i must've had half a dozen craig's list feelers for microwaves, all of whom had exotic names: sudeshna, hiro, chai, jacky lau, du huynh (but goes by binh). when did asians take over craig's list? end of the month is also a good time to find deals because a lot of people are moving. i decided on the 0.7 cubic feet GE model (JES738WJ) which seems to be a popular sell, probably because it's a small starter microwave you'd buy in college before upgrading to something bigger. it fulfilled several of my criteria - white, small, push button door, instant cooking - but missed on a few others - too small (my old samsung was 0.8 cubic feet), instant cooking only at 30 seconds intervals. earlier models of this GE was actually even smaller - 0.6 cubic feet - and a few of the ones being sold were this micro version (which i didn't want).

hiro at kendall square was selling his for $30, but somebody had already asked him so he said he'd let me know by tonight if the buyer doesn't show up. sudeshna in cambridgeport was selling hers for $20; unfortunately it wasn't available until the end of the month more than 2 weeks ago. i couldn't wait that long. that's when i had a fit of inspiration and suggested this plan: i've buy her microwave for $20, but then let her borrow my parents' spare microwave, which she'd return to me at the end of the month. it was complicated and crazy, but she actually went to for it.

then this morning i found out the internal dimension of the 0.7 cubic feet oven wouldn't fit some of my microwave containers. i did this by drawing out the rectangular area of the oven on a piece of newspaper. more accurately, they'd fit, but there wouldn't be enough clearance to rotate properly.

so i decided to go with a $25 1.1 cubic feet microwave, sold by chai in cambridge/somerville (more somerville than cambridge, on highland avenue). i actually got in touch with her last night, asking what model of microwave she was selling. it was a GE WES1130DMBB. i was turned off right away because it was much bigger than i wanted and in black instead of white. so i told her thanks but no thanks.

but after realizing that 0.7 cubic feet is just too small, i decided i had to go bigger. the WES1130DMBB isn't that much bigger, maybe an inch longer and an inch deeper. it was larger, but that meant i'd never have to worry about something not fitting inside the oven. it was also black, but color is the least important criteria. who really notices the color of appliances anyway? i've got black pots and pans, chrome kettle, white toaster oven, wooden shelves, white countertop - nothing really matches in my kitchen, why start now? but the best thing about the WES1130DMBB is the express cook feature: hitting any buttons 1-6 will automatically start cooking with that number of minutes (making this oven ADA complaint). chai said he originally paid $65 for the oven, but the closest matching model on the GE website is the JES1130DSBB which retails at $224.

so i got back in touch with chai, who fortunately hadn't sold the oven yet and said i could come pick it up later tonight. then i wrote back all the other sellers and told them i wasn't interested anymore. finally, i wrote LJ and told her about the WES1130DMBB, to get her consent, but more as a formality since i was pretty sure she'd agree it it. at only $25, this was a bargain.

the rain that started last night continued into this wednesday. by the early afternoon it'd mostly stopped, but still with the occasional shower. i tried a new rear basket attachment configuration, one suggested by my father: washer + nut + lockring washer + nut. no spacers because the short ones that i had didn't fit. the double nut fastening went on pretty secure, but they all do initially; let's see what happens after a few days of riding.

in the mid-afternoon i rode the bike to belmont, so i could go down to the belmont community garden at 6:00 and pick a plot. i tried to get one last season but there must've been a long wait list because i never heard back from them. so imagine my surprise when the garden coordinator got in touch with me a few weeks ago to let me know a few plots had become available and wondered if i was still interested.

in my parents' backyard garden:

robin fledgling:


after an early dinner, i went down to the community garden by rock meadow (3 miles way) with my father and sister. the rain had picked up again, and the garden plot map i printed out quickly became soggy. we were there 15 minutes early so we went to check out the 4 available plots. 2 of the plots were bad: one had a wall of pine trees on the western side, another plot was not only the smallest one but had a tall black cherry tree growing dead center. the other 3 plots were excellent, big with plenty of sun exposure.

while we were there, we saw kathy, the garden coordinator, along with her dog. she was waiting for everyone to show up before taking us to see the available plots and then allowing us to choose. it was me and another guy, so i figured my chances of getting one of the two good plots was pretty good. unfortunately the selection process was opened to all interested parties, and those who earlier said they couldn't make it suddenly showed up as well when they realized they might get stuck with a bad plot, or worse, none at all (4 plots available, 5 people on the wait list). kathy seemed familiar and i asked her if she has a gardening blog, which she sheepishly confirmed.

so wouldn't you know it, 3 other people showed up besides myself. and i wasn't the least bit surprised when kathy told us the selection order and i was dead last. so basically for me i'd get whatever plot nobody else wanted, so much for choice. so in the back of my mind i was already preparing to receive the plot with the bank of pine trees, because even though it has a pretty sizable space, it would be in the shade for half of the day. at that point i didn't even want to bother seeing the other plots; it was like adding insults to injury.

when it came time to choose, the first guy actually couldn't decide between one of the good plots or the plot with the tree! i'm sure i wasn't the only person who was surprised by his thought process. he ended up picking the good plot, which was about 4 times larger than the one with the tree. the remaining good plot went to the 2nd guy, and the 3rd guy picked - gasp! - the plot with the pine trees! he seemed like a newbie, because a seasoned gardener would know that plot would get no sun. the overcast sky probably helped us out. kathy then asked me if i wanted the tree plot. i guess i did have a choice after all, between taking the last plot or just saying no. she seemed happy when i said yes, said that she was glad somebody was taking it, like the plot was maybe cursed or something, or at least a high turnover rate. kathy reminded us to pay the $40 annual due when we got the chance.

i left soon after returning to my parents' place, because i still had a microwave to pick up at 8:00. chai called me while i was biking back home to confirm i was coming. i stopped by place to drop off my stuff and to grab some bungie cords and towels (for padding). LJ rushed out of her room expecting to see the new microwave but i told her i hadn't picked it up yet. to her credit, she paid me the $25 right away, and i took the money and left.

biking from my place to highland avenue involved going up a hill. i saw a gaunt woman do it yesterday on a road bike; i remembered her because she had a cigarette dangling from her mouth and was climbing the hill with remarkable effortlessness for someone who should be in poor health. today was my turn, and by the time i arrived, i was out of breath and sweaty. chai turned out to be an indian name, this couple was moving just a few blocks down. her husband answered the door while she was upstairs cleaning the microwave. he helped me carry the microwave downstairs (they lived on the 4th floor, apparently no elevator).

with microwave resting on a towel and strapped down with bungie cords, i made my way home. it was a lot easier going downhill, but the extra weight made my bike a bit unstable so i went slow, preferring not to crash.

the new used microwave fit into the old space perfectly. if this one was bigger, i didn't really notice, but when i put in one of my larger microwaveable containers, i definitely discerned the roomier interior (i'll do a more in-depth comparison with my old microwave tomorrow, when LJ isn't around, don't want her to know i'm crazy when it comes to documenting every minutiae of my life).