survive the week, that's all i had to do. i was so worried about the deadline today that i had a hard time falling asleep last night. i woke up before my alarm went off and started working. stress makes me focused, and when i'm focused i'm productive. however, when i received an e-mail from the client which gave me some leeway, i started losing my concentration (same story last friday). suddenly i was motivated to all sorts of things, none of them work related. i clenched my teeth and pulled through though, uploaded new versions of the projects by 2pm. survive another week, only to do it all again come monday. at least i finally talked to the client about getting paid, they said they'll look into it. some clients need a bit of goading before they'll open their coin purse.
as my personal reward i could choose to run an errand from a long to-do list. i decided to get the bicycle tire fixed. i didn't want to wait until tomorrow. and although i think it should be my roommate's responsibility to get it fixed since he's the one that's been riding the bicycle, sometimes even i'm surprised by my altruism (although some people would call it stupidity). i went down to the basement to inspect the damage. it was the rear tire, and it looked like it'd been ridden on for a while because the tire itself was completely shredded, never mind whatever punctured the inner tube. it's a miracle the rim itself didn't suffer any noticeable damage. with a socket wrench i loosened a pair of nuts and took of the wheel.
i went to park sales and service on somerville avenue, this hidden little bike shop i often see on my way to market basket but have never visited until today. inside was an older man working on an upside-down bicycle. the whole place had the cluttered feeling of santa's workshop. "i've got a tire that needs replacing," i said, twirling the detached wheel in my hand. the guy took a look. "just the inner tube, huh? oh no, looks like the whole thing needs to be replaced. let me see if i have this size." he went searching downstairs, leaving me alone in the shop, admiring the selection of bike lights behind a glass countertop. "you're lucky day," he said, returning with the right size tire plus inner tube. "i could replace it for you for $5," he told me, which was my plan all along, but i made it seem like he talked me into it. he started by stripping off the old tire. that took some time, because the tire had never been replaced so it was stuck tightly on the rim. he had to grip it in a vise and pry the tire loose. once he got that far it took him just a few minutes to put the new inner tube and tire onto the rim.
there was a lot of construction work outside and i asked him about it. he wasn't very happy with the street paving because it eliminated all of his storefront parking. he said if it wasn't for the construction (which had been going on for the past few months), his business would be many times better. fortunately he has a pretty loyal customer-base. and regarding the bicycle business, he said it all had to do with weather. on sunny days, he gets a lot of customers, but on a cloudy day like today, it's empty.
$4.99 for the service, $11.99 for the tire, $5.50 for the inner tube, $2.00 for a new elastic ring, and $4.99 for a bottle of lube (for my rusty chain back home): a total of $30.67, much cheaper than i thought it'd be (i figured maybe $50 including parts and labor). i walked back home, proudly holding the new fixed wheel in my hand like a trophy.
after putting the new wheel back on the bike, i went inside the house to clean the bathroom (specifically, to scrub the bathtub). i caught barack obama's first news conference since his acceptance speech on tuesday. when the first reporter stood up and addressed him as "mister president elect," i got goosebumps. he seemed so presidential, although he repeated on several occasion that he won't be president until he's sworn in on january 20th. he was serious for the most part, but did crack a few jokes, including one at the expense of nancy reagan, and called himself a mutt. it's great having a president (president elect) that takes things seriously for a change, not one who thinks he can smirk himself out of a crisis. i sleep better at nights knowing that obama is in the white house.
in the evening i went over to dan's place for some guitar hero action. i'm not much of a fan of the game but he said he got the drum kit and i wanted to check it out. the weather looked wet but only because it was foggy. i stopped off at the nearby wendy's to pick up the no.6 spicy chicken super sized combo before showing up. mike and elias were there as well by the time i arrived (cymara went to go pick them up from the subway station). i tried both lead and bass guitar, the drums, as well as taking a few cracks at the singing (la bamba, rick springfield, billy joel, blondie, not enough 80's music for my retrotaste). mike on the mic was good enough that maybe in another life he could've had his own band. dan and elias seemed to be trying to out-expert one another. clarissa, who was deathly afraid of me the last time i was there, was the opposite of shy this evening. she danced around the living room, showcased her toys, and talked (for the first time i was actually able to understand most of what she said). later cathy showed up for some guitar hero as well and she and mike ended up giving elias a ride home.
the fog was thicker by the time i left (11:30), a light misting saturating the air. raindrops beaded on my glasses but i hardly noticed. i bumped into mike and the gang along mcgrath highway and then later in union square. i wonder if anyone was curious what a car and a motorcycle could be chatting about at a traffic stop.
i didn't think my roommate was home because the light in his bedroom was turned off when i came up to the house. then i noticed somebody had left through the back door, and the only reason my roommate would do that is if he was getting the bicycle. maybe he planned on getting it fixed, but i just beat him to the punch. whatever the reason, i assumed he wasn't home, probably rode the bike to his MIT friend again. so imagine my surprise an hour later when i heard him coming out of his bedroom to go use the bathroom. i thought maybe he'd peek his head into the living room to talk to me but he just went back to his room to watch television. he came back out another time, but didn't bother to talk to me yet again. maybe he didn't go down to the basement after all, maybe it was me and i just forgot about it. surely if he saw the fixed tire he'd say something (unless he believes in elves that magically repair bicycles). ideally he would offer to pay for the repair, but being the magnanimous person that i am (however false), i would tell him it wasn't necessary, that his money is no good. however, knowing what i know about china roommates, i'm not expecting that to happen, nor even a courteous "thank you."