maybe those contractors who were upstairs yesterday finished everything because it seemed like they did a lot of work from the amount of banging that was going on before i left in the afternoon. i should be so lucky. the moment i heard renewed banging this morning, i knew they were back. surprisingly - maybe just from the years of living under the noisy oppression of my inconsiderate upstairs neighbors - i was able to sleep through much of it. i did fish out a single earplug from the nightstand and then buried my other ear into the pillow. i should take advantage of the noise, use it as an alarm clock.

the s.e.thayer van has parked right outside my street the past 2 days. it's so large that it eclipses my normally unobstructed view of the streets. how can i do my neighborhood watch if i can't see the streets? hopefully somebody will park there tonight so when they come back tomorrow they can't take that same spot. even better: hopefully they don't come back!

i went to the supermarket before noontime to pick up a few things. 2 contractors were sitting on my steps having lunch. they weren't the friendliest guys, and one of them bolted to the van. i asked the other guy how they were doing and how many more days it was going to take. that was my thinly-veiled message with translates to, "you guys are awfully noisy, when will you be done so i can go back to peace and quiet?" he said they were here a few days this week (gasp!) and then they'll come back next week to install the countertop. countertop? steve made no mention of that. he didn't mention the range hood either, i found that out because i was cc'ed on some other e-mail. is he completely remodeling his kitchen?

what's all this urgency to renovate? besides the new roof, there was also some recent plumbing fix, and now a brand new kitchen. he must be spending at least $20k to get all this done. maybe he's thinking about selling. if i had the money i'd buy his whole unit and consolidate this condo back into a single family house, but i'm sure if his place went on the market it'd sell at least 2x what my place is worth, and given that it's an aggressive seller's market right now, he could probably get 3x easily, maybe 4x. i don't mind him as an upstairs neighbor, because it could be worse. there could be a family living upstairs, with children, and then the noise level would be unbearable.

i rearranged my bedroom a little bit more then did some backups. it's not a true backup: i'm just offloading photos from my laptop onto an external drive. what i really need is to duplicate this photo drive for a true backup. i also took the time to find some more photos for roy's mother, the very last batch from 2000. she in turn sent me a few from her own collection. weird seeing roy in a suit!

a technician from gem plumbing and heating called me around 1:00 to let me know he was coming up to boston - from bistol, rhode island. it's puzzling that mass save energy would refer me to an out-of-state company. he didn't get here until almost 3:00. during that time, i installed the CO detector i got from my parents in the basement. my father dropped by to deliver some zongzi and my sero tablet which i left in belmont yesterday. the sky became progressively darker, and right when my father left, pouring rain began. i saw steve's contractors loading up their equipment into the van and calling it a day.

when the technician saw my furnace, he wouldn't even service it. he said it was too old, and needed to be replaced at the cost of $3400-3600. he wouldn't even entertain the idea of cleaning it out to reduce the carbon monoxide level because he said it was just a band-aid and the problem would come back due to how old my equipment was, which probably dates from the 1980's. he told me furnaces need to be replaced every 15 years, which didn't sound right. i know i don't have the best furnace, and it's probably not the most efficient, but at least give me some options, don't just hit me with the sticker shock. i managed to convince him to fill out the rebate form so at the very least i could be reimbursed for the visit, which was $99 for basically nothing.

so before gem arrived this was what i was thinking: they'd fix the CO problem by cleaning out the furnace ($150), and then i'd spend another $800 to get my walls insulated as well as the basement. after gem arrived, it looks like in order to get the insulation done, i first have to replace my furnace, so it looks like i'll need to spend $4400 to get everything fixed by the end of the year. i'll get in touch with mass save to see if they can offer somebody else to give me a second opinion, and/or recommend a more local company to do the furnace replacement should i go that route.

i actually do agree that the furnace should get replaced. past few years it's gotten noisier, and because of its age, it's probably not very efficient, which costs me more to heat my place (there's also the issue with insulation, but that's a different matter). but up until this afternoon i thought i'd be spending less than a grand to get my place insulated. now it looks to be several grand. i already spent a chunk of money to get the roof replaced, and now i'm spending more money to go traveling, so buying a new furnace is definitely not in the cards right now. mass save does offer no-interest loans for heating upgrades, i could look into that. it's not something i'm worried about for the time being. it'll take care of it come fall when i come back from asia.

the way i hollow out a book, it could take some time. i basically slice out a few pages whenever i feel like it and then go away and do something else. my eyesight isn't what it used to be (maybe it's these new prescriptions) and i find it easier to work without them. i made it as far as chapter 13 tonight, deep enough that i can hide the x-acto knife.

a little color tablet pc is a good way to read graphic novels and i downloaded superman: red son, telling the story of what if superman crash landed in the soviet union instead of the united states. the premise is interesting, but the story was okay, and the art was meh. i fell asleep 2/3 of the way in, waking up around 8:00. soon afterwards i steamed some zongzi for dinner.

game 6 of the NBA final between the spurs-heats was on tonight, with san antonio up 3-2 in the series and looking to win the championship. they almost did it, but the heat came back to tie the game and send it into overtime, where they finally won it, meaning a game 7 thursday night, for all the marbles. i hope miami loses, ray allen must not get another ring!