after a kielbasa-english muffin sandwich for lunch, i went out to do some more shoveling. i planned on finishing clearing out that parking spot in front of my house. i went to the back to grab my shovel and saw that it was frozen over, the handle encased in ice that formed from the dripping icicles overhead. i had to bring the shovel inside the house and wash it with hot water to thaw it out.

shoveling for so many weeks, i've got my whole system down. i use two shovels, a metal digging spade for breaking apart hard snow, and a regular plastic snow shovel. i switch between gloves (with gives me better grip), to mittens (when my hands get cold), to bare hands (when my hands get too hot). i also have a hot tumbler of tea on standby (a snow pile makes for a great natural coaster) to sip from during short breaks.

a lot more traffic was coming down eustis, now that roads have had a few days to thaw out. true, there's still a lot of snow, but people are more willing to drive. every time i scoop up a shovel full of snow to toss, i made sure no vehicles are coming, since i need to walk the snow down a few yards to a big snow pile. the dirty snow was slushy and wet, which made it not only heavy but sticky as well.

when cars weren't coming down the road, it was actually sort of quiet and peaceful. the only other sound was that of another shovel scraping asphalt, a girl a few houses down doing exact what i was doing, being a good neighbor, clearing out a parking spot. at one point i bumped into dennis, who asked if i could take a few photos of him (using his nikon dSLR) as he climbed the huge snow pile by the street signs. later i got a chance to climb up there as well. the view is pretty nice, not a bad place to just hang out and watch the traffic go by.

my parents called me in the afternoon and told me that the chinese new year dinner with my grand uncle was moved to tonight since my sister couldn't make it tomorrow. so after work, they came to pick me up around 3:30 and dropped me back in belmont.

our chinese next door neighbor had peppered the front of their house with all sorts of chinese new year/spring festival decorations, which inspired me to find the chinese spring festival decorations i bought in china that i had my parents bring back with them when they came to visit me in changshou last year. i also bought a lot of chinese-themed christmas decorations but forgot i had them (save them for next christmas). i got a pair of "golden boy jade girl" (金童玉女); not sure what exactly they represent, but it's one of the many traditional decorations. we put them in the window and they actually look sort of creepy. they have the same image on both sides, but the "front" side has some 3D elements.

since we had a few hours, my father and i went into the backyard to continue to clear snow off of the roof. he set up the a-frame ladder, which was still to far away to really get at the snow. he then set up the extension ladder and set it up against the house by the rear staircase. he managed to get off a lot of snow (which we later had to shovel off of the ground) but within the next few days we'll need to get onto the roof to really clean off the snow, especially if it's going to rain this weekend.

my father left at 5:30 to go feed hailey and bring my grand uncle to the restaurant. my mother and i left the house by 5:40, walking down to golden garden on concord avenue. my mother thought it was crazy that we'd walk there, but it was close enough and it meant we didn't have to take the other car out of the garage. it began to snow and my mother wanted to go back to the house to grab an umbrella, but it was cold flurry that didn't stick to anything. walking was a challenge because certain stretches of sidewalks weren't plowed, making them impossible to walk through. others were cleared, but with weird exit points which meant walking farther than normal just to escape the wall of snow. there were also times when we had to walk in the streets, which are narrow as it is already without adding pedestrian traffic as well. we had a 6:00 reservation, but since there was hardly any customers inside, we decided to wait outside for my father to show up with my grand uncle. my sister arrived at the same time as well (via car, getting off from work).

ordering was a little challenging, between my sister's gluten-intolerance and my grand uncle's need to have soft food. my sister couldn't eat anything with soy sauce, nor anything fried, which really limited her choices. but we ended up ordering a mix of diet-specific and normal food.

tonight is actually chinese new year's eve. it's sort of sad that since this holiday isn't really celebrated in the US, chinese restaurants are usually opened on chinese new year. although you wouldn't know it from the english menu, golden garden actually specializes in northeastern chinese cuisine. as the evening wore on, several large parties arrived (4-6 people), all chinese, all speaking with northeastern accents. they were also all young and rich, judging from their clothes and the slew of expensive cars parked outside (pink audi, mercedes SUV, lotus sports car), the sons and daughters of wealthy chinese nationals who can afford to send their children overseas for education.

after dinner my father took my grand uncle home, while my sister drove my mother and me to my parents' place. i picked up my things and got a ride back to cambridge.