Thursday, August 7, 2008

Lab before bedtime

It never fails.

Last night after putting Bean to bed, making a (delicious) dinner for Husband and I, packing Bean's lunch for school, and folding a load of laundry, I treated myself to an hour of deliciously trashy TV. (The Cleaner. Have you seen it? It's garbage TV but Benjamin Bratt is gorgeous and I'm kinda diggin' it.)

9:00 rolls around and I decide to enforce bedtime for Husband and I. So we're there standing at the mirror brushing our respective teeth and I'm of course thinking about my experiments for the next day. And that's when I see it: there are my restriction digests, still sitting at 37 degrees. The last thing I was supposed to do before I left work was add ethanol to those babies and stick 'em in the freezer. But I didn't. And the sample is precious. And star activity will ruin the experiment.

The age old question: is it worth it to run back to lab in the middle of the night (yes, 9:00 is the middle of the night for me these days) to save your experiment? In this case, because the sample took 5 days of prep, the answer was decidedly yes.

Age old sub-question: is it worth it to put on pants for said trip back to lab? In this case, because I am lazy, the answer was decidedly no.

So I hop in the car and head back to work. As I roll up to my building (a parking space even!), my stomach drops. The department has been hosting an evening seminar series on Wednesday nights which, if my calculations were correct, would currently be in the coffee and cookies phase in the lobby directly outside my lab. What better way to say I don't give a sh*t about this department then to walk through the seminar crowd in my pajamas? Awesome.

So I take the back stairs into the building and sneak into lab via 6 other labs. I remove my (possibly overdigested) samples from the incubator and sneak back out the way I came.

Now this tragedy of missed sleep and embarrassing pajamas could have all been avoided if I could just remember to finish my freakin' experiments. But it never fails. Whenever I have a long incubation and think I'll just take that out last thing before I leave, I always always forget.

I need some sort of, I don't know, timer or something. Oh wait, I have one of those. Clearly I need something else. Like a functional brain, or adequate amounts of sleep, but I'm not sure that working mothers can legally acquire either of those things.

Fine. I'll settle for an appropriately used post-it notepad and a total lack of faith in my ability to remember anything at all.

10 comments:

mama of the valley said...

That sounds straight out of a sitcom! Except in the sitcom no way would you have made it out w/o being spotted...

Isis the Scientist said...

My favorite part of this story has nothing to do with your experiment...its the fact that you mentally weighed the pros and cons of putting on pants. Genuis.

The bean-mom said...

Booo! What's with hosting regular Wed seminars at *night* anyway?! Ever heard of family time, department?

Reminds me of the infamous Saturday morning neuroscience seminars my grad school used to host. Of course, I was single then and didn't care so much...

Glad to hear you didn't get caught in your PJs! Hope the samples are okay!

Sherri said...

It's stories like this that make me appreciate the fact that I am a scientist but not a "lab" scientist. My experiments are computer simulations that don't need to be placed in the freezer.

ScientistMother said...

I hope the digest wasn't ruined, and really what is up with evening seminars???

EthidiumBromide said...

I once woke up at 3:30am and realized I left my protein samples sitting in a bucket of ice which, by morning, would no longer be a bucket of ice. Seeing as how my particular proteins degrade IF YOU LOOK AT THEM THE WRONG WAY, there was no way they would survive.

Seeing as how I don't own a car, and at this point in my graduate school career relied on taking the bus, which did not run at 3:30 in the morning, I got out of bed, put on pants (since it was cold out), and walked an hour and fifteen minutes into the lab at 3:30 in the morning to move the samples into 4C.

I have never forgotten to check the whereabouts of samples since.

Green Bean said...

Yup! No mother of a young child can get enough sleep OR have a brain that functions.

I can't believe you go to bed at 9pm though. I don't mean that in a bad way. More I mean what the hell am I doing up at 11pm wasting time when I should be sleeping. A 9pm bedtime might help with the bags under my eyes.

JaneB said...

I cycled to work in my PJs at 2am once to turn off a furnace that I'd left on. Wish I had been awake enough to have a pants-type discussion with myself, my coat kept my top half warm but I got some interesting chafing and very cold legs!

I now attach notes to my car keys if I have to do something right at the end of the day - I can't possibly leave without them!

Egg said...

It is currently 9:38 p.m. and I just realized that I still have a gel running. And I was so proud of myself for being in bed by 9:30.

Maggy said...

hey..that sounds familiar!!!although iam single....no hubby...mom stuff..lol!!
i do forget some times...as you do..i donna whether to call this absentmindedness..or just missing out some things when doing lot many things...
i guess you had a great time though..:)
lol!!