I didn't write about my Pennsylvania adventure. F says that my blog is my memoirs (are my memoirs?) and if that's the case I'm not updating as much as I should.
I went to PA on Dec 21 and came back on the 23rd. The company that was going to buy the plant where I work has a plant there. They are starting to outfit a small laboratory but they have no employees with any kind of lab experience. Back when we looked like being bought, I had agreed to go up there when they got their gas chromatograph in so I could train them on it. Actually, chromatography done right takes quite a bit of training, but a day and a half spent on training to do just one thing on a GC certainly beats nothing. By the time my trip rolled around it was clear that the sale was off but I went anyway. The people were very nice and very appreciative of what I was doing for them. I was a bit trepidatious of traveling that close to Christmas, after several people told me I should be, but I had no trouble.
I happened to have some experience with the off-brand GC that they bought, and had had extensive conversations with the manufacturers. The method that they sell this thing for requires cool on-column injections. More expensive GCs have inlets with programmable temperatures so that during the run the high-boilers get onto the column and out of the injection port. Also, more expensive GCs can be set up to have constant flow, rather than constant pressure. This one comes with constant pressure as the default but you can adapt it so that the pressure is programmable, and I'd done that before back in Memphis when my former employer had one of these creatures. The advantage of constant flow is that the high-boilers get pushed off the column with every run, even though they still pile up in the injection port. So one of the things we did in PA was to set up their GC for programmable pressure, and I fixed their run program to use that. And we installed a guard column - I'd given them a list of things to have on hand when I got there - and discussed how to tell when the inlet was contaminated and how to do the front-end maintenance. But upon getting the calibration done I had to call the manufacturers and talk to one of the people I'd dealt with before. He remembered me very well and upon finding out what I was doing, asked if I am working full-time. They are located in California and could really use an installer/trainer on the East Coast. Probably couldn't keep me busy full-time right now but if my situation changes I am to call them. You know, I'd probably like that now that I don't have a small child at home.
And yesterday we took F shopping. This town has a very nice mall. She needed a coat, and asked about getting a pea coat. Apparently this is the thing right now - who knew? But it's cool because pea coats are very practical. Classic design that won't look dated next year. We looked in several of the stores with no dice, but this mall has a Burlington Coat Factory and there we had success. We used to shop at the BCF in Memphis. This one is a lot nicer. She had her choice of pea coats to pick from, and ended up with a very nice one, stadium length, not too fussy or detailed. It's simple enough to go with dressy outfits but will be fine with jeans.