i had my alarm set to 4:30 but i was already awake before then. i'm not even really sure if i went to sleep at all, too anxious about LJ's departure. i could already here her outside my bedroom making her final preparations. i finally went into the living room by 4:40, my eyes still adjusting to the light, waiting for LJ to make her final appearance. she saw me but said nothing, but she must've known the only reason why i was up was to see her off. she rolled out her suitcase at 4:55, which i helped carry to the sidewalk (only so that she wouldn't scratch up my hardwood floors). "thanks," she said. "okay, zai jian,1" i replied, "send me an e-mail when you get back to china." she was still fumbling with all her bags as i closed and locked the door.

i turned around and let out a sigh, but before i could fully relax, i saw the cellphone and water bottle in the kitchen. how could you forget something like that? i quickly grabbed them and headed outside. LJ was still within shouting distance. "you forgot your phone!" she shuffled back to grab them, then i closed the door on her for a 2nd time.

i went to the guest bedroom to inspect the damage. the room was surprisingly clean, she even pulled the sheets off and folded everything. i was just looking around to see if she left anything of significance behind. then i saw it: the charger for her laptop in the bookcase behind the door. granted, she killed her lenovo so maybe she didn't need the charger anymore, but i couldn't take that chance. i ran outside, unlocked my bike, and in the wee hour of this chilly morning, with a sparkling venus shining in the dawn sky, i went out in search of LJ.

i saw a girl on beacon street pulling a suitcase. since it was dark, i assumed it was LJ, so i rode my bike behind her and shouted (in chinese), "wait! you forgot your charger!" i didn't realize my mistake until i managed to scare the crap out of this poor girl whom i'd never seen before. "oh sorry!" i said, "i thought you were someone else!" as i rode away, having fulfilled my daily quota of scaring ladies walking alone in the dark.

i rode around some more. luckily there weren't any cars this early in the morning, because i didn't have my bike lights. i returned home with the charger. maybe she left it on purpose. i tried my best though. even after she leaves, LJ still managed to create some unwanted drama.

there was now a quietness to the house. i was dying to clean up but it was still too early. i watched sunday night's episode of the newsroom before returning to bed around 6:00. by then the sun was already out.

i woke up 4 hours later sometime around 10:00. i spent the next few hours cleaning. first, i vacuumed up all the hairs. then i scrubbed the bathroom floor with bleach and wiped down all the fixtures (there were tooth paste streaks all along the sides of the sink) before putting back the bathroom carpet. next was the kitchen, where i lifted up the stove top cover and cleaned up the spillage underneath. finally, the guest bedroom. i threw all the sheets into the laundry and cleaned up all the stain marks from the floor and walls with a magic eraser sponge. when i went to dry the sheets, i noticed the red lint in the trap. did LJ wash the sheets last night? was that why they were folded? but what did she sleep on last night? doesn't hurt to wash the sheets again.

finally i got around to documenting all the things LJ left behind:

it always surprises me when roommates throw out maps. it's like they're saying, "i don't want to remember the places i've visited, and i'm probably never coming back anyway, so might as well throw out all these maps." it's ironic LJ had maps of boston when she never even bothered to visit the city during her 2 months stay.

i found some china mobile receipts. they're significant because it has LJ's signature; up until this point i didn't even really know her name. i knew the romanized pinyin spelling, but that doesn't give any clue as to how her name is actually pronounced.

LJ picked up some random souvenirs when i took her down to coney island to see the mermaid parade, but she left them all behind. i guess she really didn't like new york after all. they include a bunch of broken seashells she collected on the beach and some plastic beads.

she left behind a junior drake canvas bag. i'd never heard of junior drake before, sounded like one of those forever 21 clothing stores for young women. later i found out it's a hand bag store.

she left behind a dirty nightgown. yes, she wore nightgowns, which she'd change into when she came home from work. she also left her bathroom towel, bigger than a wash towel, smaller than a bath towel. that thing was filthy, and contributed to a lot of the body odor smells in the bathroom. she never washed that thing and it actually had mold on it. the weird thing was i think she did finally wash it before she left, but didn't bother to take it with her. also left behind were several rolls of chinese toilet paper. i guess she was ready to rough it, in case - gasp! - we don't have toilet paper in america.

several bathroom items were left behind, including an empty bottle of shampoo and a used toothbrush. they were just left on the counter instead of thrown away, like the way you leave things in a hotel for the maid to clean up when you check out. LJ ran out of shampoo 2 weeks never and had just been using mine. i wouldn't care so much except she has a lot of hair and uses a lot of shampoo so my bottle is nearly empty now. i will use her toothbrush to clean the mildew between the bathroom tiles.

