woke up at 9:00 to make the second jar of sichuan paocai. i wasn't able to do it last night because i needed the boiled brine to cool down to room temperature. since this was the final jar, there was no holding back as i added even more sichuan peppercorn and thai chili peppers. i also stacked it so there was a carrot/radish layer in the center. the 2nd cabbage seemed to be smaller so there was more space on the top. i quickly peeled and chopped my last carrot and topped it off.

i called megabus this morning. i tried them friday afternoon but only got the answering machine. over the weekend they sent me an e-mail confirming that they found my cellphone. i was able to get ahold of someone. she told me to create a fedex account and call her back with the number tomorrow, so she could send me my phone (i'd pay for postage).

i drove to belmont sometime after 10:00 to do some painting. my father was already out cleaning the gutters. we climbed on the roof to inspect what needs to be painted. i ended up unable to come down the ladder until my father held it firmly for me.

while my father primed the shingles between the overlapping roof partitions, i work from the ground, first finishing the area by the backyard entrance then the large piece of stripped-to-barewood shingles by my parents' bedroom and bathroom. my father went to work around 12:00 while i continued working until 2:00.

we have today and tomorrow to paint (with daytime temperatures close to 60°), but after that the polar vortex arrives and we don't get any warm days until next spring. greg of course was a no show, or so i thought, until i heard the garage door opening around 2:30. i was kind of surprised, because by that point there was only 2 hours left of daylight, not too mention the temperature drop once the sun goes down. my parents hired him back in june, he didn't start working until july, and now 5 months later he's still not done yet. at this rate, it's going to take him an entire year to paint the house. he doesn't seem to understand a thing about new england weather, because when i talked to him last time, he was confident we still had 4 more weeks of painting weather, but all the information i found said that you can't paint in november in new england because it's just too cold. instead of waiting, my father and i have decided to just paint ourselves (which if they asked me, would've been my recommended course since i work for free).

my mother came home around 3:30 and decided we'd have dinner at 4:00. she brought home some leftovers from the cafe, i had rice while she ate noodles. i decided to borrow the car and drive back to cambridge (so i could more easily come back tomorrow morning), but wanted to wait for the smaller toyota which i thought was still at the cafe. when my mother told me she actually drove the toyota home, i returned home around 7:00.

i brought home some rock crystal sugar to add to the sichuan paocai. an online recipe called for 4 tbsp of sugar for each jar but i ended up adding 2 tbsp each, didn't want my paocai to be too sweet. i was worried the sugar wouldn't melt but when i checked a few hours later the crystals were all gone. the overwhelming smell when i pop open the jar is that of chinese baijiu, which by now i've grown quite fond of - smells like chongqing! hopefully i will have some delicious paocai in about a month.

i'm almost at the point of giving up when it comes to repairing my washer. it's giving me all sorts of stress, and i think the only solution now is to throw money at the problem and get it fixed professionally. my parents suggest using the same HVAC guy who installed my new furnace a few weeks ago; apparently he also fixes appliances. but my stacked washer dryer is a different animal, and requires a repairman who's worked for these sort of things before, because it challenge to take apart and get at all the parts when it's sort of crammed into a tiny closet. i'll decide by midweek or later, i'm not at the point of having a laundry emergency yet. the dryer works, so i can always wash by hand and then dry by machine. i still want to probe around a little bit more with the multimeter, figure out whether the problem has something to do with the water level switch or the door switch. the water level switch is an easy thing to replace; the door switch requires taking the whole unit apart, which at this point i don't even know if it's possible to do. but that's why i need an expert.

i video chatted with sunmeng later in the evening. today is a special shopping day in china, 11/11, or single person day. she told me she was buying a dSLR camera from her chongqing cousin who owns a camera shop, a canon EOS 600D (rebel T3i).