my mother asked me to help out at the cafe today but i already made plans to do a day of gardening. at 10am i biked down to my parents' place to pick up the car and grab some materials: 5ft u-posts, leftover bag of organic miracle-gro potting soil, mallet. i drove back to my place, where i loaded up my seedlings, grow bags, plastic trellis netting, parking permit, and new garden tool set (trowel and cultivator).
i got to the community garden by 11:20am. i spent the next 3 hours terraforming my plot. i tilled the soil and got rid of all the wild sedum, mint, grass, and some other random plants. i also pulled up the money plants, there flowers were mostly spent already, and if i wanted more there's plenty in my parents' backyard. i pulled up the old posts and wire trellis, and installed new 5ft tall u-posts. not only did i install my trellises vertically, but i also realigned my grow bags so they were vertical as well, allowing me to further extend the trellis by 1-1/2 ft. i hooked the plastic trellis netting onto the posts. it's supposed to be 5x60ft, but they were more like 7-8ft tall. they're not the best trellis material - especially after having used wire trellises - but they were sturdy enough and seem like they could last a few seasons, despite being delicate looking.
i added composted manure to the grow bags - 5 preexisting, 2 new - and filled the new grow bags with potting soil. i had just enough to fill them up. i relocated a stripe mallow and a foxglove to the eastern side of my plot, the side that gets the least amount of sun. finally i planted my seedlings, which were already starting to wilt from being out in the hot sun for so long. 2 tomatoes, 2 pingtung eggplants, 1 ground cherry, 2 hyacinth beans, 2 white bitter melons, 2 long beans, 2 buttercup squashes. i also planted 3 peppers into a single 10 gallon grow bag: 2 purple serrano and 1 thai hot. i didn't plant the habanero though, it'll either live in the ground or i find a pot for it. i also left a grow bag empty - future home for a cherry tomato (still germinating in my grow closet) - and enough empty space to add another bitter melon or two.
anne came to the garden in the afternoon. she asked if she could have some bitter melon seeds. i told her i could give her a melon seedling (i have 8 currently in my grow closet).
i finally left by 2:15pm, stopping at my house first to drop off a tray of leftover sedum groundcover, then driving back to belmont to drop off the car. i then biked back to cambridge, stopping by the cafe around 3pm. my godmother was there. my original plan was to finish up with gardening and still have time to help out at the cafe, but by the time i arrived they didn't need my help another, the busy hours already over. i still made myself useful, cooking up 15 more tea eggs, before leaving around 3:45pm.
i hadn't eaten all day and only drank a diet raspberry snapple at the cafe. i took a shower and when i weighed myself afterwards, i'd already lost 3 lbs. from sweating. i warmed up a few frozen soft pretzels in the oven.
while in the backyard watering my seedlings, don asked me if i wanted some porcelain pots. these were beautiful blue and white china style pots with no drainage holes, designed for holding potted plants. i moved back inside the grow closet the large tray of flower seedlings. some of germinated, but they don't get enough sun sitting on my backyard porch, and i can protect them better when they're indoors. i also added to the grow closet my thai basil, because they get more light indoors.
for dinner i made some french bread pizza with a leftover baguette. the bread had already turned rock hard, but i rinsed it in the sink and covered it up with tin foil before throwing it in the 300 degrees oven for about 12 minutes to steam soften it. afterwards i worked with it like normal bread. i ate while watching game 1 between the dallas mavericks and golden state warriors. warriors beat the mavs resoundingly, they were up as much as 30+ points; they did to dallas what dallas did to phoenix. celtics have their game 2 tomorrow night.
somebody threw a large tree branch in front of my house this morning. it wasn't hard to figure out who did it using my street-facing webcam. at first i saw the street sweeper come by and pick up the branch and place it against the sidewalk tree. however, the branch itself wasn't from the locust tree. i skipped back some more and found out the real culprit: it was the lesbian from across the street. for some reason early this morning she dragged the branch which wasn't even in her yard but belonged to a neighbor and tossed it in front of my house onto the street. not even sure why she did that, and i almost wanted to throw the large branch back, but decided to be the better man. i do have a long memory though and i won't soon forget.
fortunately the branch were small enough that i could tear and break them down panda-style to smaller sizes and toss them out in the garden refuse bin. but still, kind of a dick move. while i was out doing that, i also decided to sweep all the oak catkins covering the backyard and alleyway. i hope this doesn't mean we're heading for a mast year again and the backyard will be covered in acorns come fall.
i wanted to set up my garden today but after that bit of morning drama and making an egg & kielbasa bagel sandwich for lunch, the weather went from sunny to grey. so i decided to do it tomorrow instead. i did go through the house and open as many windows as possible, as it was a bit stuffy and warm inside, but much cooler outside. there was a strong breeze which helped with the circulation. i put in my screen door, which i took off during the winter (so i can get more light for my houseplants) and put away in the basement.
i spent a good chunk of the day retroactively updating past blog posts with photos. i've been sort of neglectful of that for well over a month now.
in the afternoon i went down to walgreens to pick up my prescriptions. i'm now back to 90-day supplies again. for a few years my insurance didn't allow this, so i had to go to the pharmacy a few times a month, because i have three prescriptions all with different refill dates. this also bodes well if i ever go on a long vacation, i can have a 3-month supply of my high blood pressure medication.
while i was at walgreens, i asked about about free home covid tests. the pharmacist told me i can get 8 tests per month (which amounts to 4 boxes) for free, since most insurance will pay for it (this is on top of the 8 tests i can get from the federal government, which today announced each household can receive a 3rd round of free tests, which i signed up for this morning). so i grabbed my 4 boxes (binaxNOW, which normally costs $24/box) and went back in line to get my free tests. after "paying" (i went through all the same steps even though the tests were free), the pharmacist took the tests and said it'd be a few minutes before they were ready. ready? what, were they injecting them with covid-detection magic? i didn't understand what was going on but i waited. i ended up being at walgreens for over 20 minutes and my patience ran out so i went back and asked them when they'd be ready. i ended up waiting a few more minutes before they finally called my name. turns out the reason wasn't because they were "charging" the covid tests, but rather the pharmacist had to get in touch with my insurance company by phone and fill out all the paperwork before i can get the tests for free.
i quickly raced home, because i needed to be at the cafe by 4:30pm, so i can go with my father to pick up my 2nd aunt, who was coming back from taiwan via san francisco. i left the house by 4:20pm, pedalling my bike as fast i could, getting to the cafe in 7 minutes.
it was a bad time to be going to the airport, in the heart of rush hour. we were hoping since we were going inbound that there wouldn't be much traffic until we left the airport, but as soon as we got onto the turnpike from cambridge, it was bumper to bumper congestion all the way to fenway park. at first i thought it was because of the baseball game later in the evening, but turns out there was a medical emergency in the middle lane by the fenway, which caused the traffic jam. after we got beyond that, there was fewer cars, and once we turned off the exit to logan airport, it was almost empty.
