after flushing the toilet this morning, i discovered there was hardly any water pressure in the house. the shower was just a dribble, the sink a mere trickle. i went down to the basement to make sure that none of the pipes had burst (the plumbing was fine). the only explanation was that the sewer repair work on oxford street had something to do with it. when i flushed the toilet again and saw that familiar rusty colored water filling the bowl, my suspicion was confirmed.

i made plans with bruce to take a stroll around fresh pond at 2:00. i rode my bike to the cafe to borrow the car. we parked on huron avenue and walked to the reservoir. at the busy intersection of huron avenue and fresh pond parkway, we saw a little jack russell terrier running up the sidewalk. suddenly it veered out into oncoming traffic as we watched with horror from the sideline. to put how dangerous this intersection is into perspective, a few years back a little girl on a bicycle was killed here. a dog the size of a rabbit sprinting through several lanes of traffic would be no match for a speeding car. fortunately some drivers saw what was happening and decided to stop, causing a momentary traffic jam as the terrier ran down fresh pond parkway. two drivers got out of their cars to try and catch the dog, but it ran into the reservoir. "is that your dog?" they asked us, since we were chasing after it as well.

we found the runaway terrier on the trail, surrounded by a group of concerned citizens, many with dogs of their own. the dog was wearing tags, and people tried to catch the dog hoping to maybe read a phone number, but the dog was having none of it, acting very aggressively, barking, and then running away. a reservoir worker riding a utility golf cart came by. folks were stopping him to let him know about the lost dog. "this isn't a reservoir, it's a dog park," the guy muttered to bruce and me before calling animal services. we watched as the terrier reversed directions and seemed to be heading back out onto the parkway, before disappearing entirely. we never did see its owner, so chances are it probably escaped from a nearby house.

bruce was still recovering from his mysterious fatigue that'd plagued him since the end of last summer. at one point he took a call from his pittsburgh acupuncturist with recommendations to a few practitioners in the local area (to get his weekly treatment). with winter barely over, these was hardly anything to see at fresh pond, not even birds (besides the usual mallards, seagulls, robins). we did notice a proliferation of dog walkers though. the only seasonal natural thing that seemed interesting was the crush of ice against the shores of the reservoir forming strange patterns and formations. at one point a young man dressed as a greaser (with pompadour and leather jacket) rode by us in red cruiser bicycle. neither of us said anything at the moment, but wished we had a time machine so we could go back in time and say something more appropriate, like, "hey fonzie!" while flashing matching thumbs up gestures.

driving bruce back home, he suggested i could just drop him off close to mass ave since he needed to visit the liquor store anyway. afterwards i returned the car to the cafe.

i was ready to ride back home when my parents asked if i could help my uncle with his immigration paper work. he's been here for more than a month and still hasn't been able to get his social security number (so he can start working, open up a bank account, get health insurance) because the US immigration office in chicago (where he entered the country) didn't process his documents correctly and never bothered stamping his visa. bad news: apparently the only place to get this done is at the logan airport, in terminal E, where there's a US customs and immigration office. good news: the office is opened 24 hours a day (at least that's what the woman at the info desk told me when i called the airport). since neither my parents had the time, my father asked if i could take them sometime this week (they wanted me to go anyway because i have a better command of english). i thought about it, and since both my 2nd aunt and uncle were free, and this place was opened 24 hours, i asked them if they wanted to do it today, just to get it over with so my uncle can finally get his SSN.

so off we went, first by bus to harvard square, then the red line into south station to transfer to the airport via the silver line. on the red line a man was pressing his crotch dangerously close to my face. initially i thought it was an innocent mistake, until he did it again, almost falling on top of me. i pushed him off and asked angrily, "hey man, are you okay?" he seemed to be drunk and was slow with his words. "actually, i'm not," he said. i told him to take the empty seat beside me. his knees seemed to be buckling and i thought he might be stroking out, but once he sat down, he was calm again. i got off without ever finding out what was his problem. we were traveling during rush hour, but since we were going against the flow of traffic, it wasn't too bad, until we go to the airport. the silver line stops at every single terminal, so the bus began to fill up to capacity, picking up not only passengers but their luggage as well. when we finally arrived at terminal E (where's terminal D?), we basically had to climb over suitcases just to get off the bus.

arriving at terminal E, we had to find this elusive customs and immigration office. the only one i knew is when you enter the country; i didn't realize there might be an office you can visit anytime for all your customs and immigration needs. after some searching, i finally found it: in a corner of the terminal, next to the bathroom, a hallway that also functioned as the entrance. i talked to the officer behind the security glass and explained the situation. she almost didn't believe that somebody could enter the country without first passing through the gauntlet of procedures and stamps and forms, but my uncle was living proof. she had to consult with somebody else, and that person had to consult with a third person, who took our documents while we waited.

during the wait, 2 scientists from the woods hole oceanographic institute were talking to customs about import tariffs placed on their scientific equipment. they looked young enough to be graduate students, and were now facing a $1000 fee on research tools that would literally be "thrown in the ocean." they also mentioned being in greenland. i was tempted to ask them what they were working on.

after a while one of the customs/immigration agent came out and gave us the verdict: yes, they can do the required validation, but only if my uncle cleared immigration in boston. because he did it in chicago (or supposed to, anyway), we had to get this done at the deferred office (right next door), which unfortunately is only opened weekdays from 8-4. so our hour and a half trip was in vain. but at least we were one step closer to resolving the problem. the immigration officer gave me the telephone number of the deferred office and told me to call them before i came just to be sure there'd be somebody there.

the trip home was faster, we caught the silver line bus just as it arrived, and likewise the red line train that'd take us to harvard square. from there we caught a bus to the cafe.

i had some thick noodles for dinner before finally biking back home. my parents told me my sister already got a callback from the census, telling her she'd passed. she told them her score was 800-something, which didn't make any sense. i never got my own callback and when i contacted the special 1-800 number, it was actually just an automated line to get more info and not to find out about my test score.

john was coming up from new york to stay overnight for some business. i received an e-mail saying he was leaving brooklyn at 6:00 but he didn't arrive until well past midnight. that gave me plenty of time to spruce up the place, washing the stack of dishes in the kitchen sink, and a final round of vacuuming.