i still woke up early though because the temperature inside the house had dropped down to 54°F (12.27°C) overnight (it froze in most places by early morning). as a rule, if the temperature drops below 60°F, it's time to turn on the furnace (even more so when i have tenant obligations). so i went downstairs with my tools: a pair of pliers, a grill lighter, and a flashlight. the pliers was for turning on the gas inlet valve, the flashlight was to check if i needed to replace the filter, and the lighter was to ignite the gas. i was briefly worried when i couldn't sustain the pilot light on my first go. i looked up and saw that the furnace had been turned to the on position, which i learned a long time ago is actually the off position, so i flipped it to the wrong but right off setting. that did the trick and the pilot stayed lit, seconds later igniting the whole furnace after i turned the furnace knob to on.
as soon as i turned up the heat, the house was comfortable again, unlike what it was when i woke up this morning, which was a fridge. this is probably the earliest i've ever turned on the heat. normally (when i'm living alone) i can hold out until mid-november or even later. but whether i turn on the heat really isn't up to me, and it's mostly dependent on when it begins to get cold, which is different every year. last year it was unusually warm from autumn into winter, the result being we didn't get very much snow (if at all). with such an early cold snap, i get the feeling this winter may be a snowy one.
i'd told drew about the bike ride but like me, he was reluctant to go because of how cold it was. instead he decided to spend the day at one of the harvard libraries, browsing over ancient tomes.
from the route map it looked like the tour would actually be right on my doorstep because i happen to live along the cambridge-somerville border. the group was scheduled to leave at 10:15, so i camped out by the window with the blinds pulled up, holding to catch a glimpse of them.
i figured i'd already missed them because i did see a small convoy of bikers ride down beacon street earlier. but my patience paid off as suddenly a stream of bikers came down my street at 10:30. from my quick count, there was about 30 bikers (not hundreds like the cambridge rides); the cold probably had a direct impact on the low turnout. hopefully it's warmer next year.
with drew already gone, i left the house soon afterwards as well. since it was a nice (but cold) day and it didn't look like it'd rain, i rode my motorcycle to belmont. for the first time in a long time i had to use the choke to start the engine.
my parents were on a supply run at costco so only my sister and the dog where in the house. i wasn't sure if my parents had turned on their heat but their house seemed warmer than mine (maybe it was because i came in the from the cold, temperature around 40's but much colder on the bike). i noticed some directions for a thundershirt on the table and asked my sister if she bought one for her dog. the thundershirt is this tight-fitting "shirt" for a dog that's supposedly has a calming effect on canines during times of stress, like during a thunderstorm. i saw it a while back in a pet catalog and showed me sister because i thought it was ridiculous and funny. apparently she didn't think it was that outrageous and ended up getting one ($40). she demonstrated it later on; hailey did seem calmer, but i think it's because the thundershirt was so tight on her, it kind of constricted her movements.
i hadn't had lunch yet so i was relieved when my parents finally came home in the afternoon with italian sausages and chicken bakes and hot dogs they'd bought at costco. funny how much better food tastes when you're hungry. i'm usually not a big italian sausage guy but that was a tasty sausage. i also ate half a chicken bake, washed down with some lemonade.
my father went to the cafe briefly to drop off the supplies. my mother was busy working on a project (a cowl) on an extra large knitting loom she'd assembled. when my father returned home i showed him the arduino and assembled a pedestrian traffic light simulation for him to see. my sister took hailey on her weekend jaunt to the winchester fells. when they came back she gave hailey a bath because the dog had found something rotten in the forest and naturally rolled all over it.
for dinner we had some rice porridge with various side dishes.
the good thing about riding a bicycle in cold weather is you warm up after a few minutes of pedaling. on a motorcycle it just gets progressively colder the longer the wind keeps on hitting you. at least i have a windshield, which helps a lot. back when i was riding my windshieldless honda rebel, riding in the cold was unbearable. the only parts of my body that gets cold are my hands. my legs also get cold, but i warm them up when i straddle the hot engine.
since drew is a rare book collector, i played roman polanski's 1999 the ninth gate for him while he ate dinner, about a rare book collector (johnny depp) investigating a trio of books rumored to have been written by the devil himself. i've always liked the movie, particularly the atypical pacing. but watching it with drew, i don't know if it stands up well, as the film can be slow at times. besides all the beautiful shots of libraries, drew was also intrigued by the chateau featured towards the end of the movie where the satan worshippers were congregating (after some online sleuthing, he managed to find the place in france, a former rothschild property).
Glenn Frey - "The Heat Is On"