i had a feeling something bad might happen when i noticed the empty parking spot behind my motorcycle yesterday. what i should've done was make a strategic decision and move the bike so it took up more of the spot, thereby negating any chance that somebody would attempt to park there (in the process bumping into my motorcycle). but i wanted to be nice, in case some neighbor with a subcompact vehicle might be looking for a parking spot. this morning when i saw a car in that spot i wasn't immediately concerned. but when i saw what they did, that the car was squeezed into that spot with no gaps, i began to worry. i saw the front bumper was pushed up against my bike. when i took the cover off, the left rear tail light was bent in a painful angle. the first thing you do when you're in an accident to to take photos, collect the evidence. after that i moved the motorcycle so i could see the full extent of the damage. i'd never seen this car before so i didn't know where to find the owner. so instead i wrote a note explaining that their tight parking job damaged my motorcycle.
i'd gotten up early so i could ride the bicycle to belmont and get there by 9:00. i was ready to leave around 8:30 when i decided i should get a police report as well, in case the car owner decides to contest my story. looking out the window waiting for the cops to arrive, i saw someone getting into the backseat of the car. "is this your car?" i asked the guy. turns out it's one of the painters working a few houses down. he went to get the driver. that's when the police arrived. he saw the damage, but it didn't seem too bad according to him. i showed him the photos i took, just how badly bent the light was before i moved the bike. the driver showed up and he didn't seem to see the extent of the damage until i showed him the photo. maybe because the police was there, but he was fully cooperative, and the cop left us to take care of the paperwork. it wasn't even this guy's car but belonged to his brother.
i ended up taking the motorcycle to belmont. partly because i was already late (close to 9:00), partly because i was still so in shock over what happened, i didn't feel safe leaving the motorcycle out while i was gone. i threw a greek yogurt into my backpack for breakfast. i found my father already sanding in the backyard. the first thing he told me was the sander was broken. it loses it's power when pressed, bad enough that occasionally it just stops spinning. since we're pressed for time, the only option was to go visit home depot and buy a new one.
i drove the camry because it was easier to carry in a car (my father took the element, which he ended up having to get inspected since it had an expired sticker). when i got to the store, they didn't have too many selections. i was willing to try a different brand but it had to have equal or higher amperage and still use 5" sanding discs. in the end, the only likely candidate was another ridgid random-orbital sander ($70), which we knew would work, no surprises. there was a makita sander for the same price, but it looked like it'd require 2 hands to use (tough on a ladder).
the box said ridgid has a lifetime warranty on their tools. unfortunately i never bothered to registered the first sander, so it wouldn't make any difference. i did however register the new sander soon after i unboxed it. the new ridgid is actually slightly different, featuring a textured grip on the body. when i started working with it, it felt like butter with its silky smooth sanding. makes me wonder if the previous sander was already busted by the time i started using it. who knows what kind of rough treatment the hired painter guys did on the sander.
but wouldn't you know it, as soon as i started to get comfortable with my sanding work, it began to rain. nothing bad, but thick heavy drops, and i didn't want to get caught in a downpour, so i began to take everything apart and cover everything up.
that was around 11:00. i stayed inside until nearly 12:00 before it looked like the rain had stopped. i went back out to do more sanding.
at one point the sander seemed to be losing suction, so i emptied out the shopvac. there's no good way to do it without making a smoky mess of paint particles. my father told me that i should clean the filter as well, disassembling it from the lid. good thing i had my mask on and i was standing upwind.
at another point i heard the chirping of qq messages. since everyone in china was already asleep at that point, i knew it had to be wangyang in venezuela. she told me that she planned on visiting the US at the end of august or the start of september. she has a week of vacation days she planned on using. it caught me by surprise, because i figured if she had any vacations, she'd go back to china to see her family, but these vacation days are separate from the month vacation she gets every 4 months.
i finally stopped sanding by 3:00. by then my mother had already been home for about an hour, waiting for me to finish so she could heat up some noodles for me for lunch.
after i finished eating, i rode back to cambridge. i went to the porter square locksmith to ask about making a copy of the last remaining camry car key. the guy told me it'd be $60 and the new key would look nothing like the original because it had to use a special programmable key housing. it was so expensive because unbeknownst to me, these keys have a security chip inside that needs to be programmed in order to start up the car. he gave me a business card of somebody in arlington that does more genuine car key duplications, but couldn't tell me the price (though it seems it'd be expensive).
next i went to market basket to pick up some groceries. all this sanding activity keeps me in belmont for most of the week, so i end up eating dinner there, with no opportunities to do any cooking at home anymore.
i decided not to file a claim to get my motorcycle signal light fixed. that light was already crooked from that one time i dumped the bike. it's designed to give way when bumped (instead of simply just breaking off). besides, after i moved it, it sprung back to the way it was before, slightly crooked, which was already there. i could get the car insurance to pay for the fix, but i was prepared to fix it myself anyway, since i already have the parts (purchased while i was in china).
rest of the day was sort of a mini online shopping spree: bath and body works eucalyptus spearmint body wash (that was actually yesterday, 50% off sale), SJCAM SJ4000 wifi camera, camry keyless entry fob, CR1220 lithium button cell batteries (for my camera remote), and new uncut blank transponder key for camry 2003.
i've been dealing with the china SJCAM seller, the one that had his ebay account suspended. so far i've written him 5 e-mails, he hasn't responded to any of them. i'm already pretty sure it's a scam, but i need to wait the necessary 3 business days before i get ebay involved and finally get my refund. i'm pretty sure i'm not going to be receiving any cameras from them, so i ended up ordering it from a more reputable vendor via amazon. at $87 for the camera, it's more than 3x of the price of my china seller, but a lot of those vendors deal in fake cameras anyway, better to go with an authentic model, and hopefully it arrived end of this week so i can use it this weekend.
as for the keyless entry fob and car key blank, i did some online research and discovered i can program the chips myself using just the car and the master key. it's kind of a weird way of doing it, a series of car door opening and closing, key in and out the ignition, and pumping the brake and accelerator. by doing a specific combination of cheat moves, the car goes into programming mode and i can lock in the code to the key and fob. it's worth a shot, better than spending a few hundred dollars at the dealer to get it done.
for dinner i ended up having some salad. that's on top of the half bag of cape cod potato chips i finished off in the late afternoon.