however as soon as we got to the airport, traffic turned to a snarl again. it didn't help that my 2nd aunt's flight arrived nearly 30 minutes early, so she already called to let us know she was at the airport when we first got onto the turnpike. as we entered the airport, she called again, said she'd already retrieved her suitcases. we told her to wait outside and we'd find her when we got to terminal B (united). the main reason traffic at the airport was a mess was because they were redoing the lanes, which caused us to miss terminal B so we had to circle back and try again. the congestion was all at the merge splitting into the various terminals; once we got beyond that, traffic was light. my father parked at the pickup spot while i jumped out of the car and went in search of my aunt. i found her and helped her drag her suitcases to the car.
the ride back was a bit better. there was a lot of traffic, but at least we were moving, only getting stuck at the merge into the sumner tunnel, and the entrance to storrow drive. once we were on storrow, it was pretty fast. we had to stop briefly at the cafe because my father forgot to bring my aunt's housekeys (which she left behind, in case we needed to get into her apartment). he was going to pull into the parking lot, but i jumped out of the car once again, ran into the cafe to grab the key, and got back in the car right when the light changed to green, about 20 seconds.
after dropping off my 2nd aunt at her place, we swung back to the cafe, which was about to close for the day. we ended up eating dinner there, my mother had some chicken broth heating and we all ate chicken noodle soup.
i made it back home by 7pm, got ready for game 1 between the celtics and heat. the game didn't start until after 8:30pm. the celtics were firing on all cylinders in the first half, despite missing marcus smart (foot injury) and al horford (covid protocol). i'm actually surprised they'll still testing players, i thought the the NBA decided not to do that during the playoffs, as they couldn't afford to lose a star player if they had to be out for quarantine. in the second half however, boston sort of fell apart for some strange reason, as the heat totally dominated, seemingly able to steal balls at will, while the celtics couldn't score anymore. nevertheless, even short-handed, the celtics were within striking distance, and were just a few possessions shy of tying the game in the final minutes. as is tradition, i'm going to avoid all sports shows from now until thursday night, when game 2 begins.
i started my morning with a check of my seedlings on the backyard porch. the neighbor's large oak tree is currently shedding catkins and my plants were buried in them. i'm hoping to move my plants this week to the community garden. i did some math, trying to figure out how many grow bags i need. i currently have 5 existing grow bags in my garden, but i need at least one more: 2 regular tomatoes, 1 cherry tomatoes, 2 eggplants, 1 ground cherry. i probably also need another bag to grow 4 small hot pepper plants.
i left for belmont by 10:45am. it was another warm day, warm enough for shorts again. it was also still very windy. once i arrived, i told my father we needed to go to home depot and ocean state job lot (OSJL). we left by noontime, going to home depot first. i realized in the car that everything i needed to get there i could probably find at OSJL and cheaper. i figured i'd hold on to the receipt just in case. but apparently my father wanted to check out some wires and nuts for the battery project so it wasn't all in vain. i got 3 packs of jiffy pots (3" 15 pots each, $2.48/pack) and a flex-a-spout extension ($9).
to get to OSJL, we went a way we've never gone before, essentially following the southern shore of the charles river all the way west into waltham. what's great about this way is not only is it fast, but there were hardly any traffic lights, just a very nice ride.
at OSJL we were looking for shepherd's hooks. they said they had them online, but when we got to the store, the shelves were empty. i even went to customer service to inquire. the woman checked their inventory and said they should have 7 in stock, but they might still be in the warehouse, and there wasn't anyone to take them out. i just might try the medford OSJL later in the week. we just might need to make a trip down there anyway, to replenish our chinese sausage supply from bianco and sons.
we left OSJL empty-handed, but we did go next door and get two subway subs. this store doesn't take coupons, so we paid the full price, which is about $10 for a foot-long sandwich. we got teriyaki onion chicken and their new teriyaki onion steak. the store's been there for a while, but the owners looked new, and they were a little slow with the order, like they were still figuring things out. i noticed on their back counter 3 different delivery apps running off of three different tablets: doordash, uber eats, and grubhub. the grubhub looked especially familiar since that's the same one we have.
we got back home by 1:45pm. my door was literally waiting at the door for her sandwich. she shared the teriyaki steak with my father while i ate the whole teriyaki chicken.
while my father went to go take a nap, i was busy in the backyard filling up the 45 jiffy pots with organic miracle-gro potting soil and soaking them in water. i felted some itchiness on my ankle that i thought was just dry skin but when i looked down it was a mosquito. are they back already? made me want to go back to wearing pants again. later my father came out to help me dig out the fattest ground cherry seedlings from RB4 and transplant them into the jiffy pots. once these a little bigger, we'll give them away for free for cafe customers.
later we tilled RB4 and planted the following: 2 tomatoes, 3 eggplants, and 4 hot peppers. i made sure these newly planted seedlings as well as the ones from yesterday were well protected from rabbits and other critters looking to make a meal of them.
we repotted 2 plants: a jasmine and the fudingzhu osmanthus. the jasmine was in a pot that was disintegrating, we moved it into one of the larger heavy duty pots i found a few days ago. i filled the bottom with some grass/leave compost and the rest with cambridge city compost. as for the osmanthus, this was either the 3rd or 4th time we repotted. my father went with an all-compost medium this time, but when he watered it afterwards, it didn't seem to be draining that well, even though the compost itself seemed very good at draining. we also planted a single ground cherry plant in a heavy duty pot, half grass/leave compost, half city compost. that one seemed to drain better, maybe a mulch/compost bottom is the way to go?
my mother hasn't cooked at all since returning from taiwan (other than the wonton soup yesterday), relying on my father instead. tonight he stir-fried some swiss chard i bought last week and cooked up some smoked kielbasa sausages. we've never had swiss chard before, always seen it at super markets and thought it looked pretty with its red-orange-yellow stems. the ones we cooked up had mostly red stems, and the juice was red as well. it reminded me of beets, and it tasted like beets as well, had that earthy flavor. it didn't surprise me that chards and beets are in the same family, and chards are also called leafy beets. supposed swiss chards have a bitter taste when eaten raw but loses it after cooking.
i left by 7pm, with a potential rainstorm heading our way. it did eventually rain a bit later, but not enough to affect the rain barrels, as only 0.08" of rain fell. it looks to be dry all the way into next weekend, my father said we have enough water in our rain barrels to last another 5 days before they run dry.
with no basketball games until tomorrow, i basically scoured the internet for any kind of celtics coverage, whether it be youtube videos, audio podcasts, or online articles.
temperature this morning was in the 70's, which i thought was cold so i brought an extra jacket when i left the house, but immediately regret the decision and wished i wore shorts instead. it was another hot day, although not as humid as yesterday, and the sky for the most part was overcast transitioning to a mix of clouds. the seedlings were safe for now.
