after a night of rest, here was where it hurts: right shoulder blade, thighs, left bicep, right forearm, left hand grip, right upper hip, left back, both shoulders. it's just aches, nothing so bad that it'd require medication. after a few days the body will just heal itself. i warmed up a burrito for breakfast, packed up my things, then went outside a bit after 11am to inspect the damage.
the walkways were amazingly devoid of both snow and ice, with the except of a little patch of area on the front steps that's perpetually in shadow due to the doorway awning. the honda didn't need digging out, but the toyota in the driveway was still partially buried in frozen snow. there was nothing i could do at this point, but when i tried to get into the garage (to get the ice chisel) the door wouldn't open because it was sealed shut by the compacted snow so i had to do some digging. i finally left by 11:30am, leaving my stuff behind since i planned on coming back.
when i got to the cafe, the parking lot was cleared of snow but now there was a new problem: all that melting snow was now refreezing into a coating of black ice on the sloped surface. my sister sprinkled some road salt and said she'd also put some sand on it.
i went to my grand uncle's place to deliver his lunch. while he ate, i was in my sister's room installing one of my spare HDTV antennas (the set top mounted one). as i might've mentioned before, her roku tv handles OTA reception very differently. for one thing, to see the antenna-received channels you first go to the OTA channel. i let the HDTV scan for channels. after a few minutes it was finished. it also asked me if i wanted to set up live pause but i said no. despite the HDTV being in a part of the room surrounded by several walls, i was surprised it was able to get a decent number of channels: 2, 4, 5, 7, 25 - all the major ones - plus 8 (nbc boston, though a slightly weaker signal) and 60 (stronger). it wasn't able to get telemundo, so no more channels than what i have (with my wall-mounted antenna next to windows).
after my grand uncle finished eating, i returned to the cafe. my aunt told me that my godmother called earlier, asking to meet with me. my aunt told her that i'm at the cafe daily at exactly noontime, and my godmother said she'd be there before then, but it was already 12:30pm, and i still had some things to do. right when i was about to leave, my godmother showed up. she gave me a bunch of frozen food from trader joe's and a quart of beef spaghetti sauce along with some rotini pasta.
i dropped my sister off at alewife station (i don't remember ever driving her anyway, since she has a car and i don't, so this was a very unique occurence) so she could pick up her car parked there overnight due to the snow emergency. while she sorted out her car business, i went back to belmont and waited for her to show up. i was going to leave the car here, since i was sure i wouldn't be able to find any available parking spots back at my place in cambridge.
when my sister finally showed up, she drove me back to cambridge. my aunt needed some supplies at the cafe (milk, half & half), so we continued to market basket. when we went by my house, i was afraid my neighbors didn't do any shoveling and i'd have to clean up the sidewalks, but i was pleasantly surprised to see that it had been shoveled. i was betting that the day after a snowstorm the supermarket would be empty, and sure enough, there was plenty of free parking spaces. inside market basket it was pleasantly calm for a change. after we finished buying, my sister finally dropped me off at my place.
the rain that fell beginning yesterday afternoon had froze all the snow after a night of freezing temperature. cars were trapped and it wasn't a simple case of shoveling as it was more about chiseling out the vehicles. despite the frozen mess, i was surprised by how many cars did manage to escape, but nobody did a good job clearing out, just enough so their car can leave, worry about getting back in after work. the empty spot immediately in front of my house i spent more than half an hour clearing out, stripped out of my jacket as it got hot. i used a combination of spade and shovel, putting the snow on the pile either across the street or moving the snow into the backyard, as there was nowhere else to put it.
i went across the street to look for some blueberry muffin mix for my aunt. she was freaking out because she was running out but i told her she could bake them herself. they didn't have any at market basket so i went to star market to check, which they did have. i also ended up getting some haagen-dazs ice cream and smartfood popcorn.
back at home, i was looking in my closet when i happened to notice that some of the cups have already sprouted. it's only been 3 days since i planted these seeds on sunday, how could they have germinated so soon? turns out all the malva sylvestri 'zebrina' seeds have sprouted. i've never seen seeds emerge so fast before.
i ended up removing all 12 cups and relocated them so they can sit underneath my LED grow light (because otherwise i'd have to unnecessarily turn on my fluorescent lights and they use more power). i still have 20 seeds. since they germinate so fast, i may try growing them outdoor as well once the soil is workable.
it was almost 4pm and i was finally able to slow down and get some rest. however, when i tried getting online, i noticed the network speed was incredibly slow. it wasn't that i couldn't get online - i could - but it'd take forever to load a page. i went to speedtest.net to check my speed. download was a respectable 30MBps, but upload was barely registering, 0.05MBps at best. it dawned on me that maybe the network's been slow all day, because earlier i tried to remotely access my home router from my parents' place (to check the DHCP client table to see of karen was home), but i wasn't able to get in.
i ended up calling comcast tech support, which is a joke. twice the automated phone tree reset my modem when that wasn't the problem. to make sure, i plugged the cablemodem directly to my laptop via ethernet cable, and i was still getting the weird nonexistent upload speed. when i did get a live operator, i could tell she was clueless. she reset the modem a few times as well, with zero success. finally she said there was nothing she could do and i should just go to a comcast office and lease one of their modems.
