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this morning i made a final check of the weather, to decide whether i was going to take the bike or walk to the cafe. apparently the bulk of today's impending snowstorm wouldn't be falling until after 5-6pm, so i could bike home right before the weather turned bad.

the bad weather must've scared off the customers. we hardly had any in-store visitors, and only 4 people had ordered catered meals from my sister. one really weird thing was we didn't sell a single bento box, which is typically a hot item. my sister once again upset everyone, especially my father, when he tried to give her advice about her hot & sour soup and she just got angry like somehow she was being criticized, despite him being an expert on said soup from his days of working as a chinese restaurant cook.

for lunch i had some handmade noodles served with leftover sauerkraut soup from saturday (we'll probably be eating it into next weekend). my mother made yet another temu purchase with my help, with 2 more orders still not arrived yet. my father asked me to record a video of him flaying and deboning some chicken legs, in case we ever need to learn how to do it.

there was some snow flurries throughout the day, and at one point the sky started to lighten up like maybe we'd see the sun. by the time i left the cafe at 5:20pm, it starting precipitating again, this time tiny hail balls. i don't remember ever riding through hail before, i can tell you it hurts when these ice crystals hit you in the eyeballs.

i didn't bring any food back with me tonight. instead, i sadly made myself another peppered ham sandwich. this time i added a layer of yellow mustard to make more interesting. i also had some orange slices and finished some old ube ice cream from the freezer.

i ordered a lenovo tab M8 (3rd generation) 8" tablet from walmart tonight, after seeing it go on sale for $69 with free shipping. the same model sells on amazon for $155. the M8 is the same tablet (1st generation) grubhub gave us to interface with their delivery orders. on the square side, we currently use an old iphone that belonged to my sister to see the online orders. the tiny iphone screen (4") is hard to read and control, and it's still connected to my sister's apple account so it sometimes rings when she gets a phone call. the new tablet is due to arrive on friday, i can set it up when i work at the cafe on saturday. i also ordered a simple tablet base from temu, hopefully arriving next week.

my original plan was to ride down to belmont to clean the snow-covered solar panels. but the overnight freeze was just starting to thaw this morning, and it seemed too treacherous a ride to try and attempt. maybe later in the afternoon, after a few more hours of thawing, conditions might change. another reason why i needed to get to belmont was i forgot i left a package of pork ribs in the sunroom. i called my mother at the cafe and she told me see noticed it this morning and put the meat in the fridge. with another snowstorm arriving tomorrow, whatever solar panel cleaning i did today would only be for the next 24 hours. i could clean the panels afterwards, on thursday, when the forecasted temperature is supposed to hit 48 degrees. so basically there was no reason for me to go to belmont today.

in the early afternoon i went to the UPS store to drop off the JJCC JC-8529 transceiver radio my father bought from temu. afterwards i headed to market basket to get some groceries. they had peppered ham for sale at the deli counter, i decided to make sandwiches for lunch and dinner the rest of the week, gave me an excuse to use up the loaf of whole wheat bread i bought last week.

i noticed it was surprisingly warm (if you can call 36° warm) and there was enough snow melting that the roads were mostly safe to ride. so after returning home and dropping off my groceries, i decided to ride to belmont and the clean the solar panels after all. sure, by this time tomorrow they'd be covered in snow again, but clearing the snow today would prevent compaction and the snow that's scheduled to fall tomorrow will most likely all melt since it'll transition to heavy warm rain overnight.

i got to my parents' place by 2:15pm. i brought the ettore angle adaptor, which i tried to return; amazon gave me the refund but told me i could keep the item. i mounted it on the extension pole, perfect fit, but i can't really use it for snow removal. i might attach it to the short extension pole, for removing snow from the car roofs.

of course i also checked on the progress of my seedlings. the tray of the 6 mustard green seeds i'm trying to germinate was a bit dry so i refilled it with water before putting it back on the heated LECA pan. of the 3 already germinated mustard greens in the aeroponic tub, one of them was wilting. not sure why, but i propped it up with some more LECA pellets and poured some nutrient water over the rock wool. as for the other seedlings - mustard greens and chinese celery - they seemed fine, they didn't die overnight from the cold weather. i did turn the net cups as i noticed they were leaning in the direction of the windows. i also opened the blinds a bit more to let in more light.

finally, i refilled the squirrel buster bird feeder. i bought a 5lbs. bag of sunflower seeds for $5 from market basket yesterday, but i still had plenty left over from the last time we went to ocean state job lot. there hasn't been a lot of bird activities, you'd think after a snowstorm they'd be swarming the feeders. i have to remember to clean the bird feeder at some point; last season one of the house finches had a really bad case of avian conjunctivitis.

only then was i able to start cleaning the solar panels, about 2:45pm. it still feels like i haven't figured out a working strategy yet to clean off the snow. past few times i've started on the right of the house, cleaning the rightmost panels, then cleaning the rightmost panels on the sunroom. today i cleaned the rightmost panels, then i moved the ladder to the front of the sunroom so i could pull the snow off of the sunroom panels. the snow have been melting so underneath was a layer of snowmelt which acted like a lubrication, allowing the snow to easily slide off once i give it a little push/pull.

after i finished the sunroom, i moved on to the left side of the house. while collapsing the extension ladder, it suddenly started folding in on itself. i let go of the ladder so i wouldn't get my fingers chopped off, but then the ladder toppled over and hit our 50watt flat solar panel. i thought the panel was destroyed but when i checked it, there was just two marks on the panel, the solar cells underneath the clear plastic seemed fine. working on the left side was pretty easy since most of the snow had already melted. i just needed to pull off the clump of snow below the panels to allow the remaining bits of snow to easily slide off the panels and the roof. i was finished by around 3:15pm, just a half hour later. when i started it was still cloudy, but by the time i finished the sky had cleared up revealing blue sky and sunshine.

