it was cold this morning, decidedly fall-like. i heard sara rummaging in the alleyway and went out to intercept her, to ask her when they were leaving for vermont, so i'd know when i could work on oiling the front steps. turns out she was leaving now, coming back sunday night. it's their 30th wedding anniversary, actually last weekend, but she was out with some girlfriends, so this was the delayed anniversary. their youngest daughter actually came to visit last week, before returning home for graduate school at stanford. sara told me the forecast for vermont this weekend is upper 30's at nights, which she seemed excited about after surviving so many weeks of unbearably hot weather (she was excited to be able to sit in front of a fire). while she was loading her things into their rental car, i was busy scrubbing the front steps with some warm soapy water; if the steps dry by this afternoon, i can begin oiling as early as today. i noticed she wrote out some postcards, very old school. she noted that here in the northeast, there are more house maintenance tasks; that's why their house just has vinyl siding, less upkeep. they rented out their place in stanford, and temporarily moved out to their cabin in sierra valley, only to be smoked out by the forest fires. they also need to be back by sunday night to catch the bears-packers game, sara's family from chicago while her husband is from wisconsin. before she left, i asked her for her number in case we ever needed to contact each other.
after watching the noontime news broadcast, i made a simple virginia ham swiss cheese arugula toasted english muffin sandwich. i left the house by 1:30pm for haymarket. i wore shorts but had on a light jacket because i thought it'd be cold, but quickly took off the jacket once i arrived because it was too hot. i wasn't at haymarket for very long, about 15 minutes, but still left with quite a haul: bag of yellow onions ($1), sleeve of garlic ($1), pluots (7/$2), smaller yellow pluots (6/$1), black plums (5/$1), 2 boxes of black figs ($2.50/each), green longhorn peppers ($1.50/lbs., $2 worth), ginger ($1.50/lbs., $2 worth), and 2 pineapples ($1 each).
returning to cambridge, instead of coming back across the longfellow bridge, i decided to take a detour on the newly opened pedestrian bridge, the frances "fanny" appleton bridge that replaced the older pedestrian bridge. this new bridge was nice and wide, and a simple straight curve compared to the older bridge which had a few hairpin turns. passing MIT, there was a large LED sign alerting people to the caribbean carnival parade happening in central square this sunday. plan accordingly!
i went directly to the cafe, where my godmother was there chatting with my mother. my father was making steamed scallion buns in the back. i stayed because they were almost done and i could take a few home. my mother said my father got the portions wrong because the buns didn't expand enough.
the steps were already dried by the time i got home around 3:30pm. i gathered all my equipment and started oiling the steps, first brushing off any residual debris with a small dustpan brush. i got the timber oil from the basement, the can seemed unusually light when i could've sworn i had a full can. si'm wondering if steve or paul "borrow" it at some point for their own projects upstairs. i was going to apply with the oil with foam brushes, but the oil seemed to be too thick, wasn't absorbing into the wood properly. i ended up using rags to dip into the oil and rub it directly into the wood (wearing rubber gloves). there were only 5 steps anyway, so it wasn't a big deal; i wouldn't use the rag technique to do the much larger backyard deck however. i finally finished by 5pm. i taped off the steps with a piece of string and a sign that said "wet paint". i also hung up a bag next to the railing so the mailman can drop mail int it.
i always get so sleepy around early evening, right around the evening news. unlike the past few times, i didn't fall asleep this time and managed to power through. i wasn't very hungry (maybe the guacamole dip and salsa chip snacks i had earlier had something to do with it) so didn't start making dinner until 9pm. i finally finished my chicken broth, made another bowl of rice noodles. i also cut up the last of the watermelon.