sean the plumber was supposed to come today at 10am to begin working on updating our old water pipes. i slept without an alarm and woke up at 9:30am to quickly use the bathroom, since i wouldn't be able to use the water while the plumber was here. i even filled up a bucket with water as a security measure. i ended up waiting the rest of the morning until sean finally showed up around 11:30am. i was curious as to what sort of work was being done, but so long as we get back our water pressure, it wasn't that important, so i didn't bother to greet him. he seemed to know what he was doing anyway, letting himself into the basement. the rest of the early after i could hear some banging from downstairs. nothing unusual, until around 1:30pm, when this horrible jackhammering sound came up from the basement, and i could feel the house vibrating. steve told me they were getting some additional work done on their pipes as well: could this be related to that?

i played around some more with the VPN service. it has its own apps for connecting through their servers, but you can also use third party apps, or even configure your system network settings to use VPN. from my oneplus one android phone, i can either use vpn.ac's own VPN app, or the openVPN connect app. the vpn.ac app is more convenient, the openVPN app i can tweak more by using specific profiles. on my macbook pro, i have the vpn.ac app as well, but it seems to be missing some features, like china-specific servers, or certain ports (like TCP-443). i have a second way of accessing VPN, which is through chrome/firefox extensions. this might be the easiest solution since most of my web access is done through the browser anyway. finally, while browsing through their profile ftp site, i noticed a bunch of files for tunnelblick. a quick google search revealed it to be an openVPN client for OSX. so i downloaded and installed that. tunnelblick has a more seamless integration with the server (through a menubar item), and allows me to choose china-specific VPN servers. so yeah, i have a few ways to circumvent the great firewall.

yangfan contacted me around noontime, midnight in china. over the weekend wuweiyu (WWY) told her i was bringing her a pair of shoes, and yangfan wanted in on this action as well. this is good for WWY because a combined order will qualify for free shipping. unfortunately it means having to wait for yangfan to make up her mind and decide what she wanted to get. there's still time to make an order online, but it's getting close. and yangfan seems to want a bunch of things, not just one thing. i have plenty of space in my suitcase (i'm allowed 2), but i was actually thinking i could fit everything into one suitcase and stack my two suitcases into each other to save space.

i persuaded my mother to pay a visit to ac moore in assembly square after my parents got off from work in the afternoon. i wanted to go there because they had a larger selection of bakeware and i wanted to get a muffin pan for WWY. we stopped by briefly market basket (only my mother got out of the car to pick up a few supplies) before returning to belmont.

honeybees have been visiting the bird baths, but because the water is too deep, often times they drown themselves. i did manage to rescue one bee though, but i have the feeling it'll try to drink from the bath again and fall in once more. there must be a working hive nearby for us to get so many honeybee visitors. my guess is the belmont acres farm on glenn road, not far from my parents' place.

i helped my parents make a payment on their auto insurance when they received a letter from ameriprise alerting them to the fact that their policy would be cancelled in 20 days for payment failure; turns out the credit on file for autopay was recently cancelled due to identity theft, so they just needed to update their payment info. i also wrote 2 letters for my 2nd aunt, to help her get some housing.

after dinner i got a ride home. when i left the house earlier, sean was still working in the basement. afraid to flush the toilet, i reluctantly left some urine in the toilet bowl. when i came home mary was already back, and i apologized to her regarding how i left the bathroom. but turns out, she didn't even use the bathroom yet, so i quickly flushed away the evidence.

as for the newly installed water main, i didn't really notice a difference in the water pressure. the toilet tank fills up a lot faster now, and when mary was taking a shower and i was using the kitchen sink, i didn't notice any decrease. so maybe it's not a matter of greater pressure, but rather the ability to maintain continuous pressure throughout the house, regardless of how many people are using the water.

i went down to the basement to check out sean's handiwork. most of the work seemed to be in the service of steve's place; i had a few corroded valves that sean didn't bother to replace, but steve had all these new copper piping going into his furnace. sean also replaced the radiator pressure release tank. the new copper piping looks more conspicuous compared to the black galvanized iron of before. sean did move the water cutoff valve immediately after the meter, which was where it should've been all along. he also added a water release valve, which might come in handy if we ever want to fill up water from the basement since we don't have a sink.

i found out something absolutely bizarre about mary: she showers in complete darkness. i never noticed it before, but when i walked by the bathroom door tonight, i noticed it was odd that there wasn't any light peaking out from around the edges. at first i thought it was just my imagination, but i walked by a few more times and am now certain that mary turns off all the lights in the bathroom before she takes a shower. i can only imagine it's because she's still afraid somebody might peek at her through the frosted window and the semi-transparent shower curtains. i'm tempted to ask her about it, but at this point, it's better to not bother fixing anything that's not broken. she's saving electricity after all, and once we get into the summer season, there'll be plenty of daylight left during her evening showers that she won't need to turn on the lights anyway. but honestly, the woman is a complete psycho. i truly regret being so poor that i need to put up with the likes of her. hopefully it'll give me more incentive to finally find a job when i get back from china. i'll do anything just to not have another crazy roommate ever again.