i rode the motorcycle to belmont early this morning so my father and i could replace the plastic fence at our belmont victory garden plot with a sturdier metal fence. my father wanted me there even earlier (9:00) to beat the noon day heat, but i negotiated 10:00. he reminded me to bring my wire clippers and to stop by the cafe and pick up the spare pair as well. i had a little fish floss sandwich before we left for rock meadow, arriving no later than 10:30.

with all the rain we've been having (this is the 3rd wettest june on record), we hadn't been to the victory garden in more than 3 weeks. one of the korean melon plants was dead (in the best spot no less), and the rest seemed stunted. likewise the tomatoes, which grew misshapen from neglected training. the only plants that seemed to do okay were the gingers. there were also a lot of new weeds. while i pulled up the weeds, my father pounded the metal posts into the corners of our plot. at one point while removing some old landscape fabric, a small garter snake slithered out, flickering it's red tongue as it ran away.

the victory gardener organizers want everyone to put up a metal fence around their plot. they give all sorts of reasons, from keeping the animals out (in our case rabbits and anything bigger, but smaller critters like chipmunks and climbing animals like squirrels can still get in) to theft deterrent (the victory garden is fairly remote, there's been reports of stolen vegetables and flowers) to the flimsiness of a plastic fence. we were reluctant to put up a metal fence last season because at the very least it'd cost $100 for materials, and we already spent our gardening budget on constructing raised beds. this year we're probably the last plot to still have an old plastic fence (which we inherited from the previous gardener). i've always thought the metal fences make the whole victory garden look like some sort of jail for plants. at least we don't have one of the plots near the forest, which require additional fencing to keep out the chipmunks.

once the posts were in placing, my father and i began to unspool our 100 ft of coil. we first went around the whole perimeter so we had the entire plot surrounded (except for a space for the entrance) before going to each steel post and attaching the fence to it using pliers and screwdrivers (pliers to bend the fence, screwdrivers to adjust the post brackets).

it took us 2 hours of non-stop work to finally finish the fence, but it felt longer. i was surprised it was only 12:30, it felt more like 2-3:00. we were both exhausted and decided to call it quits for the day, with no time to put down the black landscaping fabric. while my father watered the garden, i went around and planted 4 mounds of acorn squash and 3 mounds of zucchini. it's kind of late in the season, but zucchinis can ripen in about a month and acorn squashes don't have to be harvested until the fall. the greatest threat is disease and we had a lot of it last year, but not so much for the acorn squashes.

it's been a week since i was last in the backyard. some more flowers have bloomed, including the daylilies and regular lilies, daisies, astilbes, bellflowers, and delphiniums. the delphiniums were the biggest surprise; the one plant that flowered had pink blossoms (i think delphiniums were all blue-purple, at least the ones i planted).

after taking a shower, my father went to the cafe to relieve my mother. i was out in the backyard trying to fix the rusted chain on my father's bike which he'd left out in the backyard for more than a month. it was under a tarp but kept in a muddy wet area of the yard. the chain might need to be removed in order to be fixed, and there might be a chance it needs to be replace entirely.

my mother came home with some rice noodle with i had for a late lunch. she said jack (my godmother's son) was at the cafe and told her about a thrift store on moody street in waltham. so we left around 3:00, knowing that the store closes at 5:00 on sundays.

when we got there i realized i left the address at home. i tried calling my sister but she didn't answer. i remembered the address as 233 but when we got there there was no used clothing store in sight. so we walked back, visiting some indian dollar stores. i even called jack who gave me some more landmarks to look for. finally we found it, a little bit hidden because the windows are all covered up in signs and displays. the address? 322 moody street (thanks you, number dyslexia!), global thrift store.

pickings were excellent and immediately i found a white dress shirt that fit me perfectly. unlike in some other thrift stores (which seems to cater to the big and tall), this place actually had a lot of clothes that fit my size. and the focus was mostly on clothes. there was so much good stuff, i actually had to put a few back because i didn't want to get carried away. i even tried some pants in the changing room (i was tempted to just drop trousers and try out the pants in the aisles). i ended up buying 5 shirts, a vest, and a pair of levis 511 slim jeans (30x30, more like a heavy fabric blue khaki). even the cashiers were cool, with one distractingly attractive and busty young woman ringing up my purchases.

returning home, we stopped by the waltham OSJL so my mother could find a replacement pair of reading glasses (my grandmother took hers) and some seltzers on sale (a dollar for a six-pack).

i returned to cambridge by 6:00, wearing the new levis jeans i bought. after a quick shower, i made a brief appearance at the neighborhood block party which already started at 5:00. i said hi to renee and franz before leaving, since i had to be at mulan for dinner at 6:30.

for some reason i took the bicycle even though my motorcycle was ready to go and the weather we perfect for it. i think the logic was because mulan was only about a mile away, i do all my nearby errands via bicycle. what i didn't anticipate was in the rush to get to the restaurant on time, i was pedaling pretty fast (on a hot day no less) and got there all sweaty and out of breath.

my 2nd aunt was treating, not exactly sure the reason, maybe something to do with my grandmother leaving next friday. they sat our party of 7 (my sister made a rare appearance) on a round table big enough for 11-12 people. everyone was spaced so far apart that it was difficult to have a conversation without shouting. in order to take photos of the food, i actually had to use the telephoto lens (thank god for lazy susans). even though we had fewer dishes, i felt i ate better because there were less people (compared to our waltham mulan experience 2 weeks ago, where there was an amazing amount of food but i only had a little piece of each).

i biked home by 7:30. the block party was still happening down the street. i went to star market to trade my shaws card in for a 12-pack of coke for $1. i wandered back to the block party right when the band was about to finish for the night. i bumped into the german guy i saw briefly at the poetry recital, he recognized me while i hardly remembered him. i spoke with ed as well as renee. i had a cherry coke and a leftover sausage. renee said something that i thought was pretty observant, that all the neighbors with babies and kids knew each other, and all the people with dogs knew each other, but if you didn't share a common interest, there would be neighbors you would never meet or know. i also spoke with don, the most i've conversed with him on subjects that wasn't either about gardening or the weather. he told me of his annual trips and how he's going to belgium in august. he's also quite the scifi book nerd and actually travels to conventions.

back at home i cozied up to one final sunday night of television watching. i still have one more sunday (the night before i leave), but i think i'll be so anxious on that day that i won't be able to see any television. true blood followed by the killing followed by the news.

i also made a list of all the things i have to do before i leave. i was hoping the final week would be pretty relaxed, but there are more than a dozen items on my list.

i noticed this suddenly last night, but there's a crunching sound in my left ear when i open wide my jaw. i want to go see my doctor about it but i don't think i have time. besides, i switched my health insurance and they haven't send me my new card yet. hopefully it's just earwax and not anything more serious. it doesn't hurt, it's just kind of annoying.