i was about to use the bathroom this morning when my mother called asking when i was coming to belmont; she found some plane tickets to taiwan for my 2nd aunt and uncle for january and wanted me to book it for them. i woke up a little late and was still dizzy. there would be no coffee this morning. after a shower i packed up my saddlebags and headed out the door.

when i got to my parents place i was surprised by what i saw: their opposite neighbors' house had been completely demolished. this was on purpose, they plan on rebuilding a new house in its place. my parents spoke with the owner who told them it would be the same height as before (so not a mcmansion) just a bit wider and a deeper basement.

after some fried wontons for lunch, i let my mother try the guacamole i made last night. she said it was too bland, needed to be spicier. i also chopped up some fruit for the sangria. it wasn't intentional, but i seem to have every color of the rainbow represented except for blue: apple, orange, lemon, lime, plum. my mother didn't have a large enough glass pitcher but my sister brought one that was a usable size. i dumped all the ingredients into the pitcher along with 3 tbsp of sugar. to that i added half a cup of triple sec. up until yesterday i'd never heard of triple sec before. my father seemed to know what it was immediately from his bartending days, said it was very sweet. i took a sip and it was definitely sweet and citrusy. i thought the alcohol content would be higher but it was only 14%, a little bit above your typical wine. i left the fruit & sugar & alcohol to steep overnight in the fridge, tomorrow i'll pour in a bottle of red wine (merlot) and see what kind of sangria we make.

i helped my father order a few items from amazon.com. he tested the 600W inverter we got from mr.huang and discovered it was broken. he opened up the case to look inside: the fuses were still okay, but there looked to be some scorch marches on the transformer. at some point we had an inverter but can't find it anywhere. so after some searching we ordered a new one, the potek 750W DC 12V to AC 115V inverter ($44). it will actually arrive by tomorrow. the second thing we bought was the batteryMINDer 1500 battery charger/maintainer/desulfator ($40). my father wanted it primarily for the desulfating function, to fix some bad car batteries. this won't arrive until monday.

with zhangyu and his wife going back to shenyang next saturday, my aunt treated everyone to one last dinner at the mulan restaurant in waltham. it started early at 5pm, my father having enough time to fill the propane tank before we arrived. eating with small children can be a challenge. anderson was fixated on his show streaming from a phone, so he was was the whole time. his younger brother lucas was more active, grasping at everything within arms reach, always within a hair shy of breaking out into tears at seeing so many unfamiliar faces. zhangyu was telling us how he gave up smoking during the time he was here, mostly because it was causing his teeth to fall out, a gap tooth evidence of that. apparently he tried to get a dental impact but his body rejected the bone graft. after we were mostly finished eating, the men (minus me) slipped out to the mad raven bar next door for some shots before coming back. we finally left at 7pm, the sky outside a dusky blue.

my dozen-pak of jalousie activated charcoal deodorizing inserts arrived today. i stuck a few in my parents' shoes and brought the rest home. how well will they work? who knows. but the activated charcoal test i did on my own seemed to have some effect. it won't make a stinky pair of shoes smell like roses, but it will help in getting rid of some of the odor.