my father had finished mowing the backyard and was saving the front yard for after lunch. my parents made wonton soup by the time i arrived. i thought we were going to eat the pasta salad i made yesterday, but my mother already had some late last night.
my father and i took an inventory of what seedlings i'd brought over and mapped out where each of them would go. we also planted more long bean seeds: RB0, RB1, RB2, and all along the southern bed. my father used up most of the seeds, just some left for RB4 once i clear it out. the buttercup squash seedlings i have will go into RB1 and RB2, as well as the newly opened western bed, but we will also plant more squash seeds as we have plenty to spare. we also allocated the hyacinth beans. we pounded two 7ft u-posts into the back of RB2, to form a taller trellis for future climbing vegetables. i put new duct tape around the cherry and cherry plum trees.
i went back inside around 3:30pm, to watch game 7 between the bucks-celtics. my mother got hungry and ate some more pasta salad and i joined her. the celtics weren't doing very well in the first few minutes of the game, kept missing after a grant william 3-pointer. the first quarter ended with the score 20-26. however in the 2nd quarter boston managed to get the lead, the score of 48-43 going into halftime. the celtics would not give up the lead after that. milwaukee's strategy seemed to be crowding the paint with their taller players so the celtics had zero chance of getting any offensive rebounds. they weren't defending the 3's, almost daring boston to shoot them, leaving players like grant williams completely open. boston's strategy was this: if you're going to leave williams open, we're going to keep on forcing williams to shoot 3-pointers. it was kind of nuts, all the celtics kept feeding williams the ball. he missed more than he mad - 18 attempts total - but still managed to made 40%. on the flip side, the bucks' offense went cold, especially in the 4th quarter. maybe it was fatigue, but giannis missed several point blank trips to the rim, and the celtics would capitalize by quickly passing the ball after the rebound for points. in the 4th quarter it was raining 3's, and once those started falling for the celtics, combined with the bucks going on a lengthy cold streak, i started feeling bad for milwaukee, this was unlike them, the team that pushed the celtics to a game 7, just unlucky they started playing poorly in the most crucial time. celtics ended up winning, 109-81 - 28 points! - and advancing to the eastern conference final where they'll face the heat in miami. grant williams was the top scorer of the game with 27 points, beating out antetokounmpo (25) and tatum (23).
i donated my old plastic cutting board to my father so he can use it as a backing for BMS in the lithium battery box project. we're still searching for a way to divide the electricity coming out of the battery. my father was researching power distribution blocks, but they all seem to be designed for 0/2/4 gauge input wires, with 4/8 gauge output. another possible option would be to use a 12V fuse block, which would also solve our problem having have a fuse system to prevent the battery from getting damaged in the event of a power surge or short circuit. a lot of these parts were designed for installing car stereos, we're just retrofitting them for our battery project.
my father pan-fried some korean beef dumplings for dinner, along with the leftover pasta salad. my mother took a nap right before the celtics game and didn't wake up for dinner, nor when i returned home to cambridge.
the second game 7 game of the day was between the mavericks-suns. i wasn't paying attention, but when i looked at the score, the dallas was up by 20 points in the first half. they'd go up as much as 40+ points behind luka doncic, it was an embarrassment for phoenix. i tried going to the phoenix suns subreddit to see what kind of online discussion was happening, but the admins made their subreddit private - i guess to prevent people from going on there and trash talking the losing team.
the temperature today hit 87 degrees, just a few degrees shy of heatwave weather. it tied for the hottest day on record for this day. normally this time of the year the daytime average is supposed to be a pleasant 66 degrees. not only was it hot, but it was also humid, which made me yearn for winter already and it's only mid-may. at least the hot weather is good for plants.
i did some at-home gardening this morning. i tended to my seedlings, watering them and spacing them out so they weren't crowded next to each other. i separated out some cherry tomato seedlings, making out with 3 additional tomatoes. i'm still keeping a single shelf active in my grow closet, for delicate seedlings (like emerging tomatoes) and emerging seedlings (bitter melons). i planted 12 planter cells with thai basil. i should've started them earlier, but they'll have all summer to grow, and thai basil is one of those plants that i grow every season but i almost never use it. finally, i staked my tomato plants, as i noticed they were drooping. i didn't have any skewers but i had plenty of disposable bamboo chopsticks that i used along with rubber coated garden wires.
in the afternoon i was starting to head out to my parents' place to do some gardening there. but before i left, i went to market basket to get some ingredients for making pasta salad. i came back and made the dressing first (so i didn't have to bring my food processor), storing it in a leak-proof mason jar. for some reason it overflowed the processor even though i was using the same amount i always use.
|pasta salad dressing (italian)|
1-1/2 cups olive oil
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp kosher salt
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp dry oregano
2 tsp dry basil
|mix ingredients in food processor.|
it was so hot i changed into a pair of shorts before leaving for belmont, first time wearing shorts this year. it definitely felt more summer than spring. on linnaean street i caught a glimpse of an old 3-speed bicycle somebody had thrown out. i was tempted to check it out, but the logistics of getting it home was too complicated so i didn't bother. by the time i made it to my parents' place, i was a sweaty mess. i noticed that neighbor's house we saw last week (listing for over $1 million) already had a sign on the front lawn saying "sales pending." that was quick! i wonder if there was any kind of bidding war, and if the buyer will tear down the old house or just do some light renovation?
while doing a cursory inspection of the backyard and garden, i saw a dead bunny on the lawn. this is the second bunny to have died. there didn't seem to be any foul play (body was still intact, no wounds), and i can't imagine it'd be for a lack of food, since there's plenty to eat in the yard. i'm going with my father's theory, that the bunny most likely ate some foxgloves, which is poisonous. it was too young to learn the difference between safe and deadly plants. i'm also wondering if the fertilizer and crabgrass preventer i applied early this month has some toxicity as well; maybe not so bad for an adult rabbit but not good for a bunny.
most of the seedlings were wilting from the heat. i had to do a quick emergency watering to restore their turgor pressure. if it gets this hot again, i'll need to move them so they're not sitting out in the sun all day. full grown plants can tolerate this heat, but up until a few days ago these seedlings were growing in the relative calm of my grow closet.
there are a lot of seedlings in RB4. originally i thought they were weed, but now that i think about it, i believe they're ground cherry seedlings, based on the amount of unpicked ground cherries mixed up in the soil. i'm thinking about digging them up and transferring them to jiffy pots like we did last year with our free cherry tomato giveaway at the cafe. i also saw some tomato seedlings as well, forgot what kind we'd grown in that raised bed.
i flew the drone for a short 10 minute trip, go as far as cushing square before my RC connection started to break intermittently and i brought the drone back home. from the sky i spotted a very large japanese maple i'm going to check out in person one of these days.
