Saturday, 29 March 2014

09:31 – Our current inventory of forensic kits is down to zero, so we’re building more today. I’d intended to build two dozen forensic chemical bags the other day, but I had enough of everything needed to build only 16. Still, even at the increased run rate on forensic kits 16 should hold us for at least a month, which gives me time to make up more chemicals.

My father used to do something that drove my mother absolutely nuts. If he was sitting at the kitchen table using, say, a jar of honey, he’d carefully balance the lid on top of the jar and give it about a sixteenth of a turn. Just enough so that if someone then picked up the jar by the lid, the lid would come off and the jar would go rolling away. He didn’t do it consciously, which is probably the reason my mother never assassinated him.

And I do something similar, but I’m the one that I end up annoying. When I empty a chemical bottle, instead of discarding it I carefully replace the lid (screwing it down completely) and set it aside. I think by keeping it I’m trying to remind myself to order more, but it never works out that way. Instead, I end up with a collection of empty bottles, which look exactly like full bottles.

So, yesterday I was making up two liters of Hucker’s crystal violet stain, which requires 20 g of crystal violet and 16 grams of ammonium oxalate. I had five-count-’em-five bottles of crystal violet in stock, sitting right there together on the shelf, exactly where they belonged. Four of them were 5 g bottles, and one 20 g. I thought I had enough to make up four liters. But when I started weighing out the crystal violet, I found that the 20 g bottle was partially used, with only 15+ g remaining. Three of the 5 g bottles were empty. Fortunately the fourth was still full, so I was able to make up the two liters with a bit to spare. So I just tossed those empty bottles in the trash, where they belong.

At least while I was making up the Hucker’s I solved the Mystery of the Missing 100 g Bottle of Eosin Y. There it was, in the Hucker’s bin. What it was doing there, I have no idea.