turning on the heat in new england is not a question of if but when. every fall i play this game where i see how long i can go before i turn on the heat. in some years, because i'm housing a roommate, i feel obligated to turn it on early. in other years, like when i'm living alone,1 i prolong my suffering and hold out. as a rule though, if the daily daytime temperature dips below 60°F, that usually when i begin my preparations. the forecast for this week shows several days where the daytime temperature is in the 40's, and there's even mention of snow for certain days. why delay the inevitable?
i began by vacuuming the house, paying close attention to the heating vents. in years past i might've pulled off the grates and vacuumed inside the vents themselves, but i was feeling lazy today. i then went down to the basement with my equipment: pliers, bendable lighter, flashlight, vacuum cleaner, and a new furnace filter. the flashlight is to see inside the furnace, the pliers are for turning on the gas line, bendable lighter to ignite the pilot light,2 and the vacuum cleaner to clean out the accumulation of dust from last season.
it's one of the greatest feelings in the world when i first turn on the heat. suddenly the house is warm, and i go around the house standing over the forced air heating vents. if anything, it begins to feel too hot, but i know this is only because i'm not used to the warmth yet. since the default temperature on my thermostat is only 60°F, soon i will notice the temperature again. at least having the furnace turned on keeps the house dry; someone it feels even colder when the house is clammy and cold.
after a shower i had some oatmeal for lunch (oatmeal + raisins + cinnamon + brown sugar + egg).
i rode the bike to MGH in the afternoon for my doctor's appointment. i felt a lump on my neck last week and decided i wanted to get it checked out. my regular doctor wasn't there so i saw the nurse practitioner instead. turns out it was nothing, just a lymph node.
riding back, i lost control of my bike while crossing galileo galilei way in kendall square. the hub on my rear wheel wouldn't catch and it'd just spin uselessly, forward or backwards. at first i thought maybe the chain had come off, but it was something wrong with the hub. i had no choice but to push the bike the rest of the way home, about 2 miles away. every now and then the rear hub would work again and i'd ride for a little bit before it'd go back to free spinning. i tried to fix it when i got home, but some of my bike tools are still in belmont (chain whip). i did manage to unpack one side of the hub and put in some new grease in the ball bearings, but i need to completely disassemble the hub in order to fix the problem.3 for the time being it looks like the wheel is fine; i'll have to give it a test ride tomorrow.
keeping a motorcycle in the city means constantly running the risk of someone hitting my ride because they have poor parking skills. this morning i saw someone had parked their car so it was within inches of my bike. not a big deal unless they try to pull out, and which case it's impossible to leave without bumping into my motorcycle. i kept a close eye on the car all day, hoping to catch the owner. finally in the evening i saw someone getting into the car. they weren't leaving, but pulled up a little bit to give themselves more clearance.
for dinner i heated up a brick of lasagna in the oven. i watched suburgatory, followed by a nova special on the italian ice man, and finally american horror story.
1 even though this a roommate autumn, due to unforeseen circumstances my roommate is currently not here, so i've managed to play this game of delayed heating.
2 before i was smart enough to get a bendable lighter, i'd light the tip of a long kabob skewer and start the pilot light that way. another way to do it is to just hold a match and stick your hand inside the furnace, but i'm always afraid of the sudden rush of gas ignition so i've avoided doing that. no need to needlessly singe my arm hairs!
3 i did think it was a little weird that the rear hub looked strangely different from the one i worked on before (that'd be my old bianchi that i completely took apart and put back together). turns out the rear hub isn't a cassette but rather a freewheel. that means my cassette lockring tool won't even work on it, so i'll need to buy a special freewheel remover.