we drove to sound bites in ball square, but they were closed for vacation. we then went to the porter square cafe & diner in porter square (lovingly called "a greasy spoon" by laurie), but in a freaky twist of fate, they too were closed for vacation as well. laurie wanted to get some supplies from the star market and make breakfast herself, but i persuaded her to try the oxford spa on oxford street, thinking they'd have some traditional breakfast items. jokingly, i mentioned that if oxford spa didn't have what we were looking for, then we should call it a day, the hand of destiny sending us a clear signal that we shouldn't meet for brunch today. sure enough, oxford spa carried mostly sandwiches, which wasn't what laurie had in mind. so we got back onto mass ave, laurie got some food from a local grocery store, and we went to her parents' place for breakfast. i made myself scarce (not by choice, but by laurie's orders, she didn't want me to get in her way) and sat on the sideline watching the breakfast chef in action. laurie made some egg sandwich on bagels, strips of bacon, and home fries.
afterwards, laurie went to work while i went back to my house, where jeremy was still there fixing the lights. when he was finally done, he wrote out an invoice on the back of a flyer and i paid him. my father and i went across the street to get some food for when claudio and his friend arrive. thinking i had at least a few more hours before they'd get here driving from new york city, i was surprised to get a cell phone in the supermarket telling me that they were already in cambridge and heading to my place. i also got a call from my sister, who made a surprise visit to see the house progress thus far. when my father and i came back from star market, he and my sister left right about when claudio and his friend arrived on my front doorstep.
i hadn't seen claudio since i went to visit japan/taiwan back in spring of 1998, over four years ago. he hadn't really change since i last saw him, and he said the same about me. claudio introduced me to his friend, happy (yes, that's her name), one of the bridesmaids at the new york wedding he went to. happy had spent the last year in japan working some sweet corporate gig where her company pretty much paid for her housing and expenses, but now currently unemployed since her contract expired. she came up to boston to visit some friends, and just so happen to give claudio a ride as well. happy turned out to be a shutterbug too, taking out a little kyocera digital camera from her purse and taking a few souvenir snapshots.
for dinner we went over to happy's friends' place in the museum towers down by the science museum. we first went to star market (my second visit!) to get some fruits and got some portuguese food when we drove by atasca near kendall square (salty mackerel, cod, shrimp). the entrance to the museum towers was hard to find, hidden behind a truck stop corridor. it was her friend perry, his wife vivian (they'd just moved to boston), and perry's brother. they also had a small toy dog named "MS." they were making curry along with a pot of egg drop soup. the view from their penthouse suite was quite spectacular, despite the fact that they weren't facing boston but instead north of I-93 in the direction of everett and charlestown. i had a nice chat with the brothers, both medical students studying surgery, about the nature of the surgery field, how not very many women become surgeons, and the general lack of doctors.
after dinner, i navigated happy to belmont (being that belmont is my hometown), where her soon-to-be-married friend ranida had just moved to. her first floor two family apartment was amazing, i'd guess 1300 square feet at least of very nice hardwood floor rooms. after some very brief chatting, claudio and i left happy with her friend and we walked to my parents' house, which was just a block away on the other side of the street (small world). i grabbed some stuff (compact flash card reader, contact lense case, the latest issue of entertainment weekly, an extra blanket) and drove the maxima back to cambridge.
originally we were suppose to have a mini-tufts reunion eating wings with our mutual friend manny, but that was before we made alternative plans to have dinner at the museum towers. nevertheless, manny stopped by to visit, partly to see claudio, but partly so i can show him what else i'd done to the house, since manny and i are both proud condominium owners.
after manny left, claudio and i watched a few late night dating shows on television (elimidate rocks! you know that asian girl is so bank). i offered to let him sleep in the guest bedroom, but because it had just recently been painted, claudio opted to sleep in the living room while i took the guest bedroom, figuring that breathing in the paint fumes would make me feel closer to the house. i took a shower - my very first shower with the new showerhead, the new shower curtains, new light, new bathroom mirror, and new bathroom rug - it was a very nice experience, didn't feel unnatural, everything felt like they were in place. that must be a good sign.