i headed back home a short time later. while i was putting away the foam rake, i also cleaned the snow-covered car sitting in the driveway. i got back to cambridge by 3:40pm. this time i remembered to bring back the pork ribs. today was technically supposed to be a run day, but i think i did enough biking to at least have gotten some exercise.

finally back at the house i made a simple sandwich for a late lunch: whole wheat bread, kewpie mayo, peppered ham (6 slices), slice of american cheese. nothing fancy, a very simple sandwich. originally i had more grandiose plans of making pork bone congee or clam chowder, but figured i'd do that next week.

later in the evening i made another ham sandwich along with some jasmine green tea and two slices of navel oranges. i researched extension poles. the longest one we have for cleaning the solar panels is 5m long - which is 16ft. i'd love to get one a bit longer, like maybe 24ft, and therefore do all the cleaning from our platform ladder instead of the extension ladder.

for some reason i thought i might've contracted covid, given my recent light-headedness. i also woke up with a weird sensation in my throat, which could've just been dry mouth, or maybe something worse. anyway, i finally got around to doing a home test. once again, i was both disappointed and relieved to learn i am still negative for the coronavirus. honestly, i think i must be immune, or i get it but my body kills it off before it can spread.

i went to bed last night feeling dizzy. afraid i was about to have a stroke, i still managed to fall asleep. when i woke up this morning at 8:30am, i still wasn't completely back to normal. when my parents showed up at 9:30am i was ready to go.

another monday, another supply run. complicating the matter was the fact that it was going to snow later today. that's why we started our supply run today slightly earlier than usual. the weather forecast said sometime around noontime would be when it'd snow. my mother didn't believe it, as it was calm earlier this morning, and only now starting to rain.

RD we decided to skip everett costco today, since the only thing we needed there were eggs. instead we'd source our eggs from the restaurant depot (RD), where we can buy them in bulk. it wasn't too crowded at RD, a bunch of empty narrow aisle platform trucks sitting in the parking lot getting soaked in the rain. we got 15 dozen eggs (which should last us a few weeks) along with lids for 10-oz containers and powder-free disposable gloves.

MB from there it was an easy hop to the chelsea flagship market basket (MB). out of all the market baskets i've visited (somerville, burlington, waltham, and chelsea), this one is my favorite. they carry everything and the store has a logical and intuitive layout. i've been there when all 30+ (?) registers were open; today, only a third of that had cashiers, which lets you gauge how not very busy they were (by market basket standard).

88 from the chelsea market basket we tried a new route that took us to the super 88 asian supermarket in malden: 2nd street to broadway (route 99) to main street then medford and commercial. it was slightly longer, but didn't involve driving on the highway, and went through neighborhoods we'd never been to before, passing numerous latin american businesses. not sure if we'll continue using this alternate route, but something to keep in mind if the highway ever gets too congested.

we got to malden super 88 by around 11am. we didn't need to buy very much, just some additional ingredients for my sister's catering (mostly asian produce). she even called while we were there to make sure we got what she needed. super 88 doesn't offer free bags (even the plastic produce bags cost money if you use them for anything other than produce) but they do have a pile of free boxes for customers, which is what we used to hold all the items (2 boxes).

ALDI last stop was medford ALDI, which is starting to become a routine stop in our supply run. here we got baby cucumbers and scallions, ALDI consistently has the lowest produce prices. ALDI also don't do free bags, but i found an empty discarded cardboard box in the aisle that we used as a storage bin. we left medford by around noontime.

we drove to the cafe to drop off the supplies. by that point the rain had turned into sleet, yet my mother still refused to believe it would snow later. we were at the cafe for nearly half an hour unpacking. we finally left and made it to belmont by 1pm.

while my parents were fixing lunch, i inserted my plant seedlings into the net cups. i supported the wet rock wool plug with LECA pellets. i only had 3 mustard green seedlings and 3 chinese celery seedlings. i then turned on the cycle timer. the sprayers aren't drenching the net cups, but there's enough moisture to keep the cups from going dry. so now we wait. they say mustard greens and chinese celery are cold season crops, but that doesn't necessary mean they'll thrive in 40 degrees temperature of the sunroom. another limiting factor is the amount of daylight. as for the 6 remaining mustard green seeds that didn't germinate, i ended up setting up a makeshift germination station with a heating pad with the hopes of forcing them to sprout. i believe it've waited 2 weeks now, they're long overdue.

for lunch i had some pan-fried raviolis along with leftover sauerkraut soup. i also had some buffalo wings heated in the toaster oven. later i had some leftover ximilu soup my 2nd aunt had made (i had it cold).

i got my parents to watch the menu. not sure if they liked it, but it passed the time for about 2 hours. i don't think they were as profoundly affected by the film as i was. during that time i pulled open the blinds to reveal an intense snowstorm happening outside. we made the right decision by doing our supply run early, it wouldn't have been fun to be caught up in the snowstorm. i even worried if i'd be able to get home, or whether or not i should go home now, since the storm would only get worse later.

so that was the day. nothing much else to do but stay inside and hunker down from the snowstorm. it'd been a long time since we'd seen this much snowfall. even then, this was a pittance compared to past winters when we'd get accumulation measured in feet. according to the forecast, 2-4" at most.

