Sometimes it is nothing less than astounding how things can just fall into place perfectly so that everything works out for the best. It is no less astonishing when things fall into place in just the wrong way, thus making things harder than they have to be. I was half way home from Knoxville last week, sitting in the Atlanta airport waiting for my connecting flight, when I received a purchase order from a customer wanting a service call immediately. Yeah, that customer was in Knoxville. Had he come through with that PO just a couple of hours earlier, I could have changed my flights, stayed there, taken care of him immediately, and saved my company a fortune in travel costs. But no, that would have been too easy I s'pose, so yeah; Monday I was right back on a plane to Knoxville again.
I had fully intended to travel in my preferred fashion, but again things sort of conspired against it. My poor wife had been sick for the entire weekend and when Monday 3AM rolled around, I was pretty sure that I was coming down with it too. A sore throat and runny nose wasn't enough for me to call off the trip, but it was enough to change my mind about caking makeup onto my face in the hopes of convincing blind and deaf people that I really was a woman - nothing to see here - pay no attention to the man behind the curtain! I don't know if it was the vitamin C I had been slamming or what, but I apparently ducked the sick bullet because it never got any worse. Honestly, by the end of the day I was fairly irritated that I had not traveled as Kim, but I hadn’t been willing to risk spending the day wiping snot and makeup off of my nose.
Good news - I found another cache of records even better than the last batch that I had found here. Several Neil Diamonds, including "Hot August Night", two Simon and Garfunkel albums, Dusty Springfield, and even two Ray Conniffs for my stupid Conniffs collection! I hadn't really set out to collect all of his records but now it's a "thing", kind of like collecting coffee cups or shot glasses.
Part way through the service call my customer made a comment that he was not thrilled about how much it is costing him to keep his spectrometer running. It took a bit of effort to drag the story out of him, but it turns out that he had been bringing in a guy that my company fired a couple of years ago to work on his machine. We fired him because he was a thief and had no ethics, and he hasn't improved any since then. I've had seven different customers come back to us and they all tell the same story of how he had replaced almost every part in the instrument, and some parts several times. For a machine that rarely fails for anything other than the end of life of an onboard laser, this is astounding. Unless I miss my guess, this asshole is taking components from one customer, and installing them in the next customers instrument, and charging both for the pleasure. I've talked to my management until I'm blue in the face, because I really feel we owe it to our customers to warn them about this guy, but I'm told that it would be on shaky ground legally and ethically speaking.
Well, plane is landing so I've gotta pack it up and make the drive home from the airport. I'll be flying to Southern California tomorrow morning to attend my sister in laws funeral. I'm not looking forward to that. I'm still trying to decide if I will fly as close to pretty as I can get these days or not as I will be checking into my hotel before I see any of my family. Totally dreading the trip as only a month ago we all got together to cry over the death of my niece. We have a family reunion planned for July so that just once we can get together without a death as the driving factor. It's too bad that we scheduled it too late for two of us .. . .