i think that's comcast's plan from the start. i have an old motorola surfboard SB5101 cablemodem. not sure how old it is, but it has bits of paint, which makes me think i got it when i first moved into my house back in 2002, so around 15 years old. it's a DOCSIS 2.0 modem, which comcast has warned me in the past that they no longer support, and could deactivate the modem at anytime without letting me know in advance. this could've been what happened to my parents' cablemodem, which one day just decided to not work. so i knew it was happening. that's why i've kept my eyes open for a cheap DOCSIS 3.0 modem. just by luck, i actually bought one monday night, a surfboard SB6141 through amazon's used equipment warehouse for only $23.49. but i didn't think i'd need it right away, so i opted for normal shipping, which meant the modem wouldn't arrive until next week.
but i couldn't wait until next week, i needed my internet to be working now. fortunately the nearby comcast office was opened until 6pm, and it was still 4:45pm. i had a momentary brain freeze as i couldn't decide how i'd get there. usually i'd bike, but with all the snow and ice on the ground, it didn't seem like a safe option. i ended up walking, and it took much less time than i thought, just 8 minutes. there was no customers, just a half dozen bored employees sitting around and checking their phones.
a service representative helped me get a new modem. actually, comcast no longer provide just modems anymore, but instead they give you a gateway, which is a modem plus wifi router combination (it can also do VoIP). i've seen one before, when i set up cable/internet service at my great uncle's place, but i'd forgotten how ugly and big they are, 4x larger than a traditional cablemodem. of course the gateway is a complete ripoff, because comcast charges you $10/month to lease it. what they don't tell you is you can buy your own cablemodem and router and save yourself the $120/year (an owned cablemodem and router essentially pays for itself over time). fortunately the lease is pro-rated, so they will return whatever portion i didn't use when i return the gateway once my replacement cablemodem arrives.
i returned home around 5:20pm and immediately went about setting up the gateway. since it's comcast equipment, everything worked pretty much plug-and-play. i was able to surf with my laptop immediately with the gateway connected directly via ethernet. i then tried the built-in wifi network, of which there are two options: 2.4Mhz and 5Mhz. 5Mhz is faster but less compatible, so i used 2.4Mhz instead. the password was printed on a sticker on the back of the gateway, a complicated random 16 character alphanumeric string that i kept typing wrong. for some reason the laptop wouldn't connect, but when i tried it with my phone, it brought me to a registration page. after punching in my account number and phone number, that seemed to unlock the gateway completely and both phones and laptop were able to use the wifi network.
initially i was going to keep it simple, maybe rename the gateway network and change the password. but i have too many services tied to my existing router (reserved addresses, port forwardings), so it'd be easier if i could use my own router instead. fortunately there is such an option on the gateway, called "bridge mode." the service rep told me instructions were provided, but that wasn't the case. but it wasn't hard to find the answer online, just required logging in the admin page of the gateway (10.0.0.1) where the option for bridge mode was right on the first page. once bridge mode was on, the gateway became just a cablemodem, and it was an easy step to connect my router and restore my usual wifi network.
karen came home right when i finished setting up the wifi network, around 6:30pm. i asked her if she had internet issues this morning. she told me she wasn't able to get onto the internet since yesterday. she didn't complain about it because she figured it had something to do with the snowstorm. she even had a patient, but was able to talk with her over the phone instead of video chat.
i left for the maud morgan art center shortly before 7pm for the annual community garden meeting. i haven't gone in a while so i must've forgotten how long these meetings can get, and we didn't leave until almost 9pm. i'd never been inside the maud morgan center, so at least that was interesting, a really cool space. AM told me that a new plot had opened up, one at the front of the garden, and if i was interested, i could have it. i immediately said no, since plot 22 was my initial dream plot, but later i learned the free plot was right at the front right corner, one of the best plots in the garden, super sunny. the only bad thing is since it's in front of the garden, it's one of the plots people first see when they come in. i rather have a more hidden plot, so i can garden and not be disturbed. i think i made the right decision, but a part of me still kicks myself a little bit for giving up such a great plot.
when i finally returned home i started warming up the spaghetti sauce my godmother had made me. i have enough food for another 2 weeks probably, which will interfere with the groceries i already bought for the food i was going to make for the next few days. fortunately most of the stuff my godmother gave me were frozen items which i can leave in the freezer for a while. i chatted with karen, who told me that her canadian friend wasn't going to come this weekend but the next weekend. she'd arrive on thursday and leave sunday morning. she also told me that her coworker paula was going to a wedding in los angeles the week in april that karen's boyfriend miguel would come to boston to visit her. paula has a dog that needs to be taken care of, so for 5 days karen and her boyfriend will be staying at paula's place, which is great for me, means 5 days without a roommate. karen told me tomorrow and friday she has to wake up at 5am so she can take the 77 bus at 6am to arlington height to rendezvous with her ride to milford for a nutritional conference. anytime i get info about when she'll potentially wake up, i immediately adjust the nest thermostat schedule to turn on the heat right when she's up.
in the evening i checked my amazon order status. turns out the surfboard cablemodem is scheduled to arrive by tomorrow. funny how things just work out! i may not even use the comcast gateway for more than 24 hours!