1 lbs. tr-color rotini
4 medium tomatoes, chopped
6 oz. feta cheese
8 oz. ham steak, cubed
1 cup black olives, chopped
1 cup fresh arugula
1 cup pepperoncini, chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 cup cilantro, chopped
|cook pasta. let cool. mix with remaining ingredients including dressing. serve cold.|
back inside the house, i started making the pasta salad around 3:30pm. the dressing i had earlier had already settled back into layers, but all i had to do was shake the jar a few times to remix everything. i followed my tried and true recipe, it was basically just a lot of chopping. i used half a container of baby arugula (5 oz.) because my mother likes arugula, so around 3 cups. instead of chopping fresh olives, i just bought a small 2.25 oz. can of pre-sliced black olives. i mixed the salad and put it away in the fridge, pasta salad tastes better when chilled. i wonder if next time i might try adding some anchovies into the mix, for an additional layer of umami goodness.
i'm trying to figure out what type of JST connector the daly BMS uses. it looks to be a JST-PA which is an uncommon connector. i wonder if i can just a more common JST-PH, even though it doesn't have a locking tab. i'm looking for the exact connector so i can try to make my own BMS balancing cable, as the ones that came with the BMS are a bit short. another solution is to use a terminal block as a wire extender, but my father already crimped ring terminals to the balancing cables.
my parents returned from the cafe around 4:30pm. my mother plopped onto the zero gravity chair watching netflix. they had two online pickup orders and two grubhub orders today, which is the most online orders we've had since starting online ordering 2 weeks ago. the new wifi receipt printer seems to be working correctly, they heard it printing out the order tickets.
around 5:30pm i ordered some thai chicken & rice online. the order was supposed to be ready by 5:50pm, but when we went to go pick it up, once again the order wasn't ready, just like last time. the woman told me the chicken was still roasting, and it'd be 8-9 more minutes. i ended up waiting more than 15 minutes, so from the time i ordered to the time they made the food it took them 45 minutes, which is kind of ridiculous. the food's great; the service not so much.
both my mother and i got the roasted chicken with rice while my father got the combo. i only got the roasted chicken because of the sauce. i could eat anything with that sauce and it'd be delicious.
i left belmont around 7:15pm. approaching home, i noticed that bike i saw earlier this afternoon was still there. that's usually a sign that the bike isn't in very good condition, otherwise somebody would've taken it by now. i stopped to check it out anyway, it was a red "free spirit" women's bike. there was rust on the handlebars and it was missing the bike seat (but the seat post was still there) and the rear reflector, the two tires were flat (and cracked), but otherwise seems to be in an okay shape, or at least easy enough to bring back to riding condition. so i decided to take the bike. to do that, i first locked my own bike to a sign post, then wheeled the found bike back to my house. once i got the bike in the basement, i walked back to where i locked my bike and rode it back home.
i bumped into my upstairs neighbor jeff who asked if he could borrow my parking permit, as his wife drove off with their car and accidentally took the permit with her. the permit's for the cleaning people who are coming on monday.
i brought in my seedlings last night from the porch because the temperature would dip into the 50's. i set them out again this morning, with the temperature outside already in the 70's and an unfamiliar humidity. i picked a tray of seedlings i'd plant in my own community garden, while the rest would be moved to my parents' backyard where most will be planted, with a few going to my sister. i still have two trays of very small seedlings germinating in my grow closet, but i'm only using one shelf. there's a lot of fungus gnats and even though i treat with mosquito bits, the fact that i keep the soil very moist and i don't allow it to dry means i can't break the gnat's life cycle. i can only rely on yellow sticky traps for the time being, but once the seedlings are big enough, i'll move them outside as well.
in the late morning i biked to my parents' place, so i could borrow the car and retrieve the seedlings. i was also moving two bags of composted manure and the 4 5ft tall u-posts i bought over the weekend to my community garden, but i couldn't find them anywhere so i figured my father had them in the other car at the cafe. i saw the group 24 battery box and how my father fit the LiFePo4 battery cells inside along with an inverter. i checked out the rabbit's nest, didn't see the dead rabbit, my father must've gotten rid of it.
first i had to stop by home depot to get some light socket plug adapter and some potting soil. i was trying to figure out if noontime is a busy time for home depot, and sure enough, it was, made worse by the fact that there was road construction so there are various detours and lane restrictions.
afterwards i went to the cafe to pick up the u-posts. unfortunately my father said they weren't in the car, so it was a wasted trip. however, it gave me a chance to drop off a bag of potting soil for my sister and leave behind the socket adapters. i also saw the new wifi thermal printer, but i didn't have time to set it up just yet.
returning home, i stopped by my community garden (1:15pm) to drop off the two bags of manure. back at the house, i dropped off the bag of potting soil and loaded up the car with trays of seedlings, as well as my collection of empty pots and empty gallon milk jugs.
i drove back to my parents' place to unload the seedlings (2:15pm). i searched for the u-posts everywhere but didn't see them, but finally found them next to the mailbox of all places. they were too long to strap to the back of my bicycle, i'll need to move them some other way. besides the seedlings, i also moved out all the potted jasmine plants from the basement. the temperature for the next few days will be very warm - with night time temperature in the 60's - so good enough for the jasmines. however i didn't move the gardenia, as it's very finicky with temperature and humidity, and didn't want it to abort flower buds like it did last year, even though because of my father's reckless pruning we only have a single flower bud this year. i turned off some unused grow lights and consolidated the remaining basement plants to one side of the grow room. i watered all the plants before leaving via bicycle around 3pm.
i went to the cafe to set up the wifi thermal printer and my sister's porch webcam. when i got there my parents told me they were the victim of an online order scam. some customer came in with an online order on his phone but my parents never received any notification. the guy didn't really speak english anyway, so after some arguing back and forth, my parents fulfilled the order and the guy left with it. but my sister called square and they said it wasn't one of their orders. is that a thing, online ordering scams for food? but then i thought about it, and discovered that the grubhub tablet was turned off. the order was actually a grubhub delivery, the guy the delivery person. nobody knew about the order because with the tablet off, it never printed out an order ticket. grubhub was supposed to contact my sister in the event of an unclaimed order, but she didn't hear the call. so it was legit after all, not a scam.
setting up the star micronics TSP143IIIW wifi thermal receipt printer was pretty painless. i pressed down the pair button on the printer until the power button started flashing. i then pressed the WPS button on the router. WPS technology has been around for a while but i always pair wifi devices manually. however in this case, since the thermal printer had no display, doing it automatically via WPS was the easier option. the printer printed out a test page once paired. from the square app on the ipad it could now see the wifi printer. i set it up so when we get an online order via square, it'll print an order ticket on both printers.
next i went to my sister's place to set up her porch camera. i screwed in the power adapter in the unused light socket, and plugged her wyze webcam into the outlet. the wyze cam has a magnetic base, and there's enough metal around the porch ceiling light fixture that the camera can attach without needing to screw down anything. this was the wyze cam that was formerly attached to her living room window, but because of a large rhododendron bush, she couldn't see if there are people on her front steps, so i relocated the camera. now it can see the steps perfectly well, but because the camera is overhead, it just sees people's heads, not their faces. just then the eufy C24 2K outdoor camera arrived. i opened it up but decided my sister didn't need this $70 camera after so i'm going to return it.