before dinner i went outside and shoveled the sidewalk and cleaned the car. the storm was a few hours from being over, and it was already starting to wind down. the accumulation from what i can judge looks to be about 2-4", matching the estimate. though it looked powdery, it was wet snow, which is actually easier to remove since it clumps together.

we had a lot of chinese new year leftovers for dinner. after i finished eating, my father gave me a ride back to cambridge. later in the early morning (5am) he promised my sister's godmother he'd drive her to the airport. i was surprised the sidewalk was all shoveled when i got back home. later i heard additional shoveling sound outside that definitely wasn't my upstairs neighbors, so i think maybe a super generous next door neighbor has been doing our sidewalks.

my warranty-replacement 128GB sandisk ultra fit thumb drive arrived today, in a box sitting on my doorstep. the thing is small enough they could've just sent it in a padded envelope and stuff it through my mail slot. i didn't bother opening it, i have enough thumb drives as it is. maybe at some point it'll test it to see if it's speed performance is up to specifications.

tomorrow depending on weather i may ride my bike to belmont to clear the solar panels. it'd be a pyrrhic victory at best since it's due to snow again on wednesday, transitioning to rain that will last into early thursday. still, if i have the time and ability to clean the panels, it's something i should do, if nothing else, at least get some good upper body exercise. plus, i accidentally left some groceries in the sunroom, and i also like to check on the progress of my aeroponic plants.

i left for belmont around 10:45am. like yesterday, i kept my eyes on the road, hoping to find my lost glove, but i had no luck. my father still insisted on my going to bin bin's house today, so 11:30am my arlington aunt and uncle came to pick up my mother and me. i almost didn't want to go when i heard my sister was going.

i don't remember ever riding in the back of an audi before. there were individual temperature controls for the back seats. i tried out the motion capture feature on my google pixel 7 phone.

we got to bin bin's place by noontime. there was definitely more snow in burlington. binbin asked how come my father didn't come, my mother gave her some lame excuse that he wasn't feeling well. we didn't bring anything but my mother gave each of her sons a chinese hongbao ($200 each). my aunt brought ingredients to teach binbin how to make some chocolate souffles.

binbin's husband told us about smuggling paxlovid to his parents back in xi'an, who both contracted serious cases of covid. most of binbin's relatives in china got covid as well, with the exception of her parents.

the freezer on their samsung refrigerator broke. it was $900 to fix it, $1400 to buy a new fridge, or get a chest freezer for $200, which is what they did. i wonder if their fridge broke because we left it running on empty for over a year before finally shutting it off. i feel like these fancy fridges with the built-in ice makers would be prone to breaking.

we ate hot pot for lunch, but didn't start eating until almost 2pm. binbin made a dipping sauce of peanut butter mixed with hot pot broth. i tried it, it was not good. i was hoping they'd have some of that sichuan dry hot pot dipping sauce but they didn't seem to have any. fortunately the spicy half of the hot pot had enough spicy oils that i didn't really need any dipping sauce.

binbin's husband let us try some "fake" moutai which he bought from total wine for $30-40 for 375ml. later i looked on the label, it's not the classic moutai, but it's still made by the moutai company so it's authentic. the alcohol itself is made from sorghum and wheat, with added spices from wild celery, longan, gogi berries, and shancha.

it started snowing around 3pm. the forecast i saw this morning said it wouldn't rain until 6-8pm. but snow? maybe because we were away from the coast.

after hot pot i went down to the basement watch anderson play fortnight, which i'd never seen before. it reminded me of multiplayer quake in battle royale mode. by the time i came back upstairs, my sister had left early, which is so typical of her that i wasn't the least bit surprised. we had chocolate souffle for dessert served with a scoop of pistacho ice cream. the souffles came out well even though binbin didn't have a kitchen scale so the chocolate portions had to be estimated (we only started using a kitchen scale a few years ago as well).

we finally left by 4:45pm. originally my mother and i were hoping to get back home before 4pm, so we still had time to hit the waltham costco and market basket. by the time we got home it was well after 5pm. that means tomorrow we have to do another epic supply run, in the snow no less.

i was going to head straight home, but a check of the doppler showed only snow for the time being (just flurries) and it wouldn't rain until after 8pm. so i decided to stick around for dinner (even though i wasn't that hungry, having only just eaten).

i went to the basement to water the houseplants but found out my father already did that. he didn't use the Bti-infused water though, so i'm worried there might be a gnat fly outbreak again, though we've been treating it for months now. i also checked my aeroponic seedlings. only 3 of the mustard greens have germinated, but they've grown too leggy and won't be very healthy for the aeroponics. 6 of the mustards have yet to germinate, i think i'm going to induce them with the heating pad. the chinese celeries have germinated as well. i didn't have time to put them in the net cups, i'll do that tomorrow and start the cycle timer.

unfortunately by the time i left belmont around 6:45pm, it was already raining steadily. good thing i was just going home and wasn't too worried about getting wet. it wasn't too bad, i put my wet jacket on a barstool and left it close to the heating vent to dry overnight along with my wet gloves. i also changed out of my clothes, partly because they were wet, but partly because they stank of hot pot.

there was a bengals-bills game in the afternoon. i was surprised the bengals won (27-10), i thought it was buffalo's year this season. so maybe the fact that they barely beat miami last weekend revealed they weren't as strong as i'd thought. in the evening there was the cowboys-49ers game. it was a low scoring affair, with the teams heading into the halftime with the score 9-6 in san francisco's favor. dallas managed to tie the game in the 3rd quarter, but the 49ers managed to score a touchdown in the 4th which sealed the game for them. final score 19-12. next sunday it's 49ers vs. eagles and bengals vs. chiefs. i'm rooting for san francisco and cincinnati.

