freddy told me last night he'd be leaving between 8:30 to 9:00am, so i woke up at 8am to see him off. doing the math in my head, i thought he was cutting it close for an 11am flight. he ended up not leaving until 9am, which meant he probably wouldn't get to the airport until 10am, with only an hour to check his luggage and go through security. i'd already asked him for the house key last night, so there was no danger of him accidentally taking it with him. despite having a large suitcase, it was surprising light. he also carried two small backpacks. i took a quick check to make sure he didn't leave anything important behind, his room was immaculate, he even made the bed. we shook hands, i told him it was a pleasure learning about colombia and i hoped to visit his home country one day. he said i was the best roommate, but i think he said that out of courtesy rather than actually meaning it, because i hardly did anything while he was here. and with that he has gone.

the weather this morning was nice for a change, with sunny temperature almost in the 60's. it felt more like october than december. because of the all the rain we've had for the past 2 days, the streets were wet in some spots. there was a large water puddle where my street touches beacon street. i could see how it'd be a problem come winter, with it'd freeze over. so i was pleasantly surprised when i saw road crew jackhammering the area and leveling out the embankment to get rid of the puddling.

for the next few hours i was actually kind of worried. i imagined a scenario where freddy arrived late to the airport and missed his flight, and would have to come back to the house. on reddit i heard there was a red line delay this morning, and i wonder if they'd repaired the tracks yet. i should've warned him to leave earlier, although if he left around 8am, that was during peak rush hour, and would've been a nightmare with all his luggage. so i waited. when 11am and 12pm rolled around and i didn't hear from him, i figured no news was good news, and he was on his way back to colombia.

freddy actually didn't leave behind too much, mostly food, which is typical. even his food he managed to eat as much as possible, toasting the last of his bread, making some eggs for breakfast, and finishing his milk. i guess since he was only here for a month, he wouldn't have too many things. he left behind a bottle of head & shoulder shampoo/conditioner and a tube of colgate toothpaste, both spanish versions, which was interesting to see. a bought a container of nesquik chocolate powder ($4.99( from an indian grocery store for some reason; i think he must've went there before he discovered market basket, and thought maybe it was a rare find. he also left some marshmallow mateys cereal which i've never seen before, nor recognize the brand - malt o meal. i think he picked it up from the neighborhood dollar store.

i visited the community garden for another round of larkspur mining and rock collecting. some young teachers were dismantling the student raised bed, hauling away the wooden planks. back at home, i planted the larkspurs around the house.

i rode out to the watertown home depot to pick up the bucket jockey (a rather unusual name for said product) i ordered last week. what should've been a routine pickup ended up taking 20 minutes as the attendant couldn't find my item after searching in vain multiple times. i had to find the same item off of the rack in an aisle at the other end of the store and bring it back to pick-up so they could ring it up. "we have your item," the man told me, "it just wasn't tagged." in belmont i found an empty 5 gallon bucket from the garage and fitted the jockey on top of it. i then went around the house collecting tools to fill all the pockets.

the seed birdfeeder in the backyard toppled over from the windy rainstorms these past few days. when i set the post i didn't put it in the ground too deeply, so it wasn't a surprise. luckily the plastic feeder and the baffle weren't damaged from the fall. i reset the pole (this time a bit deeper) before reattaching the birdfeeder. later when my parents returned home, they brought the monofilament fishing line i'd ordered from amazon. i got the 10 lbs. clear (650 yards) for just $2. i cut a few 12" strands and taped them onto the baffle of the suet feeder as sparrow deterrent. i'll have to see this weekend if it actually works or not. at the very least it's more transparent than the rubber strings i used on the seed feeder.

yesterday i signed up my father for the foodserv certification course next week; today i helped him get his allergen certification. it involves watching a 10-minute video (that had all the hallmarks of a grainy 90's production video) and then printing out a certificate. the cost? $10, and the certification is good for 5 years. i watched the video as well, it explains why you see those "notify your server of food allergy" notices whenever you visit a restaurant. the state makes you watch the video to absolve them of responsibility, and restaurants put up allergy signs to absolve them of potential lawsuits. if i had a restaurant, i'd put a sign saying that people with food allergies shouldn't eat here. if eating a peanut could potentially kill you, then you really shouldn't be risking your life by eating out.

the health inspector also wanted a HACCP plan for sushi. this involves creating a detailed report with lab tests and flowcharts and diagrams, i haven't seen anything this complicated since my days as an engineering student. my parents are hoping to explain to the inspector (when she revisits next week) that they don't use any raw ingredients in their sushi. if the city still requires a HACCP plan, then my parents said they won't sell sushi anymore.

after dinner my parents went to the airport to pick up my sister's godmother who was returning to boston after taking a vacation in taiwan. my mother asked me to dogsit for a little while. when 8pm rolled around and i noticed everyone was already at the cafe, i decided to ride home before it got too cold.

it was strange coming back to an empty house. i don't know how long it takes before i get used to living alone again, but i know it takes more than one night, because i still think freddy is here. the surest way to "exorcise the ghost of roommate past" would be to sleep in the guest bedroom, but i want to wash the sheets first before i do that.

actually, i haven't slept in that room for well over a year. august of 2015 was when laura the astrophysicist stayed at my place for less than a week (i was actually in new york city at the time, left a housekey outside for her to find). then she recommended her jetsetting friend ana, who stayed for september-october-november. ana in turn recommended doctor alfonso, who stayed for the month of december (along with his spanish friend mauricio the drug tester who crashed on the couch for a few days). once alfonso left, mary the crazy harvard visiting scholar moved in the 3rd week of january, and lived here while i left for chongqing in april-may. of course that didn't end well, and when i returned home in june, she'd already moved out.

during the summer i could've moved into the guest bedroom, but with the broken door and the bad vibe mary left behind, i slept in my own bedroom instead. then in august doctor cristina stayed here for 2 months, which prompted me to finally get the door fixed/painted and properly clean out the room. not only cristina, but her boyfriend kiki the cosmetologist stayed a week as well. and of course freddy was here for the month of november.

from august 2015 to december 2016, this house has been home to a total of 8 other people (5 spaniards, 1 chinese, 1 mexican, 1 colombian). only now do i have the guest bedroom to myself again.