i set my phone alarm clock to 7:30 so i could get ready for the insulation installation man who was coming over at 8:00. i woke up still with some pain on my upper back and below my neck, but i'd just power through it. ed called me at 7:40, said he was currently in arlington and was on his way to my house. he showed up right on time, parking in an empty spot right in front of my house while i passed him the visitor's parking permit.

a nice guy, ed turned out to be just the safety measurement guy, here to make sure none of my heating equipments were releasing toxic gases prior to any insulation procedures. he had me turn on my oven to 350° while we went to the basement so he could measure my hot water tank. while he was doing that we chatted. turns out he relatively recently moved up here from florida, where he lived for the past 30 years. though he grow up in maine, his reason for coming back was his girlfriend's daughter was going to high school here and she didn't want to take her out of school. his original trade was a roofer, but getting steady work was a challenge. that's when the unemployment department fixed him up to be a licensed safety technician (along with training) and he's been doing that ever since. when i told him i was an out-of-work computer programmer, he said i could try looking for a job at next step living, where they're currently expanding and in need of workers. the water tank passed without any problems.

next we went outside so he could measure the exhaust vent from the new high efficiency furnace. this was new to me because i'd never seen the vents in action. apparently one pvc pipe is for the exhaust, while the other pipe is the intake valve. in the cold weather (temperature was in the 40's this morning) the exhaust pipe was condensing out warm gas just like a dryer vent. ed stuck a probe into the exhaust to get a reading. everything fine, with a 98% efficiency rating no less (the furnace is advertised as 95.5% efficient).

finally we went back inside so he could check the oven exhaust. looking at the recessed lighting in my kitchen, ed said i should get some LED lights instead of the halogens in order to save money. the oven passed as well, no issues either.

ed told me that next step living would contact me in a few days to schedule an insulation installation appointment. currently they're backlogged to 3-4 weeks, so i probably won't get my insulation done until close to the end of december, weather permitting of course. with that he returned my parking permit and took off, with 8 more houses left on his thursday to-do list.

at approximately 8:40 i heard the roar of F-15 fighter jets flying overhead. i knew about the boston area flybys this morning and was hoping to catch a glimpse. but i knew by the time i went outside i wouldn't be able to see anything, factoring in how fast they fly and my obstructed views.

while admiring the jars of sichuan paocai fermenting on my kitchen counter, i noticed that one of the jars was leaking. apparently all that carbon dioxide had pushed up all that fermenting cabbage, which in turn pushed up the brine level, causing it to overflow despite the hermetic seal. this meant the jar closure isn't is actually hermetic, but i knew that going into this process, that at least some carbon dioxide would get released, preventing the jars from suddenly exploding if in fact the seal was airtight.

i opened up the jar and the paocai suddenly began to fizz like soda. next time, open the jar a bit more slowly. i spooned out enough brine to drop the water level before sealing the jar back up. i may have to "burp" these jars daily, in order to let out the excess carbon dioxide building up inside. but is that a good idea? xianglian told me that sichuan paocai should never been opened during the fermentation process, which for a new jar might take 2 weeks or longer. but if i don't burp the jars, the gases will simply push up all that paocai and overflow the jars.

while eating lunch, i was surprised by the weather report which said we'd be getting some snow during the morning commute tomorrow, as much as 2 inches. it'd already snowed before earlier this month, but this was the first measurable amount of snowfall. i biked to market basket to pick up a few grocery items (i had a hankering for cereal for some reason). when i came back, i realized i forgot to get some leave disposal bags so i went across the street to buy some from star market ($2.99 for 6). the market was surprisingly quiet on the eve of our first snowstorm (though honestly, "snowstorm" is a stretch). "did you hear it's going to snow tomorrow?" i whispered to the checkout lady. she said she already put her snow tires on.

i then raked all the leaves in the backyard and bagged them. the large oak tree still isn't done shedding leaves but i wanted to do some cleanup before the snow arrived tomorrow morning. while raking, i came across some hosta seeds. i've seen hosta flowers but never their seeds. i decided to collect them and try germinating them indoors. they came off of one of the larger backyard hostas, so hopefully these will grow into big hostas as well.

i finished the rest of my chicken broth rice noodles for dinner.