i finally finished by 5pm, biking home. i walked to walgreens to see if they had a hand trowel (the one i have is all battered and rusty), but they'd already cleared all their seasonal items (or maybe haven't stocked the shelves yet). i ended up leaving with two cans of spicy almonds.
i got back home by 5:40pm. i hadn't eaten all day, so after a shower, i finished a quarter bag of potato chips and had some beef jerky, that was my late lunch.
tonight was game 6 between the celtics and bucks, in milwaukee. a lot of pundits have already ruled out boston, and it made me sad watching the game, like seeing the season come to a close. but the celtics played well tonight, despite a monster game from giannis. their 3-point shots were falling for the most part, players didn't get into foul trouble, and the bucks was the giannis-show and none of his other teammates had a big night, so boston managed to contain milwaukee. it was like a game of attrition, and boston won because they kept a large enough lead that whenever the bucks tried to come back, they had an answer, until finally the game was over and boston won. the series is tied 3-3, game 7 is sunday afternoon back in boston.
i made some buldak ramen during the halftime. i still had some french bread pizza ingredients, but i'm all french bread pizza out for the time being, wanted to eat something else for a change.
my mother told me last night that she wasn't prepared to go into work today, and was planning on quarantining at home for a week first. this after she self-tested 3-4 times in taiwan and got a negative PCR test before flying back to boston. i told her that was pretty selfish as i'd been helping out at the cafe for more than 7 weeks while she was on vacation in taiwan, and now that she's back, she's planning on staying home for another week. whatever i said must've been effective because this morning she went to work for the very first time in nearly 2 months.
because the temperature was in the 60's today, i moved out all my seedlings so they can get used to be outside. it was nice seeing all the plants lined up on the deck bench.
so instead of going to the cafe this morning, i started working on converting the t-mobile TM-AC1900 to an asus RT-AC68U router. i got the router back in march ($37), and it'd been sitting on my coffee table ever since, gathering dust. i'd gotten a TM-AC1900 before - back in 2018 - and i was able to successfully convert it to an RT-AC68U router. a brand new asus RT-AC68U router sells for $130; while a TM-AC1900 - essentially just a firmware disabled RT-AC68U - can be had for less than $40. but the conversion steps are a bit technical, that's why i'd been procrastinating. but with the new wifi thermal receipt printer arriving today, i figured this was the perfect opportunity to swap out the cafe router as well.
back in 2018, i wrote a very detailed synopsis of how i converted the TM-AC1900 to RT-AC68U. i even had all the files i used on my laptop. i carefully read what i wrote, studied the online instructions, and even watched a video. at noontime i turned off my wifi and connected my macbook pro to the TM-AC1900 via thunderbolt-adapted ethernet.
the admin page for the TM-AC1900 is located at 192.168.29.1 with the username-password-combo of admin-password. the admin interface is identical to RT-AC68U, it's just called TM-AC1900 instead. the firmware that was installed on the TM-AC1900 was 126.96.36.199_376_1520.
the first step is to upload an older TM-AC1900 firmware (188.8.131.52_376_1703) that allows SSH to be enabled. the really weird thing is when i looked at the system tab, there was an option to enable SSH. out of curiosity i turned it on just to see if i could SSH into the router.
sure enough, i was able to SSH into the router, after i first erased the old RSA fingerprint key from the Users/tony/.ssh/known_hosts file for 192.168.29.1.
this didn't work:
i had to add an extra blob of text (i'm not even sure where i found it to begin with, but it was from my 2018 write-up, and it still works on the mac terminal):
ssh -oKexAlgorithms=+diffie-hellman-group1-sha1 firstname.lastname@example.org
i was even able to create the original_cfe.bin file with this command:
cat /dev/mtd0 > original_cfe.bin
however when i tried to copy the original_cfe.bin to my computer via scp, it didn't work at all:
scp -oKexAlgorithms=+diffie-hellman-group1-sha1 email@example.com:/tmp/home/root/original_cfe.bin original_cfe.bin
i tried various iterations but none of them worked. i finally gave up, decided to follow the instructions and upload an older version of the TM-AC1900 firmware (184.108.40.206_376_1703) that had SSH access. to do that i had to do a 10-10-10: hold the rest button 10 seconds, power off for 10 seconds while still holding the reset button, then power on for 10 seconds with the reset button still down. in had the terminal ping 192.168.29.1. the ttl of the ping will change from 64 to 100. once it says 100, i log into the admin page again via 192.168.29.1 - but now instead of the admin it's the mini-CFE webpage, which allows me to install a different firmware. i selected the TM-AC1900_220.127.116.11_376_1703-g0ffdbba.trx firmware file from my computer and allowed the router to install and then reboot. i went to the admin system tab to enable SSH.
ssh -oKexAlgorithms=+diffie-hellman-group1-sha1 firstname.lastname@example.org
cat /dev/mtd0 > original_cfe.bin
i SSH'ed into the router once again, created the original_cfe.bin, then tried to copy it onto my computer. once again, it didn't work. maybe it was an OS thing, maybe mojave has a higher security level that doesn't allow SSH or scp commands. i turned on remote login in the sharing preference panel but it still didn't work. i went online in search of answers but couldn't find anything. i kept banging my head on the problem, until it finally dawned on me: scp is issued from my macbook pro, but within the router via SSH. so i exited the router, then issued the scp:
# exit SSH before running!
scp -oKexAlgorithms=+diffie-hellman-group1-sha1 email@example.com:/tmp/home/root/original_cfe.bin original_cfe.bin
this time it worked flawlessly, copying to whatever directory i happen to be in. that also made me realize what i was doing earlier - logging into the router via SSH with the original 18.104.22.168_376_1520 firmware - was actually the correct step, and i didn't need to replace the firmware, since 22.214.171.124_376_1520 is actually older than 126.96.36.199_376_1703, so both of them allowed SSH access. so i basically spent more than an hour going around in a circle, not realizing my mistake was running scp instead of the router via SSH.
next step is to modify the original_cfe.bin from t-mobile to asus. there's a handy cfe editor website that will do this for you automatically. i uploaded original_cfe.bin and allowed it to converted to new_188.8.131.52_aimesh.bin (which i renamed new_cfe.bin).
i then put new_cfe.bin along with mtd-write and firmware file FW_RT_AC68U_30043763626.trx into the same folder so i can issue a scp command to upload them to the router:
# within the /upload directory (3 files to be uploaded)
scp -oKexAlgorithms=+diffie-hellman-group1-sha1 * firstname.lastname@example.org:/tmp/home/root
next i SSH'ed back into the router and issued these 3 commands:
chmod u+x mtd-write
./mtd-write new_cfe.bin boot
mtd-write2 FW_RT_AC68U_30043763626.trx linux
i'm not entirely sure what these commands do, something about making mtd-write executable, writing the cfe.bin to boot, then flashing an asus firmware (184.108.40.206_376_3626). afterwards i needed to do a NVRAM reset: power off the router, wait 10 seconds, hold down the WPS button, power on the router with still holding down the WPS, then wait 15-20 seconds until the power LED starts blinking.
