returning home i noticed the front of my bike was making a funny noise. i thought maybe the brake pads were rubbing against the rim but when i adjusted them the noise was still there. maybe the front wheel was just squeaky from being out in the rain the past few days. i didn't think anything of it and quickly forgot about it.
next i paid a visit to my community garden plot. as i suspected and secretly hoped for, the garden was empty so soon after our morning rainstorm. using my hands (once again) i planted over a dozen nasturtium seeds. i then made my rounds shooting spring flowers in some other plots.
i took advantage of the clearing weather by taking a motorcycle ride to michael's at the gateway center in everett (i discovered that's the official name for this large shopping area along mystic view road). i used a 50%-off-one-item ac moore coupon (michael's accepts competitor coupons) to get a packet of knitting markers for my mother ($2.99 after discount).
i briefly browsed the garden center at the nearby home depot. there were a lot of perennials on sale (lupines, bleeding hearts, peonies) and i was tempted to get some except i had no way of bringing it back with me on my motorcycle.
i then went to pet supplies plus on the fellsway in medford, looking for rawhide chews for hailey. not sure why but the shelves were bare. i couldn't find any of the smaller rawhide sticks so i ended up buying some medium-sized ($10.98). because of the long line, i went to browse the fish aisle. they have this new cool aquarium from fluval called the "chi" which is supposed to be inspired by chinese feng shui. there's something that looks like a floating box on top of the aquarium that contains the lights, filtration system, and a platform to grow plants. it's interesting but at only 5 gallons it's difficult to set up a really good aquatic ecosystem.
finally i went to the assembly square mall. first stop was ac moore, where i used another coupon to buy a pair of takumi single point 9 inch size 8 knitting needles ($2.99). i had been using bamboo shish-kabob skewers, before my mother lent me some of her needles. i hadn't been using them in a while and she finally asked for them back, which was basically a 13 inch size 8 pair of needles. so i decided to get my own needles, size 8 being a common size. it's kind of ironic because i haven't knitted anything in several months. maybe owning my own needles might inspire me to return to knitting.
last stop was the garden center at k-mart where i picked up 4 52" galvanized tomato cages ($3.69, 30¢ cheaper than at home depot). they also had some 42" cages, but when i compared the topmost "hoop" they were exactly the same size, so i don't know how they're measured.
the tomato cages presented a problem: how do i get them back home on the back? i ended up strapping them horizontally on the rear seat of my bike with my bungie netting. that made the profile of my motorcycle nearly 4' wide, so i was careful to stay in the center of the road and not stray to the side and accidentally scratch any parked cars with the pointy ends of the cages.
i went directly to my community garden, where i replaced the smaller cages on my tomatoes with these large 52" cages. now my plot looks like an industrial site, like i'm growing steel wires instead of plants!
after going home briefly (where my amazon.com order was waiting on my doorstep: rain pants and bike gloves) i went to the cafe to drop off those markers for my mother. i then went to belmont where only my father and hailey were home. i took a tour of the backyard:
i like how there are so many different varieties of irises growing in the western garden: 2 rhizome irises (one deep purple, one light violet), and 1 bulb iris. the 2nd year snapdragons look like they're preparing to bloom.
after folding 2 barrels of smelly grass clippings into the compost heap i returned to cambridge while my father was busy pruning the hedge next to the garage. yesterday our next door neighbor cut down an evergreen that'd been growing in between our two front lawns and also trimmed some bushes. the pruners didn't do a good job and now their yard looks worse.
back in cambridge, i tried on the pearl izumi bike gloves (midnight blue, small, $17.47), which made me feel pretentious. i would never wear them riding my grocery getter but maybe one of the road bikes. i wear gloves when i ride the motorcycle, but i've always thought that's to protect my hands in case of an accident. i also tried those helly hansen voss rain pants (medium). reviewers said they ran long and that's definitely the case. even with the snaps at the closest setting they still tend to clump up at the ankles. but at $14.99 (they were on sale) i can't complain too much. it's a weird fabric, kind of feels like goretex even though i know it's not. it's entirely not breathable but that just means it'll definitely keep out the rain. they're surprisingly comfortable, and big enough to wear over pants. reviewers also complained about the lack of pockets, and at first i thought it was strange too, but i don't have pockets on my sweat pants either. i can't wait for the next big rainstorm so i can put these to good use.
not much else happened in the early evening. my roommate came home around 7:00 when it was still light outside. he finally figured out his itinerary: leaving for hawaii friday the 18th at 7:50 in the morning, coming back from new mexico wednesday the 6th at 5:30 in the late afternoon. he spent the rest of the night cleaning up his room, doing some laundry, and even taking a shower.
the celtics game began at 7:00 so my whole evening revolved around watching basketball. i made some hot dogs but realized i didn't have any ketchup in the house; luckily i found a few fast food ketchup packets and used those instead.
