big news this morning was the engagement announcement between prince harry and meghan markle. it's nice to wake up and have the breaking news be good news for a change. she will be the first american to wed an english royal since the 1930's. i never knew she was biracial (father white, mother black), i would've guessed italian, but i never gave her ethnicity much thought to be honest. the wedding is scheduled for the spring. i expect the obamas to be invited, but trump will be snubbed publicly, looking forward to his angry tweets (assuming his presidency lasts that long).

i plunged the bathtub drain again this morning as it was acting slow again. i still had half a container of drain-o liquid gel, but what i really wanted was something that could work overnight to remove the slog in the pipes. i got the drain working again, but i'm afraid it's only a matter of time before it clogs once more.

as this was cyber monday, i scoured amazon.com looking for some good deals but there wasn't anything worth getting. my x-chef garlic press arrived last night but i was still debating whether to return it and get something else.

i discovered yesterday that the library book i'd ordered - 40 watts from nowhere by sue carpenter - had already arrived but i never received any e-mail notification. i probably could've picked it up last wednesday when i briefly stopped by the library to drop off those ham radio books. so i biked down to the library in the late morning. it's been a while since i had anything reserved and one of the librarians showed me how they use a self-serve system now and all i had to do was browse the stacks where the books were organized based on last names of cardholders. i was planning on going to market basket afterwards to get some plumbing declogger but decided i'd do that tomorrow instead.

i began reading 40 watts from nowhere as soon as i got home. written by sue carpenter, it's her memoir of her times running two pirate radio stations in california in the late 90's. it's a quick read at 200 pages with big text, felt like a YA book at times, and i quickly plowed through 50 odd pages in one sitting. she talks a lot about the social elements of pirate radio, but i was more interested in the technical aspects, and how the FCC tracks down people in violation of their broadcasting rules.

i went to belmont in the afternoon to rake some leaves and do some garden maintenance. i checked online, the last day for garden refuse collection is december 9th, so there's one last pickup. belmont for all the taxes residents pay have a terrible biweekly recycle collection schedule unlike cambridge which does it weekly. i spent so much energy raking the front lawn that i decided to rake the backyard another time. instead i pulled up all the dead vegetable plants (nasturtiums, peppers, eggplants, tomatoes) and trimmed the raspberry bushes, goldenrods, and the hydrangea. even though it felt like a long time, i was only outside for just over an hour.

my father came home with the new ryobi intelliport charger. it was supposed to arrive last wednesday before thanksgiving but never got here, and the cafe was only opened intermittently over the weekend, so a delivery could never be made. amazon had already sent me notice that the package was probably lost and asked if we wanted a refund, or was willing to wait a few more days to see if it'd miraculously show up. there wasn't even tracking information anymore. but thankfully it finally arrived today.

we ordered a new ryobi charger 8 days ago after my father discovered that the old charger he had was giving twice the amperage and never finished charging any of the batteries. he found this out because we'd ordered a new pair of batteries after the last pairs (purchased back in 2015) suddenly stopped working. the new batteries arrived nearly charged, but when he went to top one off in the charger, he noticed he never stopped charging even after a few hours. a test with a multimeter revealed the problem. we even took apart the old charger to see if any component was fried on the inside but all looked good. the only hitch was the new batteries we got were NiMH while ryobi chargers only charge NiCD or lithium ion, since ryobi doesn't make NiMH batteries. but all the reviews i read said it was fine to charge the NiMH batteries with the regular charger. anyway, we charged one of the old batteries, it seemed to work, at least it was smart enough to stop charging once the battery was full. and the good thing is if we ever decide to upgrade our ryobi power tools and go with lithium ion batteries, this charger will still work.

my parents came home late because they made an appointment to see my grand uncle's doctor to discuss the possibility of entering a senior home. there's been some drama recently with my grand uncle as he refuses to use his walker but instead rely on his cane. the problem with the cane is it can't support all his weight and he's already fallen a few times, but he simply refuses to use the walker.

we opened up the jar of sichuan paocai i've been fermenting since mid-october, more than a month ago. i was afraid it'd explode from the pressure but it opened up with zero fanfare, apparently there was enough of an air gap for the carbon dioxide to compress or escape. the cabbage was sour which is what i like but my mother said it was too sour.

when i returned home li told me when he moves out on friday if it could happen around noontime since he has a meeting that morning. i said sure, saves me from having to wake up early, and noontime isn't busy traffic-wise, so there shouldn't be any problems.