To read about F's and my London trip, start here and click "newer post" to continue the story.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

...And now Molly has a cold. She has sneezing fits in which she sounds like a hydraulic piston. This has been going on for a few days, so R's going to call the vet tomorrow to see if they think she needs an antibiotic. It nevernever ends.

R took the car for a brake job and it needed a new master cylinder - they showed him and he agreed that it must be had. The car will be paid off in June so if it needs things here and there I suppose it can have them. Beats a new car note, for sure.

Work: I have to send back my three-week-old UV/Vis spectrophotometer because it doesn't want to complete the self-calibration when I turn it on. I have to turn it off and on several times before it will, which isn't normal. We (I and the people I bought it from) have done all we could but it won't be fixed. They were very nice, apologized for my trouble and thanked me for trying to work through the problem. They think the main board must have been hit by static. I reckon I will put a surge protector on the outlet before I plug the new one in, which is all I probably will be able to do by way of power conditioning. R will give me his tester so I can make sure the outlet is grounded properly. The unit was probably like that before I got it but one does what one can.

And I've been thinking, job-wise, trying to remember when I turned the corner to know more about my job than my boss. It must have been back around 1990. I had a period of time since then when I worked for a person with an MS in analytical chemistry, and have no doubt that he could have picked up what I did very quickly; and I had a couple of supervisors at that place who surely could have. But my boss now is an engineer and he has to trust me, that I know what I'm doing in the laboratory. I try to be very transparent and explain everything, show him chromatograms and calculations and control charts and all, in case he develops any doubts as to my competence, but it's not his thing. It is a funny feeling, not to have anybody to really ask about stuff - it's me or nobody. Mostly I think I am up to it. I am going to have to watch it about not letting my career path stagnate.

I have to say that I am really spoiled to doing things my way and not having a boss in the laboratory. I don't think I could go back to that very easily. I needed a way to measure lamp intensity on that spectrophotometer, since the method I'm running doesn't have calibration standards. I pecked around on the internet and discovered that EDTA absorbs at 240 nm, which is the wavelength I am using. There was some on the shelf, for some reason, so I randomly made a 1% solution in deionized water and read the absorbance, it turned out to be about 0.6 which is a good usable number, and I subsequently made up 1000 mL to use for a control. I'll measure it every time I have samples to run, and plot the absorbance of the EDTA solution on a chart, so that I can see how the lamp is holding up. Will the solution be stable? I suppose I'll find out. And I can think this is cool beans, and at this point that's really enough. I suppose Maslow would say I am self-actualized.


Anonymous said...

I don't know if antibiotics are necessarily the cure. I couldn't trust most of them given that they destroy the good bacteria more than the bad in humans alone. Good luck with the cat. By the way, I see you have two cats. My parents have one themselves although it was an abandoned one and he's more of an outdoor cat than an indoor. How are both cats of your getting along?

Laura(southernxyl) said...

They're getting along fine, thanks for asking. Molly's over her cold.

They had a couple of shoving matches after the tomcat died. I think Molly thought she was going to be the dominant kitty, and nice as Bonnie is, she didn't fee like letting that little whipper-snapper have the upper hand. They've worked it out now, they chase each other around the house with their tails up, lounge comfortable side-by-side on the bed, and so forth.