i wanted to go to the watertown RMV early, like around 9:00, but didn't get there until almost 11:30. first i had to go to belmont to retrieve the old license plate. my parents failed to past their most recent car inspection because the inspector said their license plate was too old and needed to be replaced. a trip to the RMV is always a waste of time, so i volunteered to go, since it wasn't necessary for my parents to be there in person. removing the license plate took some effort, since the screws had long rusted shut so i first had to spray them with some WD40, then go to work with an extra long screwdriver.

my number was F121. i didn't think it'd take too long since the count was already yp to F114. then i looked on my ticket and saw it said the estimated wait time was 48 minutes.

so i found a seat near the back and waited. i brought a book (books actually, on the kindle) but the people watching was so great i just sat there and observed. i've often said that the RMV is the great equalizer, since everyone (anyone that drives that is) has to pay a visit once in a while, regardless of social status. in a weird way i love the RMV so much i'd come down just to people watch even if i didn't have any business there.

there were parents there with their children taking the learner's test so they can get a driving permit. people renewing their driver license and the intermittent flash of id photos being taken. people there getting other vehicle-related services, like title transfer or car registration. i sat next to a guy who'd been waiting there so long that he told his girlfriend on the phone that was going to "choke the lady behind the counter" if she didn't process his forms. when they finally called his number, i was actually kind of hoping there'd be some asphyxiation.

normally the time to come to the RMV is early in the morning, when there are less people. but so many people do this, whether or not they want to beat the crowd or just need to do it before work, that it's actually more crowded i've discovered. i was there close to lunchtime and there was an influx of customers, but things settled down and there didn't seem to be that many people.

only one counter was processing F numbers, and around noontime it went empty. the numbers stood at a standstill, stuck at F117 for more than half an hour. i almost got up to complain, but just my wait time reached the hour mark (48 minutes my ass), the F numbers started counting up again.

the actually exchange was pretty quick and painless (if you don't factor in the hour long wait). the guy even took out a bunch of plates so i could choose the license i liked best. i picked one that had a lot of 8's (chinese people are crazy for eights, supposedly they're good luck).

before i returned to my parents' place, i went to home depot next door and picked up a few stainless steel screws to replace the rusty ones i removed. because my parents were upgrading to new red plates from the old green plate, they need to attach plates on the front and back of the car. unfortunately i didn't know what screws were required for the front plate so i didn't get any of those.

after attaching the rear license plate, i returned to cambridge, where it was nearly 2:00 and i hadn't had lunch yet. the contractors didn't work today, but at least one of my upstairs neighbors was home because i heard footsteps. i made myself a mayo-ham-cheese sandwich, washed down with a glass of kombucha tea.

i noticed on my ride home that the motorcycle was acting kind of weird. when i got back, i checked the chains, and it was kind of loose, with more than a inch of slack (ideally you don't want any slack on a motorcycle chain). i'll want to get it fixed before i ride it long distance, but it may not be worth it since i need to put the bike away in storage anyway before my trip (i don't leave until 7/8 so there's more than 2 weeks of riding still).

next step living contacted me today, said they received the form i sent them yesterday about the gem plumbing visit on tuesday. they were confused as to why the technician didn't bother to do any work, and said there might be a chance i might have to pay for the visit since mass save might not reimburse me for work not done. it didn't seem fair and the guy i talked to said he'd chat with his supervisor to see if i could still quality, whether to get a second opinion or not. when i told them they in fact recommended gem, the guy said gem actually does very good work, very reliable and cheap. funny, i didn't get that impression.

my neighbor across the street in the 4 story house redid their roof today, using ranch roofing as well. not sure how much it cost him, but since he owns that building with its 10 skylights (big ones too, about half the size of a standard door), i'd say $20k easily.

i wanted to see if i could fix the motion sensing spotlight in our alleyway. i noticed it wasn't turning off a few months ago so i turned it off completely. i've fixed it before, just by wiggling around the sensor and the light fixtures themselves, but i think the light has reached the end of its life expectancy. one of the housing is cracked, and no matter any amount of fiddling, i can't get the lights to turn off. replacing it isn't too expensive (they sell for around $20) and the base is already in place, so it's just a simple matter of doing some wiring while balancing on a ladder. easy, right?

there was an amazon package waiting for me. since i was too engrossed with fixing the light, i didn't bother to open it. when i finally did however, i was surprised to see it was the garmin etrex 30 GPS i ordered online. the strange thing was i purchased it via ebay, and this arrived in an amazon box minus invoice. i thought maybe i made a mistake and checked my amazon order history, but there was no GPS purchase. then i thought maybe my friend frances might've sent it to me as a really expensive travel gift. but now i think it is my ebay purchase, just that the dealer has a relationship with amazon and sent it to me through them. but here's the hitch: i don't want it anymore. not since i got the hisense sero pro with it's pretty amazing GPS capability, it serves all my GPS needs and more. the only good thing about the etrex 30 is that it's small and has a long battery life (20 hours) but i can't easily download maps, plus none of them are free, nor do they have the details of my offline google maps. so after getting confirmation from frances that she didn't send it, i'll going to contact my ebay seller to ask for a return. i know sometimes purchases are final on ebay, but this particular seller has a very good 2 weeks return policy for a full refund (i just need to pay for the return shipping).

my parents came by. we were supposed to go check out the saugus salvation army store and possibly the lowes as well, but it was already 3:30 and the traffic on route 99 and 1 would be a nightmare, so another time. instead we drove back to belmont, stopping at ma magoo's in fresh pond so my mother could pick up a chicken finger sub that we shared once we got home.

we ate a late dinner after 7:00, then i got a ride back to cambridge. i finally finished hollowing out my hollow book, and glued the pages together to the back cover. the trick was to hollow it out from both sides and meet in the middle. it's easier this way since the x-acto knife can only go so deep. tomorrow i'll carve out a niche to embed the magnets and then glue on the final pages.