i thought today was going to be intermittent showers at most, but a mostly dry day that would afford me the opportunity to run some errands like gardening. i was wrong. though not as bad as yesterday, it was still a rainy day. on top of that, it was cold with temperature in the low 40's, and we nearly broke the record of lowest high temperature, missed it by a degree.

i called my sister this morning to volunteer to help her haul some supplies at home depot. she drove the honda element to pick me up since her car has very little carrying capacity. i drove the rest of the way to the somerville store. i thought we were just getting a new kitchen countertop (the contractors are back tomorrow) but my sister ended up grabbing more things: kitchen backsplash, faux wooden vinyl flooring, and plastic radiator covers. we ended up paying around $700 in materials. i picked up a 7/16" combination wrench for my efforts, to replace the one that i'd misplaced.

we drove back to the cafe and carried all the materials to the upstairs apartment above my sister's place. i saw the newly sanded floors, all shiny and new. the only downside was the strong polyurethane smell, my sister will need to run the ozone generator and open some windows once the floors are good enough to walk on (which will be tomorrow).

my sister said she could give me a ride home before she went to work but i decided to walk back instead, gave me a chance to enjoy some urban nature and maybe take a few flower photos. i finally got home by 12:45pm.

instead of eating lunch, i went ahead and replaced the flush valve on my toilet. what was supposed to take 20-25 minutes ended up taking me more than an hour. it wasn't my first time removing the toilet tank, i did a long time ago when i painted the bathroom. after draining the tank and sponge out as much water as possible, i disconnected the water supply. the two brass bolts securing the tank to the bowl took some finessing to remove, a combination of flat-head screwdriver and a 1/2" socket wrench. once that was done, the tank could be removed, but not before i tipped it over to drain whatever water was still left behind.

the tank to bowl rubber gasket was all crumpled and corroded, no wonder the toilet was leaking. there was probably nothing wrong with the flush valve itself, i could've simply just replaced the gasket. but better just to replace everything, and know for certain everything is new and working correctly. next i had to remove the plastic locknut securing the flush assembly to the tank. i had a pair of plumbing pliers that could open just big enough to grab ahold of the locknut. since it was plastic, if i couldn't get it off i could always cut it, but fortunately after a few attempts the locknut came loose.

with the old flush valve assembly removed, i put on the new flush valve. the locknut on the new assembly was even thinner, and should i need to remove it in the future i'll probably need a special tool for it. i then slipped on the rubber gasket, red instead of black. i noticed the gasket was large enough that it didn't fit the flush hole on the toilet bowl. maybe i got the wrong size? but i continued with the instructions.

the new bolts - instead of a simple bolt-rubber washer-metal washer-nut assembly - involved a double series of rubber washer-metal washer-hex nut. it seemed kind of strange but i went along with it. i first attached the bolts to the tank, then used the bolts as a guide to lower it into position on the toilet bowl. because the gasket was so large, the tank was still wobbly at that point. i then went ahead and secured the second set of washer-washer-nut combination below the toilet bowl. as i tightened, the tank lowered into position until it was stable and didn't wobble anymore.

after adjusting the flapper chain to match the old length, i filled the tank up with water, gradually at first to make sure nothing leaked, then finally filling it to capacity. i flushed it, no leaks, everything seems to be working again. it was 2pm by the time i finished.

surprisingly i wasn't very hungry anymore. i ended up having a korean instant cup of noodle for lunch. while waiting for the water to boil, i stuck some fertilizing food sticks into my potted plants. afterwards in the late afternoon i took the utility bike to market basket to get some food. i decided to make some spaghetti for dinner tonight. coming back i admired a lovely wisteria trellis.

a late lunch combined with some hard sourdough pretzels i bought meant i wasn't hungry until later in the evening. into my meat sauce i added some leftover anchovies i had in the fridge. instead of spaghetti pasta i cooked up a cup of cellentani. the sauce was okay, but a little bland and oily because i used 85% lean beef. next time instead of beef i should get some ground italian sausages which have better flavor. even though the anchovies disappeared into the sauce, i probably added too much because i could kind of taste it, and anchovy in recipes is best when i don't notice it. i never had cellentani before, figured they'd be like macaroni. they were a little tough and chewy but i liked that.

i wrote to nelson-rigg's customer support last night, about how my motorcycle cover was missing a clip, and i also sent them a photo. i didn't hear from them most of the day and i figured nothing would come of it. not that i need the clip anyway, as the cover is already plenty tight so i don't need to strap it down any further with bungie cords. however, i was surprised to find an e-mail tonight, asking for my mailing address so they could send me a replacement clip free of charge. nice customer service!

feeling happy that i finally fixed the leaking toilet, i was horrified to discover that the toilet was still leaking. how could that be? i completely replaced the flush valve, there's no possible way it could leak. so i added some red food coloring to the tank to see if any color gets into the bowl. 1-1/2 hours later i noticed a tiny amount of red tank water had seeped into the bowl.

i was going to wait overnight but thinking about the leaking would drive me crazy so i decided to take it apart and check inside the tank. i flushed the toilet a few times to clear the red dye then unscrewed the 2 bolts underneath the tank. it was easier the second time around, and i was kind of surprised how loose the bolts were (yet there were no leaks outside the toilet tank). the tank to bowl gasket was all smooshed up, perhaps this was the problem. i reseated the gasket and reassembled the tank. i added some green dye to the tank this time (easier to see) and decided to wait until tomorrow and see what happens. once again i wasn't very hopeful because when i checked the toilet before going to bed, i thought i saw some green already leaking into the bowl.