i downloaded the latest episode of the last of us and watched it. i also downloaded the latest mayor of kingstown but will watch it later in the week.

my father came to the cafe today to pick up some ingredients for home. that's when my sister told him binbin invited us over to her house tomorrow for lunch. my father got mad because he wasn't consulted first and stormed back home. my sister also threw an unrelated tantrum when i told her we didn't need her to make any special dumpling sauce for tonight's chinese year dinner. so she decided she wasn't going to come to dinner tonight, even though she was supposed to go pick up her godmother after work.

as for work, it wasn't too busy, but just a steady slow trickle of customers. at 4pm we closed. my father showed up again to pick up my 2nd aunt and to also learn he'd have to go pick up my sister's godmother as well since my sister wasn't going to do it. my sister continued cleaning while i was in the office calling xfinity comcast to swap out the cablemodem with a new one. it wasn't too hard, once the new modem was registered, it worked immediately.

i did find out today at that the obi200 google voice VoIP phone that controls the cafe phone came only receive calls, can't make them. actually, you can call, but you can't hear the other person even though the other person can hear you. it's a weird bug, not sure if it's worth the effort to fix, since i also learned that the obi200 will no longer be supported after this year (2023).

i left soon after i swapped out the cablemodem, biking to belmont. my father showed up with my 2nd aunt and my sister's godmother a bit later. my mother called my sister and finally managed to coax her in attending dinner.

dinner seemed to be going well, until my sister threw another tantrum, said the dumplings were way too salty, and that she couldn't bear to eat anymore so she left with her dog. her godmother was also going to leave with her, but my father insisted she stay. it made for a rather awkward chinese new year dinner.

when dinner was over, my aunt and uncle gave my 2nd aunt and sister's godmother a ride home. i left a short time later, riding my bike, even after a few guests were surprised i'd be riding in such cold weather (it was only 30 degrees). i wore my new pair of colorful temu gloves, since they were thicker than the ones that i had.

my CR1216 lithium watch battery came. i cracked open my timex weekender watch1 with a pocket knife and replaced the battery. i then used my watch press tool to press the watch back onto the watch body. i bought the watch press in august 2017, specifically to close the case on this exact same watch. missing instructions, i had to watch a few youtube videos to figure out how to use it. even then, i continued to used it wrong, but still managed to close the case anyway.


1 i bought my first timex weekender ($29) in february 2013. it was a nice watch, but i found the face too big for my thin wrist. a few years later (july 2015) i found a smaller sized weekender ($20) at the timex outlet store in the wrentham mall. i wore it everyday until i started using a fitness tracker, and had to give up the watch. i still miss wearing it though.

on fridays i can sleep in but i still woke up earlier than usual (9:30am). it was snowing for much of the day, but only stuck around on cars and grassy surfaces. i went out in the early afternoon to drop off a fedex package (my adidas jacket that i want to exchange) then walked to the dollar store to look for mini gloves (they were completely sold out). when i returned home, bruce came by and dropped off some hoppin' john (blacked eye peas with rice and salted pork).

i did some blog work but only made a small dent in the backlog of outstanding entries. couldn't even remember what i did the rest of the day. this is like the 4th consecutive friday where the weather's been bad enough that i can ride down to chinatown/haymarket. had some scallion bread for lunch. ate some navel orange slices. drank some hot tea. put on my sweatpants. i was also monitoring the online orders at the cafe, which didn't start coming in until after 2pm, when the snow started to let up. i called my parents a few times to make sure they got all on the items on some complicated orders.

i fell asleep on the couch around 6:30pm while watching youtube videos on the laptop balanced on my stomach. i woke up an hour later. i didn't eat dinner until almost 10pm, reheated the poppin' john. i reconstituted it with some water and added a dollop of habanero hot sauce to give it some kick. it really hit the spot, my face grew flush afterwards while i went into a food coma. i've had bruce's hoppin' jonh before, it's pretty good. i even tried to make it myself one time, but it came out a mushy mess, either used the wrong type of rice or cooked it way too long.

i didn't think it'd be easy but i also didn't think it'd take this long: i was at my sister's place on the phone with xfinity comcast for 1-1/2 hours today, resolving the cablemodem issue. i found out not only was the new account unlinked, but it'd also been cancelled when i dropped the technician appointment. so instead of just swapping in my own brand new modem, i first had to resolve the account issue. but because i had xfinity reset the gateway remotely (when i originally thought it was just a simple gateway issue), i had to wait before i could call them again. it was supposed to be no more than 10 minutes but it was more like 20 minutes. every time i called, the automated system would say, "i see you have a modem restart in progress...[we] won't be able to assist you until the restart is complete...good bye."

i almost gave up at that point, but to their credit, they did call me back after 20 minutes and transferred me to a live agent. from the accent i knew it was another call center (for the east coast, i think calling later in the afternoon connects you with a live agent here in the US), but the agent i got was actually super helpful, her name was ellie. we got disconnected at one point and she actually called me back immediately.

ellie was the one who told me my new account had been cancelled. my eyes nearly rolled to the back of my head as all the hard work i had to do over the past 2 days to create a new account seemed to be all in vain. but ellie was able to reactivate the cancelled account, including all promotional deals. next she linked the new account to my old existing account. then she activated the gateway, which took a few refresh to finally get working. after all the work she did to get that to work, i sheepishly told her i actually had my own cablemodem, and would like to activate that instead. so we did that, and she also as a courtesy unlinked the gateway from the account as well so i could return it.

