karen went to work at 9:30am this morning. i could hear her taking the bike out from the basement. i got out of bed at 10am. typically i wake up earlier once spring comes around, but it was cold in the house because i turned off the heat a few days ago so it was better to prolong my stay in bed.

temperature outside climbed into the lower 60's today, which prompted me to put all my seedlings outside, my grow closet shut down for the time being. ideally i'd like to plant most of these seedlings by next week, but the forecast calls for 50's during the days while dropping into the 40's at nights. perennials like lupines and mallows i can possibly get away with planting them, but most of my vegetable plants don't like it when the temperature drops below 60's.

after a chobani yogurt for lunch (satisfying for about an hour before i get hungry again), i biked to the bank to deposit a check before going to market basket to stock up on some schweppe's pomegranate seltzer and some fried pork skins for my father. my mother called as soon as i got back home, said they were going to russo's this afternoon. i told them i'd meet them in belmont. the trek utility bike is hard enough to ride empty, but weighted down with two cases of seltzer, it was quite the ordeal, especially going up hills. i could feel my thigh muscles straining. if only i put as much energy working my upper muscles as i do my lower muscles, i'd be totally rock hard.

russo's in waltham is a local produce paradise, where you can find obscure fruits and vegetables you won't find elsewhere. the prices are a little high, but given the selection it's occasionally worth it. they also have senior citizen discounts on tuesday (20% off everything), and as my parents discovered today, a 10% senior discount on all other days. i never realized it, but they also have a very sizable cheese and meat department, as well as a fully stocked bakery with fresh breads and desserts.

we bought a large loaf of bread for less than $3, which we ate back at the house with garlic-infused olive oil. crunchy crispy crust but the inside so soft it was like eating cotton candy (makes me think about restarting my no-knead bread recipe). we also tried the gold nugget mandarin oranges, which were sweet like candy. my godmother - recently back from taiwan - give me (through my mother) some fish jerky she got while stopping in tokyo. they were good but very fishy; i washed my hands several times after eating the fish snacks, to get rid of the smell.

today was the first time this season that i planted a few things: about half a dozen lupines along with half a dozen mallow zebrina. 2 lupines went in the spot behind the garage, along with a few established lupines. i'm not sure if they can grow fast enough to flower this season, but at least i'll have them there for the future. while preparing the soil i noticed a few small self-sowed lupines. to enrich the soil, i added some manure before planting. i also planted 3 lilies bulbs my mother bought at some discount store. the bulbs weren't in great shape, but hopefully they'll sprout this season. to the snapdragon bed i planted a solitary mallow. the rest of my seedlings i interspersed them in the perennial plot on the western side of the house.

my mother came out briefly. she noticed that our next door neighbors have two large pink dogwood trees planted in their backyard. they were always there but i never noticed them before until now, as i never paid that much attention to flowering trees until these past few days. walking on the lawn, she saw what appeared to be a dead animal and told me to check it out. at first from a distance i thought it was a bird, but when i got closer it was the bloody bottom half of a small rabbit. if i had to guess, the sloppy handiwork of either a hawk or owl. i ended up flicking the remains into the bushes.

my father managed to figure out how to rig up the nest so it can still operate upstairs while the furnace in the basement is turned off. all he had to do was turn on the furnace power switch but disconnect the power that goes to the furnace itself. that way, electricity still goes to the 24v transformer, which powers the nest thermostat upstairs, but doesn't provide power for the furnace itself. it's a hack but one that alleviates us from either having to pull new thermostat lines (we currently only have 3, we need at least 4) to be powered by a separate 24v transformer (which ironically arrived today). later my father rewired the furnace with another power switch: now we have a main and a secondary that controls power for the furnace. main stays on throughout the year, but the furnace switch gets turned on in the winter to provide heating.

the 1200w panasonic microwave purchased from costco 2 days ago is simply too big for the cafe. so instead my parents will use it at home, to replace the hard-to-use microwave they currently have. the panasonic doesn't have one-button heating like some other microwaves (numbers punched still needs to hit start to begin), but it does have minute heating adjustments. a quick browse of the manual showed all sorts of fancy heating: timer, delayed, split temperature. there was even a child proof feature which i'd never seen before in a microwave.

after dinner i returned home. it was after 8pm, dark enough for me to see the solar-powered "night light" my father put on the side of the house to give the front of the garage a bit of illumination. i got back to cambridge close to 9pm, karen was home naturally. she came out to ask me if i thought her new plan to get to montreal was okay: instead of taking the greyhound directly to montreal, she'd take it just to burlington vermont, where her canadian friend would then drive down to pick her up. the difference (besides the additional time) is the cost: $17 just to go to burlington, but $70 to montreal. of course it means her friend has to drive 2 hours down to vermont, and then another 2 hours back. but i think her friend is enough of a willing cheapskate to make it a viable plan, and she also gets to come to the US, where certain items (like alcohol) is much cheaper than canada.