surprisingly, she didn't leave a lot of food behind, and managed to eat all her supplies. some things she left in the fridge should've been tossed: a rotten avocado and a container of expired sour cream. she also left a single egg, some american cheese, and some whole grain pasta. cleaning out her room i noticed she'd thrown perishables like banana peels in her small trash can; that'd explain the proliferation of tiny fruit flies i've been seeing for the past few weeks.

i had some granola and yogurt for lunch. the quaker oats natural granola mix is much better than the market basket granola (which is closer to cereal). i mixed it with a handful of haymarket blueberries.

pau's been trying to move back into my place, but he hasn't been successful in contacting his current roommates in order to get out of his one month sublet lease. he's hoping they can return half his rent ($800/month) and he can use that money to pay me. it's fine with me either way; i quite like living alone for the time being.

i rode the motorcycle to the assembly square mall to return the sprinkler at home depot and an unused ball of bronze-colored glitter yarn at ac moore. i got my mother a 29" size 9 circular needle (susan bates brand, the better clover bamboos were all sold out in size 9) with a 50%-off coupon. i go there so often i know all the cashiers. i got the pretty girl with the thick mascara makeup.

since i was already out there, i decided to visit the new harbor freight store that recently opened up at the wellington circle shopping plaza. while waiting for the lights to change at the route 28-16 intersection, i noticed the car to my left inching forward. i turned to look and there was a lady driver giving me the thumbs up and pointing to my lane; apparently she wanted to cut in front of me. i ignored her, the light changed, and i sped off before she even what happened. turning into wellington plaza, another car crossed into my lane without signaling. i knew it was happening but purposely didn't make room until i finally came to a screeching stop. the driver pantomimed her embarrassment and apology. just then i heard a car shouting at me as it drove away, the woman who earlier i didn't allow to cut into my lane. too much drama!

i'd known about harbor freight because they always have the cheapest deals on tools. i thought they were mainly an online store, with maybe a few physical stores out in the midwest, so i was surprised to discover they're actually a large franchise with over 300 stores across the US. this one in medford is sort of hidden; they don't even have a proper sign, just a tarp banner. it's a great place if you like tools, and almost all the customers were men (with an occasional wife mixed in). even better, the store music was non-stop 80's - i was humming along to ABC while browsing the aisles. unlike home depot, where they also sell materials, harbor freight is mainly tools, and they carry things i've never seen at home depot like welding equipment. most of the brands i'd never heard of before, and i'm pretty sure nearly everything is produced in china, that's why they can sell so cheaply. i picked up a 25 set of SAE and metric hex wrenches for just $4.99.

i stopped at the pet supplies store to pick up some snacks for hailey. they didn't have the short rawhide rolls, so i ended up getting some pigskin chew that were on sale. i noticed they were produced in china, which my sister will refuse, but i was hoping i could cut off the bottom of the label so she wouldn't notice.

i tried to be a more generous rider on my return trip home, no point in getting into a car accident. i stopped at a hess station to get some gas before visiting the cafe to drop off the circular needles. it was close to 4:00 and my mother was on her way home via bike. she thought the US-japan women's soccer match was today so she was in a hurry to get home until i told her it wasn't until thursday.

earlier i'd mixed up a solution of copper fungicide in a spray bottle. when i got back home, the copper had already settled to the bottom (nothing a little shaking can't fix). i traded my motorcycle for my bicycle and went to the community garden to do some spraying after i watered the plants. it was well after 4:00 at that point, and my eastern plot was one of only a few remaining plots that actually had any sun; almost everyone else was in the shade. maybe that's why my squashes are monsters!

the acorn squash has pretty much taken over the garden. it's even crossed over from the squash side of my plot into the flower garden. it's gotten so bad that it's almost impossible to get into my plot now. this late in the season the threat of squash vine borers are mostly gone. i haven't seen eggs in weeks (although i haven't really been checking either) and those that do hatch, even if they hollow out a stem, that isn't enough to kill the plant, which are increasing so rapidly they can outgrow any damages.

squash production has temporarily halted, although there are several immature ones on the stalks. probably no new squashes until next week at the earliest.

with no roommate around i could fall asleep in the living room and not be disturbed. today was a warm day but comfortably dry again, with a gentle cool breeze. i relocated to my bedroom around 7:00, hoping to take a short nap, but didn't get up until 8:30 with the sky already dark outside. i guess i was more tired than i realized, having not slept very much last night.

for dinner i heated up a brick of lasagna in the oven.

1 the chinese words for "good bye" is "zai jian," which translates to "see you again." to my mind, i don't know any other chinese expressions for good bye, but saying "zai jian" to my roommate seems false because i definitely won't be seeing her again.