i knew karen and her friend were going to concord today, and i was hoping they'd leave early, before i woke up, so i could pretend to be living in an empty house. i heard clinking of dishware in the kitchen early this morning around 7am, but then it was suspiciously silent to the point where i thought maybe they'd actually left.

around 8:30am i got out of bed because the wifi went down and i had to reset the router. that's where i found karen and her friend in the living room, looking at some of her friend's vacation photos on the television via chromecast. i rolled my eyes as i went into the closet to pull up the plug on the router. the wifi came back up, i mumbled some noise of success, then returned to bed.

at 10am karen and her friend were settled in the kitchen, which was also my cue to finally wake up. they made a full breakfast spread, though none for me of course. i would've probably refused anyway, but would've been nice to be asked. i was determined to wait them out and thankfully they finally left by 11am. i let them borrow an old map book of eastern massachusetts, since karen's friend doesn't believe in gps.

i spent the next hour using the bathroom, taking a shower, then getting ready to leave. i made a quick stop at star market to get some grapes for my mother before finally heading to belmont via bicycle. it was a pleasant early spring day, with temperature hitting the upper 50's and feeling much warmer in the full sun.

i didn't get to my parents' until almost 1pm. i ate some leftover peking raviolis for lunch until my sister dropped by and i was obligated to give her the rest. my mother and sister left for burlington mall, while i stayed home with hailey. i did some taxes - mine, my 2nd aunt's, my grand uncle's. after factoring in my home office and deducting the utilities percentage, i managed to reduce my overall taxes by $100, even getting a small return from my state taxes. as for my 2nd aunt and grand uncle, both are technically retired, so their taxes are zero. there was a question of if they even needed to file taxes, but better to file them, in case some agency needed it in the near future.

i spent the late afternoon out in the backyard doing yard work. originally i was just taking photos, but it got warm enough i decided to stay outside longer. with the barrels of dead leaves i've left rotting outside all winter, i used them to plug the varies gaps underneath the fence perimeter, primarily on the eastern side of the yard. i then went about to all the corners to patch any additional gaps using whatever i could get my hands on: dead logs, broken fences, window screens, leftover planks. i'm doing this to prevent rabbits from getting into the backyard. they're merciless when it comes to eating anything that's green, and already mowed down all the early season crocuses.

i also spent some time trying to clean up the raspberry patch, cutting the healthy canes down to size, removing the dead canes completely. i worked in only a t-shirt and left with scratches all over my arms like i lost a fight with an angry cat.

my father came home, followed shortly after by my mother and sister. i went back to the taxes, trying to think of any additional deductions. then i remembered i forgot to add the rent my 2nd aunt had paid in 2016. once i did that, the scoreboard lit up, and she was due to get a big tax return from massachusetts courtesy of a special credit program for low-income seniors who pay rent. my mother called her to let her know the good news, said she could use the money to pay for my grandmother's plane ticket (she's coming to visit us in may).

wangyang contacted me at 5:25pm, said she just arrived in chicago and was waiting to clear customs. earlier i sent her a text message, after i discovered that there are car rental places near her hotel. based on my father's recommendation after i told him her wrong destination story, i told wangyang that she should take a taxi/uber from the philadelphia airport to west chester instead of renting a car and driving there herself. for one thing she's probably dead tired, for another thing this was her first time in america, and to navigate the US interstate in the middle of the night after a 24+ hours flight was just too insane. get a ride to the hotel, get a good night's rest, go rent a car in the morning.

we had some chicken noodles for dinner. i was too worried about wangyang's progress to focus on eating, and i ate while staring at the wechat app on my phone, waiting for updates. elsewhere, back at my house, karen had texted me earlier at 4pm, asking if i knew where to go to buy lobsters. i was only now seeing her message. i wrote her back (6pm) telling her to check the supermarkets. it was something i regret doing because i absolutely hate the smell of lobsters. sure, i can eat them, but the smell of their dead carcass in the trash is something i absolutely can't stand. and to have them cook it in my kitchen? no way. but i got lucky, because karen wrote back minutes later said they couldn't find lobsters at market basket so instead they went to legal seafood at assembly square.

wangyang contacted me an hour later with a photo of her boarding pass for her flight from chicago to philadelphia. if it wasn't for my intervention, she would've been on her way to westchester county, new york, and would spent the rest of sunday night lost in the US.

i finally biked home a little after 7pm. karen and her friend were not home yet. i went across the street to buy some more grapes (they were almost all gone, it was the final hours of the 3-day sale) and a few cases of seltzer. soon after i returned, karen came home. she asked if her friend could park at a particular spot and i went to the doorway to look and it was in somebody's driveway. i told them no, and that they'd need to circle the block to look for parking. they were gone for a long time, nearly 20 minutes, and i thought maybe they'd decided to go elsewhere, but they eventually found a spot on our street.

i asked karen and her friend about their day. they showed me photos they took at concord. they seemed very happy with their adventure, i think i would've been bored. they saw what they believed to be a fox while they ate lunch. from the photo it looked very unfoxlike, more like a coyote or a dog, but it had a weird white face that was hard to distinguish so far away. i seemed to have accidentally uncovered the punchline, because turns out it was one of those fake decoys to scare away canadian geese. i also saw photos of legal seafood, not sure if they had time to do some shopping as well.

while her friend was in the bathroom, i took the opportunity to ask karen when her friend was leaving. she told me 11am, which was bad news for me, because it meant i would be stuck with her friend all morning, but then karen told me that she'd leave at the same time as her friend. her friend was picking up two more paid passengers on her drive back to montreal, using the amigo express service.

i contacted wangyang again at 10:30pm. she should've been in philadelphia by now, perhaps on her way to the hotel. she said she got a ride on uber (just $40) but was waiting for her driver for the past 30 minutes, who finally came.

while she was getting a ride, i told her to send me the driver's info for safety reasons. she asked me if i knew any place to rent a bike, because it was only a few miles from her hotel to the various places she might want to visit (the factory, the mall, places to eat, etc.). i told her she can't ride a bike because all the roads were highway roads. besides, it just wouldn't be professional to arrive at the factory on a bike when everyone else is driving a car. she'd need to rent a car. i asked her what were her first impressions of the US. she said the people were really polite. and it wasn't as cold as she thought, but unfortunately she only brought winter clothes. she said she was very sleepy and didn't need to be at the factory until 10am. she wasn't hungry, as she ate a lot on the planes. looking outside, she said there were many beautiful houses along the highway. finally she asked me how much should she tip her uber driver (after some online research regarding uber etiquette, i told her around 20% in cash).

she wrote me back sometime after midnight, said she was safe and sound at the hotel. she told me that the hotel had arranged for a shuttle to take her to the factory tomorrow, and would also come and pick her up afterwards. so everything worked out in the end!