my father sent me photos of his plum wine project. he managed to stuff 2 fido jars (5L and 4L) and a 5L glass wine bottle, as well as a smaller jar missing a clamping lid. i'd later find out they ended up using all the black plums from the case we bought on saturday. that just means i'll need to go back to haymarket if i want more plums. the jarred plums along with heaps of sugar will take a few months to reduce into sweet wine if everything goes according to schedule. my biggest concern is mold, not sure how clean those jars were, having sat in the cafe basement (and one in my house) all this time.
i woke up feeling a little dizzy for some reason, and was hoping maybe the coffee might make it better. i brewed my first cup using the moka pot. i read a bunch of online instructions beforehand and the preferred way seems to be preboiling the water before adding it to the bottom chamber, which i did using my electric kettle. once that happened though, i had to use a towel to hold the base as it was hot. i put espresso coffee ground into the basket, assembled the moka, and set it on the gas stove, adjusting the flames just wide enough so it didn't spill out beyond edge of the top chamber. since the water was preboiled, it brewed the coffee fairly quickly. once i heard something, i opened the lid to find coffee sputtering out of the stem in the upper chamber.
even though this pot was for 3 servings of espresso, the moka pot only made enough coffee for half a single tea cup. i took a sip and immediately disliked it: black and bitter, who would really drink this? i like my coffee with a lot of milk and sugar anyway, so i added some almond milk i had in the fridge. i added enough to turn the black to brown, but that also cooled the coffee to the point where it was barely lukewarm. i added 2 teaspoons of sugar but it was still pretty bitter. i drank it all anyway, almost like medicine, while eating some greek yogurt. less than 15 minutes later i was in the bathroom. could've been the yogurt, could've been the coffee, might very well been both.
i've been entrusted with negotiating a better deal for my parents' heating oil and cable/internet services. for oil they use fawcett, which unexpectedly showed up last week to fill the oil tank without asking first. i called to ask about the details and to get a contract to lock in a rate (currently $3.19/gallon). the woman i spoke to also said she was going to send us another booklet of coupons. we have a week to decide if we want to sign the rate lock contract. next i called verizon FIOS. my parents' 2-year internet/cable contract will expire the first week of october. they currently pay $100/month, but nearly $30 worth of that bill is just to rent the 2 cable boxes and the wireless gateway router. we can buy the router from verizon ($150) but they won't sell us the cable boxes, something about serial number registration and whatnot. bottom line is they weren't willing to cut us a deal, and can't promise the rates won't increase, nor tell me how much of an increase if it does. their only advice was to check the monthly bill, which can only be accessed online. so the rest of this week i'll be calling some other heating oil companies and getting in touch with comcast to see if we can get a better offer.
i've seen the forecast for the rest of the week and i don't think it's going to get any warmer from here on out. so i decided to uninstall my window AC unit from the living room. there are two advantages: for some reason the AC is right below a malfunction gutter overflow so i no longer have to have endure the crash of water whenever it rains; and getting rid of the AC gives me greater security as i can finally lock all my windows. putting the AC away isn't all that hard, except there was still a lot of rain water collecting inside the unit, so i had to drain it all first. later i took it outside and tried to clean the inside with a hose, but it really needs a thorough wipe down, something i don't have the time for. instead i drained it a second time and put it away in the basement for the season.
i planned on going to belmont to mow the lawn, but decided to wait for the mailman to come by and redeliver my macbook pro. typically the mailman doesn't show up until midafternoon, but by 2:30pm i couldn't wait anymore so i went out in search of the mailman, hoping that he'd give me my package directly from his van. when i found him and showed him the redeliver slip, he said he already left the package back at the post office. had i known earlier, i would've been able to pick it up this morning and not waste most of the day waiting for it to arrive! so i grabbed my bike and rode down to porter square to get my package.
i only tested the thrice-repaired macbook pro briefly when i got back home. it restarted fine, i unplugged and plugged it in a few times without problems, managed to shut down and restart again with zero issues. it seemed fine, but i'd like to test it some more before i'm satisfied, but so far it looks promising. i left it plugged in while i grabbed a few things and took the motorcycle to belmont, stopping at the cafe to pick up some things my mother left behind. earlier my father drove my mother to chinatown to see if she could change her primary care doctor. she can, but only during a specific window that happens between october and november. but when they came back from chinatown, she bought some duck that she forgot to take. afterwards, they went to binbin's house in burlington to visit zhangyu, and wouldn't be back in belmont until the early evening.
i didn't start mowing the lawn right away, first i had something to eat. i only had a yogurt and coffee, and there was all this delicious leftover barbecue waiting at my parents' place. i had a sausage, a rib, and a custard (apparently from chinatown). only then did i go outside to start mowing. it was the perfect day to mow, since we're expecting a lot of rain tomorrow, so the grass will get a good thorough watering.
my parents came home around 5pm. my father and i repotted the jasmine plant, dividing it into 4 containers. for soil, we used a combination of home compost, some leftover potting soil, and a bag of topsoil. the compost was too wet and came out of the bin in odorless clumps. we put all the potted jasmines underneath the grapevine trellis so it wouldn't drain in the rain come tomorrow.
my father has been researching battery desulfator in hopes of reviving a brand new battery he bought a while back that he left uncharged for a long time and now it's completely dead, won't take a charge no matter which charger we use. apparently all batteries could use a little desulfation to improve performances and extend battery life.
for dinner we had a combination of leftover barbecue along with a box of chinatown braised duck. i was eager to return home to further test out the newly repaired macbook pro.
i tested the repaired macbook pro some more, using it for 30 minutes. never once did it seem unstable, or crash, or overly hot. tomorrow i'll swap out the RAM's (4GB to 8GB) and either put back the DVD-ROM drive or the secondary 500GB hard drive.
i made myself a new activated carbon insert for my shoes to use as a deodorizer. i made one before but the activated carbon (actually pellets) i used were bad and didn't really seem to do anything. for this new one i used the activated carbon for my aquarium. i know this is good because when i put a grain in water it bubbles up immediately, compared to the pellets which don't do anything. i was trying to measure out 50g but the teabag filter i was using could only hold 42g.
also tonight i bought a new replacement lawn mower blade from amazon.com. our lawnmower is long overdue, grasses cut with the old blade gets shredded, which make the lawn more susceptible to diseases. the oregon 95-057 at $12.47, compatible with the craftsman blade part 189028.
i completely forgot the emmys were tonight (monday), typically award shows are on sunday nights. i watched, happy to see mrs.maisel win all the awards it was nominated for with the exception of tony shalhoub (he has plenty of emmys from his monk days). the americans also won some awards, including best actor in a drama series for matthew rhys. i thought keri russell had a good chance, but the best actress category was stacked, including sandra oh. claire foy ended up winning, which i didn't agree with, although i've never watched the crown so who knows.
WWY contacted me out of the blue, said she bought a VPN service (later i found it she got it from lihui), asked me for some recommended websites. before i did that however, i asked her to chat on something other than wechat, which is monitored by the chinese government. she uses skype in the office, and i was able to find her name in the directory, but when i tried chatting with her it didn't go through. they either use it locally or somehow incoming/outgoing traffic is blocked. we finally got through on whatsapp, with me using the desktop version of the app. finally i was able to give her some website suggestions, reddit.com and yotube.com.