a little unexpected time

When last I left you, it was 9pm on Monday night and I was just laying down for a short Winter’s nap.

9pm is kinda early, and I’d had a full night’s sleep on Sunday, so it took me until  10 to finally nod off. My rep called me at 12:30 to come back in to view a cover, but by the time I got myself dressed and down to the plant, the press had gone down. But they’d be back up in 20 minutes. In pressman time, that means 40 minutes; still not long enough to nap. Time passed and that press wasn’t coming back up. I paced around the customer lounge until another press was ready with a different form, at 2:45.

It was while I was working on the 2:45 form that we found out what was happening with the cover. First, the pressmen thought they had some bad rollers. After swapping those out and getting similarly poor results, they realized it might be the paper. So they flipped the roll around… which confirmed that the paper was the culprit. What had been streaking on one side of the sheet was now streaking on the other. Some samples torn from a “good” roll and a “bad” roll showed how obvious the issue was: not only was the “bad” paper not the same brightness, but it felt… peculiar. Almost waxy. Like butcher paper. The foreman went and checked serial numbers, and it looked like 28 of our 30 rolls of cover stock were from the same waxy batch. When we finished the check, my rep started to make phone calls, but at 3am it’s kinda tough to get a hold of anybody.

Back to the hotel around 4, and back to bed. Dreamt of paper.

The next call was at 5:30, and this one was pretty close to target. I didn’t have to request a lot of moves, and I was asleep again by 7. Carol called at 7:30. I really don’t know how much clearer I can state this: DO. NOT. CALL. ME. ON. PRESS. CHECKS. Oh, my house is on fire? TOO BAD. There’s nothing I can do about it from here. Send me an email. To make matters worse, I didn’t have the phone number that she was looking for anyway.

Back to sleep, just in time for an 8am call. By this time, more people were involved with the funky paper situation. The plant’s paper buyer was in the office, weary and bedraggled looking, but he had already wisely called the EAST coast paper manufacturer’s offices, knowing that they’d be in the office an hour before anyone else. We had a new glimmer of hope, now: the paper we had was made on two different days, a week apart. So there was a very good chance that half of the “bad” paper might actually be okay to use. The schedulers had already taken our plates offline, but a Nordstrom print job was going to splice one of our rolls in to test. As my rep and I were walking off the press floor, I could hear the sirens that indicate a splice is happening.

By the time we’d walked to the other end of the plant, my rep got the call telling us that no, the potentially good paper was also bad. He made more phone calls, and we went to lunch.

Plug here for The Sawmill Inn. Always good food, always friendly service. Very important: they know how to keep a coffee cup filled. If you’re there for breakfast, make sure you order some locally-smoked Nueske’s bacon.

We got back to the plant in time for one more check, and some more discussion about the paper situation. If half of the batch was good, then we could have run the first set of covers, buying us time to get more paper in for the later-dated catalogs. Since that wasn’t the case, our options became:

  1. change paper to something similar that the plant currently has available
  2. get new paper delivered ASAP from the manufacturer
  3. get new paper produced and delivered  from the manufacturer

Option three wouldn’t get paper to the plant until the 26th, which would mean missing our in-home date by about two weeks. That would be very, very bad. The best option for me, personally, is number one. That way, I can keep going with a slightly altered schedule and still hopefully make my flight out of here. But, with our FSC certification, we need to be verrrrrry careful about what we switch to.

Right now, my big concern is taking a shower. It’s been too long since I’ve had a chance, and I have this unexpected window of opportunity because my next call isn’t estimated for another hour and a half.

For anyone trying to keep track, I’ve accumulated nearly 5 hours of scattered sleep. Not bad, actually.

Did I mention the six or so inches of heavy, wet snow that’s fallen so far today? Another excellent reason to stay at the closer hotel.

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