i wasn't surprised but it was still disappointing: all the snow was gone by the time i woke up this morning. on the sidewalk was some leftover slush, and even they were fast melting with the temperature at 40°F. the only snow was the few patches clinging to bare ground in the backyard. according to the weather report, boston only managed to get 0.9 inches of snow, not even a full inch. nevertheless, i think it was a smart idea to temporarily store the motorcycle. the streets will be wet during the daytime, but at night everything will freeze back up resulting in some dangerous slick conditions.

i was overdressed when i left for belmont via bicycle: even on my head i had 3 layers on (hat, cap, helmet). but better to look ridiculous during the daytime while staying warm at night. i checked the web this morning and found out belmont stopped collecting garden refuse this past friday (9th), with one last day on saturday if you bring it in yourself. that meant all the hard work i did raking the backyard was for naught, as i brought back inside nearly a dozen bins. they will all end up on the southern edge of the backyard as leaf mulch. there's some gross gutter garbage but the worst of it is just bits of roof shingle, and we don't grew vegetables on the southern edge anyway. my parents' next door neighbors (the school teacher couple with 3 kids) never once raked their lawn, which is entirely covered in dead leaves. i think during the summer they mowed the lawn just once, so ground maintenance is not really their thing.

i also put back one of the mounting bolts for the motorcycle air filter assembly; there was just enough clearance for my socket wrench to get inside. i tried opening up the housing to check the filter, but once again i was missing the right size hexwrench.

all day long my parents had been helping my 2nd aunt buy beds. earlier my mother took my aunt to the nearby bed store to look at mattresses. my aunt ended up purchasing $1800 worth of sleep equipment (headboard, box spring, mattress, bedliner) - all of which my parents will pay as a gift. my aunt ended up getting 2 twin beds, which is the current sleeping arrangement she had with my uncle. that price didn't include the frames, which my parents said they had. unfortunately they only managed to find one (in the cafe basement), since they tossed out some a few months ago.

at the house they were searching for a bed frame and we managed to find some hardware that unfortunately belonged to 3 different frames, none of which were compatible with each other. so we ended up going to the watertown target around 4pm to buy a metal adjustable frame for $60. we searched for a while before i went online to track down the exact aisle number where the frame was located. even then, it wasn't very obvious, a disassembled bed frame is deceptively smaller than i'd imagined.

i brought my sand collection to show my parents. i added the vial of pink bermuda sand i filled yesterday, as well as a new vial of cape cod sand which my mother said was given to her by my friend andrew a while back. cape cod sand is so white and fine, you could pass it off as salt. the sand from cane breach (ipswich) is the second whitest, but it has little black flecks of debris which i think are dried seaweed crumbs.

my sister came home while we were out at target. i asked her if she'd used the diffuser i gave her, but she still hasn't. instead, she's actually found the essential oils i gave her more useful (putting it on her nose). it's like giving a child a gift but they end up playing with the box instead. the essential oils was just to sample, i was hoping to get some back one of these days (but i don't own a diffuser myself).

my father helped me drill holes on the plastic mason jar lids. i don't know if the grommets i got have a designation number, but it's the ones with an inner diameter of 3/8" and an outer diameter of 1/2". so we used the 1/2" spade bit. it wasn't very hard, with the cap screwed onto the jar acting as a base. once the hole was cut, my father used a razor blade to trim off some of the burrs. the grommet fit on easily, and the airlock inserted snuggly into the newly made hole. now all i need is to get some sauerkraut ingredients (a head of cabbage and some caraway seeds) tomorrow and i can start fermenting.

after dinner i biked home. the bike was making a weird scraping noise, but it was too dark to check it out and i basically ignored it, hoping to examine it tomorrow in the daylight.

after a shower, i settled down for a night of monday night football between the baltimore ravens and the new england patriots. the ravens (7-5) are a good team vying for the AFC north position against the pittsburgh steelers (on the strength of their record for this season if they don't win their conference championship they still have a shot for the wild card though currently not guaranteed). the pats have a rivalry with the ravens, and the path to the superbowl often pit these two teams against one another. for new england, a victory over baltimore would give them confidence that they can beat a good team. the game was surgical, with the pats defensing creating turnovers, first with a 2-point safety, then a blocked 3-point field goal attempt when shea mcclellin joined over the raven defenders. by halftime new england was up 16-3, and going into the 3rd quarter the patriots scored again to bring the score to 23-3.

all seemed right in new england, until the team gave up some turnovers, first a botched a punt that allowed the ravens to get the ball back within yards of the end zone, then a fumbled on the subsequent return, giving the ravens great field position again. baltimore - as befitting a good football team - capitalized on the turnovers and scored a touchdown each time, bring the score to 23-17, another touchdown shy of taking the lead. then it was a series of defensive standoffs, with the ravens adding a field goal to take the score up to 23-20. but the pats never seemed to panic, and with about 4 minutes left in the game, brady threw a 79-yard long ball to chris hogan who than ran another 70-odd yards for a touchdown. that seemed to take the wind out of the ravens sails, as the minutes seemed to quickly dwindle away, and baltimore managed to get within a touchdown to tie with the final score at 30-23, new england victory.