i had to be in brighton at 10:30am to pick up the scrabble. i'd mapquested the address, which told me it was down at the end of washington street that wasn't even in brighton, more like newton. it seemed strange, but i didn't question it too much, figuring mapquest would know better than i do. i rode out to the location, which seemed kind of off. the place i was going was an apartment, and i seemed to be in a neighborhood of all large suburban single family houses. i called the people i was supposed to meet, a woman answered, possibly a wife, her english not so good, her japanese accent very strong. talking with her and asking for direction was perhaps no better than consulting with a mapquest that seemingly gave me the wrong information. she said something about "taking a left," but in my mind i was thinking, "does she know the different between right and left? maybe she means right but said left." she mentioned something about st.elizabeth hospital, so i turned around and headed back towards brighton. when i couldn't find the address once again, i went back down washington street, went even further into this very posh residential neighborhood, then gave her another call. she said something about a police station this time, so i knew it had to be near brighton center. i quickly sped back, and finally found the place, the time already 11am. i rang the doorbell when i got there and she came out with a large brown bag with a handle, inside the box of scrabble deluxe. i originally thought the game would be big enough to fit into my courier bag, but it was too oversized. i rode back home with the large brown bag dangling dangerously from my right arm. the rope straps dug into my flesh, and whenever i went above 30mph, the bag would fly up like an airplane wing, tugging on my arm along with it.
i went to the cafe to dropped off the motorcycle and exchange it for my parents' toyota camry. i drove home and continued with my errands, miraculously finishing everything by 2pm.
caterpillar news: cat v2 has become a chrysalis! it was still a caterpillar dangling from the jar lid this morning, but when i came back from brighton in the hour it took me to pick up scrabble, it had shed its skin (lying at the bottom of the jar) and was a pale green chrysalis, not fully developed yet, some of the golden dots still just yellow. cat v3 is close to a chrysalis as well, not yet dangling, but it already migrated to the top of the jar and is definitely more compressed in length, the sign of an eventual dangle then molt into a chrysalis. unfortunately i won't be there to see cat v3 actually change into a chrysalis either, since i'll be in new york, but i cleaned the jar and put in a fresh leaf, just in case i'm wrong and it decides to climb back down for more food (which was what v2 did).
i drove out to allston to pick up dan. he still wasn't quite ready, printing out some last minute portuguese phrases for his family when they fly down to brazil with him this weekend for his wedding ceremony. i helped him bring some stuff downstairs, then we headed out, not before stopping at the BU shaws supermarket (my first time there, massive place, aisles big enough to drive a car through them) to get some drinks for the road (i had a cooler of cafe ice in the backseat of the car), then to the allston post office so dan can pick up his stop requested mails. from there we took the turnpike to needham, to pick up mandy, who was at her grandmother's house (sounded very little red riding hood). i totally neglected mandy as she hopped into the backseat, i was talking on the cellphone with paula and jonathan, who just closed on a condo today and was asking me for painting advice. after the phone call, i properly introduced dan and mandy (even though they've met before). we got back on the turnpike and proceeded to drive down to long island.
we made 2 stops. the first stop was an hour into our ride, both mandy and dan complaining about their need for dunkin' donuts coffee. the place we stopped at didn't have any dunkin' donuts, although there was a honeydew donuts shack. dan got a muffin and a coffee; mandy, who was earlier talking about a coffee, settled for bottled water instead. the second stop was initially just a bathroom break somewhere in connecticut, but ended up becoming a dinner break as we ate at the macdonalds restaurant. mandy debated long and hard about getting a macdonalds salad (there was something oxymoronic about it), but ended up getting the salad anyway. dan and i both got the 2 cheese burgers meal at the extortion price of something like $5.50 (normally much cheaper elsewhere, but on the side of the highway with very little alternative food selection, they price gouge you).
while eating our dinner, i got a call from my refinance lawyer. i excused myself then took the call, since it was important. the lawyer, john rogaris, told me everything was set for a wednesday closing, and he'd call me back early next week to let me know what time. then he asked me a weird question: "hey, are you the same tony yang that went to belmont high school?" "yeah, that's me! how did you know...?" i said. "hey tony, it's me, john rogaris, remember me?" of course i remember him! when i first heard the name, i didn't believe it was him, and hearing his voice on the phone, it didn't sound like him, so i didn't even bother to speculate that perhaps it was the same john rogaris that i went to both middle and high school with. but what a small world! turns out he does a lot of work for my mortgage consultant, so hopefully he can cut me a good deal, although i think at this point, how much a lawyer can do is pretty much already predetermined and fixed. after the phone call, i apologized once again to dan and mandy for being "that guy who neglects his friends to talk to people on the cell phone in public places."
somewhere in connecticut we got caught in a serious downpour, the kind that rains so hard you can't even see. fortunately it lasted only for a few minutes, and the rest of the ride of smooth sailing. we listened to the 6 cd's i burned earlier that day, chock full of 80's and disco songs and anything else interesting i could think of. i snacked on a jar of dried orange peels i'd bought in chinatown last week, neither dan nor mandy able to acquire the taste for it when i offered it to them. i played with the air conditioning control a lot, turning it up and down depending on how cold or warm i got. dan, sitting driver side, was my navigator, occasionally reading me the number of the next highway i should be taking. mandy sat in the backseat, occasionally opening her 15" ibook to play chess with the computer, cursing profusely as the computer cheated its way to victory after victory.
no one else drove but me, and i wasn't tired anyway, my spirits buoyed by the cold air, the choice music, and the company. daylight driving slowly became nighttime driving as we made our way south, finally to the long island expressway. once we got close to deanna's place, there was some confusion as to where to go. i think through shear luck we managed to travel in the right direction, but in the end, i had to get the gps out of the bag to finalize zero in on her location. GPS SAVES LIVES! the toyota camry 2003 gets amazing mileage, we made it all the way down, something like 300+ miles, never having to refuel, using up just a little bit more than half of the gas. there was nobody home when we got there although the lights inside the house were on. the three of us wandered around the house, looking for ways to get inside, all the while mosquitoes feasted on our exposed flesh. thankfully, minutes later, deanna came back with a carload full of people, including john, his friend mark, and deanna's friends meghan, may and andie. it was my first time meeting may and andie, and i remembered their names from the fact that "may" + "andie" sounds like "mandy."
we watched the beginning of a bad david haselhoff movie (bail out) john had purchased from some discount video rack. while the ladies went to bed, the boys jumped into the pool, then later the hot tub, chattering away, occasionally converging for a quiet whisper whenever the conversation was too sensitive or risque.
once we were probably pruned, we dried off (it was freezing in the house with the central air circulating). john took us to the cabin where we'd be staying. unfortunately the key was nowhere to be found, and john even went back to the house looking for them but couldn't find them. so we all trekked back to the house to sleep in the living room, two leather couches and an aerobed. unfortunately the aerobed had a gash wound and wouldn't inflate, but that's when mark found the cabin key, and we all decided to go back to the cabin again, where we ended up spending the night.