i was alone in the house for hours and didn't even know it. when my roommate's girlfriend still haven't gotten out of her room by noontime, i was beginning to get suspicion. i looked into the foyer to see that her shoes were gone.

being that today was a sunny day in the 50's, i went to belmont to do some more garden work. even though it looked like nice weather, it was very windy with 30mph+ breezes.

my father told me earlier that he did some work this morning digging out a space for raised bed number 2 and leveling the frame. my sister and i continued tilling the soil, sifting the dirt for rocks. i also came across the occasional grubs; in the past i would've been squeamish about killing them off but i had no such qualms this season, dispatching them to entomological afterlife with a sickening pop. pieces of dug up grass we relocated to the parts of the lawn yellowed by frequent dog urine. not sure which is worse: a spotted lawn or a patchy lawn that looked like the handiwork of frankenstein gardener.

while my sister left the house for lunch and the dog was inside sleeping, i continued working in the backyard. i managed to fill a trash barrel with weeds: mostly celandines dug up from the southwestern corner of the yard, with some garlic mustards and a few dandelions.

the 2 fruit trees in the backyard both suffer from hard scale insects. i bought some horticultural oil a while back, just waiting for the right time to spray the trees. that right time is now, when the bud leaves have sprouted to about half an inch in length. even though the oil is supposedly organic, it's still pretty poisonous, with warnings like wash immediately with soap and water for any skin contact. not sure how we're supposed to spray 2 medium-sized trees without getting some of that stuff on us.

when my mother came back home in the late afternoon, we went to target to look for a case/bag/pouch for her new camera. we also checked out their digital camera selection and they even had a floor model of the SX230 in black. a lot of the canon cameras were sold out, tagged with a special notice that due to the catastrophe in japan, they haven't been able to get new shipments. target did have any suitable cases. i did however pick up a home collection 2 gallon plastic watering can for $7.99. it was exactly what i was looking for; i picked the khaki colored version over the violet one.

at the best buy next door they had a bigger selection, but we still couldn't find a case we wanted. it was either too small or too large. my mother also wanted something with a pocket to put a spare battery or two (the lowepro tahoma 10 and 30 were possible candidates). we ended up going to the gps department and looking at the larger gps cases. that's where we found a case my mother liked, a no-frills zippered neoprene pouch without any pockets. the best part? it only cost $2.

i couldn't wait to try out the new watering can when i got back home. it had an adjustable spray head, alternating between stream and shower. i filled it with fresh rain water from the blue barrel and went around watering some plants and seeds. the shower head has a gentle flow, which is good for tender plants.

i stayed for dinner, where it was just my mother and me since my sister went out again for dinner and my father was still at work. my mother had brought home some simple beef and rice leftovers which we both had. i returned to cambridge afterwards, didn't want to stay too late and have the weather turn even colder. supposedly it's supposed to freeze overnight. i thought about bringing in the rosemary plants but they're hardly enough that they should be able to survive a single night of very cold temperature. i just feel bad for anyone who's already planted young seedlings, thinking that the vestiges of winter was long gone. better cover up those plants tonight!

i've been riding the motorcycle for a few days now and it feels like cheating. traveling my usual routes, climbing hills are no longer a challenge. i also no longer worry about getting hit by opening car doors, although new dangers take their place like traveling too fast and crashing.

mysteriously, my roommates still weren't home. before i had time to enjoy the empty house, my neighbor renee rang my doorbell. she was returning my costa rica books but also asking me for computer help. she bought her developmentally-challenged young adult son a $50 clamshell ibook and wanted my help teaching him how to rip music from cd's and transfer them to his ipod. "now?" i said, already knowing the answer but just wanted to hear it from her. "yeah, if you have time..." i spent the next hour in a nightmare scenario of helping one developmentally-challenged person and one computer-illiterate person. her son couldn't even focus long enough for me to explain the steps, either complaining that he didn't want to be there or just collapsing on the bed and groaning. i didn't get back home until almost 9:00.

my roommates were still missing, but came home briefly to grab a shopping bag before leaving again to pick up some groceries. victor paid me the final month's rent plus a week extra since he'll be staying here beyond 3 months. he only remembered because i wrote him an e-mail last night reminding him to "take care of the small business of rent" before he leaves for new york on friday and won't be back until next wednesday.