i went to sleep last night sometime after midnight, at my parents' place, in my sister's old room, on her low-to-the-floor futon bed. it was uncomfortable at first, i felt itchy for some reason, but once i fell asleep, it was nice under the 3 layers of comforters. my internal alarm clock kicked in at 5:00 before my phone alarm which i sat at 5:30. my parents had the same idea and were up early too. by the time i got out of bed at 5:30, both my parents were already ready and my father was loading the suitcases into the car. original we planned on leaving at 6:00 for the 8:47 flight but since everyone was ready we left early.
the main concern was whether or not the flight would be delayed, with the freezing rain still falling and the time to catch the connecting flight in newark to tokyo was just 45 minutes. i checked before we left, and flight UA 319 was still on-time. i sat in the back while my father drove to logan. we parked at gate B, my parents uploaded their luggage, and i got into the car to drive it back home. i was temporarily blocked by a shuttle bus, but once the car ahead of me pulled ahead, i was able to get out. i could've sworn i heard a woman screaming behind me, and then what sounded like my father's voice yelling. then i saw my father chasing after me, hitting the window to get me to stop. for some strange reason, i actually sped it for a split second, maybe just momentarily surprised. my father had forgotten to take his backpack; after he picked it up, i was finally able to leave.
i consider navigating to and from logan airport to be a medium-difficult level of driving. there are many places to get in the wrong lane and signs don't really help because they flash almost immediately before you're supposed to take some critical exit. combined with the start of morning rush hour traffic plus the addition of rain, and it makes for a harrowing drive. once i managed to traverse the city, there was hardly any traffic and i had an easy drive from storrow to cambridge/watertown/belmont.
instead of returning to my parents' house, i made a detour and went to the watertown home depot where i had to get some gardening-related supplies. i found out earlier that they actually open at 6:00. that early in the morning, the only people who are there are contractors. i was there originally just to pick up a new shop light, but then i remembered i also needed some soil. i found an empty shopping cart, went outside to the garden department (where it was still cold and rainy), and got 5 bags of scotts premium topsoil (0.75 cu.ft. $2.09/each) and a bag of dehydrated manure (25lbs. $5.77). there was another guy there too, a tall lanky fellow with a shaggy beard. he wasn't very friendly and when i smiled he ignored me. he picked up some potting soil and manure as well. seems like we were on the same wavelength because i found him next at the indoor seed carousels, which got a little awkward. what kind of psycho goes garden shopping on a cold rainy day at 6:00 in the morning? i didn't see any signs, but the seeds were at least 50% off. i picked up a packet of bokchoi and korean melons.
finally, the main reason why i was at home depot, to pick up a shop light for the new third tier of my grow closet. i was basically looking for the cheapest 4ft 2xT8 fluorescent light that they carried. maybe they had a cheaper model, but i got one for $16.96 that had a reflective baffle designed to redirect the light downwards. as for the lamps, i got a pair of philips 4ft F32T8 daylight deluxe ($10.97) with a color temperature of 6500K and 2850 lumens per tube. it has a bluish tint, which is perfect for promoting leafy growth. i was surprised to see that they were still selling T12 bulbs, i thought they were all phased out. reading the labels, i can see the difference between the T12 and T8: a T8 using just 32 watts has 2850 lumens, while a T12 usings 40 watts but only 2325 lumens. so not only do T8 uses less power, but they're brighter as well. then i suppose T5's are even more energy efficient (albeit more expensive).
back at my parents' house, i uploaded the topsoil and manure. i waited until after 9:00 to return to cambridge, figuring by that time most people would be off at work and there'd be plenty of parking spots. i ate one of a pair of hard-boiled eggs my parents had left on the kitchen counter. even though i slept 4-5 hours, driving back i felt very tired for some reason.
once i got home i set up the new shoplight. i then took a power measurement for all the lights (5 total). what i found out was kind of surprising:
|rack position||power (watts)|
the new light uses 57 watts, which surprised me at first, but it makes sense, since each fluorescent T8 tube is rated at 32 watts. if anything, it's actually using less than power (28.5 watts per tube). what was shocking was just how low in power consumption my other lights were. oh, but that's great, you might think to yourself, that means they're more energy efficient. but actually it means my lamps are producing less light than before. particularly the one on the bottom-rear, which only uses 22 watts! theoretically, each T12 bulb uses 40 watts, so a 2 bank shop light lamp would consume 80 watts of power - not 22 watts! i thought maybe the bulbs had something to do with it, so i swapped it in different combinations, but it made no difference. so think maybe the ballast in the lamp is getting old and needs replacing. but the cost to buy a new ballast is about the same price as a 4ft T8 lamp. but it sounds like i maybe need to replace one of my lamps (the 22 watts one).
i finally managed to watch an episode of the knick, about surgeons in 1900 new york city, where modern medicine was still very much in its infancy. the show has some trippy music, like something from a 1970's italian horror movie. now i'm totally hooked, it's my new binge watch show, and i'm glad it's coming back for a second season.
in the late afternoon i did another round of thinning and transplanting. primarily thinning, but if i pulled out a particularly healthy seedling, i will replant it in a new pot. delphinium maintenance was long overdue, particularly their high germination rate, despite reading they were difficult to start from seeds. i also thinned the sweet basils, transplanting at least 4 more in the process.
some carrots and spicy humus for a snack, a few mandarin oranges, then for dinner i heated up last night's leftovers that i bought back from belmont, followed by a bowl of strawberries with a granulated sugar dipping sauce.