it was nearly 12:30pm before i was finally finished. as a final step, i unplugged the old cablemodem and connected the router to the new modem. i made sure it was working (400/20Mbps download/upload speed) before finally leaving.

my parents kept calling me while i was on the phone, so i knew it was something important. as i was close to finishing up with xfinity, my mother actually came to my sister's place looking for me, said the internet was down at the cafe. so after putting out one xfinity fire, i had another one to get to.

the cafe internet went down right around the busiest time of the day. luckily my sister happened to be there and saw spotted on her phone that there was a grubhub order followed by a square order. because the cafe internet was done, not only could my parents not see the new orders, the credit card machine wasn't working, and neither were the phone. it was a really mess as they tried to fulfill the late orders while i was on the phone with comcast business. and i don't know why, every single time i call them to complain, the internet will magically fix itself before i can get an agent. fortunately i ordered another SB6190 cablemodem yesterday, due to arrive tomorrow. i'll swap out the modem saturday morning, hopefully the new modem will be more stable. with so much of the cafe business now internet-based, we can't have the internet going down this often.

my plan was to go to my parents' place, do some cleaning (before the chinese new year dinner on saturday), before returning home. i was able to leave when my sister called my mother, told her the plumber was coming in 20 minutes. so my parents asked me to wait for the plumber.

while i was waiting, another new cablemodem arrived at my sister's place. i'll get that installed on saturday.

jim from alewife co finally showed up. he actually saw me from his van and told me he was looking for parking. he's probably the last alewife plumbers i haven't met yet, i've basically met them all. i told him what the problems were (i probably knew them better than anyone), he went back to his van to get the necessary equipment. right away he seemed to be able to diagnose the problem, and it was all hard water related: hard water deposits had clogged up the bathroom sink faucet, and hard water deposit most likely clogged the shower head. my mother also came by to give me a check to pay the plumber. feifei the tenant was there too to witness the repair. jim went back to his van to look for a shower arm and for a key to remove the faucet aerator.

jim repaired the faucet first. he found a matching key and managed to remove the aerator which was on super tight, which meant it probably had never been removed before. when he finally took out the aerator, it was completely packed with deposits. he rinsed it out, put it back in, and the faucet worked like new again.

next came the shower head. he found a spare shower arm, installed it onto the wall so it was tight and snug. when i asked him about how the shower arm was pointing up when i tried to screw it back in, he said the simple trick was to tighten it even more until it was pointing point. another secret is to insert a screw driver into the shower arm to help you crank it down for that final turn, better than using a wrench which would mar the finish on the shower arm. he tried putting the shower head back - which was caked with deposit on the inside - and it didn't work. he was going to disassemble the shower head to see if he could get it to work, but feifei said they were fine with a naked shower arm for the time being, and we'd be getting a new shower head anyway, so no need to fix the old one, if it was even possible.

while jim was filling out the invoice, we chatted. he told me pat the plumber quit his job and went to go work in the casino, couldn't handle the plumbing life anymore. jim himself told me he was 63 (i thought he was older, white people don't age well). he had on a bruins bandanna (for an impromptu facemask) so i asked him if he was a bruins fan. that got him smiling, as he told me his daughter does the radio commentary for the umass hockey team, and he used to be a season ticket holder, even went to the most recent winter classic at fenway park.

jim charged us an hour of work, which turned out to be about $140. he gave us the aerator key and a spool of plumber's tape. after seeing him work, the repairs weren't that hard, you just had to know what you were doing, and had to have the right equipment. if it happens again, i'll be able to fix it next time.

there was the still the problem of the missing shower head. i told feifei i'd go out and buy one and be back in an hour. it was 2:30pm, by that point it'd already started to rain a little bit. i drove down to the watertown home depot to pick up a shower head (got a delta 6-way $25, the same one that i have). coming back, i made a detour to fresh pond mall to drop off the gateway at the xfinity office. while i was there, i also managed to cancel my sister's old account. i was afraid they'd ask me for an ID but they didn't do that. that saved me the trouble of having to call back comcast xfinity and go through phone tree hell again.

i finally made it back to the cafe by 3:30pm. i went to apartment above my sister's place and started to install the shower head. feifei came out of her room and actually did the honors. we tested it out, it worked awesome, good pressure, wide spray. it looked so good, i was tempted to take a shower there myself!

back at the cafe, my mother made some rice noodles. since i didn't eat yet all day, i couldn't say no, even though it was getting late, and i didn't want to get caught riding in the dark and the rain. after i finished eating, my mother asked for my help to make another temu order, since a bunch of formerly out of stock wool yarn were now back in stock again. my mother also said my father really likes his fleece jogger pants (he'd been wearing them to work everyday this week) and wanted to order another pair. by the time we were finished, it was already 4:20pm.

i did end up having to ride in the rain and the dark. i didn't think i'd be going home so late so i didn't bring my lights (note to self: always bring lights, even if i don't think i need them, or maybe throw some smaller emergency lights in the bag as part of my EDC kit). it wasn't that bad, it was a little dusky, but i'm not used to riding in the "dark" without lights. my jacket was only damp and i had a trash bag around my messenger bag so my macbook pro wouldn't get wet. the only real casualty were my pants, which were soaked from the wet saddle.

another casualty in all of today's excitement was losing one of my gloves. i discovered it when i left my sister's place today around 12:30pm. either i lost it on my way to the cafe this morning, or yesterday when i rode home. they were a pair of cheap gloves i got from dollar tree, but i like them because they kept my hands warm (double-layered: pair of fingerless gloves outside a pair of regular gloves). i do another pair of the same gloves, and i'll go visit the dollar store tomorrow to see if they have anymore in stock.

