my mother pushed me this morning to call some exterminators to do a termite inspection; i was going to do it anyway. i contacted both terminix and orkin. a terminix representative called me just a few minutes after i filled out the online form to arrange an appointment for tomorrow afternoon. the guy was a mumbler and i had a hard time understanding what he was saying and kept asking him to repeat his questions to the point where i could hear him getting annoyed. i hope he's not the one doing the inspection.
it was almost 11:00 and my roommate hadn't gotten up yet. not wanting to face an awkward exchange where he tells me again that his alarm clock didn't go off while he hurriedly stumbles out of the house to get to work, i decided i go and work in my community garden plot.
temperature was in the upper 60's; i wore shorts and a sweat shirt but took off the sweat shirt once i began working. i was digging up all the rampant ground cover (mostly ground ivy, some mint, some violets) and reclaiming new growing space by relocating my raspberries. i even found a lovely radish the size of a large jawbreaker. it doesn't sound like hard work but i was sweating up a storm, wiping my brow with the back of my gardening gloves, caking my face in dirt and perspiration. even then i only managed to clear about half the garden; i'll need to return sometime next week to finish the rest. i ended up with a huge trash barrel full of discarded plants. after watering the transplanted raspberries, i returned home.
although it seemed like a long time, i was only in my garden for about an hour. it a was a bit after 12:00 and thankfully my roommate eventually did go to work because he wasn't home anymore. first thing i did was to tiptoe into the kitchen and wash my feet in the sink. even though i wore shoes, all that digging managed to get dirt into my sneakers and the bottom of my feet were black.
i ate some oatmeal for lunch.
i rode the fuji road bike to belmont to inspect the termite damage for myself. i didn't see any termite trails outside the house but there were a bunch of insect wings on the northern-facing windowsill of the computer room (formerly my bedroom). the only dead body i saw was something that looked like a winged ant trapped in a spiderweb. maybe it's not termites after all! maybe they're just ants! but a quick online reference check revealed that it was in fact a winged termite. my sister helped me move the heavy desk away from the windowsill. that's where i noticed something that looked like powdered wood near the top of the baseboard. that's probably the entry point. i then went to the basement, where my sister's room is directly below the computer room. clearing away enough obstruction to get to the window below the one from upstairs, that's where we saw the termite trails. okay, not good. a check outside revealed a few more dead winged termites by the garage. that reminded of the time 3 years ago when we found that piece of termite-infested wood. there were winged termites then but we didn't read the situation right. we thought it was just confined to that piece of wood, but winged termites only appear once a colony has taken several years to establish. anyway, help is on the way, hopefully the inspector will give a more thorough assessment of the problem besides just saying we have termites.
i went to the cafe to let my parents know the bad news. earlier my mother had called one of my aunts in california who recently had her house fumigated for termites. termites on the west coast (and southern states) are different in that they also can get drywood termites which don't live underground; the only way to kill them is by fumigating the entire house.
while terminix wasted no time in getting in touch with me, i didn't hear anything from orkin so i finally called their hotline around 5:00. after being put several minutes on hold, i finally spoke with a representative: already in their favor, this one i could understand without any problems. she took down my info but said unfortunately she couldn't patch me to the local office because they were closed for the day. she added normally they have a 48 hour window to contact prospective customers once they make an inquiry.
in the evening (6:30) i went to a free urban cycling workshop at the cambridge city hall annex building. i didn't know what to expect, maybe some basic bicycle repair information, but i love listening to people talk about bikes so anything would be good. i was actually the first to arrive, admiring the trek belleville sitting at the bottom of the staircase. i went upstairs to the conference room. there was only a total of 7 people including myself and i was the only male attendee. of the 3 older ladies, one had short grey hair and rode a folding bike, one was an avid runner but was afraid of biking due to the city traffic, and one seemed confused by it all and kept asking mundane questions. i sat in the back across from abby, a young twentysomething girl who looked like she knew her bikes. there was a pile of bike-related literature for the taking by one of the walls including a complimentary "cambridge bike" seat cover.
the organizer explained the workshop and said afterwards there'd be a raffle and free helmets for anyone who wanted one, before introducing the speaker, who was a representative from mass bike. it was basically an hour long slideshow; though pleasant enough, it wasn't anything i didn't already know. the part on bike safety made me feel sheepish because i regularly run red lights and ride down one way streets in the opposite direction. the workshop took a turn to the surreal when a late attendee with 2 small children in tow showed up and sat down right next to me. the older child had no "indoor voice" and said whatever he wanted. the baby she was carrying would occasionally cry. the 3 of them were so noisy the other attendees kept looking back. the speaker was too polite to say anything and neither did the organizer.
after it was all over, we didn't have a raffle after all; since there was so few people, the organizer just set out the prizes and told we could all pick one: either a bike bell (old-fashioned with a big chime) or a bike light (planet bike spok in either white or red). i'd wanted a headlight but they were all gone. i didn't need a rear light (have plenty of those) so i picked up the bell instead. it was the last one and when abby looked like she wanted it, i gave it to her and took the rear light instead.
i wasn't going to get a free helmet because 1) i already have one (even though it's old and probably wouldn't protect me that well if i fell on my head), 2) even though i have a helmet i don't always wear it, and 3) i thought i was too cool for a free helmet. but when i saw how stylish they were, i swallowed my pride and lined up to be fitted for a freebie headgear. the non-branded helmet costs $25 if purchased individually, but since cambridge buys in bulk they're about $8 a piece.
the lecture was only supposed to be an hour long so i was surprised when i came home and it was already 8:30. my roommate was home too, eating his noodles in his room. while making my red wine risotto, i asked him about the newegg package that came for him today (like clockwork, every week be buys something online); he said they were earbuds. continuing our conversation, he told me a graduate student from boston university was shot to death earlier this morning; my roommate seems to be well-versed in any graduate student murders.
i was only making red wine risotto because i didn't have any white wine left. while pouring out the alcohol i took a few sips from the bottle. since i don't normally drink, that was all it took for me to get tipsy. risotto is perhaps not the best recipe to make when you're hungry because it takes a while to prepare (not complicated, but all that slow simmering and stirring takes time). although red wine risotto tastes the same as white wine risotto, it looks something awful, a very non-appetizing purplish-brown color.