when i returned home i had an inspirational moment and managed to open up the door of the broken microwave. it involved jimmying open the internal latch hook with a butter knife. at least the stuck door problem was fixed, but that still didn't explain why the microwave autostarts when plugged in (later in the evening i ordered a set of tamper-resistant drill bits so i could open the microwave and see the insides).
after some oatmeal for lunch, i took off on the motorcycle again, this time to visit a bunch of stores to look for a brand new replacement microwave. now LJ still hadn't officially said she'd replace it, but i just wanted to see what's out there. i already visited a bunch of online stores and didn't find one that i liked but i was hoping i'd get lucky in a real store.
first stop was the lowe's in saugus. where i live i'm within short distances of 3 home depot but no lowe's. they sell similar things (home improvement items) but it's definitely a case of the grass being greener on the other side because i always think lowe's has the better selection. the one in saugus isn't that far - about 8 miles away - but it took me more than half an hour to get there. one reason why it took so long was because i got lost try to navigate a double set of rotaries connecting route 16 to route 99.
the saugus lowe's is so huge that i was a bit overwhelmed. i browsed their garden department first, disappointed that they also carry bonnie seedlings (i was hoping to see some variety, home depot and k-mart sell bonnie plants as well). i then checked out some microwaves, but most of them were above-the-stove models, not too many countertop ones. i then moved on to the power tools, and got to see a bosch RO sander. this model received high marks from amazon.com reviewers. ergonomically it's one of the best designed, although the specs say it's a few ounces heavier than the ridgid RO sander. the bosch also has a great dust trap, but only has a small opening for connecting to an external vacuum. i then checked out the shop vacs and their various filters. next, hand tools, in search of a cheap set of hex wrenches and/or regular wrenches. finally, the paint department, where i bought a large can of cabot's australian timber oil ($40, backyard deck needs oiling again).
the return trip from saugus was less eventful now that i knew where i was going. back in everett, i went to the best buy to see if they carried any good microwaves. although they do carry kitchen appliances, it doesn't seem to be key demographic, and that whole area was poorly lit, like working in the dark.
at the gateway center mall, i first went to target, where they had some good selection, but nothing memorable. a few emerson-brand microwaves which i've never heard of before. next i went to the home depot, where they had a better selection of microwaves compared to lowe's. there was a nice-looking chef mate brand microwave but at $80 i don't think my roommate would be willing to spend that amount. next door was bed, bath & beyond, where amongst their crowded inventory i managed to find a pair of cuisinart microwaves. they looked good but they weren't priced.
finally i made my way to michael's, where i picked up a dozen sugar n' cream cotton yarn for my mother (on sale, 4/$5). i was on the phone with her, trying to describe what colors they had, but it was pretty futile. i told her to go online and check the company website but she was only able to see a small selection.
what i thought would be a short run took more than 3 hours. by the time i made it back to cambridge i was exhausted: from the riding, from the heat, from carrying a gallon can of timber oil. i dropped off the yarn at the cafe before returning home.
it was already 4:00 by then, and i took my bike to the super market to get a few ingredients for dinner. tonight i made a chicken caesar salad. LJ came home right when i was grilling my chicken on the foreman. we didn't say much to one another. after she put away her groceries (another trip to the supermarket!), she went to her room and closed the door. only when i done cooking and eating in the living room did i hear her come out of room to make dinner.
"tony! tony!" i heard someone yelling from outside. it was my neighbor ed. he found a compost bin and wanted to give it to me, since he heard i was interested in looking for a compost tumbler. this one was okay, but i didn't have a need for it, so i told ed to keep it for himself, for his property up in new hampshire.
when i came back LJ was still cooking, boiling some corn on the stove. she asked if i had a screwdriver because she wanted to open up the microwave but i showed her the tamper-resistant screws that prevented that from happening. she was finally more convincing with her expression of contrition, said she'd replace the microwave. but her remorse only went so far; replace not with a new microwave but a used one from craig's list. i expected as much and was willing to accept this compromise since it was an accident after all (she didn't know the egg would explode!). i told her i'd take care of finding the microwave, and once i do, i'd let her know the price and she'd pay for it. with that our relationship normalized and the dark cloud was lifted. it also gave me a chance to ask her to keep the water off of the bathroom floor. in china it's very common for bathrooms to have a water drain on the floor; and that's what she thought i had at my place, except what she thought to be the drain is actually my forced air heating vent. once i told her, there was no more water on the floor when she used it before going to bed. problem solved!
finally, game 1 of the NBA finals, between the hated miami heat and the team formerly known as the seattle supersonics (OKC thunder). i watched half-heartedly, didn't really care about the outcome so long as miami lost. the heat had the lead early on, so it was a joy to watch kevin durant and company slowly dismantle them for the win. is there something wrong with kevin durant? he seems devoid of personality, sort of like a tim duncan type. maybe he's just a basketball savant. i think it's cool that all he cares about is winning, the anti-lebron. conventional wisdom says OKC will take the series, which is reflected in las vegas bet makers. even though the heat beat the celtics, boston actually hurt them more by taking the series to a game 7, irreparably damaging miami's reputation as a contender for this year's championship. besides, miami should've never gone this far: they were supposed to be a mere stumbling block on chicago's ascent to the finals.