i woke up this morning with a call from my mother, telling me i owe her two health insurance payments (i get my medical through my parents' work place plan). i was just at the bank yesterday and realized i don't have enough money in my account. that's always depressing. i have just enough money to make one more mortgage payment and pay some utilities. after that, my bank account will be zero (actually, less than zero, because my bank will then start charging me a monthly fee because i don't have enough money in my account). not that i can't get money, but it's going to take time. i'm notoriously tardy when it comes to invoicing clients, and clients don't seem to mind either. but this could take weeks before i get paid so it's kind of a tense time right now financially.
so in light of my recent discovery that i am borderline bankrupt, what do i do? after spending a few hours fixing the last of my bugs, i went out the door to spend money i don't seem to have. first stop: the brighton petco, to buy an aquarium stand ($25). while i was there, i also got a cover for my lidless aquarium ($37).
from brighton i crossed the charles river and drove all the way to everett. first to pick up some supplies for my parents at costco, then to visit the nearby petsmart. here i picked up some inserts for my new filter ($9), as well as a bag of gravel ($25) and some aquarium plants ($8).
it's totally crazy, what started as a simple idea of having a breeding tank, and then initially spending $15 for an empty 10 gallon aquarium, has now ballooned into this full-blown spending spree that's cost me so far more than $100 in additional supplies. i figured keeping an aquarium would be a cheap hobby but it's really kind of expensive! after i have the new tank all set up though, i won't have to pay anymore other than for food (pennies), water, and the cost of electricity to run the filtration system and heater. another problem: i have no place for another aquarium! once an tao moves out by april i can reclaim the guest bedroom and put a tank in there if i want (especially if i throw a loft bed in there), but in the meantime, i have to figure out where to temporary put this new setup.
i returned to cambridge, first dropping off my fish stuff at home (an tao's wife was alreadu home watching television, i barely had time to say hello before i was out the door again), picked up the new dvd package that was waiting for me on the doorstep, and drove to my parents' cafe to deliver their supplies. i also gave my father the dvd, which was sort of a birthday present, but more because i wanted my parents to have a machine that can play pretty much whatever movies i throw at them.
i drove to belmont, to zeff's photo, to see if i could rent a canon macro lens to try out over the weekend. i talked to the guy there and he said they only had macro lenses for nikons (he was a pretty decent guy, told me to visit their competitor calumet in cambridge, they might have some canon macro rentals). i asked if they had any lenses available for this weekend and he said they were pretty much out, but i did manage to make a reservation for a wide angle zoom lens with a large aperture, the canon 16-35mm f/2.8L (that lens sells for something like $1500).
back at the cafe, i finally got something to eat after going hungry the entire day (a bowl of beef stew soup). my father had already set up the dvd player (a philips DVP5960 by the way) and was playing a dexter dvd i gave, straight up .avi file with divx compression. he then demonstrated the usb plugin feature and attached a 2gb pen drive and played an episode of rome without any problems. did i also mention a secret 6-key code combination converts this player to region free? and it's got 1080i upscaling? from what i've seen, i almost want to get one for myself!
i went back home and immediately went online to get in touch with the client. earlier, before i left (i told them i'd be gone 2 hours but i ended up leaving for 4 hours), they me there was a critical unresolved bug. that got me sort of stressed, but after getting in touch with them, turns out the error was just a fluke, so everything was fine.
when an tao came home in the evening, i drove the three of us to market basket to get some groceries. it was an tao's wife's first time in an american-style super market. you'd think she'd be impressed but she said it wasn't anything special. they spent a lot of time at the meat department while i rummaged through the aisles, picking up various snacks. since we had a car, we didn't have to worry about getting something we wouldn't be able to carry back home.
afterwards i treated them to some kentucky fried chicken for dinner. in china KFC is considered upscale dining and the colonel's affable mug smiling from a lit sign is a pretty common sight in the bigger cities throughout the mainland (cities tout how sophisticated they are by how many KFC franchises operate within the city limit). unlike here however, they don't have the concept of the bucket meal, so i was able to wow them when i ordered TWO buckets worth of chicken (that's 20 pieces in total). also unlike here, the chicken is mostly served in sandwich form, not the individual pieces (leg, thigh, breast) we know and love. back at home we were able to finish just a single bucket, saving the rest for the weekend. i ate the most chicken, but only because it was my first real meal of the day.
after dinner i set up the aquarium stand, which involved a lot of noisy hammering. i got it all together except one stubborn leg won't go entirely into a socket. i then spent a long time wiping down the aquarium glass until it was crystal clear. given all the investment i made (compared to the mini-bow aquarium, which pretty much came ready to use), i have a feeling this is going to be a better aquarium once i get everything set up. even though it's only 3 more gallon than the mini-bow, this tank seems much larger. as for filling it up with water, i don't want to do that until i can find a good place for it. right now i cleared a spot in the living room, right next to the bookcase and pretty much next to my head where i usually write my nightly blog entry. can i make my house look even cluttered?