Today just kicked me in the face – Monday 13th June

Eurggh, today really hated me. It started with a delayed (only by 5mins) train and finished with a cancelled train. In between my mediocre labeling of -80 vials came back to bite me in the backside. Basically the whole day was out to get me and I wanted to hide under the desk from it all.

I arrived this morning at 9:30amafter the late train and a Monday morning swim. It was a slow start and I just waded through my inbox until about 10:30am. After that I dealt with some admin. For the last 1.5years I’ve been in charge of organising our lab meetings. This includes sending email reminders and putting together a rota that everyone is happy with. It’s not a huge task but with the current rota finishing next month it seemed like a good time to hand over to someone new. After sending a reminder for tomorrow’s meeting I forwarded all my documents and email list over to my chosen victim. From tomorrow the baton is passed and I’m in no longer in charge. I’ll also be speaking at tomorrow’s lab meeting so putting some slides together was another of my jobs for today.

Before the slides though I wanted to look at some sequences. I aligned some RNAseq BAM files to look for a transciptional start site and checked a whole genome sequence of a strain that’s behaving weirdly. I have a strain that should be worse than the wildtype in a particular assay, however the opposite seems to be true. We’ve recently sequenced the strain so I decided to dig a little deeper. But first lunch, at my desk unfortunately, between 12:30-1pm. It did give me a chance to catch up on Twitter though.

OK so digging into that strain showed me that it definitely wasn’t the strain I thought it was. My former Master’s student (who now works for a different PI in our lab) and I spent hours this afternoon trying to explain what had happened. After about 2hours, one of which was spent with our heads in the -80 freezer, we worked out what had happened. Two mutants, one he made and one I made, were given sequential strain numbers for our collection. He did me a favour and made stocks of my mutants as I had a Brilliant Club tutorial that day. The day was about 1 year ago and I HAVE NEVER loved my detailed lab book as much as I have today. I could search through both our lab books as well as my outlook calendar and work out what we were each doing and why I wasn’t in the lab that afternoon. Once we worked out he made stocks of both strains it was easier to work out what had happened. The strain I’d been working with wasn’t the strain I thought it was, so the strange assay result is completely explained. Unfortunately we can’t find the mutant he made (the one I need) anywhere in the -80. So in the course of today I lost one strain, gained one (I didn’t remember I’d made the strain I’d made) and while sorting this whole mess out, realised I was missing another. On top of that the WGS data showed me that the one I didn’t remember making isn’t correct anyway… Final score, mutant gods 3, Megan 0 😦 .

I vented my frustration on twitter (and by scoffing chocolate) so thank you to everyone who sympathised with my sorry state of affairs. After the mystery was finally solved, much needed chocolate had been eaten and a few hopeful freezer tubes plated out (I found the transformation for one of the 3 now missing strains, oh I love my hoarding ways), I finally sat down to put together my lab meeting slides at about 4:50pm. 

I finished my slides and left for the day at 6pm, although I wish I hadn’t – my train was cancelled 😦 and there’s only one an hour. Apparently the transport gods wanted to get in on the act today.

When I got home I went out in my garden for 20mins, I don’t want to sound loopy but I realised today that it genuinely brings me peace. In the garden I forget about my PhD stresses and my commuting nightmares. Instead I take pictures of my growing garden and the wildlife it attracts. I think I’ll finish on that positive note and leave you with some pictures I took today 🙂 , until tomorrow everyone, thanks for reading.

Ladybird on some of my wildflowers 🙂
Broad beans will be ready soon 🙂




2 thoughts on “Today just kicked me in the face – Monday 13th June

  1. i feel you pain but congrats to ploughing through the day it can only get better. I also love spending time in my garden, i find nothing more relaxing than coming home from a tough day of phding to have a look round my garden and see what is growing etc


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