with less than 36 hours before her departure to boston, wangyang finally contacted me asking if it'd be a good idea to book our new york city hotels now. i was pushing for hotwire - the surplus inventory of travel - where we could score midtown manhattan hotels for $100/night. but wangyang kept wanting to go with places she found through the chinese language version of booking.com (i guess she trusts them more), so we ended up getting a pair of rooms at the supposedly 4-star doubletree hilton in new york time square south, which is just a rebranded name for hell's kitchen. 2 rooms, 2 nights, for saturday and sunday, will cost us $530. subtracting travel time, we will be in NYC for a bit over 2 days total (54 hours to be exact).
GC went to work late, around 10am, after waking up at 9am and spending nearly half an hour in the bathroom reading. i called my mother asking for my father's status; she said i should go to belmont to check up on him. in the meantime, i could check out her new shiatsu massager which arrived yesterday but hasn't worked even though she's plugged it in since yesterday.
it was too hot to bike, so i took the motorcycle. i'd forgotten the nuisance of parking underneath the linden tree as my motorcycle was covered in tiny sticky drops of honeydew. i spent a few minutes wiping enough off so i could ride, but decided i'd need to rewash the motorcycle once i was in belmont.
i found my father still sleeping in bed. he said it hurt yesterday after the drugs wore off, but he was much better today, though he still walked around the house gingerly. he stayed in bed while i went about my errands.
i turned on the living room AC as well as the basement dehumidifier, as not only was it a hot and humid day, but a sunny one as well, and all our daytime electricity usage come directly from the solar panels.
i inspected my mother's shiatsu massager. though the lights on the massager said it was still charging (flashing sequence of blue led's), the light on the plug was green (my mother told me it was red yesterday). i discovered that unlike the truMedic massager, the yosager won't work if it's plugged in, only when it's unplugged. sort of weird, but this one only costs $40 and is functionality identical to the $100 truMedic. the hand straps are also shorter while the truMedic one looked like they were designed for giants (although the straps can be shortened through velcro straps).
i washed the motorcycle and the toyota camry while i was at it. afterwards i rode to home depot to get a spool of gorilla black duct tape, then to target to pick up some air freshener spray, foaming hand soap, and some bath towels and wash clothes.
back in belmont, i patched up the compost bin rat hole with the black duct tape. i also rewrapped the garden hose hole with black silicone tape. i had to do it twice, as the first time i didn't use enough tape and the water pressure actually burst the patch. the second time i wrapped it 3 times using 2 separate pieces of tape, which seemed to hold. i then spent the next hour in the sweltering sun watering the backyard, from the lawn to the trees to the raised beds and the perennial flowers.
my aunt stopped by to visit my father, bringing with her some pastries and mangoes. unfortunately my father can't eat any of it for the time being as he's restricted to a liquid/soft diet, as using the bathroom too forcefully can aggravate the healing hernia surgery wound.
i returned to cambridge around 2:40pm. that's when i realized i hadn't eaten all day (except for a large coconut macaroon my aunt had brought), but i wasn't particularly hungry. something about the heat and sweating profusely can suppress my appetite. i did take a shower though, just to escape the stickiness. afterwards i took the bicycle to market basket. the bike was making some weird squeaky noises, maybe some parts got waterlogged from yesterday's downpours. i didn't get much, a carton of juice, a package of kielbasa sausages (in case wangyang and her son want breakfast), some peaches, a box of coconut popsicles. i was there primarily to visit the indian convenience store, where i was looking for cone incense for my dragon incense burner. the shopkeeper was on the phone, but after a few awkward minutes of me waiting, she finally put her conversation on hold to help me find what i was looking for. she handed me two boxes that didn't feel like cone incense but i took her word for it as the boxes were sealed. i bought one for 99¢.
back at home, i opened up the incense and found soft strips of what looked to be clay. instinctively i cut off a piece, rolled it into a ball in my hands, then shaped it into a cone, before lighting it. these were in fact soft incense; i should've realized something was amiss when it listed ghee as an ingredient on the box, known as dhoop. it did leave my hands a little greasy afterwards, which i then washed. it takes a moment to light, and the incense itself isn't that flammable, with a habit of snuffing out on its own. after lighting it up a few times, i finally gave up, figured i'll keep on looking. the scent isn't bad, but definitely smells like an indian spice shop.
i ordered the bus tickets to new york city for next weekend. originally i was going to go with lucky star because they can get to manhattan in just 4 hours, but it was $30/person going to and then another $25/person coming back. i ended up going with megabus, 7am boston departure on the 7th, and a 6:40pm new york departure on the 9th; roundtrip tickets for 3 people was just $100. true, megabus takes longer (5 hours) but it's more scenic as we take the long way through manhattan to get to midtown. plus midtown is where our hotel is so we can just walk there (although check-in isn't until 4pm).
there was a holiday sale at star market: whole watermelons for $3.99, cherries at just $1.77lbs, corn 19¢ a piece, and lobster for $5.99/lbs. everything was on sale the entire week with the exception of the watermelons which is only this weekend. i walked down to pick up some watermelon and cherries.
after yet another shower, i did a load of laundry.
in the early evening my mother called. she said the massager was working (after unplugging it) and she likes it now, just as powerful as the truMedic, but a more comfortable smaller size. she told me that my father regained his energy after she brought home the long-awaited (more than a month) 30A radio power supply, fiddling with it on the dining table. we tested simplex on 2m and 70cm. i unplugged the HDTV antenna from the TV as a precaution. on 2m at low (3.75W) and medium2 (8.6W) power broadcasting from his TYT with the chimney-mounted 2m DIY ground plane antenna, i can't hear him, but at medium1 (15W) and high (35W) i can receive his transmission with a clarity of 6 and 7 respectively. on 70cm i can't receive him on any power (maximum 20W on UHF). i also tried the baofeng hand-held with the stock rubber ducky antenna: nothing on 70cm but transmitting high on 2m i can hear a wall of noisy static, which means the rubber ducky antenna is not as powerful as the DBJ-2 antenna attached to the QYT. when i transmit on either 2m or 70cm using high (unknown wattage) power on the QYT, he can't hear me. we also tested his HH-9000 quad-band antenna, which is only mounted to a bamboo pole that's lower than the chimney antenna. high power 2m or 70cm i can't hear him. my father thinks if i switch the power supply on the QYT from the current 3A to the 4.5A, i might have enough juice to broadcast at a slightly higher power and he'd then be able to hear me from belmont via simplex, a straight-line distance of just 2.5 miles that crosses multiple hills and even a body of water.
when GC came home around 6:30pm, i told him about the sale, and he immediately wanted to go check it out. i went with him because i needed some corn, but couldn't find my credit card anywhere. fearful i might've washed it, i stopped the dryer to check my shorts, the pockets empty. figuring i lost it, i grabbed my debit card instead. i checked lost & found and the girl said nothing had turned up the entire day. GC and i each grabbed a bag of cherries, but they only had about half a dozen paltry looking corncobs. i let GC take them, figuring i'll come back tomorrow when they've restocked or go to the porter square star market.
when the dryer was finally done, i took everything out and found my credit card inside. it looked okay, but who knows what cooking inside a dryer does to a credit card and its security chip and magnetic strip.
i finally ate for the first time today, my leftover chicken and rice dish from 2 weeks ago. we spent the rest of the evening watching 2 episodes of the expanse and eating watermelon cubes that i'd cut up. GC went to take a soapless shower at 10pm then immediately retired to his bedroom, not to be seen again.