i woke up at 11am this morning (after going to bed last night at 4am, something that i haven't done in a long time), microwaved some chicken pot pie pocket for lunch (those are good, i'm having one everyday), then went down the street to meet dennis and bruce for some demolition work. dennis, who owns his entire condo building, wanted bruce and i to do some demolition work on the cement path beside his house, clearing it out to make way for some brick and blue stone pavement work. we used a 5 lbs. sledgehammer to slowly chisel away at the cement floor. the initial parts was easy, the cement was thin, but the further we got, the thicker the cement became, as thick as 5 inches. i took great joy in bring down the hammer with all my might, trying to break apart the cement. after several serious whacks, we'd gather up the broken pieces and put them into plastic buckets, which dennis seemed to have an inexhaustable supply. i wore safety glasses, which was a good thing, because occasionally flecks of stone would shoot out from each strike like shrapnel. i escaped without injuries, except when i was first using the sledgehammer, i inadvertently hit my shin with the hammer on an upward swing, causing it to swell up slightly (no coloration though, i don't seem to bruise easily). around 2:30pm susan made lunch for everyone, tuna fish sandwiches on slices of toasted bread with orangina. maybe it was all that manual labor, but i was pretty hungry for some reason and found the lunch to be delicious. i saw dennis and susan's place, had some talk about the wall colors they chosed, and then later bruce showed me his place downstairs. we went back out and did another 30 minutes of pounding with the sledgehammer before i went upstairs and got a check for my 3 hours worth of work. bruce and dennis continued working in the backyard, lining the base of a porch wall with stones instead of bricks.

by the time i got home it was close to 4pm. after a shower, i started to clean my place, in preparation for the barbecue, the first of the season, and in fact the first barbecue ever at my place. originally just renata and andrew, but i invited amy this morning as well, all former belmont high school alumni. around 5pm amy aimed me and told me she couldn't come because of a stomach ache but i got her to change her mind. i vacuumed the house but the bulk of my efforts was in rearranging the makeshift desk in my bedroom and moving the mac (that had been sitting out in the living room since i moved into this place) into the bedroom. the reason for the move was the mac was sort of out of place in the living room, and now that i have a roommate, it'd be awkward for anyone to use that room if i'm there as well on the computer. as much as i loved having a computer there (computer and television and often times my dining room as well), it really didn't belong there. besides, i still have my ibook, and if i want to surf the web and watch television on the couch in the living room at the same time, i can still do that. i moved the desk so now when i sit down i'm facing west instead of south. it's a good arrangement for now, but there isn't enough tabletop space for my pc, so now the pc monitor is on the floor. there's also a snakepit of cables behind the desk, which is plainly visible to anyone who enters the room. i'll have to get some sort of cable organizer. i also moved my mini-stereo to the top of one of my kitchen cabinets, so i can listen to music or the radio when i cook.

i finally finished up a little bit after 7pm, which was when andrew came home from vermont. we went to star market to buy some groceries and barbecue items, leaving a note on the door in case renata or amy showed up before we could get home. andrew paid for the food since i'm not charging him rent for the month of may because he's only living here during the weekends.

i bumped into dennis at the supermarket, who told me to give him a copy of my resume for some possible computer work. andrew and i came back, with none of our guests arriving yet. we decided to fire up his weber grille in the backyard using some matchlight brickets. it's been a while since i've barbecued with brickets (the barbecue that my parents have is a gas grille), so i've forgotten how interesting it is. first a cauldron of fire, then the flames die down to glowing embers. renata called (salt n' pepa's "push it" playing on my nokia 8260, a new ringtone i downloaded late last night) saying she was leaving her house, i asked her if she could bring the marshmellows. when she finally arrived, she did one better, bringing with her the accoutrements for manufacturing s'mores (marshmellow, chocolate, graham crackers, and skewers for roasting). we headed out into the backyard, where we had my suspended paper ball lantern giving us the proper backyard illumination in the dark. it was a cold night, we could see our breaths, but the warm fire heated us up (at least in the front). andrew was the grille master, we didn't have metal tongs or a spatula, so we used a plastic spatula with a pair of forks. we cooked three hot dogs and three hamburgers.

we went back inside to eat our barbecue food, applying the necessary condiments: slices of tomatoes and onions, lettuce, ketchup, mustard, and relish. we ate in the living room with the nets-celtics game on television, the celtics about to lose game 3 of the playoffs. i called amy to see if she was still coming, nobody answered, but she called back minutes later, saying how her stomach was still hurting. using the powers of persuasion, i talked her into coming nevertheless, that she could even come in her pajamas if she wanted.

when amy arrived, andrew and i were in the backyard adding some more brickets to the grille so i could cook the last hamburger (nobody else wanted seconds except for me). i could only eat half of the hamburger while everyone else waited around for me to finish up so we could go back outside and make s'mores. renata and amy chanted "fight fight!" whenever andrew and i disagreed on anything, trying to goad us into our first roommate squabble. finally i was done with the burger, and around the flaming grille we converged, s'mores ingredients in hand, including the bamboo skewers which renata made me soak in water before we used them. amy had to sit out of the s'mores eating because of her stomach ache, while the rest of us pigged out. i only had one s'mores but many marshmellows. renata had fun burning the skewers and i went back inside to get a bay leaf to burn, it exploding from the oils within.

back inside we went, where it was warmer. initially we parked ourselves in the kitchen and talked, but then shifted to the more comfortable living room. andrew talked about his after high school around the world trip, amy talked about becoming a teacher, renata told her kindergarten jokes, and i revealed the secret message in my high school yearbook blurb. renata, as always, soon fell asleep on the couch while the rest of us chatted into midnight, before amy and renata left to go home (and i got to see amy's new red jeep).

thus concluded my very first barbecue, a successful one at that.