GC and i have a weekend routine of making a trip to market basket sometime in the late morning. he needs the service of my cargo bike, and i go along to pick up a few things as well, though i typically go again later in the week (usually monday or tuesday). the weather was surprisingly cold with temperature in the 70's, after a heatwave last week with a still hot and humid 80's yesterday at the beach.
market basket didn't seem very busy today, maybe a lot of people were on summer vacation, judging from the short checkout lines, although the bike rack was nearly full. i grab a few things for making tuna fish sandwich next week. GC always seems to get the same things: stocks of on seafood, including a bag of frozen shrimps, a package of frozen mussels, and two packages of white fish; a large cut of beef; vegetables including tomatoes, green peppers, garlic, scallions, and lettuce. judging from the food he buys he eats pretty healthy although a bit bland in its consistency. he rare gets any junk food, but when he does it's typically ice cream.
i left for harvard square soon after we came home, to visit the nearby verizon wireless office. i thought about inviting GC for some IHOP, but i wasn't sure how long i'd take taking phones and was also afraid IHOP would be busy during peak brunch time. maybe another weekend, besides we already had a big buffet lunch yesterday. i parked on the bike rack by the harvard science building then faced the gauntlet of tourists in harvard yard to get to harvard square proper.
for some reason i was expecting a large crowd at the verizon office but it was empty. the handful of salesman standing around the showroom floor seemed confused to see a customer. i actually had to approach one of them instead of them asking me if they could help. the guy i spoke with seemed knowledgeable enough, but the answer he gave me seemed wrong. i was asking about the motorola moto G4 plus XT644 i was thinking about getting for my father, but i wanted to make sure it worked on verizon. the phone itself is advertised as working on all carriers (AT&T, t-mobile, verizon, sprint) but i read conflicting reports online of people having trouble activating their moto G4. anyway, the guy said that all new phone things days support all the carriers (GSM & CDMA). that sounded fishy to me. but i also asked if the service to upgrade from a simple flip phone to a smart phone was free, and he said yes. that's all i really cared about.
cutting through harvard yard again, i retrieved my bike and returned home. GC was watching westworld in the living room, i told him i was leaving for belmont the rest of the afternoon. i changed to the faster fuji bike and made my way to my parents' place. along the way i visited a neighboring yard sale (nothing interesting) and found some free books on the sidewalk (nothing worth keeping).
my mother warmed up some leftover noodles for me for lunch when i arrived. she told me how she almost fell through the ceiling while she was up in the attic, accidentally stepping on a loose plank that flipped up, hitting her in the teeth and causing her to smash her knees and her knuckles, which were now all bruised up. despite her injuries, after i finished eating, she pushed me to take her on the bike path beside the belmont high school, the one she always sees but never visited before.
the path is actually an extension of the minuteman bike trail. i'd taken it once a long time ago, back when they were first installing it and the path wasn't yet complete, making a detour out into an office park. a lot has changed since then, and now there's a boardwalk that takes you into the mystic river watershed with a host of lovely native flowers. it's actually very nice, nothing like the overgrown dump i saw back in 2011. the path also goes directly to alewife station and connects to the minuteman trail, forking either to arlington (arlington center) or somerville (davis square).
we went as far as arlington center, which was already 20 minutes of riding. there was a steady stream of cyclists and walking pedestrians the closer we got to arlington. my mother said she only needed 30 minutes. we rested for a bit before turning back around. instead of following blanchard which can be treacherous with a few blind turns and very narrow bike lanes, we returned home via baker and bright. less traffic, but a bit of an uphill climb, which my mother ended up pushing her bike for part of the way.
when my father came home my mother couldn't wait to tell him about the bike trail we were on and said they'd go ride next weekend. since the moto G4 plus looks to be compatible with verizon, i ended up ordering it from b&h (no tax or shipping) for $170. it's supposed to arrive on tuesday, and which then i'll run down to the verizon office and make the switch from the flip phone to the smart phone.
before i left belmont i installed a mahjong app on my mother's ipad. i didn't have to give her any instructions, she picked up on the game very quickly. there's actually a lot of mahjong-type games in the apple store. most of them are the solitaire tile-removal variety, not real mahjong. using the chinese term 麻将 narrows the field, but there's still plenty of choices, many coming from china, with garish illustrations trying to entice a young gambling audience. i picked the app that seemed most legit that had some good reviews.
GC's coworker showed up again around 8:45pm to watch game of thrones, right when GC and i were about to finish another episode of westworld. "should i remove my shoes?" i heard him ask, which seemed strange because he's already been here before and you always assume you take off your shoes in a chinese person's home unless notified otherwise. i watched to see if he brought anything this time, as he said he would last week. at first i thought he came empty-handed again, but then fished out 3 bottles of sierra nevada pale ale from his backpack. just 3 bottles, no more, no less. you figured if you were going over to somebody's house you bring a whole six-pack at least. i had some cream puffs thawing on the coffee table and this coworker helped himself without asking. none of this bothered me, but he probably didn't know he was under a microscope and being scrutinized on everything he was doing. at least he brought something even though i don't usually drink beer (if he brought hard cider though, he'd score points for being considerate since that's what we drank last sunday).