after so many years of service, the mattress in the guest bedroom is starting to show its age with some unsightly sagging. fortunately twin sized mattresses are quite common on craig's list, and often times free. i found a posting late last night for a twin mattress/boxspring set in watertown. i wrote the seller before going to bed.

when i woke up this morning the seller wrote me back to let me know he left everything outside on the porch since he was going to work. when i called my father to ask if i could borrow the car, i discovered he was still at home. since the seller's address was less than a mile from my parents' place, my father told me he'd go pick up the free merchandise before going to work.

around 11:30 my father swung by my place. the mattress and boxspring seemed old (sears brand), with some wear and tear around the corners, but they looked clean. one of the built-in rope handles actually broke off when i tried to pick up the mattress. putting the two items onto the bedframe came as a shock because suddenly the bed seemed so much taller. the bed itself never had a boxspring, but instead just a piece of plywood to support the mattress on top of the frame. with a boxspring, the bed was now at normal height. i never understood the use of a boxspring, other than as a support for an open-style bed frame. if you had a bedframe with built-in support however, what's the point of the boxspring? apparently a boxspring also serves to make the bed higher and to extend the life of the mattress since a boxspring contains supportive springs.

as for the old mattress, we squeezed it inside the closet. not sure what we'll do with it, maybe use it to create a super tall bed, or throw it out eventually. can't really give it away; besides the sag, there are also stains, so double whammy. this new old mattress set is okay for now, but come mid-spring (when all the students move back home), there will be plenty more twin mattresses up for grab, and i'd like to upgrade to a newer one. the best free mattress we ever picked up was last summer; owned by a coed who was upgrading to a bigger bed, it was practically brand new.

after my father left, i moved the jetter into the basement and brought out the ross eurosport. haven't ridden that bike in a while, wanted to take it out for a test run. just so happens there was some curbage in west cambridge so i went out to investigate. there were a few stray flakes, hinting at what's to come later. supposedly there were various kitchen appliances as well as a router, but when i got there, it was just a bookshelf with some textbooks in a plastic bin. i hurried back before it really started to snow.

the ross eurosport seems much heavier than the fuji. the ross frame is entirely steel, while the fuji might be some sort of alloy. (fuji frame is hi-tension steel tubing 661) it could also be because i have two collapsible rear racks attached in the back, along with a u-lock. the ross eurosport rides a lot better than the fuji though, mainly because the shifters work. i didn't think i'd like the dropdowns but i got used to them right away. when i'm riding in traffic i hold on to the middle close to the brake levers, but when i have nice stretches of straight roads, i grab the sides. all in all, not bad for $20!

in the afternoon i went out to get some groceries at star market. it was already snowing at a good clip by then, sticking to cars and trees but not the roads. made a quick detour to the dollar store first, to pick up some brillo pads. i've never used them before or even seen one. it was only yesterday that i discovered they're actually steel wool pads embedded with soap. i hear people talking about them all the time, especially in reference to bike cleaning and rust removal. i wanted to find out for myself. i got a whole box even though i probably didn't need all that much (18 pads for $3.50). they also had S.O.S. soap pads (6 for $1), but they were lemon-scented which i didn't like. i prefer the retro-packaging of the brillos.

returning home from the supermarket, i bumped into my neighbor ed, whom i haven't seen in a while, not since the weather got cold and we each retreated to our respective caves. a girl came up to us while we were talking to ask where was the nearest bus stop. later we realized she wanted to catch the subway and pointed her in the direction of porter square. she wasn't from around here, and was looking for a diner on museum street, which doesn't exist. later i saw her going into mixtura (which formerly was called danny's diner, so maybe she meant that place).

i couldn't wait to get home and try out one of the brillo pads. for some reason i imagined to be the size and shape of a charcoal briquet. they were flatter than i'd imagined, almost like a small piece of pink toast. it smelled nice though, and reminded me of mr.bubble because of the color. i can see using a brillo to clean metal pots and pans, but the box said it can also clean glassware as well. what i really wanted to find out was if it could remove the black stains on the stovetop burners. the short answer: no. it did remove a little bit, but most of it was still stuck on. parts that weren't stained however were polished to a shiny brilliance, an unintended side effect.

actually without realizing it, i was making my own brillo when my combination of fine steel wool and WD-40 spray. the advantage of the "WD-40 brillo" is i can wipe off the excess with a paper towel. an actual brillo pad creates a lot of soapy suds that would require an additional rinsing to clean. not a big deal for things you wash in the sink, but sometimes it's hard to rinse off a bicycle (whether indoors or outside).

i also used the brillo pad on the steel stovetop cover. it's so big that it was hard to clean in the kitchen sink so i did it in the tub.

in the early evening i crawled on top of the newly raised guest bed to see how it feels. it's pretty nice, i actually wished this was my bed (technically it is, but not when i have roommates).

rain followed the snow, which then melted most of the white stuff that'd accumulated earlier. even without looking outside i knew it was raining because i could hear it patter on the windows. supposedly this weather system will be here for another 24 hours.

i made broccoli italian sausage risotto for dinner. i steam-cooked the frozen broccoli separately in the microwave (which kept it nice and green instead of yellow if i cooked it with the risotto). i used my new sommelier knife to open a bottle of white wine (for cooking). the risotto consistency came out much better than last time, but because i didn't have any parmesan cheese, the final result lacked a certain oomph. it was still good though, and i have leftovers for tomorrow night.