i biked down to belmont around 9am, so i could go with my parents and my sister's godmother to the wrentham village premium outlets mall. we drove to the cafe to pick up my sister's godmother, stopping briefly at a bank enroute so my mother could deposit some money. my mother let me sit in the front seat because i get easily carsick. the real reason why i get carsick is typically i'm playing pokemon go, which leaves me with motion sickness.

it took us about an hour to drive down to wrentham. we used the garmin gps but decided to override its route selection, getting slightly lost just a mile before the oulet because we drove in the wrong direction. as customary now, we first had breakfast at cracker barrel (the second closest cracker barrel within a 40 miles radius).

my mother was collecting presents to bring back home to taiwan in less than 2 weeks. my sister's godmother was there to buy some things for her son suhan in taipei (tasking my parents to help her bring it back). neither my father or i were looking for anything in particular. temperature reached upwards of 50°F, a nice sunny day that precipitated a lot of melting judging from all the melting snow on any sun-facing awnings.

the last time i was here in wrentham village was a little less than a year ago, right before my 2-month vacation to chongqing china. we actually came two consecutive weekends (march 19, march 26), after having caught the outlet shopping bug. those were some exciting times, as i took orders for chinese friends, then in went in search of what they wanted, from purses, to cosmetics, to shoes. i was even live chatting with them, forwarding them photos, asking if a particular style was to their liking. it was also educational, as i learned about the world of name brand items, something i usually don't take notice of very much. this time around there was none of that excitement, just casual shopping without a purpose, no mission to fulfill.

i was going to go home empty-handed, until we stopped at the eddie bauer outlet. because they were moving their store to a different location, they were having an inventory clearance sale of 50% off everything. i came across a rocky pass softshell jacket in small black that fit me perfectly. normally $89.99, but $45 with the sale. i currently do wear an eddie bauer softshell jacket, don't know the model number, but it was a gift from my aunt, one that my parents brought with them when they visited chongqing back in february/march 2014. that's a terrific jacket, a little long in the sleeves, which i had altered in china (made it slightly too short now). the great thing about that jacket is it's seemingly windproof, so i wear it as an outer shell with a hooded sweatshirt jacket on the inside. the bad thing about that jacket is it's not particularly flattering, sort of baggy and saggy. so along comes this rocky pass softshell, which has a more aesthetic cut.

in total we spent 6 hours at the outlets mall (from 11am to 5pm). after dropping off my sister's godmother back at the cafe, i returned with my parents back to belmont. after dinner i biked back to cambridge.

back at home i did some research on the eddie bauer rocky pass softshell jacket. eddie bauer doesn't carry the jacket anymore, and there's no record of it on their website. it's near identifcal to their windfoil elite jacket, except the windfoil is windproof, while the rocky pass specifically says (according to the tags) that it's only wind resistant and water repellent. the rocky pass has similarities to the sandstone soft shell in terms of material (that jacket is only wind and water resistant) but the style is slightly different. the rocky pass has velcro wrist cuffs like the windfoil, which is missing in the sandstone. so i will need to test the rocky pass jacket a little more, see how it matches up with my old eddie bauer jacket.

with just 10 more days before the end of the month, karen finally broached the topic of her future living situation. she originally wanted to stay here until the end of june (news to me, i thought she was here until the end of may, and even then when i first heard about it it was something she didn't tell me beforehand), but her academic advisor at the clinic suddenly told everyone last week that he was quitting. with no advisor (who essentially acts as her boss), karen's stay was left in limbo. fortunately the advisor isn't going far, taking up a new position at a different hospital, but nevertheless it complicates matters. so at one point karen thought about returning home much earlier than originally anticipated, but in the end she decided to stay here for another 3 months (until the end of may), since she could still learn from her time at the clinic.

it was only after all that prefacing did she finally ask if she could stay here until the end of may. not only did i agree, but i also consented to take an additional $100 off of the rent per month. as far as roommates go, she's not all bad, spends most of her days at the clinic, only here on the weekends. i still don't like her cooking smells, but there hasn't been any major flare ups since that one time when she smoked out the house.

i doubt karen could find anything as cheap or as convenient if she searched elsewhere. she really lucked out in scoring my place. but 3 more months? all the roommates i've had for 4 months have ended in disaster. there's just something about living with somebody for that long that slowly grates on me to the point where i wish nothing more than for them to leave. but that's additional money in my pocket, even though it's $300 less (karen will probably use the money she saves to buy her plane ticket back home). it's really not that much money though; back when i had a full-time job, i easily made more than this in a single month. which if nothing else, should really spur me into finding a job.