don’t get me wrong, I never needed to get home so bad as I do now! But being away for roughly 3 weeks, means I have to leave a lot of things done, mainly projects that are not directly related to my PhD thesis.

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So, a merely 9 days left of my work schedule until May, I desperately stuff to go right, to work, to not get contaminated. I need my extractions to work, my PCR’s to work, I need that the blancs turns out, well, clean. I need the equipment to work properly and to not run out of lab supplies or extremely important solutions and reagents. So, obviously, all of this goes exactly the opposite way…

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The extractions work well(ish), but then the blancs emit some signals that shouldn’t be there, and that probably aren’t… because the some primers decided to act out! How I love to have a contaminated primer solution!!! Then there are my sex typing primers that decided not to type anything really… Obviously by now the only thing that was actually working fine was the real time PCR, until today, when someone (stupid motherf*****r kid decided to steal the ancient laptop that ran the machine). I’m not even going to mention the fact that I have to sequence stuff before Thursday, because of the break, and now I won’t be able to because of some stupid person!!!! OMG, I’m so damn mad right now!

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A Week from Hell!

Finally my week from hell is at its end… and by week I should clarify that I’m referring to the period between the 16th and today 28th, so in fact my week had 13 days.

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I’m exhausted! Not only because I just spent 13 days in a row at work, but because my brain is on the fritz from all the stress… And this is why I’m behind on my favorite shows, such as Castle or Psych, whose episodes lay forgotten on a remote corner of my computer because my brain does not have the ability to process them now and so I turned to old favorites, shows that I already know and love and that I already saw and don’t have to think about them… so I started to watch Chuck and How I Met Your Mother from the pilot… It’s like comfort food for my brain!

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So, why I’m I so stressed out?! Well…

1. I miss home! My dad’s right, I do get jumpy and irritated when I don’t go home for a while. It’s natural I guess. I don’t particularly like the place I’m in, I don’t particularly like the people. I miss my parents, my house, my bed, my nieces and nephew.

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I miss my food, my oven and my cakes. I miss my friends. I miss the supermarkets, where I can get anything (and I mean anything…). And I miss not having to program almost a week ahead to be able to catch a movie, because here there are only 3 original version movie theaters and they’re all 1h30min away from where I am! OMG, I miss my movies (so that I can clarify, while in Portugal, I would go to the movies every week!)!

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2. I’ve got one undergrad! God, I hate undergrads (no offence…), but I hate to have to train one. I honestly do not get the point, not the way they do it here, anyway.

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The point is, suddenly I have a person inside my lab, which obviously makes the risk of contamination rise, which means I’ll be working some days to throw away stuff. And There are the moments when you don’t actually know if they give a fuck about what you’re trying to teach them, because they don’t seem to want to be there. And what’s the deal with the gloves? How hard is it to put a pair of gloves on?

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Then there’s the speed… or lack of it and the realization that while they are doing that one simple task, you could already be done and drinking your fourth coffee of the day! And the fact that they can be brought down by a micropipette, an eppendorf, a parafilm strip, cleaning or really small volumes of anything.

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3. Huge workload and 24 hour days! Directly related to the one above – I HATE being dependent on somebody else’s schedules.

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I HATE it, can’t cope with it. One of the worst things about having an undergrad is that they still have classes, in the middle of the day (crazy schedules they have…), which means I cannot work at the pace I want to work… so this week (13 days), it meant working weekends (to compensate de slowness and contaminations)…

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…and arriving at the lab before 8 a.m. some days, to get some work done before the kid arrived. Which means, I’m so behind on my sleep…

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4. I’m not a people’s person… which means that my tolerance for stupidity, idiocy and lack of common sense, is incredibly low! And my week was full of such events, some more “normal” than others, but all kind of: “wow! are these people for real? O_o”…

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5. It’s not working! It’s when you have the most things to do, that’s when the universe decides to screw you! So, for the past couple of weeks, nothing is working! The PCRs whether turned out contaminated or they just won’t amplify, which is cool, is kind of normal… but then the restriction enzyme is not cutting (WTF!!!). Really Universe? On this particular time? When I have so many damn things to do? Data to obtain? Haven’t you screwed me up enough during the summer, when I came to work by myself all August and the PCRs decided that they needed a vacation too?!

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So… here you have it: my brain is trying to hibernate at the moment (reason why I haven’t been able to post anything with real content for the past days), avoiding the simple and truthful realization that this weekend I might get some sleep, but I’ll still have to go to the lab, still not sure when, but I have a 7 hours work ahead of me before Monday comes… and then it’s the beginning of the week again and I have a lot of stuff to do…

In the meantime, this is my plan for the little free time I’ll have:

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