my new monday morning ritual is waking up and watching the previous night's episodes of HBO's true blood and hung. the past few true blood episodes have been slow with the action but it's all building up to a war between the vampires and humans. last week we had the erik the viking flashback; this week features bill and his maker in 1920's chicago.

hung is the story of a down-on-his-luck divorced history teacher turned male gigolo. it's a new series and so far there's only been a few episodes, but the situation lends itself to all sorts of interesting story lines.

my father came by in the early afternoon to help me install my new air conditioner and to replace the toilet shut-off valve. my rule is i don't put in the AC until we have an official heat wave. however, this weeklong forecast of humid 80+ temperature is slightly unbearable. why suffer needlessly when i have a brand new AC just lying around the house waiting to be installed? we put it in the living room window but held in place by just the force of the closed window. i found a few long wood pieces from the basement to act as window braces but they needed to be cut to size and i don't have a saw in the house. the toilet shut-off valve was a different story. we replaced the old knob with the new one, but the sizes are slightly off so the new knob didn't find inside the old housing. my father was thinking about possibly replacing the whole valve which would involve resoldering the pipe, but he didn't know if he could fuse the chrome finish. that's when i suggested we could just take the rubber washer from the new valve and put it on the old valve. the solution was so easy that neither one of us thought of it sooner. it worked perfectly, but instead of stripping the new valve just for the washer, it was cheaper to return the valve and buy a packet of washers instead.

i told my father i'd join him shortly after he left. i first had to make a call to the doctor's office and iron out the kinks in my HBP prescription. earlier they put in a prior authorization request for diovan, but i called them back again asking if they could do it for avapro instead, the HBP drug i've been taking with great success the past 2 months. robin the head nurse listened to my explanation and said she'd take care of it. once the prior authorization goes through, she'd give me a callback, which would probably be in a few days.

i went to the watertown home depot with my father to return a few things (shower kit walls) and to buy some washers. we asked an employee if we had the right size, and he basically ripped open the packaging, took out a single washer, compared it with the old washer, and said, "you want the next size up."

back in belmont, i was helping my mother find another pair of her favorite ann taylor black slide sandals after hailey destroyed one of the shoes. my sister said it was my mother's fault for leaving the dog at home alone for such a long time. it's a fact of life: dogs destroy shoes. don't leave shoes on the floor if you want to wear them ever again. i did find the exact same pair of shoes on ebay, but they were the wrong size.

after dinner i returned home. the first thing i did was to fix the toilet, screwing in the old shut-off valve furnished with a brand new rubber washer. it worked perfectly (like i knew it would), a fairly simple 20¢ fix. this is the kind of skills that every homeowner should know about, but they usually learn the hard way when something breaks (like what happened to me with my toilet and my washing machine). the second DIY project was cutting two wooden window braces to the proper size with a borrowed hand saw. it would've been easy if i could brace the wood on a table, but i was doing it hand-held on another piece of wood sitting on a empty box. and with my recent knife injury, i was very cautious not to cut my thumb a second time. that being the case, it took me forever to cut through through 2 pieces of wood. by the time i was done, i was drenched in sweat, and had to take a shower.

my new air conditioner is a sharp AF-S85PX that i bought from costco back in may. i needed a new AC because the one i'd been using every summer turned out to be a massive power hog after i checked the electricity usage last year. what drew me to this model was the fact that it was energy star compliant. everyone knows AC's use a lot of juice, so if there's some way for me to save some money i'll feel better about using the AC during those few summer days where it gets hot enough to warrant turning it on. the AF-S85PX is small enough that i can easily lift it by myself (my old AC was a behemoth that i could lift only at the expense of a back injury) but still packs a punch with 8000 BTU. it's the first AC i've owned that doesn't have knobs or faux wood paneling and the first one with a remote. i turned it on for an hour after i got out of the shower, but resorted to my oscillating fan and an opened window when it got cool enough outside.