this being thursday, i went to star market to score some additional sale items before the new circular rolls out tomorrow. i got some sugarbee apples ($1.99/lbs) and a few bags of doritos.

i snacked on some scallion bread and oranges in the early evening. something must not've agreed with me, because afterwards i felt really nauseous, like i might throw up. i have a pretty strong stomach so i haven't felt that queasy in a while. after a while it passed. later i heated up the two leftover meat buns in the microwave and had some more oranges.

i watched the warriors-celtics game. it was a real battle, celtics trailed throughout until the 4th quarter, where they came back to tie and send the game into overtime. boston ended up winning, though the final 30 seconds was a little harrowing as the celtics got sloppy and gave up several turnovers which made the game closer than it actually was. final score 121-118.

i went to my sister's place before work to activate the xfinity gateway i got from the fresh pond xfinity office last night. i first split the coaxial so one was going into my sister's old router and the other into the gateway. it didn't work at first, probably because i started the activation process on my xfinity app before the gateway was fully powered on. it told me it couldn't find the gateway. when i tried again it found on the second time, and asked me to rename the network and change the password. with that i was all set. i would've swapped over the modem but i noticed it was a motorola SB6141, the same model i tried to activate with yesterday but they wouldn't let me because they said it was no longer supported. thankfully late last night i ordered an amazon renewed arris SB6190 cablemodem. it's due to arrive tonight, so i'll bring it back tomorrow, swap out with the gateway, then return the gateway.

i bumped into my moroccan mailman today by the cafe. he's apparently covering for another postal carrier who broken his leg and might be out for 4 months. my mailman doesn't mind, he gets overtime pay for covering someone else's route along with his own. i told him i work at the cafe sometimes, and he asked about the coffee. i recommended the bento (although i think he can only have the chicken).

there was a rush of activity this late morning as we had a large grubhub order scheduled for noontime with at least 16 bento boxes and a handful of other orders. they actually made the order last night but my sister only noticed it this morning. luckily my parents were also at the cafe early (to prepare all the foods for my sister's catered meals) and had time to make sure we had everything ready. we had another similarly large order a few weeks ago, not sure if it was the same person. food prepping in bulk is more logistically challenging, but the payoff is greater, instead of making the same amount in piecemeal. as long as we get advanced warning, it's actually pretty manageable.

other than that big grubhub order, business today was slow if you also don't count the catered meals. we had meat buns and salt water chicken and special new year's cake, all things my parents knew how to make. i think the only thing my sister made was a beef & daikon soup, and even that she needed my parents help because she'd planned to start the soup so late it wouldn't be ready by the time customers were coming to pick up their orders.

my sister's godmother came to the cafe today. she always come when she has a favor to ask, and today she needed my mother's help to order a plane ticket back to taiwan for next week. she came in the afternoon but we were so busy, we weren't able to buy her ticket until around 5pm. it's easier to travel to taiwan nowadays since they did away with the quarantine and testing.

later in the day i went over to the upstairs apartment to check on their plumbing issue, something about low shower head water pressure. there was a bunch of issues: low water pressure, water leaking behind the wall, and low water pressure in the bathroom sink. later my father came to take a look and we even went down into the basement to see if somebody had accidentally turned off the water. whatever the problem was it was beyond our expertise so my sister ended up calling a plumber, who will call her back tomorrow morning to schedule an appointment. at least the toilet still flushes and there's good water pressure in the kitchen sink.

i didn't leave the cafe until almost 7pm. i left with 4 meat buns and 2 slices of scallion bread. when i got home i ate two buns and a piece of scallion bread, saving the rest for tomorrow. i also went to star market to get some navel oranges on sale. they weren't as good as the ones we got from aldi's, the rind on these oranges were extra thick, so you were getting less orange.

the SB6190 modem arrived later in the evening. amazon seems to deliver later and later, not enough hours in the day to make all their deliveries. it didn't come with the original box and said refurbished. as long as it works, i don't care what quality it comes in.

i finally watched the premiere episode of the last of us, which aired this past sunday. i'm usually not a fan of zombie survivalist horrors, and that's what i thought this show would be, just on HBO's budget and high production value. but the first episode only showed cordycep fungus zombies a few times, while most of the time the horror came from human-on-human interactions. it's got me intrigued at the very least, and with nothing good to watch on sunday nights, i'll continue to watch this show.

i went ahead and cancelled the xfinity technician appointment, since i already got the gateway to work. the weird thing was when i went into billing, it gave me an error, most likely because i circumvented the usual installation process by doing it on my own. i used their online tool to cancel the appointment but it wouldn't let me, and told me i had to chat with an agent. so i used the online chat tool and got an agent to cancel the appointment. unfortunately when i went back into my account to check, the new account was gone, somehow unlinked. i think cancelling the technician appointment somehow also cancelled the account, but the account is still active because i activated the gateway, it's just not linked from anywhere. more comcast xfinity hell! hopefully i can get it sorted out at the xfinity office tomorrow when i return the rented gateway (and fingers crossed manage to transfer to the new modem).

i got ready to go running this morning. temperature was creeping into the 40's. there was a bit of overnight ice on the ground that was quickly melting and the sun even came out, perfect day to get back into running. i even changed into my running outfit, which composed of running shorts over black thermal underwear with a thermal pullover layer along with a wool hat and gloves. however i was missing my flipbelt and i searched everywhere in the house but couldn't find it. when it got close to noontime it was basically too late to go running while still having time for other errands so i gave up. i finally did find the flipbelt, hanging on the doorknob of my bedroom door.

