while boiling some water in the kitchen for my late night ramen snack, i saw the tail end of a mouse scurrying fast across the floor to underneath the kitchen sink. i initially saw it for a split second from my peripheral vision, something dark moving across the floor - i thought maybe it was a giant cockroach. but then i followed it quickly as it disappeared, and saw the brown egg shaped mouse body and its tail. for some reason i became afraid, frozen for a few seconds. in my mind i had an image of a thousand mice all converging around my feet.

so what to do now? first thing i checked was inside the cabinets, to make sure mice haven't been eating my food (i'm safe, nothing's been looted). i don't mind if they visit (hey, it's cold outside!), but if they're there to stay, if they're eating my food, then we have a situation. in the period that i've been living in this house, this is the first time seeing a mouse. actually, during the heavy renovation work this past summer, i did see signs of mouse activity in the form of small mouse tracks across sheet rock dust. but nothing since then, until tonight, when i actually saw a mouse for real.

i'm not going to set any traps, i think they're nasty. i really hope it was just a visit, not a stay. another reason to keep the house absolutely clean, free of crumbs! i think i've done a good job on that front. maybe i could get a cat. houses with a feline presence don't have a mouse problem, do they? maybe i could borrow somebody's cat for a week or so.

the highlight of my afternoon was getting julie to listen to the chuck mangione ("who's he?") song i downloaded from limewire, "feels so good." you've probably heard it before, probably at a mall, or in an elevator, or perhaps over the phone while being put on hold, this masterpiece of easy listening instrumental classic by the master of the trumpet, chuck mangione. that guy rocks. i wish i was exposed to him back in elementary school, so i'd pick the trumpet as my band instrument of choice instead of the clarinet, which is an inferior reed instrument (the horns, that's were the actions at). i gave up the clarinet after a year, and that was the last time i'd ever dabbled in music, the spirit of song extinguished forever in my 10 year old heart. had the hands of fate been different, and i picked the trumpet after hearing chuck mangione, perhaps i might've been a great trumpet player, if not the greatest of all time.

i got my utilities bill today, like receiving my report card. i nervously opened up the letter and saw the damage, only $20 more for gas heat than what it was last month (as you might remember, it was $120). even though it's still expensive, i'm actually a little bit surprised, i figured it'd reach $200 because this month had been nothing but subzero temperatures. my electricity was still the same though, no change.

came close to nightfall the familiar sight of my sister and mother were waiting for me outside my house. tonight's agenda: visiting the sofa factory outlet and bernie & phyl's on route 1 in saugus for one last round of couch comparison shopping. the sofa factory outlet i'd seen before, back in october when my grandmother was still here. the place is kind of bare bones, no fancy showrooms, just a large room with a bunch of furnitures dumped inside. most of the styles are pretty generic as well, nothing to write home about. at the time i didn't see anything special, except for this one purple sofa that passed many of the criteria i had in mind for a perfect sofa (legs, supple curves), with the exception of the color (i wanted red), so i didn't give it very much thought beyond that point. but now since i'm more opened to having a sofa of a color other than red, it became a viable candidate. i went there, did some measuring (perfect size, it'll even fit through the kitchen door), asked some questions. i got the sales woman's card and moved on to the next store, which was bernie & phyl's, my fifth visit. i immediately went to see the sofa that i almost decided to get last time, a microfiber suede olive colored piece. i personally think that bernie & phyl's sofas and chairs are the best quality out of all the other bargain chain furniture stores, but despite the higher quality merchandise, i just didn't like the fabric. suede to me feels too much like leather, and i hate leather furnitures, feels plasticky. also it seems like it'd get dirty rather easily, even though the microfiber is touted as easy to clean.

so after all that comparison shopping, i think i've finally made my decision: i'm going with the athena blackberry (purple) sofa from sofa factory outlet. i'm going to call them tomorrow and have it delivered sometime early next week. my excitement is only countered by the fact that i'm going to be several hundred dollars poorer within the next few days. but a sofa! now i can get full-blown lazy in the living room, instead of the half-assed job i've been doing up to this point. so much hype has been built over this event, i'm worried it'll be very anticlimatic when the sofa actually arrives.

my mother, sister, and i came back to the house were we had dumplings for dinner. the evening ended in a sour note as my mother and i had a fight with my sister, who quickly put on her coat and shoes and went home, taking my mother with her.