this was game 3 between boston and atlanta. celtics narrowly lost game 2, a game they could've won. game 3 in atlanta, boston totally dominated. all their shots were falling while the hawks had a hard time scoring. even then the game was close, each team ratcheting the tension. by halftime it looked like the celtics would win if they played with the same intensity and accuracy as the first half.
that when i received a phone call. i wasn't going to answer it at first (443 area code, maryland?) but picked up anyway. a girl was talking on the other end. at first i thought it was the girl who was supposed to rent out my place for 2+ weeks but didn't (it was suspicious because her english was perfect). then she said something about craig's list. i've got several craig's list feelers out there, so that didn't narrow things done. was it for a bike? or a free bed? when she told me it was for a bed, i still couldn't remember what it was. when she told me it was for a mattress, box spring, and frame in central square, that's when i finally remembered.
her person never showed up to pick up the free twin bed, so i was next on the list. i told her i had time early tomorrow morning. "i was hoping you'd be able to pick it up tonight, because i'm moving tomorrow, and i'd like to clean the apartment." i hesitated, trying to figure out the best solution. she told me if i couldn't pick it up tonight, she'd try a few other people on the wait list, and if none of them could do it either, she'd let me have it tomorrow morning. i checked the time: 8:30. i told her i'd call her back in a few minutes. my mother was still at the cafe cleaning up, and since she had the bigger car, that was my ticket. my seller was willing to help me move the bed, so i didn't need anybody else to come with me. i just needed the car. i called my mother to make sure i could take it, called back my craig's list person (told her i'd get there around 9:00) and went out to speed ride my bike down to the cafe.
that's when i noticed the front tire of my trek bike had gone flat. suddenly it all made sense, that weird noise i heard earlier. thinking back, i also remembered a popping sound on my way to the supermarket, that must've been the fatal blow. fortunately i have more than one bike and quickly pulled out the fuji from the basement.
at the cafe i tried desperately to removed the rear seat on the honda element to make more room in the back. my futile attempt was further hampered by the fact that i was operating in near darkness, the little overhead car light not enough to see what i was doing. after several sweaty minutes of struggling with the straps and buckles and levers, i finally gave up. i just folded up the seat against the side of the windows and clipped it to the overhead grab bar.
tamar (my freebie seller) lived on magazine street, right behind that big church. central square was raucous with people, and many restaurants had outdoor seating which patrons gladly took advantage of on this 60°+ night. something was happening by the church (an AA meeting?) as large groups of people were crowding outside. great, i have to park here with all these people around to see what a terrible parker i am. i parked a little bit farther. i was late, but tamar called right when i was outside her apartment.
she lived on the top (3rd floor) of the building (i noticed the mezuzah on her front door). she helped me move the mattress first, and waited outside while i moved the car a bit closer. the boxspring was light enough that i could carry by myself, so i moved that downstairs while tamar followed behind me with the collapsible metal bed frame. she was moving to new york to get married and couldn't take her bed. she thanked me for coming so last minute, i thanked her for the free bed.
the bed fit inside the honda element but i couldn't close the back so i tied down the hatch door with a piece of rope. i was afraid the metal frame might possibly slide out the back so i held on to it with one hand while driving with the other. i returned to the cafe, where my mother (and aunt) were waiting for me. we stashed the bed in the cafe basement. i then returned home.
unencumbered by bags, i can move pretty quickly on the fuji. that makes me reconsider the idea of putting rear baskets which would make the bike heavier. i forgot to wear my helmet and felt a little unsafe traveling so fast (in the dark no less). i was using my mini-torch which makes for a great bike light. i didn't like the purple at first, but the front of the flashlight becomes slightly translucent when turned on, and viewed from the side it gives a cool purplish glow. after storing the fuji, i wheeled in my trek as well; looks like i'm going to have some fun tomorrow patching up the front wheel. i've only replaced tubes before, never patched anything even though i have at least 2 patch kits.
all this free bed drama cost me from seeing the second half of the celtics-hawks game. i went to nba.com and was relieved to discover there was no surprises and that boston had indeed won the game, taking the series to 2-1.
after i took a shower (sweaty from all that running and riding and driving around), i went online and ordered another mini-torch. those things are great! i'm really hoping for a blue this time. or red. anything but black (which was the color i would've wanted before i realized this translucent glowing effect).
my june-july roommate got in touch with me after i told my current roommate that his coworker friend should contact me directly so we can finalize her summer living arrangement. when i told her about the rent, she actually asked me if i could lower it. fussy indeed! i was tempted to tell her that if she can find a better deal she should take it but i didn't. it's a small world because she knows at least 2 other chinese astrophysicists from shanghai who've lived at my place before. my place has sort of become a cambridge outpost for them. i told her she should get my house key from one of the previous tenants because he forgot to return it to me when he left.