the asus firmware should have been flashed successfully, and to test this, i went to the admin page - which is now at the address 192.168.1.1 with username-password-combo admin/admin. the admin now says RT-AC68U. i went to the admin system page and enabled SSH, then SSH'ed back into the router:
ssh -oKexAlgorithms=+diffie-hellman-group1-sha1 email@example.com
i then issued the following commands to fix the MTD5 partition. fixing the partition allows future firmware updates:
cat /dev/mtd5 > /jffs/mtd5_backup.bin
mount -t jffs2 /dev/mtdblock5 /tmp/asus_jffs
rm -rf /tmp/asus_jffs/*
sync && umount /tmp/asus_jffs
rm -rf /jffs/.sys/RT-AC68U
nvram unset fw_check && nvram commit && reboot
to check if the MTD5 has been cleared, i issued this command:
it should be blank, but i had some garbage text, which meant the MTD5 wasn't fixed yet. to fix this, i first had to upgrade the firmware to 220.127.116.11_384_xxxxx. i had firmware file RT-AC68U_18.104.22.168_384_32799-gfe72567.trx which i downloaded back in 2018 and decided to reuse. i updated the firmware via the admin page in the firmware upgrade tab. i knew the update was successful because it told me about the new feature AiMesh.
once the firmware was updated, i SSH'ed back into the router and issued the following two commands:
ssh -oKexAlgorithms=+diffie-hellman-group1-sha1 firstname.lastname@example.org
ln -s /sbin/rc mtd-erase
./mtd-erase -d asus
that emptied the MTD5, allowing me to further update the firmware. i ended up updating the RT-AC68U to the most up-to-date firmware, 22.214.171.124.386.48262 (2022-03-05).
it was nearly 2:30pm by the time i finally finished, almost 2-1/2 hours of router hacking. if i had to do it again, i could probably do it in 15 minutes.
i packed the router in my bag and rode to the cafe. it was my first time riding with the new seat post and saddle, it felt pretty good, i always feel like i have a new bike whenever i replace some bike part, no matter how small or large.
there wasn't any customers at the moment so i quickly swapped out the router, the dd-wrt flashed tp-link router with the asus RT-AC68U. i then made sure all the internet-dependent devices were working: square register, grubhub tablet, webcams, and internet phone.
my father told me when he checked the rabbit nest this morning, that all the rabbits were gone, except for one dead bunny. this weekend i hope to drive them out of the backyard.
i went over to my sister to install an eufy 2k indoor cam. the eufy solo 2K C24 outdoor cam is supposed to come tomorrow, still trying to figure out where to install that one, or even worth keeping.
back at the cafe, i demonstrating the rotisserie cage function of the air fryer by cooking up some sweet potato fries. later my mother told me she doesn't like sweet potatoes all that much. my mother also blamed me that she was back at work, said she'd rather be at home sleeping.
i left the cafe around 5:30pm. i found some plastic pots along the way and tossed them in the back of my rear baskets, home for future plants.
for dinner i made some more french bread pizza.
my 2nd aunt called me around midnight. she said she home tested today and her result was negative for covid. her PCR test is next monday, and once she's cleared, she should be able to return home on tuesday. anyway, the reason why she called was to ask me about the letter i wrote for my big aunt. she opened a savings account here in the US when she came to visit nearly 20 years ago. she'd now like to close the account, but instead of coming in person, she's doing it by notarized mail. i wrote her a letter explaining her request to the bank, but because it's all in english, she needs to understand what i wrote in order to explain to the notary public in taiwan.
i woke up this morning and went to market basket for supplies. my father needed ground pork to make the minced pork bento boxes. i was waiting for the butcher with an old jamaican man. i asked what he was working on. "jerked pork," he told me, and was telling me about his recipe, how he'll marinated the meat in jamaican spices for 2 days, and how he'll make two batches - spicy and non-spicy. after groceries, i stopped by the vet's office to pick up hailey's medicine. i returned home with just enough time to use the bathroom before arriving at the cafe by 11am.
i prepared myself for a busy day because it was sunny and warm (as in it wasn't as windy as it's been the past few days), but business was slow and we only made about half of what we made yesterday. i also thought it was going to get busy because we had an online order as soon as i got to the cafe, but that was the only online order of the day.
my father pan-fried some leftover dumplings that i had for lunch along with the last bit of horchata. it was a little grainy because of all the leftover sediment. i took a look at my sister's front porch to see how i could mount a security webcam. she already has one pointing out her window but the view is obscured, and she wants one pointing right outside her door looking out if possible. because there's a porch light with an unused socket, i can get a lamp socket outlet adapter and use that to power a webcam. i even have an used eufy 2k camera although i'm a bit leary to use it because it's not designed for the outdoors (it's even called an *indoor* security camera). later in the evening i ended up spending $70 on a renewed eufy solo 2K C24 outdoor cam, because it's weatherproof, although i may end up returning it if i can find a cheaper solution.
i switched the nest thermostat to summer mode, which means switching the wires to the roof-mounted air conditioner, especially since the temperature later this week is supposed to hit the 80's. i already turned off the cafe heater last week.
during an afternoon lull i tested the rotisserie cage of the sur la table air fryer to make some french fries with some really old potatoes that had started to turn green. i cut the potatoes (about a pound worth, 3 medium spuds) into slices, drizzled some vegetable oil and sprinkled some salt, then loaded them into the cage. the french fry preset already had the rotisserie turning as the default (or maybe it sensed i had the cage loaded so it turned on the rotating motor) and i cooked the fries at 400 degrees (the highest temperature) for 20 minutes. by the end it started smelling like a fast food joint, even though there was no actual frying. the fries turned out well, the rotating cage helped coat all areas of the fries in oil and salt. because i was afraid of burning my hands, i waited until the cage cooled down before dumping out the fries, which meant they were already cold when i started eating them. i could've cooked doubled the amount of fries, they also shrink after they've been cooked, so you end up with less that what you started with. the rotating cage is kind of mesmerizing, like watching a fire, and i probably could've spent the whole 20 minutes watching the fries slowly tumble inside the cage. a few fries were trapped at the ends and didn't mix with the other fries; those turned out to be the crispiest because they were essentially burnt. i imagine i could also roast nuts using the rotisserie cage, like hazelnuts or peanuts, something worth trying in the future.
around 4pm during another lull, i went out into the parking lot to flying my drone for 20 minutes. i waited too long, now most of the flowering trees have finished flowering and many trees have leafed out. i took a look at the boston skyline then went up the hill to tour some mansions.
