Saturday, 18 May 2013

09:41 – Barbara’s mom seems to be doing pretty well. Last night was the first she’d spent alone since she got out of the hospital. Barbara and Frances are arranging to have someone come in for a couple hours three or four times a week to help her with laundry, cleaning, and so on. But they’ve made it completely clear to Sankie that she’s going to have to make it on her own. No more having someone with her 24 hours a day. Unfortunately, Dutch isn’t doing well at all. I cringe every time the phone rings.

We’re hoping that today will be a relatively ordinary day. Barbara is out cutting the grass right now, and I’m doing laundry. She’s going to go over to visit her dad this afternoon. I’ll go with her if she wants me to. Visiting Dutch isn’t easy for me and of course is even harder for Barbara. The last two or three days when I visited, he just sat there unresponsive most of the time. When he did speak, I couldn’t understand most of what he said and I got no sense that he understood anything I said. Frances and Sankie visited Dutch last night. Barbara talked later to Frances, who said that Dutch was so deeply asleep when they arrived that they couldn’t wake him. When they did, he was talking nonsense for a while, but he did eventually start talking and acting normally for a while at least. I told Barbara that that reminded me of my father toward the end. He was generally non-responsive, but when my brother drove over from Raleigh to visit, my dad would intentionally try to act and speak normally and would tell my brother that he was fine. As soon as my brother left, my dad would immediately drop back into his non-responsive state. Dutch is behaving the same way, telling people that he’s not ill and that he’s going to get his strength back and return to live with Sankie at Creekside. Obviously, that’s not going to happen, but I think Dutch actually believes it will.

13:50 – Barbara is out running errands and visiting her dad. I’m finishing up the laundry, printing container labels, and putting together purchase orders.

We’re down to about 4,000 bottles in stock. With about 1,800, we’re in good shape on the 30 mL wide-mouth pharma packers, because we don’t use them in large numbers. Depending on the mix of kits, 1,800 is enough for something in the range of 350 to 600 kits. We also have 1,000 or so of the 30 mL amber glass bottles on hand, which again we use in relative small numbers. But we have only 1,100 of the 15 mL PE bottles, which we use in very large numbers, and we’re completely out of the 30 mL PE bottles, which we use in numbers about half as large as the 15 mL ones. So I’m cutting a PO for 4,400 more of the 15 mL and 3,000 of the 30 mL, along with caps for them.

It’s time to stop screwing around with making up only enough for 30 or 60 sets of chemicals or small parts bags. Other than chemicals with relatively short expiration dates (such as the Kastle-Meyer reagent in the forensics kits), we’re going to start making up stuff in batches sufficient for 90 to 180 kits at a crack.

That also means I’m using some different suppliers. For example, until now, I’ve been buying multiple bottles of methylene blue stain from one of our regular suppliers. That vendor carries only 10 g bottles, which is sufficient to make up one liter per bottle of stain powder. So this time I’m going with a vendor that carries methylene blue stain in 100 g bottles. That’s sufficient for 10 liters, or 667 kits’ worth. I may make up only four liters at a time, but at least I won’t have to keep track of how many small bottles of the stain I have on hand.