al from ultra safe pest management called me this morning, asking if we made a decision yet. his rather aggressive sales tactic was beginning to get on my nerve a bit. it seemed like he was borrowing pages from the terminix guy, with the "sign today and i'll throw in a discount" tactic followed by a pushy phone call the next day. however, we'd already informally decided to go with ultra safe, and i told him that, just i needed to get the payment info from my father before we can proceed. unfortunately when i did get that info, i didn't have al's number. he called me from a restricted line and his business card was back in belmont.
after a quick breakfast of french toast and kielbasa, i went to belmont. the woman from across the street asked about all the plants she saw me moving this morning. i told her about my grow closet and how the plants had overgrown their home and were being relocated.
my mother had reservations about ultra safe. true, they won an angie's list super service award last year, but that could've been for just bed bug eradication, which seemed to be their main expertise. they may not have a good reputation for termite control. if i had to do it again, i'd call one more local company who does termidor treatment, find out how much they charge. my mother figured the price wouldn't change all that much, and better just to go with ultra safe and get it done right away. so i called al, who immediately passed me over to the account guy without as much as a "thanks for your business," to take the credit card information. i could've paid half now, and then pay the rest once the work was done, but i opted to pay the whole amount. "that's it? shouldn't i make an appointment?" i reminded the account guy. he scheduled tuesday between 2-3pm. i never talked to al again; it seemed once he got my business, he was out of the picture.
in hindsight i should've gone with the split payment; having been burned by shady contractors before, my parents are naturally wary of paying first. we didn't even have an official contract yet, because al left the paperwork with us pending our decision.
next i had the unpleasant task of calling the remaining exterminators and telling them the bad news. my parents both said it wasn't necessary, that the fact that i don't call them would let them know we weren't interested their business. but i thought it was a courtesy gesture. i called the terminix guy first, who told me i was making a big mistake not going with a company with a lifetime guarantee. "that's only if we continue signing up for the annual service, right?" i said. "of course. how else would we do it?" he replied, as if this was common practice. i just wanted the call to end, but he continued to harangue me. glad i didn't go with them! next i called waltham services, but either i dialed the wrong number or bill just wasn't there; fortunately i also had his e-mail and figured that was a better way to tell him the bad news. finally i called john the orkin man. he was pretty understanding, but took a shot by warning me about the dangers of pesticide use so close to the garden.
before i left belmont i replaced my old pedals on my trek with the new ones that arrived yesterday. the old ones were easy to remove with the pedal tool, just had to remember that one of the pedals (left) turns in the opposite direction to remove. the old left pedal was still in good shape (some scratches and cracks in the resin mold), but the right pedal was nearly falling apart and making noises. the right new pedal spun smoothly, but the left new pedal was sticky. my father squirted some engine grease into the housing which loosened it up a bit but once i began riding it started to spin freely, just like the other pedal.
i also left my new mini-torch light with my father, since he doesn't have a good headlight for his bike and had been using a red rear light instead. i figured he needed it more than i did.
yesterday i learned about eruvin (singular: eruv), mysterious guide wires that encircle towns to symbolically mark the border of an enclosed space for use in carrying during the weekly jewish sabbath (for those who observe). i discovered there's an eruv that encompasses cambridge-somerville, and the demarcation line actually lies along the cambridge-belmont, so i must've passed by it every time i go to belmont. on my way home i tried looking for it but couldn't see anything other than utility wires. could they also function as eruv lines? at the intersection of fountain terrace and holworthy street i did find one utility pole bejeweled by old-school glass insulators.
i went to market basket to get a few things. afterwards i went to the cafe to drop off some items my mother asked me to get (scallions, bacon, cucumbers, corn starch). she was surprised by how quickly i arrived. i took home a bag of frozen chinese dumplings which i later had for dinner.
in the evening i ordered a few things from ebay, 2 velcro-strapped flashlight bike brackets and another mini-torch.