is anyone working this week? by monday i already checked out. all i can think about is thanksgiving and the online shopping frenzy afterwards (or lack thereof, since i have no money).

on my way to the supermarket this morning i stopped by the bike shop and got a seat binder bolt (sunlite brand, black, $5.99). at market basket, not only were there traffic jams in the parking lot, but inside as well, in the obstacle course of shopping carts. it was busy today; i can't even begin to imagine what it'll be like tomorrow, the last day before thanksgiving. since i came via bicycle, i didn't have to deal with the headache of finding a parking space. and i only needed a few things (mostly flan ingredients) so i carried everything by hand, didn't even need a shopping basket.

back at home i went into the basement and re-installed the seat back onto the trek bike, replacing the quick-release binder bolt with the new one that i got (hex wrench type, makes it a little harder to steal; i also greased the seat post). this is actually just a temporary fix before my replacement seat post arrives (hopefully next week). i also tried installing the ross fender to the front wheel but came to the conclusion that the fender itself is a custom model made exclusively for the ross bike.

now that i got the axle nuts removed, i'm faced with a new problem: one of the locknut seemed to be stuck on the axle. i finally managed to unscrew it using some creative wrenching (using the adjacent cone as leverage and using a socket wrench to grab hold of the whole assembly from the other end). new problem: the threads on one side of the axle had some stripping damage.

it seems like the more i fix, the more additional repairs i find. how much would it cost to replace an axle anyway? i went online looking for prices. i find some cheap ones on amazon.com for just a few dollars; they looked exactly what i needed but unfortunately they were the wrong diameter. in the end i decided to reuse the old axle, stripped threads and all. if i replace the axle, what's to stop me from replacing the entire front wheel, which has a lot of rust spots inside the rim. and if i replace the wheel, how about the back one? and what's new wheels without fresh brakes? it's a slippery slope, i'm stopping while i'm ahead. as long as the bike is rideable, i'm happy with it, it doesn't need to be perfect.

before reassembling the front wheel, i took the opportunity to spray some clear varnish on the inside of the fender (this after i scrubbed off as much rust with a brass brush earlier in the day) with the idea that maybe it'll protect the inside of the fender from the elements. i put on 3-4 coats, not even sure if it'll work. i noticed some streaking but since this would be on the inside, nobody would see it. something not mentioned in the instructions is the strong fumes, even hours after spraying. the good thing is the streaks eventually disappeared as the varnish sort of flattened out on its own.

what i was doing was essentially overhauling the front hub, and made sure to grease everything as i put all the parts back together again. that was the easy part. the hard part was aligning the wheel with the fender with the brakes. apparently the angle of the single pivot side-pull brake might be adjustable, but i didn't realize it at the time, or just didn't think of it. instead i adjusted the wheel the hard way, but playing around with the axle nuts, locknuts, and cones. it took some time, i'd get frustrated and leave, only to come back later to try my luck again. eventually i got everything to line up. not sure if i did it right until i take the bike out for a test ride.

the whole reason why i went through all this hassle in the first place was i wanted to remove the front fender to see if i could install it on another bike. in hindsight, from the fender design alone i should've realized they were custom-built for this particular bike. the only good things that came out of this experience was i managed to log a few more bike fixing hours, and the newly overhauled front wheel seems to spin much smoother now that i've regreased the bearings.

the most important thing i had to do today was make the flan for thanksgiving. i like to make it 2 days in advance, to allow the melted sugar layer to properly absorb into the pudding. since i make this only once or twice a year, i'm a little murky when it comes to the actual measurements. fortunately last year i wrote a very detailed description of how flan is made, and i used that as my reference. the little bit of mixture left over i drank down as egg nog (salmonella what?). the only bad thing is i wrote down the wrong temperature last year (it's 350°F, not 250°F). i found this out the hard way when an hour later, my flan were still liquid. i ended up baking everything for another hour at the correct temperature. i also made another mistake: i used the wrong sized glass baking tray for the hot water bath. i ended up having to stack the flan in two layers, with result that the bottom layer was more liquid than the top layer.

after i was done making the flan (8:30), it was time to make dinner. i had some rosemary lemon marinated drumsticks in the fridge which i baked along with some small potatoes. 45 minutes later at 425° it was done. not very tasty, the chicken tasted bland despite the marinade.

it's been going on for months but i finally couldn't stand it anymore and wrote my upstairs neighbor a handwritten note complaining about the noise. they turn their tv/stereo on so loud that i can hear it from the streets, so imagine what it's like living underneath them. not sure if it'll get any results though. i made another noise complaint months ago, about the morning ruckus, but i haven't noticed any improvements and there are some mornings where it's still so noisy even earplugs are useless.

pau came home late, well after midnight. he told me he finalized his hawaiian itinerary: he's leaving thanksgiving morning at 8:00 with his coworker friend roberto. that's actually a good thing for me because i was beginning to feel bad that i didn't invite him to thanksgiving; but since he won't be here, problem solved. he planned on getting to the airport an hour before departure. i shook my head and smiled. "you have to get there at least 2 hours in advance." and on thanksgiving no less, and with the new TSA security procedures, 2 hours is probably the bare minimum amount of time, if not more. he won't be back until the 9th.