Tuesday, 5 March 2013

07:40 – Barbara is leaving work at 1:00 p.m. today to drive to Thomasville to bring her mom home from the hospital. Everyone is keeping their fingers crossed, because this really is Sankie’s last chance. If she starts acting paranoid and delusional again, Barbara and Frances will have no choice but to move Sankie permanently to a facility that’s equipped to deal with such problems.

Barbara is adamant that it’s sink or swim time. She won’t stay over at her parents’ place tonight. Her mom has to settle in and behave normally. There’s no other option, unless her mother wants to be separated from Dutch and live in a different facility.


08:44 – It’s interesting how my attitude about inventory levels has changed. I just checked status on the items that I need to build more chemistry and biology kits. Among the items included in both kits are polypropylene beakers. The biology kits include one each of the 50, 100, and 250 mL PP beakers. The chemistry kits include two each of the 50 and 100 mL PP beakers. I currently have 79 of the 50’s, 59 of the 100’s, and 73 of the 250’s in stock. Not all that long ago, those would have been reasonably comfortable numbers. I’d have been thinking about reordering, but not urgently. Now, it’s panic reorder time. Less than 30 chemistry kits’ worth in stock. So I just did a purchase order for 600 each of the 50 and 100 mL beakers and 180 of the 250’s. Not to mention 400 Petri dishes.


10:40 – How could I have forgotten to mention this? In the past, the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television has had two separate award tracks, the Canadian equivalent of the Oscars for cinema and the Emmys for television. This year, for the first time, they consolidated the two and created the new Canada’s Screen Star award. And the first-ever winner of the Canada’s Screen Star award is, you guessed it, Amber Marshall, the star of Heartland.

By the time I’d watched the first five minutes of the first episode, I knew that Amber was something very special. She is a stunningly good actress, effortlessly assuming the complex personality of her character, Amy Fleming, a mixture of vulnerability, determination, courage, insecurity, and above all a love for animals. Or perhaps she’s not acting. She’s said that her role on Heartland is her dream job, combining her love of acting and her love of animals. Amber may just be playing herself. In either case, she’s well worth watching.


11:40 – Geez. Barbara called about 11:00 from her cell phone to say she’d left work earlier than expected because her dad was bleeding badly from his leg. She called back a few minutes ago to say she was over there and it was no big deal. Her dad had been attempting to change the bandage on his leg wound, and called her to say it was bleeding badly. As it turns out, he scratched his leg in a different place and it started bleeding. All it needed was a band-aid. As Barbara said, her parents may survive all this, but she doesn’t think she will. She’s going to have lunch with her dad, head over to pick up her mom from the hospital, bring them home and get them settled, and then come home. She can’t take much more of this. She’s already taken more than anyone should have to. I’m going to suggest to Barbara that from this point forward if her parents have any kind of medical emergency, they call 911, period. The hospital can contact Barbara and Frances, if necessary. Barbara and Frances simply can’t continue to be on-call 24 hours and go rushing over there every time something happens. It’d be one thing if Dutch and Sankie could be trusted to call them only for real emergencies, but obviously neither of them can be trusted to know what is and isn’t worth calling Barbara and Frances out for.


13:57 – I’m apparently sucking some of my wholesalers dry on some items. I tried to order 600 each of the 50 mL and 100 mL PP beakers this morning and found that they were backordered. The good news is that they have another shipment coming in on 29 March. The bad news is that that shipment is only for 3,600 each, so I’m claiming a sixth of what they’ll have available until late April. Same deal on the Petri dishes. I intended to order 400 of them, but the vendor had only 360 in stock and no outstanding order with their supplier for more. So for at least a couple of months, they’re going to be out of stock on those Petri dishes. Same deal on the prepared slides I ordered for the SK01 slide sets. I took all they had, leaving them with just a few leftover miscellaneous ones. And UPS showed up a few minutes ago with an order from one of our chemical suppliers. I got most of what I ordered from them, with the exception of 3.5 liters of glacial acetic acid and half a kilo of lead acetate.

We’ve had minor issues with backordered items in the past, but with only one or two exceptions we were able either to second-source the item or substitute for it. But as our volume ramps up, I can foresee that managing backorders is going to become more of an issue, particularly for items that I can’t second-source or substitute for. One good example is the stainless-steel micro-spatulas that are in all of our kits. Last month I ordered 400 of those and found that there were only 100 available. We can’t second-source them because no one else I can find carries that exact spatula, and we can’t substitute for them because the instructions for the science kits sometimes say to use x number of rounded spatula spoons or whatever. So, when the vendor told me that 300 spatulas were back-ordered until mid-April, I told them to boost that back-order from 300 to 700 units. That ties up some working capital, but that’s a better option than running dry in our busy season.