karen left for work (via bike) at 10am this morning, in what is now the new normal. i was simply glad she was leaving; i've had roommates in the past (ana, crazy mary) who've decided they weren't going to go to work/class, which messes with my schedule. i put out some plants but because the temperature was only in the lower 50's, i only set out the hardier perennials (lupines, mallows), leaving the more tender seedlings indoors by the door so they got at least get a bit of sun.

for lunch i made a pulled chicken sandwich with the last of my onion rolls. i still have enough to eat pulled chicken sandwich the rest of the week. at 2pm karen sent me an e-mail saying she was coming home early because she had something to do on her computer. i however didn't see it, because i'd left already. i went to the UPS store on somerville avenue to drop off a pair of amazon.com purchased shoes my mother wanted to return, then i went to the cafe, to restart my motorcycle.

my original plan was to take it out for the season, but today's cold and dreary weather made me think otherwise. the forecast for the rest of the week included several cold rainy days, so i decided to postpone the riding season until next week. my father and i took the battery (which had been trickle charging throughout the winter, mostly in the garage, past few weeks inside the house) and went to the shed behind my grand uncle's place. installation was pretty routine, the hard part was removing all the equipment blocking the bike. it seemed to turn on fine (just turning on the lights, not yet starting the engine), so we lowered the bike off the jacket.

but when my father tried to turn it on, there was a hiss and all electrical systems went dead. i took off the plastic plate covering the battery and tried again. bike turned on. put the plate back. bike won't turn on. it was unusual. i finally checked the battery and quickly discovered my problem: the positive contact (red) wasn't connected to the battery terminal. when i screwed it on, it wasn't attached, so the bike was only able to start through lucky pressure contact on the battery lead. once i connected it correctly, the bike turned on fine. my father then tried to start the engine, the most crucial test. first attempt was a fail, my father asked me to turn on the choke. that didn't work, despite him starting and revving the engine at the same time. but i learned through my late season riding and trying to start a cold engine that the trick was to press the start button a beat longer than you usually would. i did that and the engine roared to life, without even needing to pump the throttle. we only started it for less than a minute, knew that the engine was working, then turned off the bike and put everything back together. hopefully next monday will be an okay day and i can take the bike out for the season.

i returned home, but less than an hour later i got picked up by my parents on another weekly supply run. today was just costco followed by a stop at the wellington plaza (harbor freight/OSJL). along the way, we couldn't help noticing all the flowering trees: cherries, crabapples, redbuds, dogwoods, and magnolias. there seems to be more flowers this season, like there hasn't been much rain in past few days so all the trees were able to blossom to their full glory. or maybe we're only noticing them because my parents are thinking about new trees to plant in the backyard after we take down a few diseases trees. as for me, i noticed the flowering trees more this season because i wasn't here for most of last spring (i was in chongqing). so it's been 2 years (not since 2015) since i experienced a full new england spring, so everything felt new to me.

my mother and i got soft serve yogurt and a hot dog before we left costco. while my father and i went to harbor freight, my mother went to OSJL. we were getting a price adjustment on an unopened pressure washer, from $100 to $80 with a coupon. i didn't think it'd be possible because there was a 20% restocking fee, but the cashier silently waved off my concerns. later my father bought a oscillating tool ($40, but $32 after 20% coupon) for removing some dead bamboo stumped in the backyard. while he was paying for the item, my mother and i waited for him in the car. i went to a nearby parking lot island and took some photos of the flowering crabapple. my father likes the darker pink color of crabapples, but doesn't like the fact that most of the ones we've seen were small, not nearly as big as the more common pink cherry.

when my parents picked me up earlier, i'd also brought two boxes of mixed lupines and mallows to be transplanted to their backyard. i was too lazy to plant them just yet, and wanted to give them a few more days to harden in the cold/hot sunroom.

we tried the oscillating tool on a dead bamboo stalk. despite the full force of the oscillating blade, the bamboo was able to withstand the cutting. it either shows how strong dried bamboo can be, or that we needed a different tool to remove the stumps. regardless, an oscillating tool will come in handy for other projects. it seems like a close cousin to the dremel, but not of that 360° spinning that can result in bodily harm if you're cutting something and the blade breaks off.

after dinner i got a ride back to cambridge. we first stopped at market basket because the cafe needed bean sprouts and ice (they disconnected the ice machine a while back because it wasted too much electricity and water). my father didn't think it'd be crowded, but i've been to market basket in the evenings on a weekday and it can get pretty crowded, with a lot of people coming to shop for groceries after work, especially on a monday. we also returned some cans that'd been sitting in the car. true enough, when we went inside, it was fairly crowded (we already knew that from the near capacity parking lot). after that i got dropped off at home. the first thing i did when i got back was to bring all my plants inside, as the temperature tonight was supposed to drop into the 40's. i also noticed karen left a stack of cash on the living room coffee table. i did a quick count, she was $60 shy, but i didn't say anything. later she came out and told me that the ATM she visited had a withdrawal limit, and she'd get me the rest tomorrow.