"can you come back later tonight?" alex asked me. "yeah, like midnight," i replied. that was not the correct answer, but i wasn't going to miss dinner with julie just so i could stay late. all day i'd been working non-stop and just when i was about to leave for the day, i get more work to do. in my mind two things were already decided: i was going to leave no matter what and any last minute work that needed to get done i'd do tomorrow morning before the client meeting. there was a high level of stress but i remained calm (listening to the webcast of air america radio and drinking enough water to have my pee come out clear). a project has never failed under my watch, and things always get finished, sooner or later.

for lunch i went to this shady chinese takeout place right next to a chicken slaughter house. everything on the menu was around $2, and it seemed like the kind of joint the homeless would go to with their fistful of crumpled dollars and loose change in order to get cheap eats. i got the fried rice with curry chicken for $3 and ate as much as i could before tossing the rest away.

when i got home i was surprised to see a flourescent orange notice taped to the door. it was a warning citation from the city of cambridge, explaining that the bags of trash on the sidewalks in front of my house must be removed or they will fine me. here's the thing: those aren't my trash bags. i had a good idea who they did belong to though, my next door neighbor renee, who for some reason throws her trash in front of my house. i like how the city of cambridge tries to shame me into complying with the highly visible notice for all my neighbors to see. i'm probably going to be known as the "leaves his trash out on the sidewalk" guy. i wrote a note to renee and put it in her mailbox, "renee, do you know anything about the trash bags in front of my house? the city of cambridge is going to fine me. i know it was you renee, you've really let me down." that last sentence was make-believe.

4 pot cooking

julie zesting

julie cooking

lamb chops pasta
broccoli raab
(balsamic infusion)
julie started cooking when she arrived. she also brought along a bag of chocolate covered marshmellow eggs she got from the post-easter candy sale. i made banana milk from the two sticks of rotten bananas sitting on the counter. of course julie would have none of it when i offered her some banana milk. the degree of difficulty of any meal can be determined from the number of burners used. not only did julie have all four burners working, but we also had the oven broiling the lamb chops. it was plate spinning cooking at its best. i accidently took a whiff of the balsamic vinegar infusion, and not only did i get a noseful of balsamic vinegar, but also some very strong rosemary as well - don't try it at home! at one point the doorbell rang and renee came by to talk about the letter i sent her. as a matter of fact it was her trash after all, garden refuse that the city of cambridge wouldn't take because they were in plastic bags instead of paper bags. i looked behind her and saw that they were all removed. she said she had wanted to move them earlier, but she threw her back recently and was waiting for her downstairs tenants to get home and help her. it'd been a long time since we talked, and she asked me how work was going. "very good," i told her. "how's your work?" i casually asked her. that was her green light to suddenly unleash her whole sad story about her troubled son and how he got kicked out of the special school, and how he might get kicked out of another school. she was not going to stop. finally julie had to come and rescue me, "um, tony, there's something in the kitchen i need your help with," she said, and even then, renee didn't seem to want to let me go.

everything was finished just in time for the season finale of the apprentice, a show i've never watched before but a show julie (and her roommates, whom she was breaking their tradition by coming over to my place to watch it) had been following for a while. the two hour show seemed like an infomercial for trump incorporated. donald trump is just so ridiculous looking with that hair of his, the only reason why people seem to fawn over him is because he's rich. tremendous material wealth creates its own fame gravity. the show's also good if you want to see ass kissing at it's best, as the remaining two apprentice vie for trump's acceptance like two children trying to get daddy's attention and hopefully win his love.

i showed julie the flowering tea ball in a glass tea kettle. curious to know what exactly these things were called, she went online and did some research. they have a few different names, but the most common was "angel peach" tea balls ("angel" because of its beauty, "peach" because they're peach shaped). they were also expensive, some as much as $5 for a single ball. at another point during the course of the evening, julie went into the bathroom and played around with my supply of glitter (what, is it wrong to have glitter?), rubbing it all over her eyelids. i told her it'd be a long time before she could get all that stuff cleaned off, and she started to realize the truth as she noticed the flakes of red glitter on the front of her black turtleneck. and one more drama for the evening, my roommate came back to return my house key which he accidently took. this is significant because without that key, we wouldn't have been able to unlock the dead bolt on my front door so essentially we were locked inside the house but didn't realize it.

after julie was long gone, after all the dishes were done, after all the bedtime preparations were made, i looked at the thermostat. although set to 60 degrees, the house was at a cozy 70 degrees thanks to the warm weather earlier in the day. free heat!