i called MGH gastroenterology department to schedule an appointment to check my liver. like the dermatologist, they were quite booked, and the earliest day i could get was at the end of may. afterwards i wrote another e-mail to united solar, my weekly ritual of asking them for a status update on our inverter replacement. they do good work, but getting them to actually commit and come out to do something is like pulling teeth.

i spent the morning fixing the front brakes on my cargo bike. the left brake pad had come loose because the thread holding the nut in place had been stripped. the brake pad had wobbled around and there was a deep gash where the pad made contact with the corner of the rim. i ended up having to replace both pads, as replacing one would create an imbalance. fortunately i had some slightly used pads so i didn't have to use new pads on the old rim. unfortunately the rim was in such terrible shape - danger of collapsing in on itself - that i wouldn't be able to ride the bike safely even after replacing the pads. i had to get a new wheel. so after changing out the pads, i put the cargo bike back in the basement.

that's when i got an idea: i could reuse the front wheel from the used mountain bike ed gave me. both were 26" wheels, the replacement wheel had a tiny dish to it, but not enough to rub up against the brake pads. so i brought the cargo bike back out, flipped it upside down, and swapped out the wheel. it would've been easy were it not for the fact that the tube in the replacement wheel was leaking. not a little leak, but a lot, enough that i could see it deflate immediately after i pumped it up. so i had to swap out the tire and the tube. i noticed that the replacement wheel's tube had been patched twice in the past but apparently wasn't enough to fix it. the tire/tube was easy to remove from the replacement wheel but nearly impossible to get off of the old wheel. plastic tire levers didn't work and i had to use my stainless steel ones, which damaged the edge of the tire a bit, but only cosmetic and nobody would see it once i installed it on the replacement wheel.

once the wheel was in place, i reattached the front brakes, readjusting the pads for this new wheel. the bike felt new again, with the kind of braking power i haven't experienced in a while. i just need to do a cabling overhaul at some point in the near future.

in the afternoon i rode the cargo bike to market basket (MB). haven't had good brakes for a while now, i found myself not trusting in the bike's ability to stop in time and out of habit just avoided using the brakes. it's been more than 2 weeks since i last went to MB. i left with $30 worth of groceries, much of that price was for a pound of prosciutto ($5.69) and a bottle of olive oil ($5.49). i decided earlier that i would make a penna alla vodka recipe for dinner.

i found myself stopping and checking out every flowering cherry tree that i came across. i saw the most interesting tree on the corner of properzi way and village street. i've known about the flowering trees that grow there for a while now. originally i thought they were crabapples based on the gnarly bark, but upon closer examination they were a type of prunus. not cherry though but something else: flowering plums. and not just any flowering plums: one tree in particular had been grafted so one branch bloomed dark pink blossoms while the other branch had light pink flowers. the trees seemed neglected next to the loading parking space of the metal stamping factory, but it got plenty of sun and for the time being at least it was putting on a show.

iptv via VLC: (i was up until almost 4am surfing international tv channels)