today was downright tropical, warm, windy, rainy. temperature climbed into the mid-50's as the snow and ice melted rapidly. using an ice chopper and a shovel, i cleared out channels for the icemelt to flow into the storm drain, so the rainwater wouldn't accumulate in large pools that may later refreeze.
kelvin microwaved the half roasted duck he bought from chinatown butcher last night and made himself some noodles for lunch. i nervously watched him eat in the living room, dripping sweet soy sauce all over the coffee table. he managed to eat everything, i was both impressed and shocked. as for me i finished the last of my cold fried chicken.
i left the house soon afterwards, hoping to catch the 1pm 73 bus out of harvard square. the rain was picking up and the wind was strong, i did everything i could to keep my umbrella from inverting. even though my upper body was relatively dry, i could already tell my pants were soaked as well as my shoes. there was a crowd of people waiting in the underground bus station. even though it was warm, there was enough moisture in the air to cause slow curls of condensation from everyone who was waiting. the 73 ran late, two 71 buses already passed by before it finally arrived after 1:15pm. thankfully there was enough room for everyone to get seats. the bus was uncomfortably warm as we made our way to belmont.
the first thing i did when i got to my parents' place was to go into the backyard to check on the solar panels. the strong winds had knocked over the barbecue grill as well as the ladder we'd put along the sunroom. i ended up not needing the ladder anyway since there was not a trace of snow on the panels. i kind of already suspected conditions were good when i checked the solaredge app this morning and saw all panels were producing, however little. had i known this would happen, my father and i could've been spared all that work yesterday clearing the snow off of the roof.
when i finally went back inside the house, i was soaked: my shoes, my socks, my jeans, my jacket. i took everything off and sat about the living room in my underwear. only later did i think to actively dry my clothes when they were still wet hours later. when my parents returned at 5pm, my mother found a pair of old sweat pants for me to wear.
after we had dinner, my father and i went to the belmont town hall for the tree hearing at 7pm. i never knew town hall activities still happened after business hours. there was 3 separate meetings tonight, one about the budget, one regarding the transportation advisory committee, and the tree hearing. when we arrived the conference room was still dark. we passed the time by looking at the items on the bulletin board, including details of two registered sex offenders living/working in belmont.
when 7pm came around we noticed the conference room was now opened. inside was a man who turned out to be the town's tree warden. our neighbor was nowhere to be seen. the warden gave us the details regarding the tree removal. when our neighbor originally petitioned the town to have the tree removed, the warden actually said no, since it was a healthy tree. but if the owner put a notice in the local newspaper for 2 weeks and has a hearing, if nobody objects, then he can cut down the tree at his own expense. if any neighbors object, then the tree will remain, and the owner's next recourse is to have the issue brought up at the next town meeting, where the town meeting members will then decide. the warden told us that sometimes the owner shows up, sometimes they don't. the hearing is just a formality. but in order to voice objection, we needed to submit it in writing. so the warden gave me a piece of paper and a pen and i quickly drafted a letter for my father to sign.
just when we were about to leave, the neighbor finally showed up. we all sat back down. while my father had a heated discussion with the neighbor in chinese, i sat next to the warden and offered some translation. my father - losing his voice from a cold - asked if the original plan was to have the garage facing our house instead of off to the side where it originally was. the neighbor said yes, but my father never saw the blueprint when he signed the petition to build. the neighbor's reason for having the driveway facing our direction is because he wanted a garage. there wasn't enough room in the original spot for the garage and the driveway, so the only option was to turn it 90°.
it's already too late to complain about this since the house is already built. the neighbor also made a mistake because he didn't consider the tree nor the fact that his driveway would end in a storm drain. he said it'd cost him $2000 to remove the tree and another $16,000 to reconfigure the storm drain. he said he doesn't want to remove the tree, but would plant 2 additional trees along the sidewalk to make up for it. while this was going on, the warden privately told me that the neighbor should've designed the layout of their garage and driveway to the original configuration to avoid all this unnecessary cost.
after hearing out the neighbor, my father was ready to retract our objection. i wanted to wait, or at least have a private discussion first. normally we'd just speak in chinese but since the neighbor could understand us that wasn't a possibility. for instance, if the neighbor was already hiring people to cut down their tree, maybe they could trim ours as well for free? or if the neighbor was buying trees, we could get a tree in our backyard and piggyback on his shipment? but the warden said if we wanted to do anything to our own sidewalk tree, we'd have to go through DPW, who would then come back and inspect the tree and trim it for free if warranted.
so after all that we retracted our objection. the tree warden told the neighbor that he can now go ahead and remove the tree, including the stump. we asked the tree warden some good places to get trees (for our own backyard), he said mahoney and wagon wheel (a place i've never heard of). as we left, we jokingly told our neighbor that with the tree gone he can consider getting solar panels, and he said he wasn't even thinking about that since he has a lot of other things to worry about first.
we returned home, where my mother came with us when my father dropped me off back in cambridge so she could get some yarn at michael's afterwards. i grabbed a package of cough drops for my father before they left.
i found sandy and kelvin camped out in the living room eating takeout from zoe's: ma po tofu, beef fillet & cabbage, and 3 servings of rice. at one point sandy grimaced when she bit into a piece of celery. afterwards we watched hereditary when we discovered netflix wouldn't work because my sister's godmother and my mother were both using the account (maximum 2 users at the same time).