ever since karen scorched the kitchen saturday night, i've been afraid of waking up to the thick smell of cooking smoke. but what woke me up early this morning wasn't smell but sound: karen was chatting with her boyfriend from the dining table right next to my room. she wasn't working today because her clinic called another snow emergency. i've had similar roommates in the past seemingly oblivious that we live in a small house and sounds easily go through walls. i've never had a roommate wake me up from talking though. the few times i have been woken prematurely was because roommates decided to do some early morning laundry, with the washer dryer right next to my room as well.

i've been shoveling snow since last thursday, and never once has karen volunteered to help. not that i needed it, but it says something about her, how she sees manual labor. i imagine her life in mexico to be one of affluence (at least by mexican standard) where she simply hires somebody if she needs work done. maybe in a country where cheap labor is readily available, it makes sense to get somebody else to do your physical jobs. but i've had past roommates from china - where there's plenty of cheap labor - stay here when it's snowing and most have asked if they could help shovel. i've lived with so many roommates over the years, i feel like it's taught me to be a good reader of people.

i was expecting to see plenty of snow this morning since it was supposed to snow overnight, but we only managed to get an inch or two of additional snow at best. to my surprise once again, steve actually shoveled the sidewalk as well as dig out one of his two cars. paul didn't seem to be home this week, as typically he's the one that's doing the shoveling, if at all. i watched steve walking to to work, taking public transportation instead of driving. even though he shoveled, he didn't do a good job, and there was still a layer of ice on the sidewalk. so i went out to clean up, from the front of the house to the back. i also for the nth time dug two trenches out to the street. it wasn't just that the snowplows keep packing snow into my exits, but also the folks who park their cars can't resist taking up that additional 2ft of space.

karen left at 10:20am to meet up with paula to discuss a business proposition. like an energy miser, i immediately turned down the heat. typically when karen is home i turn the heat up to 68°F, but if i'm at home by myself, if it's not a particularly cold day, i can lower the heat to as much as 60°F (good insulation keeps the inside of the house relatively warm). i used the bathroom, showered, then made myself one last italian sandwich. it was so large, i only ate half, saving the other half for the early afternoon.

i left the house around 1:20pm to take the bus to belmont. i had my dSLR camera out, keeping my eyes open for photo opportunities. this particular snowstorm, with its combination of rain and snow, coated the trees in such a way that the snow still stuck on instead of just falling off, making for some pretty pictures. i caught bruce outside his house, servicing his ice penguins, which were in the process of melting on this mid-30's day. in fact, a lot of melting was going on. when i went by a snow-covered storm drain, i could hear the melting snow running down like a babbling brook, even though i couldn't see it.

i arrived at my parents' place the exact same time they got home as well. the walk from the bus stop to their place was treacherous, as many neighbors didn't bother carving out a pathway from the feet of snow piled onto the corners courtesy of inconsiderate snowplow drivers. this happened last night but it least the mounds were small enough that i could simply trample across them. the mounds this morning were mountains, and i kind of understand why neighbors said "nope" but that meant walking in the streets, where the roads are already narrow from the snow piles. i shoveled out a shortcut from the sidewalk out onto the street. i managed to log into their norwegian cruise account and saw that the vouchers they'd bought onboard the ship were already in their account. they weren't sure, because up to now they hadn't heard anything from NCL.

after dinner my father gave me a ride back to belmont. we also picked up my 2nd aunt along the way, gave her a ride home as well. karen was home in the living room, but she had the tv volume turned down so much i was almost surprised to see her there. the good thing was she didn't do any crazy cooking tonight, or least none that involved smoke and frying. i taught her how to use the chromecast so she could watch netflix on the HDTV. she retired to her room soon afterwards to do some work. tomorrow she goes back to work after two snow days and the weekend.