my aunt told my mother yesterday she was diagnosed with some kind of carpal tunnel syndrome (due to intense knitting) and wouldn't be coming into work for the next 2 weeks. so while my mother manned the cafe this saturday, my father came to pick me up at 10am on an supply run. we were pulling a trifecta today - costco, restaurant depot, market basket.1 going to any costco on a weekend can get crazy but it wasn't too bad. my father tested out a few recliners for my mother, but decided she should come herself to check them out. they were all big though, built for bigger-sized americans, i don't think my mother would even be able to put her feet on the floor sitting in them. next step was restaurant depot - not really a place for browsing, we grabbed what we needed then paid and left. finally the nearby chelsea market basket. it too was crowded, but compared to the somerville store, this was pleasantly uncongested.

close to 1pm, my father was going to drop my off at home, but i said i'd help him unload the supplies from the car, but afterwards he'd drive me to haymarket in boston where i could buy more black plums, then stop by chinatown cafe for some chinese takeout for a late lunch. while we were unloading the car, my mother scolded us for forgetting a few things, including cookies and trout. we also got the wrong brand of lasagna.

we left for boston after 1:30pm, cutting across cambridge via broadway over the longfellow bridge into the city. my father hadn't driven here in a long time (the lengthy longfellow bridge construction essentially made the bridge impassable due to detours and shifting one-ways), and was surprised to see all the new buildings popping up in kendall square.

my father stayed in the car on union street while i quickly jumped out to buy the plums. besides being unusually dense and sweet (these plums have yellow flesh), my father wanted these plums to prepare a traditional sweet plum wine by grandmother used to make. the only ingredients would be the plums and sugar, not even any water or yeast, just natural fermentation. he told me the story of one of his friends tasting my grandmother's plum wine and getting completely drunk. at 5 for $1, i was originally going to buy $10 worth - 50 plums - but when i got there, i noticed they had cases, and asked how much for a whole box ($15). "how many plums in case?" i asked. "a lot," the vendor smiled, "a lot." i decided to get a case, which made the vendor very excited as he clapped his hands to cheer on my decision. instead of handing me the box though, he tossed it to me. i caught it, but he sort of realized what he'd done in his zeal, and quickly asked if i was okay. before i left, i also bought some potatoes from another vendor, 3 lbs. for $2, i got a dollar's worth which was 3 large spuds (my pick, he didn't even bother to weigh them).

we then circled around haymarket and headed to chinatown via the surface road along the greenway. the area was crowded with pedestrians as well as cars. my father said he and my mother should come here one of these weekends. there was a surprising amount of traffic and it took us more than 20 minutes to drive the 1.5 miles to the chinatown cafe. was it crowded everywhere in boston today? because there was also a line at the cafe. i was getting my usual salt and pepper porkchops, while my mother asked me to get the seared duck on rice noodles. after i paid i noticed something was wrong with the order, that i was getting the soup instead of noodles, and had to ask the cashier to change it. the duck took a long time to prepare, and when it was finally done, it looked nothing like what i ordered. i didn't see any rice noodles and there was hardly any duck, mostly other vegetables. i went back again to argue that maybe they got my order wrong, but they told me that was what i ordered. slightly gaslit, i accepted what they said and returned to the car, my father waiting on hudson street. i still wasn't convinced and wanted to go back and order the duck again, but my father convinced me it was okay as we headed back to cambridge.

today was supposed to be sunny but the weather was overcast for much of the day. the sun only peeked out by late afternoon, and by then there was hardly any point, as most of the day's prime production hours were lost in the thick clouds. the final solar production total for today was just 15.45 kWh, most of it being generated after 2:30pm.

my father was going to drop me off back at my house, but i decided to go to the cafe and eat there, so i could also explain to my mother what went wrong. of course this wasn't what my mother ordered, as she picked away at the takeout, eating just the duck. there was some kind of rice noodle on the bottom, but they looked like packets of noodles wrapped in fried tofu, it was something we'd never seen before, perhaps a cantonese specialty. so not only did we forget some things on our errand run, but now we also got my mother's lunch order wrong, it was turning out to be a bad day for her. the one positive was my aunt showed up, said her hands didn't hurt anymore, and that she could return to work. as for me, it was 3:30pm and i was finally having my first meal of the day. at that point i could've waited a few more hours and just eat everything for dinner. the porkchops were very good, i ate too fast and could feel it balling up in my chest, and only managed to eat half of it because i was full.

as for the black plums, we removed the produce stickers and washed and dried them. there was a label on the box that said the plums may have been treated with fludioxonil and chlorine, both as a fungicide. they may also be coated with vegetable oil and/or mineral oil wax. we didn't really save too much by buying a whole case: $15 would've gotten me 75 hand-picked plums, while the box contained 79 plums total, so we got 4 free.

i could've walked back home, but my father gave me a ride so he could pick up the 5L glass fermentation wine jar that used to belong to my grandfather (perhaps my grandmother had even used it at some point). there's not much good tv on a saturday, all the local stations seem to be broadcasting college football games, which i have zero interests, even preempting the news in the early evening. i wasn't very hungry and finished my leftover porkchops later in the evening while watching the latest mission impossible movie on my laptop.

1 don't remember the date, but i think there was one time when we pulled a quadfecta - costco, restaurant depot, market basket, and 88 supermarket. not only did it take a few hours but there was hardly any space left in the car afterwards.