cleber the painter called me this monday morning while i was still in bed. there was no answer, but i could hear talking in the background. figuring he must've called by accident, i hung up. but how do you accidently dial somebody on a cellphone without knowing it though? didn't he say he wasn't going to show up until tuesday? curious, i pulled myself out of bed and looked out the living room window. there was cleber, standing there talking with somebody. ahead of schedule! i quickly put on some pants and went outside. cleber was chatting with my upstairs neighbor steve. i still wasn't quite awake yet and groggily played along, nodding to every question with arms folded across my chest. at some point steve's partner paul came downstairs in his pajama pants, and added his two cents to the process as well.

there was no point in going back to bed after that (9:00). i stayed inside, trying to keep out of the way. i could hear the ladders being moved about the house. as much as it pains me to pay somebody else to paint (a simple enough task that i'm able to do myself), it's also quite a relief, knowing that i won't have to deal with that headache, and that a professional is taking care of it for me. all i have to do is write the checks.

around 10:00, cleber's handyman carlos came by. we were introduced and he went around highlighting the few little places that needed repair work. not sure how much more that's going to run us (steve and i both think at least $1000). i feel like i've been hemorrhaging money the past few weeks: getting my bicycle tuned up, buying the new motorcycle and associated paperwork fees, replacing the tire, paying the painter, purchasing knives on ebay, and now this additional cost of repair. all this happening during a bad economy when i should be saving instead of spending.

i left before noon to collect some swatch samples from the paint store. my motorcycle engine died on me while at a traffic stop (intersection of mass ave and walden) and i couldn't get it started when the light when green. kind of embarrassing, but people must've been in a good mood because i didn't get honked. client N got in touch with me with a project update, looks like i'll be back to being busy again next week. at the paint store i must've taken 2 dozen swatch samples and could've easily taken more. this will only be made more difficult because steve and i still have to agree on the colors, which could take several rounds of back and forth. he's leaving for a business trip come wednesday, so he's under some pressure to pick the remaining colors before he goes. if it was up to me, i'd go crazy with the colors: a blue slate house, with orange trims, and red windows. coming back, my engine died again at another traffic stop (intersection of mass ave and somerville). i finally had to engage the reserve tank at about the 120 miles marker.

cleber had returned to the house by the time i got back. he was already sanding the wooden frames around the windows. it felt like going to the dentist and getting your teeth cleaned, the sound, the vibration, and the awful sensation mixed with the feeling that everything will be better once its all over. there's also a sense that i'll be relinquishing my privacy for the next 2 weeks of painting. even though i have venetian blinds, they're pretty easy to see through, especially if you're right by the windows. this means keeping the house tidy (the horror of someone seeing my messy place!) and refraining from walking around the house in my underwear (or less).

i receive a parcel in the mail. from the norwegian stamps i knew right away it was from frances, the only person i know who lives in norway. it was a little appreciation package for the two times i helped her ship gifts she bought online from american websites that don't deliver overseas. gifts included some norwegian chocolate and packets of sour cream porridge (rømmegrøt) and mashed swedes (kålrabistappe). can't wait to try them!

when steve got back from work around 4:00, he and paul met me outside to pick the remaining colors. originally the trims were going to a brighter shade of slate, but playing around with the swatches we discovered beige goes really well with the greyish blue. steve went inside and brought out this tome of benjamin moore color swatches from the 80's. colors back then didn't have a name, just an impersonal identification number. we picked a color similar to ecru which will also be the color for the porch and the gable. the doors, foundation, and window sashes will continue to be a red (to be determined). we saw renee going into her backyard but she wanted nothing to do with us, blaming steve for forcing her to move her rotting wood piles away from our house.

by then cleber had already cleaned all the windows on the eastern side of the house and was halfway done with staining the shingles on the 2nd floor. i was glad to see him using an oil-based stain because they're more durable. he also used a small roller instead of a brush, coloring a single row of shingles at a time.

as soon as i was done i made my way to belmont. i'd wanted to go earlier so i could drop off the motorcycle at greater boston motorsports in arlington, but had to stick around and wait for steve so we could choose colors. fortunately GBM was opened until 7:00, so i followed my father in the car and made our way down there. the cost of diagnostics alone was $85; how much more it'll cost to fix the backfiring problem i really can't say. for $15 more i also had them make me another set of key for the bike. i should hear back from them within the next few days.

looks like i might have some relief to cover all this spending: i just agreed to host another chinese astrophysicists at the end of october-november. he'll be here for 2-3 months. all proceeds will go to ongoing home renovations and motorcycle repairs.

since my motorcycle was in the shop, my father gave me a ride back to cambridge after dinner. he got out to inspect the new paint job but it was hard to see in the dark. he told me cleber also works on weekends, so i should expect to see him everyday for the next few weeks!