one important thing i had to do today was sign up for a comcast xfinity contract using the second address at my sister's place in order to qualify for the cheaper new customer promotional deal. it's $40/month for 2 years with a 1 year obligation, provided you use your own cablemodem, otherwise it's an additional $15/month to rent an xfinity gateway. it was a nightmare dealing with comcast, they kept pushing me to use their online resources to solve my problem instead of actually chatting with a live agent. when i did get an agent on the line, it was obviously from an indian call center, and service wasn't that great. i did go onto the website and sign up for a plan and create an account. when i typed in my own phone number, it said that number was already used by another account, and asked if i wanted to combine the two accounts. i said yes before deciding no, afraid the new account would be flagged as an old account, and thereby losing all the new customer perks. however that wasn't the case, so i went ahead and completed the procession, signed up for online payment to receive the proper discount.

for some reason there was no option for self-install. i had to have a technician make a housecall, and that would set me back $50. comcast makes it sound like they're doing me a favor because a typical technician visit costs $100+, but i remember when they used to be free. it seemed like a waste of time and money, because i'm going to be essentially using the preexisting coaxial cable connection, and they're working fine. i read online that when an address has never had cable before, or it's been more than a year since last service, comcast must send out a technician to make sure the lines are working correctly.

so after i signed up, something still wasn't right. for one thing, comcast didn't send me any additional e-mails. and when i logged into my account, i couldn't see the new account. to make matters worse, i had no idea what the new account number was because they never told me.

that when i called up comcast. i spent the next 1-1/2 hours on phone trying to resolve the matter. the guy that i got was basically clueless, and kept putting me on hold while he asked for help. a few times i just wanted to hang up on him, but at least he was polite, and i am a patient person. they finally fixed it but creating another account with all the info from the limbo account. i then received the confirmation e-mails and agreed to the terms and when i logged into my account, i saw both accounts.

by that point it was almost 3pm. i had a few things to return, including the undersized adidas track jacket. i tried it on again and this time it felt pretty well. still slightly snug, but vey flattering, especially if i lost a few pounds. i realized what the problem was: the jacket fits well when i'm only wearing t-shirt, but anything more underneath and it's a bulky ill-fitting mess. i'm still going to exchange it regardless, if the larger size doesn't fit, i'm willing to give up on the matter and return it for a refund. i noticed the material is a little light, i doubt it can keep me warm.

so instead i got on my bike and pedaled to the heart of harvard square to return a pair of shoes at the allbirds store. a gang of turkeys was causing quite the commotion, seemingly fearless of both people and cars. what's next, deers and raccoons? i snapped a photo before heading to the store. i'd never been to the allbirds store before, it sort of reminded me of an apple store in its ascetic design. i printed out a receipt but that wasn't necessary, as the barcodes on the shoebox itself was enough info to process the return. when i left the store, turkeys were congregating around my parked bicycle. i ignored them as i unlocked my bike and headed home.

as an experiment, i wondered if i could activate my old arris surfboard SB6141 modem onto the new comcast account. one thing i always wondered is if the modems can detect where it is? like if i activated at my house, would it also work when i brought it over to my sister's place? so i tried it, retrieving the old modem from the basement. when i plugged it into one of the coaxial cables coming from the wall, it showed 4 steady lights, a good sign that it was speaking with comcast at least. but when i used the xfinity app to activate the modem, it wouldn't activate.

so i called comcast, figuring i might have to activate it manually by having an agent add the MAC address by hand. i managed to get an american agent, which was a relief. unfortunately he told me my old modem is an end-of-life product and no longer supported by comcast, being they won't even activate it. my options were either to buy a newer modem or rent a comcast gateway. he told me if i managed to activate the modem, it will turn on billing, and then i can then cancel the technician appointment (saving me $50). right now the new account exists in this sort of no-man's-land where i'm not getting charged for anything until a modem has been activated and billing begins.

even though it was getting late, i thought i could ride down to fresh pond and pick up a gateway from the comcast office, so it'll be ready for activation tomorrow when i'm done at the cafe. it was just after 4pm when i left the house. i made sure to bring my light since it'd be dark.

getting a new gateway at the comcast office was a cinch. the agent just made me confirm that i agreed to add the $15/month rental charge. my plan is to activate the gateway, make sure it works, cancel my sister's existing account, deactivate her modem, then reactivate the modem on the new account, so i could return the gateway. easy, right? most people probably wouldn't bother going through the hassle, but if it means paying $87/month for internet or $40/month, it's a small price to pay.

i went to the cafe to drop off the gateway. my 2nd aunt was there, she went to chinatown earlier to get her dental surgery. even after all these months she couldn't properly explain the problem, but apparently a piece of dental root was embedded in her jaw from an improper tooth extraction, and now needed to be removed. not sure why, maybe the broken root could lead to complications, but it was a problem my 2nd aunt knew nothing about until a recent dentist took an x-ray.

i got back my 4:45pm. my 2nd aunt had bought me a sponge cake from chinatown and that was my very late lunch. for dinner, i finished the 3 leftover barbecued drumsticks and a piece of scallion bread while rewatching the queen's gambit. later i made myself a small bowl of instant miso soup.

my parents arrived a bit before 10am for a everett-malden-medford-somerville supply run, after i just finished shoveling the sidewalk. the snow that fell overnight was the wet slushy kind, which was easy to clean. it continued snowing throughout the day, just flurries, to add some wintery drama.

