i woke up at 8:30 this morning and LJ was already gone. when exactly does she go to work anyway? she's definitely a morning person, and told me back home in shanghai she wakes up around 7:00 every morning. her routine here is to prepare for bed by 10:00 and lights out no later than 11:00. if she's making breakfast she must be doing it pretty quietly because i never hear anything, not even the microwave, which she's avoided using ever since she destroyed the old one.

after a late breakfast of a goat cheese salsa omelette, i went down to the basement to do some clean up. basically i was clearing out more room so i could cram all 11 of my bicycles. i also inflated any tires that seemed flat so the frame isn't resting on the rims.

i went to work taking off the tire and tube from the slightly bent trek 800 rear wheel. i was ready for some grief, but armed with my steel bike levers, the job was surprisingly easy. could i put the tire back on though? here's hoping i never have to find out.

i put the rear rim on the truing stand to see if i could unwrap it. unfortunately a few spokes have rusted shut and i had a hard time adjusting them. even after working the rim for some time it was still warped. that's when i decided it was better to buy a brand new rear wheel instead of trying to fix it.

i went to park bike shop to check out their prices. after a few confusing minutes of trying to explain what i wanted to the cantankerous owner ("do you want the whole wheel or just the rim? 5, 6, 7?"), he finally showed me some wheels. a silver alloy quick release 36 spokes rear wheel for a freewheel cost $50; a similar black version was $60. i told him if i could think about it.

i then went to market basket to get a few things for my mother. coming back, i picked up an iron gym pull up bar somebody had thrown out. i've always wanted one of these but i read it wouldn't fit on my door frames because of the large moldings. sure enough, i couldn't get it to stick. i did manage to keep it in place briefly to do a few pull ups before unceremoniously dropping to the floor, landing awkwardly on my heels.

i went to the cafe to drop off some supplies. i got a chance to see the finished result of yesterday's spraying. it could use a 2nd coat of the white gloss because some areas on the freezer still felt rough to the touch. but overall it was a vast improvement over the rusty and stained original.

my father stayed behind at the cafe while my mother and i biked home to belmont. my parents bike to the cafe this morning and at one point my mother fell off her bike while waiting to cross the street, so now she was complaining about aches and pains. this was probably her 3rd or 4th time biking home from the cafe, so she still didn't have the hang of it. to add yet another challenge, we were riding on bike lane on the main road (shorter and faster) instead of around fresh pond where my parents usually ride (longer but safer). instead of riding all the way home, we walked our bikes across the grove street playground once we were in belmont, before picking up our ride again once we were back on the road.

when my father returned home around 3:30, my parents and i went down to the belmont victory garden to check out our plot. since it was a nice day, we could see our sun exposure. we also took measurements: the plot itself is 13ft x 19.5ft, a decent size despite being one of the smallest plots in the garden. the trunk of the black cherry tree also takes up a space of 2ft x 3ft. despite the shadow from the tree, it does move throughout the day; neighboring plots actually get it worse as the tall branches and leaves of the tree eclipse their gardens. we were still on the fence about whether or not we wanted this plot, but after seeing it today, we decided to keep it.

we took a tour of the rest of the garden. people with plots on the western side of the property have it worse as the tall bordering trees of the forest completely blocked out the sun. even though their plots were larger, given the choice, i think many of them would gladly trade their shady plot with our sunny plot + tree. that couple who had 3rd pick last week? their plot was completely shaded as well.

before we left we talked with an old chinese man working on his large plot on the southern end of the community garden. turns out his plot was originally unwanted land that the garden coordinator let him have and told him he could garden where he could clear out. with some help he ended up clearing a good sizable area, although a few small glacial erratics dot his plot and he doesn't get any sun in the morning. he'd been in the garden for 2 years, been on the wait list for 3, lives in lexington but his daughter is a belmont resident.

back in belmont, i helped my father throw out a heavy porcelain coated cast iron sink that he picked up a few years ago but left in the backyard like an out-of-place bathroom fixture. he also tossed the old barbecue grill. when hailey started barking that's when i saw someone pull up in a car and taking away the sink and BBQ, probably sell it for scrap metal.

the trek 800 makes squeaky noises when i ride. is the larger knobby rear wheel rubbing up against the fender? or is the fender loose and rubbing up against the frame? the bike also doesn't shift smoothly, i'll have to adjust the rear derailleur at some point. when i got home i had a few packages waiting for me: a milk frother and a pair of red vintage wellgo bike pedals (to be installed on the red schwinn bike).

i finally ordered a new rear wheel. i was going to get the avenir joytec/weinmann 26" quick-release alloy in black ($49), but found a better deal: alex X101 26" 25mm wide quick-release alloy black as well for only $29 ($37 with shipping). i've never heard of this company before but the specs look good and apparently REI sells them so they can't be all that bad. it's only a $12 difference but with that money i saved i went to awwyeah.com and bought a kenda K193 26x1.5" tire ($18) for the rear wheel.