i left for belmont in the early morning, after only a few hours of sleep. i was awake anyway due to my noisy upstairs neighbors, who were stomping on the steps, slamming both their front door and the basement door, and running their trash compactor directly above my bedroom. they are without a doubt a pair of terrible human beings and i wish them nothing but death this holiday weekend.

i was in belmont to deliver a macy's coupon for my mother; i should've told her she could've easily printed out more online. she left to do some morning shopping as soon as i arrived and returned home an hour later. i had a microwaved burrito for lunch with some beef stew my sister made overnight in the crockpot.

after learning about ocean state job lot, my mother wanted to visit one of these stores for herself. the closest one was in medford, enroute to the restaurant depot and costco. i've seen these stores before, but i actually thought they were a job placement company and not a retail chain. it's kind of like a building 19, with a mixture of name brand and off brand items. the place was busy, packed with like-minded bargain hunters doing some holiday shopping on the last weekend before christmas. the only thing i got was a sharpie brand marker (about $1) that was entirely in spanish/portuguese (i need it to mark those new recycle bins).

leaving the store, my father and i both wanted to check out harbor freight tools next door, so my mother decided to wait in the car. i'd been there on a few occasions, but this was my father's first visit. he bought a dual chuck tire inflator with dial gauge ($9.99), a 6" plastic utility caliper (99¢), and a 36" pickup and reach tool (99¢).

back at the car, we were excited to show my mother what we bought. however, when my father went to turn on the ignition, the car wouldn't start. apparently in the 20 minutes we were at harbor freight tools, my mother had the key in the ignition, completely draining the battery. i called AAA with my father's expired card, not sure if he was still a member. but membership dues seemed to have been paid because they said they'd send someone over within the next hour.

my mother returned to ocean state job lot to do some more shopping, while i went to harbor freight tools to see if they sold anything that could jump start a car. all they had was a portable battery charger ($40-50), but those things aren't sold fully charged, so they wouldn't work.

back at the car, my father had the hood opened. he said AAA called him and said they'd get here within 15 minutes. a young man saw us with the hood up and asked if we needed a jump. we told him AAA would get here any moment. he looked at the battery and said it was dead, since normally there's a green indicator dot. by then my mother came back with a brand new wool cap; this was actually the whole reason why she wanted to visit ocean state job lot, after seeing a customer with a hat purchased from one of these stores. she even asked a few employees but they all said they didn't sell them. to think, if the car was fine and we left accordingly, she wouldn't have gone back and found her hat! my mother also got me a reflective construction/safety vest for biking purposes ($3).

15 minutes later AAA was still a no show. another car pulled up next to us. "do you need a jump?" a young man asked. before my father could even answer, the guy was already unpacking his jumper cables from his car and hooking up the two batteries. right at that time AAA called. my father seemed to have a hard time multi-tasking this situation, and after he got the car started, he ran off to meet AAA without thanking our good samaritan. i went out and thanked the man for my father, but my father came back shortly afterwards after letting AAA know we didn't need them anymore. my mother couldn't believe anyone could be so nice, and kept on saying how good-hearted our samaritan was.

with that drama out of the way, our next destination was costco. but after seeing the long traffic jam leading into that particular strip mall, we decided to skip it and go directly to the restaurant depot instead.

i was worried the car wouldn't start again, but after my parents picked up some cafe supplies, we returned to the car and it started just fine.

i felt anxious during dinner, kept on thinking i should hurry home to meet my phantom roommate. afterwards, since it was so cold outside (32°F with a 20mph wind), my parents insisted my father give me a ride back to cambridge. we packed up my bike in the back of the car and headed out. my only regret is i didn't get a chance to use my reflective vest. i think they're dorky, but since i'd only wear it at nights, nobody really recognizes me anyway.