not a lot of bentos sold today, but even then, i made another half dozen tea eggs so there'd be 2 dozen in the 3 quart crockpot. the longer the eggs have a change to steep, the better they taste.
i finally left the cafe by 5:45pm. it was so late, my father thought i was going to belmont afterwards, but i went home instead so i could catch game 5 of the bucks-celtics game starting at 7pm.
my new seat post was waiting for me, i installed the new bike saddle then swapped out the seat post. my old seat post was definitely 350mm, i think it came with the bike, one of the last few remaining things i haven't replaced yet. the new post is 300mm, i made sure i greased it up before inserting it in the bike frame.
i got the seat post with bracket instead of just a naked seat post because the attached bracket is easier to adjust, just a single 5.5mm hex wrench, versus the adjustment on a naked seat post, which required two handles and two tools (socket wrench, crescent wrench, adjustable wrench).
jeff came back from work right when i was finishing up. we talked bicycle, he said he used to commute 10 miles a day to work back in san francisco, and compared to there, cambridge-boston is essentially flat. he had all sorts of lights on his bike, including fork lights, and even wore a reflective jacket, and had a gopro mount on the handlebar ("so my wife knows who to sue").
the game soon started when i got back inside. during halftime i quickly ran into the kitchen to make some french bread pizza. at one point the celtics had a 13 point lead, and both teams played well throughout, but boston lost its focus in the final few minutes, allowing milwaukee to creep back and get the lead, which they never relinquished. series go back to milwaukee on friday with the bucks in the lead 3-2 and looking to close out the series. the second after the game was over i turned off the television, couldn't bear to watch anymore. i hope to avoid all sports news from now until friday night.
my mother was sleeping all day and called me in the evening asking me to check on the special united airline reimbursement for her delayed flight. she was thinking some kind of fancy expensive gift, but it was only a $150 discount off the next united airline trip, and was set to expire after a year. so it's basically, "we screwed up, so we want to make it up to you by making you spend more money with us." my mother also noted the new caulk around the bathtub, said the bathroom now looked brand new and cleaner than ever. the only thing missing is to repair the rusty ring around the drain, which requires a tub ceramic epoxy. i also spoke with my father, we was telling me about the battery box that arrived today. he said it fit our LiFePo4 cells just fine, but it's long enough that we can not only fit the BMS but an inverter as well.
i finished watching the bootleg of doctor strange in the multiverse of madness. it was pretty good, i really like the little raimi flourishes from his horror film roots. i'd love to see sam raimi to do another horror movie (like he did with drag me to hell). until then, we have this doctor strange film, which has some genuinely scary parts. i didn't like that the scarlet witch was a villain, i rather see her as the good guy, but it's basically an extension of her tv series. i wasn't so sure when they cast america chavez, but i really like xochitl gomez after seeing the movie. hayley atwell as captain america! that was one of my favorite cameos.
my mother left taipei early this morning. she tried to contact me via line around 2am but i was already asleep by then and didn't hear my phone ringing.
this is my final week helping out at the cafe. actually, today is supposed to be my last day, but since my mother is coming back so late, she'll probably need at least a day of rest before she can return to the cafe, so i'm at the cafe tomorrow as well.
soon after i arrived we got an online order. i was looking right at the phone when i got a notification about an upcoming order but then it disappeared. because the order wasn't until 30 minutes later, it wasn't in the active category yet. however, our thermal receipt printer didn't print out an order ticket like it'd normally do. was it because it was an upcoming order? so while my father started assembling the order (3 bento boxes), i investigated why it didn't print. turns out for some reason the ipad tablet was in energy saving mode, which broke the USB connection to the printer. i fiddled with the settings but nothing work, so finally we just restarted the ipad. after that it recognized the printer and was able to do test prints, but i wasn't able to reprint the order ticket.
the only way to make sure the printer was working was to wait for another online order. that happened later in the afternoon, another order for a chicken bento box. i actually didn't even realize it printed out an order ticket because i was just browsing the square tablet app, but then i noticed there was a notification and when i clicked on it, it said there was a new online order that just came in, and which i looked at the printer, the order ticket had already been printed.
the problem with the square online ordering system is we often don't know an order has come in. most of the time it catches us by surprise, and only because we happen to be looking at the printer, or happen to glance at the order screen on the phone. but my father finally had enough and decided we should get a second printer for square, one dedicated to printing order tickets, located closer to the kitchen so we can at least see and hear the orders coming in a lot better.
that opens up a world of thermal receipt printers for businesses like restaurants. commercial equipment always cost more for some reason, and even a small printer about the size of a big mac box costs around $300 easily. there are of course cheaper options from china, but none of those work with the square system, which is very finicky about what printers can be used, and will only accept star micronics and epson thermal printers. anyway, we ended up buying a star micronics TSP143IIIW wi-fi (WLAN) thermal printer for $290. this printer comes in several models - usb, bluetooth, ethernet, wi-fi - but i decided the wi-fi version was our best option, with a longer range. we can use some of that small business grant money to pay for it.
we currently already about 2 star micronics printers, one for the square ordering system, one grubhub gave us for their ordering system (it's most likely a "borrow", they'll probably want it back if we ever decide not to use grubhub anymore). the square printer is an old one that uses USB, while the grubhub printer uses bluetooth. we tried connecting both systems to the bluetooth printer, but it can only link to one device. i wonder if the wifi version will work with multiple devices?
speaking of amazon purchases, we bought something else, a NOCO HM300BKS group 24 snap-top battery box for $11. it's essentially a glorified heavy duty plastic box designed for housing a battery on a boat or trailer, but it's big enough to fit a 4-cell LiFePo4 100Ah battery pack plus BMS. when i showed my father he's eyes widened because it seemed like the perfect fit for our lithium battery project. it's due to arrive tomorrow.
we had a bunch of bento box orders today. each bento box includes one tea egg, and in a span of just a few short hours, we were down to only 8 eggs, after i cooked some more eggs this morning and had the count to 18. these 8 remaining eggs weren't even good because they were new today so they didn't have time to soak in the tea flavors. i ended up boiling another 14 eggs in the afternoon and added them to the tea egg crockpot. we may need to revisit our tea egg supply chain, maybe have more than the current 24 maximum we can have in our new 3qt crock pot. perhaps make 50 tea eggs at the start of the week and keep some refrigerated while leaving some others in the crock pot. old tea eggs taste better anyway, have a longer steep in the tea brine. the way we do it now is not very efficient, and i'm still making tea eggs everyday despite upgrading to a (slightly) larger crock pot.
i left the cafe late today, around 5pm. my next door neighbor was doing a house cleaning and threw out a bunch of stuff. i know she's a school teacher so there was all sorts of school supplies and children toys and especially books. there was also weird furnitures, like boxes made from cassette tapes. some of those are good tunes! but it seems like the tape had been ripped out from them before they were upcycled into boxes, otherwise i would've taken them for the tunes. she also threw out an apple keyboard which i gladly took. i brought it inside and cleaned it up with some paper towels and rubbing alcohol.
