Friday, 22 September 2017

09:07 – It was 59.9F (5.5C) when I took Colin out at 0630. It was still dark, and he immediately disappeared into the gloom. I walked up and down the road shouting for him, but he was nowhere to be seen. At 0700, I finally woke Barbara and told her Colin was gone. She walked around yelling for him for a few minutes, and finally got in her car to drive around looking for him. She finally spotted him in the back yard of a house a quarter mile or so (~400 meters) down US21. We both chastised him, telling him he was a Very Bad Dog, but I doubt that will have any lingering effect.

I just placed my first order for bulk laboratory supplies with Amazon Business yesterday. I wanted to find an alternative source for several items that we’ve been ordering from one of our four major wholesalers for the last eight years or so. They’ve always been a bit more expensive than most, but I liked the quality of their stuff, which was mostly made in India rather than China.

But in addition to having higher prices, typically 10% or 15% higher than competitors, they’ve also always had high shipping charges. And those have gotten even higher since we moved to Sparta. The last straw came a couple of weeks ago, when they shipped me a small order. It was a small box that weighed only four or five pounds (~ 2 kilos), and they charged me $40 to ship it, which was almost 40% of the cost of the items themselves. They could have shipped it USPS Priority Mail for a quarter or less of what they charged me.

So, among the items I needed to reorder yesterday were 24-well and 96-well well plates. Ordinarily, I’d order those both by the case of 500 each, but I decided to order them from Amazon Business instead. The actual item price was similar, even ordering in boxes of 50 rather than cases of 500, and 2-day shipping was included in the price. They’re to arrive tomorrow, and assuming the quality is acceptable (which I’m pretty sure it will be), I’ll be ordering those in bulk from Amazon Business from now on. Those and probably half a dozen or more other items, such as 15 mL and 50 mL centrifuge tubes, which we also order in multiple case lots.

Email yesterday from someone I at first thought was another newbie prepper, with the subject line, “What else do we need to do?” My answer, as it turned out, was “not much”. If anything, they’re already better-prepared than we are. They’re retired, in their mid-60’s, and live outside a small town in Tioga County in north-central Pennsylvania, whose demographics look a lot like ours. They’re stocked up big-time on food, and have backups to their backups for water, heating, electric power, and so on. They maintain a large garden and keep chickens. Their nearest Costco is about a two-hour drive, one-way. Their home is large enough to accommodate their three kids with their spouses and the grandkids, who live in the State College and Altoona areas and visit them frequently on holiday weekends. They’re friends with all of their neighbors, and are active in the community. I couldn’t think of anything to suggest that they haven’t already done.