i woke up earlier than usual in anticipation of my roommate's moving day. i asked if she needed any help but she said she could manage, moving her things in a series of short trips. her first run took the longest; when she came back she told me all her housemates had moved in as well; the woman in the front room wasn't home but her mother and daughter were already settled; the couple in the back room were still asleep. during one of the times that she was out, i took a quick peek inside her room to see how much more stuff she had to move; that's when i noticed the louis vuitton purse.

moving out was taking longer than i'd anticipated. i was afraid to go to the bathroom or take a shower because i wanted to be here when she finally leaves. while passing the time browsing craig's list, i came across this posting:

Free men's 10 speed bike. Blue. Tires are 27 inches. It was abandoned by a tenant and has been out all winter. Will need some TLC, or take for parts. E-mail if interested. P/u in Spring Hill.

it was a fresh post, just 10 minutes old. i quickly dashed off an e-mail, hoping to grab this sweet deal.

i also tried out the aiwa stereo i took down from the kitchen cabinet. it didn't work at first because the cd carousel seemed to be stuck (and it wouldn't eject either), but after i fiddled with it, it finally worked. inside was a cd of buddhist chants. i'd forgotten how loud you can crank up a stereo, compared to a computer laptop or a portable speaker. if i can buy a long audio input cable, i maybe decide to put back the stereo on top of the kitchen cabinet after all.

my roommate finally moved the last of her things around 10:30. she said she still had a few packages coming to the house and if i could let her know when they arrive. with that we said our final good byes.

when a roommate leaves i enjoy playing the "what she left behind" game, but this roommate was a special case, because she wasn't moving out to go home but rather moving out to a different apartment. so in this case she took everything, including all her food (a typical roommate will always leave food behind). even the trash in her room she threw outside (however she didn't volunteer to wash the sheets). the only thing i could find was an empty package of chinese seaweed in the kitchen trash (that's cheating).

i pulled off all the sheets from the guest bedroom and threw them into the washer. while that was going on, i devoted my attention to the stovetop. the burners were caked in black oil splatter, even that one burner that was clean as of yesterday morning. i disassembled the burners and tried washing them in the sink with a combination of 409 spray, dish detergent, and magic eraser. it just wouldn't come off. i even tried some oven spray, but it must've been an old can because only some weak foam sputtered out. i figured i'd go to the dollar store and see if they had anything stronger.

about to head out, i checked my e-mail. that's when i saw the reply from that craig's list person about the bike. i was ready for the bad news so was surprised when she told me i was indeed the first person to get in touch with her and that the bike would outside in her driveway on belmont street in somerville, just a few blocks away. i wrote her back to say i was coming and quickly bolted out the door to get my new bike (apparently there was a wait list, she told me to let her know if i wasn't interested anymore).

when i got to the address, i felt a little weird just taking the bike from the driveway, and looked around suspiciously to see if any neighbors saw me. there wasn't even time for me to get a good look at the bike, but i examined it as i rolled it back home. for one thing, it was tall, too tall for me to ride. later i measured the frame to be 25", something that wasn't mentioned in the ad. the top tube almost came up to my waist. i was tempted to hop on the bike just to test it out, but traveling downhill, it would've been suicidal. there was rust on the crank, and some rust on the rims. some of the foam covering on the dropdown handlebars were coming off, exposing rusty chrome underneath. as i pushed the bike, i also noticed the front wheel wasn't quite true as it rubbed against the brake pads.

back at the home, i had a better look at the bike. it was a brand i'd never heard of before, jetter of somerset new jersey. there was also a label that read "o'neal USA" - is that the model? an internet search of "jetter o'neal" brought up either photos of derek jeter or shaquille o'neal. the frame itself looks to be in very good shape - almost no rust - just too high for me to ride. the front tire was better than the rear tire, but there's a lot of rust on the rims overall. i don't know what i'm going to do with this bike, maybe save it for a tall future roommate who might want to ride it. at the very least i can true the wheels (or attempt to) and wrap some new tape on the handlebars. i do have a 25" schwinn road bike missing a 27" back wheel, but this jetter wheel isn't in great shape so i won't try to do a wheel exchange.

i called my father who had some industrial strength kitchen cleaner so i held off on buying any cleaning products. i did go to rite aid to get some efferdent denture cleaning tablets for one of my taiwanese aunts (there was a sale, $6.99 for 2 boxes). while paying, i felt like i had to explain myself to the new white rastafarian-looking cashier, "these aren't for me." he opened his eyes a bit, as if seeing what i was buying for the very first time, and said "i've already grown used to it. you can't imagine the stuff people buy. have you ever heard of horny goat weed?" i shot him a quizzical look. "where it is?" i jokingly asked, turning my body as if i was going to run and get some.

i heated up a box of lamb vindaloo for lunch in the microwave. i then took out my trek 800 from the basement (the grocery getter) and went to market basket to get a few things. i haven't ridden the trek since i got the fuji but the trek is a better ride; this is mostly because the gears on the fuji is broken so i've been riding in a single gear (up-hill gear). that would also explain the thigh aches because i'm straining more to pedal. once i replace the cables the problem should be fixed.

i brought along two canvas shopping bags full of empty seltzer cans to deposit ($1.90). this week's menu: more risotto (AKA marco's recipe)! while there, i bumped into one of the chinese astrophysicists living at my great uncle's place. i don't know his name but i've seen him a bunch of times. it was strange to see him at the supermarket, especially in the middle of the day. i guess his life as a graduate student is pretty flexible. i also know he has a bike, which is how he got here. he's actually good friends with my next roommate, and told me when he'd be arriving in boston, which i already knew from a prior e-mail.

after dropping off some groceries at home, i switched to the fuji and went to the cafe, to drop off the efferdent as well as some rainbow goldfish crackers. i brought along a pair of stovetop burners that my father managed to clean with his industrial strength cleaner, but most of those dark stains were removed with a brillo stainless steel scouring pad. he told me the two others i had back home could be polished off with some steel wool.

riding home, i looked back and noticed my combination bike cable lock was missing. it must've fallen off at some point. turning around to retrace my steps, that's when i saw it a few feet away. whew! no need for an exhaustive search. when i got back i went to work cleaning up the stovetop. the last time i did such a thorough cleaning was almost a year ago, so it's due.

continuing with my cleaning campaign, i washed the covers for my ikea armchairs and footstools. i also wheeled in the fuji bike but didn't do any work on it except to add a handlebar bell. i tried attaching some toeclips but the pedals are shaped weird so that i can't install them with the given screws (i may need to get some bigger washers).

i finally finished the last of my pulled pork sandwich for dinner. the risotto will have to wait until tomorrow (just in time for the snow).

it's strange spending my first night without a roommate. i still feel very uneasy, like i'm not alone in the house. i wonder how my now-former roommate is spending her first night at her new place? she probably hates it for the time being because they don't have internet access yet. i'll ask her when she comes to pick up her packages when they arrive.