all i wanted to do when i got home was to watch any sports shows talking about the celtics victory last night. i'm all over the sports news when boston win, i do everything i can to avoid it when they lose. luckily they won last night, so i was going through youtube highlights one after the other. i also reheated a leftover burger king cheeseburger from last night. later in the evening i warmed up the leftover whopper for dinner.
close to midnight my father came to pick me up so we could go to logan airport and pick up my mother who was arriving from san francisco at 12:25am. this late at night there was no traffic in the city until we got to the airport, where there was a logjam of cars dropping off and picking up. we could also see that sumner tunnel inbound was bumper to bumper for some reason. we parked in the terminal B garage (the garage attendant asked us to open the trunk for inspection). my father was here just a few months ago picking up my siter's godmother, so he had a pretty good idea of where we should go.
however when we arrived inside the terminal where people were disembarking, there was nobody around. we walked a bit further and saw people coming out of gates and we waited for my mother to show up. half of the people were masked, half weren't. there was a time when everyone at the airport was masked, until that florida federal judge struck down the mandate.
we got to the point where we saw the pilots and the flight attendants, and they closed the door, but still no sign of my mother. finally i got a call from her asking us where we were. she was already waiting at the luggage pickup area, she must've came out early, we must've missed her. when we went downstairs to the luggage claim though, we didn't see 7, which was where my mother said she was waiting. baggage claim 7 ended up being where we were initially, the place where we didn't see any people. they must've disembarked without going through a public area and went directly to claims.
my mother's two suitcases came out soon after the bags started coming out of the carousel. we went to pay the parking fee at the machine before getting onto the elevator to level 4, where we parked the car.
leaving the airport we could still see a lot of cars, and once we got to sumner tunnel, it was bumper to bumper. the reason? 3 lanes became 1 entering the tunnel because they were doing maintenance. it was also like this inside the central artery, all the way until we got to the storrow drive exit, then there was no cars. however, the final exit onto storrow drive was blocked off, and we had to take a short detour around north station/science museum to get onto storrow. from there on it was smooth sailing back to belmont.
while my mother ate some food my father had prepared for her, she was also unloading her two suitcases, which was stuffed with mostly food items. everything had a story, where it came from, who gave it to her. my father got his battery charger, i got some taiwanese style flip flops and a replacement power cord for my tatung rice cooker.
i finally left by 1:50am, taking my fuji bike which had been in the garage since last weekend because it was raining i couldn't ride it back. this was my plan all along, and i brought my lights. there were hardly any cars on the road, most of the time i was riding by myself. for some reason i was hoping to see a coyote but i didn't. i got back home 15 minutes later, put the bike in the basement.
i spent the day in belmont doing various tasks:
- measuring my bike seat post diameter so i know what size replacement to order (27.2mm).
- moving out the jasmines and gardenia so they can get some real sunshine and spraying them with neem oil before moving them back in the basement to water.
- my father mowed the lawn. since i fertilized, the grass has been growing like crazy and needed a trim. he set it on mulch mode because we don't want to bag the clippings with fertilizer and crabgrass preventer. it won't be until mid-summer that we begin saving the clippings for the compost bin.
- checked on the bunnies. they're all wide awake but still not out of the nest yet. they're starting to overgrow the nest and the fur covering was all scattered, like maybe the mother rabbit is persuading the babies to leave.
- i cleared the southern bed of overgrown spiderworts and lawn grass and creeping bellflowers. this is where we'll grow our long beans.
- i fertilized our flowering trees with osmocote slow-release fertilizer pellets. it's actually a fairly balanced fertilizer: 15-9-12. i sprinkled about 7 tbsp underneath the kwanzan cherry, and a few tbsp under the cherry plum, hawthorn, and japanese maple.
but the biggest project of the day was recaulking the bathtub. this was something my mother requested before she left for taiwan, and since she's coming back tomorrow night, i figured today would be a good day to do it. i tried a new technique where i used blue masking tape to make sure i get clean caulking lines. but before i got to the caulking, i first had to remove the old caulk, which took a long time. armed with a razor blade and a metal barbecue skewer, i slowly got rid of the old caulk. i then cleaned the bathtub and the bathroom wall tiles, and allowed it to dry before masking with the bathtub with blue tape and caulking. i had a tube of siliconized caulk that i wasn't sure if it was enough to do the bathtub, but i only used up a third of the tube. verdict? using blue mask tape seemed like it'd be a good idea, but all it did was ended up "feathering" the edges of the caulk, and i still had to use my finger to smooth it out again after i removed the tape. so it's just easier to do it the old fashion way, without the tape. maybe the caulk i used was old, and perhaps with fresher caulk (i.e. less dry) there wouldn't be any feathering issues.
in the early afternoon i had to stop whatever i was doing when i received an e-mail from united airline. my mother's flight from taipei to san francisco was delayed yet again, after it was delayed from 9:50am to 2:30pm yesterday and forced me to call united to reschedule her connecting flight from san francisco to boston. the new delay was now 4:20pm, which meant her connecting flight which i changed last night would needed to be changed again. her new connecting flight out of san francisco is now 4:10pm, which means she won't get back to boston until almost 1am. to add insult to injury, 2 hours later i got another e-mail from united, letting me they were yet another delay, and now the taipei flight doesn't leave until 4:45pm. fortunately my mother still has enough time in san francisco to make her boston flight, so i didn't need to change her schedule a 3rd time.
because we made the changes in the afternoon, it was still in the middle of the night taiwan time, so we waited until it was morning in taiwan (evening here in boston) before contacting my mother to let her know about the additional delays. while my father was chatting with my mother, i drove to the nearby burger king to get some takeout. we got the family special (3 whoppers, 3 cheese burgers, 3 small fries $13) but for some reason it was taking them a long time to make the order. i think it's because there was a long drive-through line, and i was ordering inside the restaurant, so i had a lower priority.
after i finished my whopper, i returned home so i could catch game 4 between the celtics and bucks. when i stashed my bike in the alleyway, i removed the seat post so i could measure the length. i think it's 350mm, but i later i ordered a shorter 27.2 x 300mm seat post because i always felt the one that i currently have is too high.
as for the game, celtics weren't doing too well, but kept the game close, which reminded me of one their nets victory with the exact same scenario. bucks began to pull away in the 3rd quarter, so i was surprised when boston went on a run to actually take the lead. milwaukee seemed to run out of steam, and boston just gutted it out for the victory. al horford was on fire, dunking on giannis after the greek freak dunked on horford then got a technical for taunting. jayson tatum had another bad night, but he kept on shooting and missing until he started making them again in the 4th quarter. celtics won on a night when they didn't have robert williams, who was out due to knee soreness (the same knee he had an operation on just a 1-1/2 month ago).