Sunday, 17 February 2013

09:23 – Barbara and Frances called it quits last night. Frances stayed with their parents last night, but that was the final night. They’ve decided that their parents don’t need them there at night; their mom simply desperately wants them there 24 hours. Barbara and Frances are now convinced that their mom is simply acting out to make sure they won’t leave her alone with Dutch. Barbara’s friend Marcie cares for older people, and they’re hiring her to visit their parents as needed to help their parents during the day.

Even with everything that’s been going on, we’ve made progress on kit stuff. We now have everything needed to build another batch of 60 chemistry kits, and much of what we need for another batch of biology kits. Once we finish that, we’ll start labeling yet another batch of bottles for 60 chemistry kits, then bottles for biology kits again, and so on. My goal is to start the busy period in early July with components on hand that will allow us to quickly assemble at least 240 chemistry kits, 120 biology kits, 120 life science kits, and 60 forensics kits.

One thing I’d thought about but hadn’t fully realized the implications of is that our bin system is breaking down. It’s one thing to have bins, each with, say, 30 filled bottles of the chemical and another 30 labeled but unfilled bottles. It’s quite another to have to store, say, 120 filled bottles and another 120 unfilled. The current bins aren’t big enough, and there’s not enough shelf space to substitute bins four times the size. Same thing with storage for made-up solutions. Until now, I’ve been using a mixture of one- and two-liter bottles. I might, for example, have made up one liter of iodine solution, which is sufficient for about kit 30 bottles. Now I’m making the stuff up four liters at a time. And then there’s the matter of storing finished kits to await shipment. The current storage area has room for 60 kits, but certainly not four or five times that many.

That leaves two options, neither of which Barbara is crazy about. First, I could use the finished area downstairs. Second, I could park my Trooper outdoors, at the end of the drive, and build floor-to-ceiling shelves in the vacated area. On balance, given the level of sales I expect this year, I think we can make it through 2013 without any major changes. But if our growth rate continues, we’re probably going to have to rent space in 2014.


19 thoughts on “Sunday, 17 February 2013”

  1. I have been in the situation of having a garage for a car, then not having one, and I can say that the best thing you can do for a car’s body life is to have it garaged. I have a car right now that I bought from someone who had it garaged for its entire life. After less than a year of being garageless, the aging of the body is quite dramatic. I think it is the sun that does most of the damage, as the car was a dark moron maroon when I got it, and is now a light maroon. If your car has been garaged for most of its life, then expect some significant aging from storing it out in the elements.

  2. “Second, I could park my Trooper outdoors, at the end of the drive…”

    I agree with what Chuck said, and our winters are much milder than yours. I’d also like to ask “which end of the drive?” Not the street end I hope.

  3. Really? We have pretty mild winters. We often go two or three years without any snow accumulation.

    The street end would be the “top of the drive” in our case. The other end is the “end” or “bottom” of the drive.

  4. Our garages up here became filled with flotsam and jetsam and all kinds of crap in a matter of months after moving in; I don’t think we even had a whole month when a vehicle was parked inside. So our vehicles here have weathered outside for the past fifteen years, mostly. Now we don’t have a garage at all anyway so the weathering continues.

    Naturally the flotsam and jetsam begins to accumulate inside this house so OFD goes into RUTHLESS mode and junks it as fast as it appears. This is easier nowadays because darling Princess rarely comes back now and Mrs. OFD is now gonna be gone most of each month for the next few months, all over CONUS, due to business picking up quite a bit after several recent events that would tend to induce severe PTSD and the subsequent rush to get something done about it. This week, for example, she’s in Orlando. Next month it will be Colorado; Montpeculiar, Vermont; and Kalifornia. More trips coming in Las Vegas and Kalifornia and no letup in this for the foreseeable future.

    Ten degrees here today with the usual northern New England winter sunlight, that is to say, pretty minimal and dull, and below zero during the nights.

  5. One intermediate storage idea: steel shelf utility carts. Sort of like these: http://www.globalindustrial.com/g/material-handling/trucks-carts/steel-shelf-carts/steel-stock-utility-carts-most-popular

    The idea is you can keep them loaded as mobile storage and house them wherever is convenient (garage, even in the furnished extra room) but wheel them out when you need to reorganize or use the room. The big extra bonus is you can coordinate your supplies so that each cart has the supplies for one related set of work.. today is Forensic Liquids day? Wheel the forensics liquid cart up to your bench and all those supplies are next to you.

  6. It is not just winters outside that degrades cars. Most of the damage to mine has occurred in the summer sunshine—this past summer drought and heat having lightened the color quite noticeably over last year. I have no shade at all under which to park, so it is always in the sun. Also, the paint is beginning to crack around door knobs and various trim elements on the side of the car that faces south. This paint degradation only started after I bought the car and have, of necessity, kept it always outside. The paint job looked brand-new while it was garaged. I do think winter salt and chemical stuff that hits the undercarriage and freezes stuck there, allows more damage to be done than if it were in a semi-heated garage where that stuff would melt and drip off.

    We are in one of those always below freezing periods right now, with a slushy mix due later in the week.

  7. RBT wrote:

    ‘Really? We have pretty mild winters. We often go two or three years without any snow accumulation.’

    We have a light splattering of snow every 2-3 years. I guess that it snows somewhere in Canberra every year, mainly July-August. Sometimes it melts on contact. On our coldest days the overnight minimum is about -8 C and the daily maximum 3-5 C.

    It’s pretty hot down here. I never even saw snow ’till I moved to Canberra in 1980, and was never actually in snow (as opposed to seeing it falling outside the window) until I visited Switzerland in 1995. That was on the Matterhorn in July.

    There is a mountain range just west of Canberra that has snow covered peaks every winter, but I’m as interested in snow as you are in Windows 8.

