i woke up before 9:00 with my roommate still in the bathroom. while waiting for her to finish, i started doing some work for client N, mostly production stuff, exporting the graphic elements from photoshop into png pieces. when LJ finally left for the office, i noticed she was all dressed up, wearing some new clothes and even a pair of heeled shoes that she must've purchased over the weekend.

i worked until noontime, even eating an early lunch in the process. i was on my way to return some cans when i bumped into renee. it was our first time seeing each other since my testy e-mail last week. there was a brief moment of awkwardness, before she expressed some concern over the cesspool planter in front of my house.

here's the story: steve bought a pair of halved wine casks to be used as planters; what he didn't realize was they weren't drilled so rain water just collects inside, mixing with the dirt to create a stinking filthy mess (smelled like vomit), a perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes. i brought it up with him last month after i couldn't stand the smell anymore; he said he'd take care of it but never did.

being that i am the more responsible owner between the two of us, after i came back from market basket, i donned on some rubber gloves and went out to empty the wine cask. first i scooped out some water with a container. then i managed to tilt the planter by laying a few bricks underneath one side. i tipped the planter just enough to pour out some more water. using a shovel, i removed all the wet dirt (like black foul-smelling cement) and dumped it into a garden refuse bin. finally, i managed to turn the wine cask completely upside down, elevated by a few more bricks. all that and i only managed to get a spot on my shorts, which i quickly went inside and washed off.

i wrote steve an e-mail telling him what i did, hoping to maybe get a thank you. he never replied back. i'm sure neighbors will appreciate my effort though, no longer having to suffer the noxious stench whenever they crossed by our house (probably known locally as the puke house).

there were a few interesting things happening at market basket. i saw a spanish-speaking man having a light-hearted discussion with an italian man wearing an italian soccer jersey. the italian didn't speak spanish, but went through his mental rolodex of spanish curse words (mixed with italian) to describe the performance of the italian team at the euro cup match yesterday. then there was the tall transvestite in the produce aisles. i've seen him before, and i've been to enough pride parades that i don't even give drag queens a second look nowadays. however, he was wearing this very provocative cheerleader outfit, with bare midriff and green tartan pleated miniskirt. i saw a little boy pulling on his mother's sleeve, saying, "look! look!" but his mother ignored him, trying to be polite.

my replacement rear wheel finally came. more than a week behind schedule, but actually a few days earlier than the updated arrival date (wednesday). it's a alex x101 rear mtb wheel 26" x 1.75", 36 spokes, quick-release, 6/7-speed, black. the wheel was $29.05 but i had to pay an additional $7.99 for shipping (it's still worth it because a new wheel of comparable specs from the bike store would've cost me $50). however, the specs label on the new wheel is slightly different from what i ordered: XLC S2516 6061H-T6 ETRTO 559x20 by alex (taiwan). regardless of specs, it looks good, and i should be able to finally fix my bike. unfortunately, it didn't come with a rim tape so i had to order that online (hopefully get here by thursday). i also need to remove the rear freewheel cluster from my old wheel and put it on the new one. those things are a bitch to remove and i'll need to bring it to belmont to make use of the table vise. so it looks like i won't be able to fix my bike until later in the week.

in the afternoon i took my motorcycle to microcenter to return the diamond tv tuner. i actually ordered one through amazon.com at a much cheaper price (about $15 after cashing in some reward points and a rebate). there was a line but once it was my turn the return process took only about half a minute.

from memorial drive i made my way to belmont. my sister was home on the phone trying to fix a glitch in her health insurance. she told me between being put on hold that hailey ate half a bag of flour this morning.

all the cars were home so i thought so were my parents before my sister told me they biked to work this morning. they came back soon afterwards. today wasn't as hot as yesterday (temperature only in the lower 80's) but even i didn't want to bike in this heat and suffer the sweating mess i'd become.

while my sister and mother went out shopping for a new oscillating floor fan (the one they had recently broke), my father and i went to the victory garden around 4:30 packed with tools (hoe, shovel) and materials (wooden stakes, like we were going to a vampire hunt).

the walls of the raised beds were pretty much done so there was nothing left to do on them other than to put down a few more stakes around the boards that still felt loose. my father began collecting aged manure from the manure pit behind the grove of pine trees behind our plot. he was using large plastic buckets which seemed to slow; what we needed was a wheelbarrow. so we went down to the mulch supply located at the front of the victory garden, where there were several public-use wheelbarrows. we ended up hauling back 4 wheelbarrow's worth of wood mulch to be used on the short paths inside our plot. they weren't the best (a lot of twigs) but still usable and free.

we returned one wheelbarrow and kept the other to haul back the manure. the first time we used a circuitous route before figuring out there was a shortcut just behind our plot. like the wood mulch, the aged manure wasn't the greatest either, since most of the other gardeners had already taken their fill earlier in the growing season. what we had had some weed plants already growing in them (which we easily pulled out), but like the mulch, it was still usable and free for the taking. we ended up hauling back 3 wheelbarrow's worth of aged manure but a few buckets.

i was kind of tired at that point and thought about returning home, but my father was insistent we plant some seeds today, since we were already in the middle of the growing season, and if we waited any longer, there might not be enough time for some of the slower plants to reach maturity for harvesting. i used the leftover plastic green landscape fabric pegs as markers to where we planted. since we had a lot of growing space, i spaced them 2-3 feet between markers.

we ended up planting all melons/squashes/cucumbers. i'd bought a packet of "early silver line" melons which was the one thing we wanted to grow; they reminded my father of early days in taiwan and seeing whole fields of these asian melons. we planted 8 of these (a few seeds per spot). down the eastern side we planted 4 "burpless beauty" cucumbers (the same ones we have back at my parents' place in RB1). the western side were 2 cocozelle squash and 2 acorn squash. and in the middle bed 3 zucchini plants.

that was the hard part. now we water and wait. seedlings are supposed to emerge in 7-14 days. we'll also see if animals and/or insects will eat them. we didn't have time to put down the landscape fabric; we'll do that once the seedlings emerge, although it'd have been nice to have to prevent the soil from drying up and blocking the weeds, but waiting 1-2 weeks won't make that much difference.

we left the garden by 6:30. back at the house, my mother had bought chipotle dinner bowls for my father and i. i was expecting a burrito but i was hungry enough that once i began eating i didn't care anymore.

i returned home around 8:00. i noticed that even though i turned over the planter, it still smelled. it'll probably take a few rain showers to wash away the stink. there's also the big refuse bin of smelly soil. i should scoop it around the backyard garden and use it as fertilizer. it'll stink up the place something fierce, but after a few showers the smell will hopefully be gone. LJ was already home, and already finished with dinner. we only had a single exchange, when she came out of her room and said, "oh, you're home," and i said, "i'm going to turn on the kitchen fan a little bit," because it was kind of warm inside the house (probably from the cooking).

LJ went to bed early, like around 9:00. maybe it had something to do with all the bloody tampons i keep on seeing in the bathroom trash can. i love how she makes zero effort to be discreet about it. maybe i should just invest in a trash can with a lid. what puzzles me is i feel like she's been on her period the whole time she's been living at my place.