costco as usual was our first stop. last time we were at the everett store, it was so crowded we parked at the far end of the large parking lot. i wasn't sure what to expect today, especially since it was martin luther king jr. day, so people had the day off. my fears were unfounded, as it was the least busiest costco i've been to in a long time. maybe the snow made people stay home instead. we parked within just a handful of cars to the entrance.

one of the most important things we needed to get at costco were eggs. you might've heard there's an egg shortage (due to the avian flu, something that's not at all covered on the news, even though it affects everyone), so egg prices are on the rise. costco sets egg purchase limits of 2 per customer. that's not a big deal when they sell them in 5-dozen packs, but due to the shortage, they now only sell 2-dozen packs. as an example, last week alone the cafe used about 40 eggs. 4 dozen eggs will only last us about a week. so we gamed the system by having my father buy 2 packs of eggs first, drop them off in the car, then come back again to buy 2 more packs. that gave us enough eggs to last 2 weeks.

we can also buy eggs in even more bulk from the restaurant depot. for the same price however, the eggs are smaller; they do sell larger eggs but more expensive. so until the egg supply chain can get back to normal production (something i doubt will happen anytime soon, as the egg shortage has been ongoing for almost a year now), we have to play these games in order to buy our eggs.

after costco we went to the nearby total wines. i went in alone while my parents stayed in the car and ate their costco hot dogs. my mother came inside a bit later. i was there in search of my wild turkey 101, which my father had finished a few weeks ago. i just like having it in the house. took me a while to find, seems to be a popular bourbon, and they changed the label to make the brand turkey less conspicuous. i also looked for plum wine but they didn't have a good selection, nor chinese baijiu. my mother was impressed with their selection of mini liquors.

originally we were supposed to go to the chelsea market basket, but it's kind of a haul to get there, so we opted for the somerville market basket instead. in the meantime, we turned around and stopped at the malden 88 to get some asian ingredients for the chinese new year dinner my parents are hosting this saturday. it was slightly more crowded that a typically monday, a lot of chinese shoppers buying food for new year celebrations as well i imagine. i noticed the store did something shady: typically for holidays supermarkets have sales on popular items; malden 88 had sales as well, but the sale prices were actually more expensive than before, with a lot of $8.88 price tags symbolic of prosperity, but apparently only for the store. malden 88 also don't offer free bags but they do have plenty of empty boxes, so that's what we used to haul our groceries.

we then went to bianco & sons to restock our chinese sausage supply.

from there we went to the medford ocean state job lot. they had a sale on walnuts and my father picked up a few packages to make his candied walnut recipe. my mother also grabbed some yarn.

then we went to aldi. the flurries were at their worst during this time (12:30pm), snow swirling everywhere, but thankfully nothing really sticking except on grassy surfaces and parked cars. aldi has the best price in produce, particularly scallions and baby cucumbers. they're so cheap it's worth take a side trip just to get those items.

we finally headed back to somerville for our last stop of the day which was market basket. it was surprisingly to see the parking lot so packed. was it snow-related panic buying? but that usually happens before a snowstorm, not when it's actually happening. we lucked out and found a great parking spot right next to the bike stand. the place was crowded but i'm so used to it by now i find it sort of calming. here my parents stocked up on meats: hams, ground pork, and chicken portions. after we got out, i went to the nearby indian store and got some white ground pepper: a little packet cost $6. it seemed really expensive and my mother scolded me for it but cafe is all out and we forgot to get it at malden 88 earlier (foodpak didn't have it).

we left market basket a bit after 2pm. the snow by this point had completely stopped. we went to the cafe to drop off the supplies, which took 30 minutes. luckily we took the bigger honda vehicle today, our toyota sedan wouldn't have been able to fit all the stuff we bought from the 6 stores we visited today.

we didn't get back to belmont until almost 3pm. even though today was supposed to be a cafe rest day, we still spent 5+ hours making a supply run.

our day wasn't quite over yet. my parents didn't clear the sidewalk this morning so my father and i quickly shoveled the front of the house before moving onto the back. the snow had covered our solar panels: the panels on the main roof had fallen off by 50%, but the panels on the sunroom were completely covered. i spent 20 minutes clear the snow off the panels with the extensible foam snow rake. my hands were freezing, my gloves completely soaked. the rest of my body felt warm though, warm enough to strip off my jacket (jacket also made it hard to manuever). i also filled the birdfeeder, which was emptied of sunflower seeds.

my father grilled some drumsticks on the barbecue. winter grilling is perfectly doable, but watch out for cold weather, as the ambient temperature can quickly lower the internal temperature of the barbecue if you're not careful. the drumsticks had been marinated in some salt and spices, and we slathered them with thai sweet chili sauce before taking them off the grill. they were good, but i think we charred them a bit. i ended up eating 3 drumsticks.

when dinner rolled around a few hours later, i wasn't very hungry. my father made some corn & egg drop soup with leftover chicken broth, i had two bowls. i did also eat one more drumstick.

my father gave me a ride back to cambridge. my adidas track suit jacket was waiting on my doorstep. i tried it on immediately. the sleeves were good, but everything else was too tight, from the shoulders to the torso (my pot belly didn't help either). i'm exchanging it for a larger size.

the final football game of the week was between the cowboys and buccaneers. i found myself rooting for tom brady. tampa bay lost, 14-31, in what could potentially be brady's last game. is he going to retire (again) after this season? who knows. with his contract expired, the announcers kept saying there were at least 3 teams who want to hire brady to be their next QB, even if just for one season. my gut feeling is he's going to keep on playing. brady didn't do well this season not so much because he was playing poorly, but more because his team sucked. he still has enough juice left in the proverbial tank for another run.