just. can't. stop. painting! however i do have a deadline, and that's the wednesday of next week, when suhan's mother comes to town for a week. my parents' place have to be done by then. this morning it was 48 degrees. i groaned. four layers didn't quite protect my hands as i arrived in belmont with ice hands. my father was still in bed, resting from the flu. i patched up some spots on the ceiling before putting down another layer of yellow on the kitchen wall. by then my father was up, painting a second layer on the cabinets. after i was done with the walls, i worked on the cabinets as well. it was a smelly affair, and both of us had masks on (perhaps too little, too late, after almost 2 months of painting), which made us look like surgeons. we finished with about 2/3 of the cabinets done, with the possibility of a 3rd coat. on the news i heard about the red sox parade schedule so i knew i wouldn't be painting tomorrow.

i left belmont after 3pm and went to the cafe for some lunch.

with projected daytime temperatures in the 50's and 60's all this week, i finally broke down and decided it was time to turn on the furnace. i was hoping i could go until december without heating up my place but i'm at the mercy of the weather. and when the room temperature in my house dips below 60 degrees (it was 58), that's my cue. so i went down to the basement with a pair of pliers and a book of matches. pliers are for turning on the gas while the matches are for igniting the pilot light. every autumn when i do this i get really nervous. in years past i've had problems with the furnace, which can be an issue because it means going without heat until the furnace gets fixed. i used to have heating insurance, but have since cancelled it hoping that nothing will ever go wrong again. after the started the pilot light, i went upstairs and dialed up the heat to 68 degrees. the familiar smell of forced air heating warmed my nose as i stood on a vent toasting my cold feet.

zhu lei came home around 7pm, his first day of work. my mother - feeling sorry for him - had me bring him a box of rice noodle for dinner. we chatted for a little while, our first real conversation. i learned that the research he's doing here is a part of his degree but he won't actually get his doctorate until he returns to china. he (as well as his girlfriend) graduated from peking university, which is like the harvard of china. much of his today was spent filling out paper work and running errands like setting up a bank account. he asked if there was any place where he could rent a bicycle and i told him i had one in the basement he could borrow. he's interested in seeing the sort of american countryside he's heard so much about. he'd actually gotten out of work earlier but was exploring harvard square. before he arrived here in boston last week, he spent a month and half exploring tibet with a friend.

in fish news: the glowlight tetras still seem kind of scared and skittish. ever since i added the large driftwood into my tetra/barb tank, the fish have all been hiding, except for the cherry barb, who might've gone insane because i watch it swimming up and down the side of the tank wall like a crazy fish. another male guppy died today. well, he actually died yesterday, but i "buried" him today. ever since i turned on the aquarium heater, the male guppies have been super active. some of the female guppies are still pregnant (from that time i accidently left a male guppy in the tank) but none have given birth yet. i think one reason is i'm not feeding them enough.