i was about to walk down to the cafe when i saw the alewife co. van pulling up down the street at 7:53am. it wasn't victor who showed up but another plumber named phil. he gathered his tools and i led him to the back of the house, into the basement via the restaurant which was empty (they don't open until 11am).
as phil started working, my father showed up and stayed in the basement to watch. not sure how it happened, but they were chatting and my father found out that alewife co.'s current office building on prospect street in inman street used to belong to my grand uncle before he sold the property. after detaching the old hot water tank, phil went to the shed to get the new tank. he worked quickly, like someone who's done this a million times before, casually lifting the tank onto the hand truck and wheeling it into the basement. once the new tank was connected, we waited for it to fill up. upstairs in the house we turned on the hot water, waiting for water to come out. eventually it did, a gasping sputter of rusty liquid, that finally came out in a stream. the faucet in the kitchen was okay, but the pressure in the bathroom sink was low. i unscrewed the faucet filter which was filled with bits of sand and other pipe debris. after i cleaned out the filter everything was back to normal.
phil spent the final 10 minutes of his time writing out the invoice. he left by 9:20am. the final cost was $478, which i thought was still a little high, but compared to the $1200 home depot wanted to charge, it was still a bargain. but 2 hours of labor? more like 1-1/2 hours if you're being generous, unless he started counting from when he was supposed to get here which was 7:30am (he arrived around 8am). there was also $120 for additional materials which i can understand, but i was surprised about the $60 permit fee. still, the work was good, and everything seemed to be done according to code.
while waiting for the old water tank to completely drain, i helped my father put up some closet shelving, install an air conditioner in the larger bedroom, and bring the older moldy air conditioner outside so we could try cleaning it with a pressure washer. when the tank finally drained completely, we moved it onto the car and left for home depot a bit before 11am.
it took some effort to lift the water tank from the car onto a flatbed cart. a few passerbys in the parking lot even volunteered to help. we finally managed to load it onto the cart along with the new water tank box in case they needed to scan that. getting a warranty replacement for a water tank is complicated, mainly because they don't do it very often, so it took 3 customer service workers to figure it out, which held up the line. so this is how it basically works: after they enter the serial and model number, verifying that the tank is still under warranty, they make you pay again for another new replacement tank, then they refund the cost of the new tank we previously bought, and an additional refund for the warranty replacement credit. it's complicated, i still don't think i completely understand. in the end, the replacement credit was $450, so we still had to pay $180 for the new tank. that $450 credit just about covered the cost of installation.
we checked out their parking lot garden department before leaving. it was a very windy day and a lot of plants were getting toppled. home depot was surprisingly busy this late morning, which was surprising. maybe all this warm and sunny weather is getting people in the mood for home renovation and garden work.
my godmother's son alex showed up right when we got back to the cafe around noontime. he was getting some motorcycle accessories from the basement and said he was ready to move his motorcycle as soon as the new battery he ordered arrives. i ended up riding home soon afterwards.
even though i was hungry earlier, by the time i got home i wasn't very hungry anymore. i just had some rice pudding which was enough. in the afternoon i took the utility bike to market basket to get some groceries.
also in the afternoon i watched some junkies load up a fix and shoot up drugs right on my doorstep. there was 4 of them, really sketchy looking (i'd never seen them before), and they were hanging outside my house so i watched them through the blinds. two of them left while the other two stayed behind, using my steps as a makeshift table. at first i thought one of them was rolling up a joint, but then i saw he was crushing some kind of white powder. was he going to smoke it, or snort it? then from their jackets each of them took out a syringe. oh they're going to shoot up. i watched as one of them shot up in his arm before they both left.
in the late afternoon i finally had some time to work on my utility bike. i moved it to my backyard deck and flipped the bike upside down. after removing the rusty chain, i removed the old derailleurs. besides the derailleurs, the shift cables were so rusty i couldn't remove them so i ended up clipping them instead. installing the rear derailleur was easy. the front derailleur was more challenging because i needed to use the provided insert shim to fit my bike frame. another problem is the derailleur might activity conflict with my rear fender. i ended up not installing the front derailleur until i took a closer look at the instructions.
i replaced the front wheel. after putting on a new rim tape (red), i removed the tube and tire from the old wheel and transferred it onto the new one. i used my plastic tire levers because i didn't want to scratch the new rim. i thought about testing the tube first for leaks, but decided i wouldn't waste time and install the tube/tire right away. if the tube continues to leak, i'll just put in a new one. after that i installed it on the front forks easily, perfect fit. i soaked the rusty chain in some old rust remover solution. like the tube, i also thought about replacing the chain, but i'll see how clean they are after the rust treatment. after the chains had been soaking for a few hours, i dunked the cassette on the rear wheel in the rust remover.
feeling a little hungry in the early evening, i snacked on some homemade bread (softened by baking in the toaster oven for a few minutes) with some brie cheese spread. lounging on the couch, i felt the effects of waking up so early this morning and soon fell asleep. i didn't wake up until 9pm, where i marched into the kitchen to reheat the last of my pasta leftover for dinner.