it was so warm today i broke in my summer clothes storage bin and took out a pair of shorts. not only would today's temperature be in the upper 80's, but the dew point was around 60's as well, which meant it was surprisingly humid. a minute after i left by bike, i saw a plumbing van and called my sister to ask her if she managed to get ahold of a home depot plumber. she said she did, but they won't be able to come until tomorrow between 12-3pm, despite the fact that home depot promises same day installation service. i wanted to turn back and ask the plumber sitting in his van what his asking price was for installing a new water heater, but before i could do that he drove away.

when i finally arrived in belmont by 11:30am, i stashed the bike in the garage since there was a forecast of torrential downpours in the late afternoon early evening. until that happened though, there was still some time to do some yard work and i pushed out the lawnmower. only after i went inside the house did i find out from my mother how much home depot was asking for the installation: $1200. that seemed excessively high, and not even for same day service. there must've been a mistake, that price must include the price of the new water tank, which we already got yesterday.

i called my sister back immediately. i should've asked her about the price earlier but didn't. i figured it might be expensive, but not $1200 expensive. i asked if it was a mistake, that the price included the water tank as well. she said no, $1200 for labor alone. in my experience, replacing a water tank takes about an hour. so they were charging over $1000/hour, that definitely wasn't right. she then had the gall to tell me that was simply the going rate. only after repeated questioning did i find she also added something called a "water booster" without telling anyone about it. sounds like they gave her the upsell, as a water booster adds $300 more to the service. but even without the booster, the labor cost is still $900 for a simple job.

my sister has no head for money, which is ironic because my parents put her in charge of property management. that means we constantly have to step in and correct her mistakes, to the point where she might as well not bother managing anything because we end up doing all her work in the end.

i told my sister i would call some other plumbers, because no way does replacing a water tank costs $1200. so i tried alewife company, the van i saw earlier. i found their number in a yelp directory. i spoke with the receptionist first, before she patched me to one of the plumbers (victor). he told me they charge $145/hour (not including additional parts) and another $35 to dispose of the old water tank, and they could be there as soon as tomorrow. that sounded more reasonable, and from past experience, a typical plumber usually charges $130/hour. i told him i'd call him back.

i then spoke with my sister and told her what alewife company was charging. hypothetically, even if it took them a whole working day (8 hours), it would still be cheaper than what home depot charged. i got my sister to cancel the appointment with home depot. but before i could call back alewife company, she said she wanted to check her home owner insurance, see if they'd cover any replacement cost. that's not how home owner insurance works, and even then, the water tank died because it was old and out of warranty. after a few minutes of waiting i called her back to let her know i was going to make the appointment, irregardless of what she finds out.

i called alewife company and set up the appointment, early tomorrow morning between 7:30-8am. this is good because in order to get to the basement with the water tank we need to go through the restaurant, and better when nobody is there because they're kind of assholes and we rather not see them. the receptionist asked me to take some photos and send them to victor. i called my sister and gave her the number to send the photos.

while this was all happening, my father came home from a market basket supply run (the cafe was out of eggs and milk) and was in the backyard mowing the lawn, something i was going to do. i joined him in the backyard, where we mixed the grass clippings with the shredded dead leaves already in the earth machine compost bin. i manually trimmed some of the tall grass growing along the edges of the raised beds. i dug up 3 wild lupines growing on the lawn and moved them into pots. it was a hot and humid day and i was dripping sweat from my forehead as i worked. i had a china flashback, walking around in the blistering sun, exploring some city.

later in the afternoon my sister told me victor never responded to her photos, and asked if it was because they weren't good quality, and sent me copies. that's when i saw the info label on the old water tank and realized it was still under warranty. my sister had told us it was out of warranty, which was why we bought a new tank instead of going through the warranty replacement. it wasn't her fault, because her handy man (who is also the husband of her friend) told her it was out of warranty, and she never bothered to check, and neither did we.

i went online looking for info about GE water tank warranty service. unfortunately GE had stopped making water tanks and passed along the warranty service to rheem. i called rheem's customer support where i spoke to an agent who took down serial and model number of the tank. i was then patched to a different agent, who made me repeated the info i gave earlier. i asked if it was true that rheem would honor the warranty; i found out rheem actually made the water tanks for GE, so it was rheem to begin with. the agent asked me about the condition of the tank, whether it was leaking from the top or the bottom (bottom), whether it was wet on the inside (yes). i think she was satisfied that indeed the tank was faulty, and then read me a long scripted instructions on what to do with the tank. essentially, we needed to drain and remove it first, take it to a store, have them call back rheem's warranty department to authorize the replacement, the store will then find a comparable model, and we pay the difference in cost if any.

however there are some logistics problem. only the plumber can remove the old tank, but once he's there he'll want to install the new tank, and wouldn't necessarily want to wait around for us to take the old tank to the store to get a replacement. besides, we already got a new tank yesterday. my father said he's done this before (2015), yet i can't remember any of the details: he said after the plumber installs the new tank, we take the old tank and the new tank receipt, and home depot will recoup us the difference once they qualify the old tank as a warranty replacement.

later my father and i went outside to dig up all the garlic chives along the basement entrance and relocate them to the long planter boxes. we cut the chives first, to be used later to make garlic chive and pork dumplings. while my father was busy sorting through the chives (getting rid of grass blades and other non-edibles), i was digging up the chive roots with a shovel. these chives have been growing there for a while now, to the point where their roots have now become dense carpets. once i got them out, i sorted through the pile to find the best ones. ideally i'd want to replant single plants, but they were so densely packed together, it was easier cut to cut them into cubes and replant them that way. into each plant box i planted 5 clumps of garlic chives, for a total of 10 clumps. had i gone with my original wooden raised bed idea, i could've planted 20 clumps. i still had a lot of roots leftover, so i plugged some into the existing southwestern chive patch. whatever left over will unfortunately be thrown out with the garden refuse.

for dinner my parents made garlic chive and pork dumplings. the skin was a little thin, i prefer my chinese dumplings with thick skin. i'd been talking about how it was going to rain but my mother didn't believe me until in the late afternoon the sky darkened and suddenly we heard the hissing of a downpour. it didn't last very long, and soon afterwards the sun came back out. it was like this for a few more times into the early evening. by the time we finished dinner, the threat of rain was pretty much gone. i left by 7pm. my father was also going out, to the cafe to drain the water tank before the plumber arrives tomorrow morning.

it was 71° outside but 75°F inside my house. though warmer, it felt cooler because it wasn't as humid. after using the bathroom and taking a shower, i watched the rebroadcast of the red sox blue jays game, boston winning 12-2. the yankees are now in first place with 29 wins, rays 2nd with 27, and red sox 3rd with 25. i wasn't able to watch much of baseball before but now with youtube tv i can get NESN and can feel myself getting drawn back into baseball again after a long hiatus that coincided with my cord cutting.