after a breakfast of tea egg & banana & a glass of orange juice, i went down to the cafe again to continue digging out the parking lot. my father had already been at it and the place was covered in snow, like the aftermath of a giant snowball fight or something. it looked like a mess but there was purpose to the madness. i continued reducing the snow pile. at one point zhangshifu arrived for work at the restaurant and came by to help us dig for a few minutes as a brief exercise. it was warm and by the end i'd stripped down to my t-shirt. working without gloves, i developed calluses on my hands, which had already been there from all the shoveling i've done over the weeks. i treat my rough hands as a badge of honor. at one point my sister took hailey out for a walk. when she saw my father throwing snow with the snowplow, she got all crazy and started barking out of excitement.
i set up the new foscam FI9821W V2 wifi web cam at the cafe. even though this is my 4th wifi webcam, i must've been a little rusty with the setup because i forgot some of the steps. i had to dig in the router's admin page to retrace how i did it last time. you can't use DHCP with these cameras, they require a static IP. the trick is to designate a number outside of the DHCP range. so let's say 1 through 50 are dynamic IP numbers, then i set up the camera as 51. as for the old foscam (FI8910W), i brought along the mount and my father attached it to the ceiling in the back of the cafe. that camera can now look at both the rear of the cafe and the parking lot (we should've done this a while back). i got the FI8910W just a bit over 2 years ago, and already it's been outclassed by the FI9821W V2. the FI9821W isn't even the top of the line, since there's already 1280x960 versions (and some with zooms), and 1080p can't be far behind. the limiting factor is of course the upload speed of the internet connection. with comcast, upload is normally a measly 5Mbps.
i also went over to my 2nd aunt's place and helped her with her cable tv, which went out yesterday afternoon. i must've spent half hour on the phone with comcast, troubleshooting something that i knew the answer was going to be to schedule a technician to come by and take a look. instead i've taking the digital-to-analog box back to the comcast office tomorrow and get a replacement. if it still doesn't work, then the problem has something to do with the cable itself (diagnostic tool said that the signal was weak, so that may very well be a possibility). i also helped her set up her PC so she can watch youtube on it, and replaced her old tube TV with my aunt's old HDTV.
i finally made it home by 3:30. while i was at the cafe my mother tried to get me to eat something but i wasn't hungry. only when i got back did i have some of the leftover ham from yesterday (good stuff). later i went to the dollar store to pick up some plastic cups (to be used as pots for my indoor growhouse), then the supermarket for some eggs and clementines (both on sale, $5 total).
XL got in touch with me today, asked me for my contact information since she's trying to get a US visa so she can visit. apparently it costs pennies to get a US visa in venezuela, compared to the US$200 it'd cost to get one in china. but i wonder if it's passport-specific though, that regardless where you get the visa (be it chengdu or caracas), if you're using a chinese passport, the price to get a US visa is US$200 no matter what. the cheaper price XL heard about might only be for venezuelan nationals. but who knows, maybe she'll get lucky.
in the early evening i did a load of laundry, cold water wool and delicates. afterwards i did a second load of regulars. i took a shower and when i got out i noticed steve had sent me an e-mail asking me if i was doing laundry because they had no water pressure. this is the second time they've asked me that since i've been back. i'd be lying if i said it doesn't give me a sick feeling of satisfaction. they do enough annoying things to me, it's nice that i can do something to annoy them for a change.
i cleaned out a bunch of expired canned goods from my cupboard. most of them were left behind by former tenants, only a few did i actually by myself. it seemed like a waste to toss them out, but i wasn't never going to eat any of this stuff anyway, and besides, they're expired. the oldest one i had was from 2003, a can of bamboo shoots. when i opened it up it didn't seem bad, but i tossed up anyway. i ended up going through the collection, opening them up, tossing out the content, and recycling the empty cans.
there was an expired (2010) can of fried mackerels in chili sauce. that one i vaguely remember buying, and i tasted the fish, which didn't seem all that bad, but the chili sauce could've covered up any foulness, and there was a metallic aftertaste, which could've been just from the fish itself. i decided to keep it but i may toss out by next week.
for dinner i made tuna sandwiches: a can of albacore tuna, mayonnaise (2 tbsp), capers, a stalk of celery chopped, 1/4 onion chopped, chili powder, ground peppers, tsp of relish, and some sriracha sauce - all over toasted raisin bread. it tasted okay, i ended up making 3 sandwiches, but afterwards i got sick of tuna, not sure if i want to eat it again for a few days.