    From the way you describe the weather there, and the pictures I’ve seen, I think your weather is much more destructive than ours.

    ‘The street end would be the “top of the drive” in our case. The other end is the “end” or “bottom” of the drive.’

    Hm, the point I was making is that leaving cars on the street, or in the driveway near the street, can be an invitation to vandalism. Back in the early Nineties cars in my sister’s street, in one of the better suburbs of Adelaide, were vandalised in the early morning. Their cars weren’t, because they were well up the driveway, so the punks sprayed “Gay House” on my sister’s front fence. I’ve only been subjected to minor acts of vandalism: an egg broken over my mail box and another egg broken on a window fly screen and the egg yolk worked into the screen so I had to take the screen off the window and wash it. About 10 years ago my car was vandalised near work, but nothing much has ever happened at home. But then I always park in the car port as far away from the street as I can.

  8. Chuck wrote:

    “It is not just winters outside that degrades cars. Most of the damage to mine has occurred in the summer sunshine—this past summer drought and heat having lightened the color quite noticeably over last year.”

    In 1984 I had to have my (four year old) car resprayed, and the vinyl roof replaced due to the effects of sun and heat. I didn’t bother after that, in 1985 I bought a house with a carport and the roof stayed good. I do notice that stickers on windows will fade very noticeably after even short periods in the sun.

  9. OFD wrote:

    “Naturally the flotsam and jetsam begins to accumulate inside this house so OFD goes into RUTHLESS mode and junks it as fast as it appears. This is easier nowadays because darling Princess rarely comes back now…”

    Why don’t you junk EVERYTHING. They’ll love you for it. You could build on a garage?

    Regarding Princess, have you had the locks rekeyed yet? 🙂

  10. Greg, your car wasn’t necessarily damaged solely by the Sun. I mean, sure it was damaged by the Sun, but the fault was the crappy clear-coat paint all car manufacturers used in the early 80’s until the mid 90s over most of the colors of cars. The clear coat would flake off in chunks. Some colors didn’t require clear coats. Red and White cars were rarely clear-coated and survived. Lots didn’t.

    The vinyl roof was just poor judgement!

    You can park your car safely in most areas of Canada. There will always be the risk of a break-in, but you get those in underground garages, as well as the street. We don’t have gangs of hooligans going around drunk on Fosters beating on cars in Canada.

    Well, other than hockey fans, but they act like that playing the game.

  11. The car in question was red. I don’t remember what exactly was wrong with the paintwork after four years, but it had to be done or it would have rusted to death.

    You’re right about the vinyl roof, of course. A very bad, never to be repeated error of judgement.

    Back in about 1990 I mentioned to a friend that I was taking this car to Sydney (the car theft capital of Australia) for the weekend and would be parking it in the street near my hotel. I expressed concern that it might be stolen. My friend said “But you’ve got a Sigma, with a vinyl roof! You could leave the keys in it!” Ouch.

  12. That leaves two options, neither of which Barbara is crazy about. First, I could use the finished area downstairs. Second, I could park my Trooper outdoors, at the end of the drive, and build floor-to-ceiling shelves in the vacated area. On balance, given the level of sales I expect this year, I think we can make it through 2013 without any major changes. But if our growth rate continues, we’re probably going to have to rent space in 2014.

    What about a storage shed in the back yard? You probably can’t store liquids in it in winter. But you could store empty bottles in it year round, and might be able to store finished goods during the summer if it doesn’t get too hot. It beats a rented space because there’s only a one time cost for purchase, and it’s on site.

  13. I’ve thought about both utility carts, which really don’t buy me much, and a storage shed. I think we’ll just muddle through for now, though.

    Barbara and I had been talking about relocating after she retires, maybe up to the Montana/Alberta border. She loves that area, but I suggested an alternative the other day: the mountains around the Tennessee/North Carolina border up near the Blue Ridge Parkway. She loves that area even more, and Tennessee has no state income tax, at least so far.

    She really likes her job, and says she doesn’t want to retire anytime soon. I’m guessing it’ll be at least five years and possibly ten. We’ll probably start looking for a place well before then, and we may buy it before she retires and just use it as a weekend/vacation home until she retires. I’d prefer a property with a decent-size house/cabin, all on one level with basement and a good-size outbuilding that we use for business. If necessary, we could build one or both, but I don’t want to buy anything until we can pay cash.

  14. Those are good ideas, Bob; I just hope you have enough time to see them through, in light of The Ongoing Situation. The closer location is probably more doable as a weekend/vacation place and eventual retirement spot, with a longer growing season than the other one. But it’s also pretty close, like us up here, to the Sprawl. And you’d have to get used to long cold winters again out in Montana/Alberta and I would reckon just a harder life on what may become a frontier again.

    Good to be thinking along those lines, though. We’re sticking where we are, come hell or high water, but also have a 12-hour shot by cah to the northern New Brunswick coast, if need be.

  15. Oh, I think we’ll be fine. I don’t expect the level of EOC breakdown that you do, more just the dystopian slide I’ve mentioned. I suppose masses of refugees are remotely possible at some point, but I wouldn’t expect many of them to make it up into the Blue Ridge mountains, or to last long if they did. There are a lot of Good Old Southern Boys up there, a lot of choke points, and the firearms/person ratio is probably three times the average. And, if it comes to that, I know how to take down bridges.

  16. Tennessee has no state income tax, at least so far.

    Well, yes and no. There is the Hall Tax of which I am unhappily again this year a victim to the tune of a couple hundred dollars. The first $2,500 of dividend and interest income is not taxed, but anything beyond $2,500 unless it comes from a credit union or online only bank, will get taxed. It is a tax that penalizes those that try and live off dividends and interest. Basically those that have saved money, or are trying to save money.

    There is no income tax on salary.

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