i went with my parents to visit the framingham home of an old restaurant coworker friend of theirs, from the early days of the 1980's. he used to be the dishwasher and then later a waiter, but in the decades since then, through property investments and some family money, he managed to do well enough to upgrade to a fancy new home.

it was about a 40 minute drive to framingham. it gave us a chance to admire the fall foliage, currently near peak in the area. the friend's house was located on a private drive, up on the summit of a hill overlooking vast swaths of forested land. even before we arrived, we got the feeling this wouldn't be any ordinary home, judging from the neighboring houses we passed along the way.

the friend came out of the house to greet us as we arrived. first he gave us a tour of the outside. the previous owner must've had a great landscaper because of the many interesting trees planted on the property, including sourwoods, various shades of maple, and flowering dogwoods. there was also an in-ground swimming pool, which seemed like a death trap for somebody who can't swim (me).

then we got a tour of the inside of the house: 7 bedrooms, 7 bathrooms, 2 living rooms, several studies, wine cellar, 6 car garage, even a servant quarter with its own separate kitchen, and several balcony porches overlooking the spectacular view. the house was like a maze with so many rooms the friend even lost count. this was no house, it was a mansion! he said fall is the best time, but winter is just as good, especially after an ice storm. on the eastern horizon we could see boston, and he said during independence day, all across the landscape he could see the various local fireworks displays.

we were half an hour into the house tour and not yet finished when the wife came home with lunch. originally i heard it was going to be a barbecue, but we ended up just eating lobsters. i hate lobster, a mess to eat, and the smell gets everywhere. the only way i can tolerate lobster if it's made in such a way that disguises the smell of it (like the twin lobster dish at victoria seafood restaurant in allston). i can't even remember the last time i ate lobster from the shell; i want to say more than a decade ago (actually in 2008 and 2011 i had shelled lobsters as well, but it was more like my parents were having some and i ate a piece or two). so i faked it to the best that i could. at one point the friend laughed at me because my mother was helping me disassemble the lobster; that's only because i know nothing about lobster eating! it's as if everyone took a class and i missed school that day. it wasn't a pleasant meal, and i kept going to the sink to wash the stink off my hands. during lunch we also met the friend's sister and his late-twentysomething son.

after a lunchtime chat drinking tea to chase off the lobster flavor, the house tour continued. we also got a chance to meet the friend's elderly mother, who had her own wing of the house with one of the best views of the fall foliage outside from her windows. we adjoined in the living room for more chatting, reminiscing about the good old days of working at the restaurant together. i noticed how cold it was inside the house. while the mother's room was quite toasty, it was downright brisk throughout the rest of the house. even with the heat turned on to the bare minimum (the house as 4 zones), the utility bills to run a place like this is pretty high (for example, electricity is $400/month).

we finally left around 4:30p, taking a few obligatory group photos before leaving. our old garmin gps routed us to take the turnpike back to belmont, so we made a manual detour so we could get to route 20. passing through waltham, we stopped by the recently-opened market basket to pick up some groceries.

after dinner, i strapped the borrowed heavy pot to the back of my motorcycle and returned to cambridge. i also had the handlebar mittens which kept my hands warm in the chilly temperature.

despite being late, i decided to go ahead and finish making my quince jelly. and knowing that my roommate was back in town, who knows when she'll make another surprise return, so better not to have my quince ingredients just sitting around in the kitchen. i measured the collected quince juices from two pots into the heavy-bottom stock pot i brought back from my parents' place. i ended up with 11.5 cups of quince juice. i've been reading dune recently, and such care in collecting liquids reminded me of something from the book.

besides the heavy-bottom stock pot, another new piece of equipment was the used candy thermometer i bought a few years ago. previously i'd been using a meat thermometer, but those aren't very accurate, at least not for what i was doing. i did forget i also had a digital probe thermometer, maybe it'll use it for my next candy making adventure. i had some leftover canning jars which i put into the dishwasher to disinfect them. i ran the shortest cycle possible, and manually cranked it to make it even shorter.

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