i was going to replace the shifter cables today. i would soon discover the more i fix, the more things break. i started with something easy, the chain that'd been soaking in fresh evapo-rust. second time around all the rust came come, leaving the chain with a matte grey finish. i gave it a rinse in the sink, patted it dry with some paper towels, and installed it back onto my bike. it'd been a while and i had to look up how the chain loops through the rear derailleur cages to get it right.

the chain seemed to be rubbing up against the front derailleur on the largest chainring. i adjusted it so it was at the farthermost position but it was still rubbing. i decided to ignore it for the time being (might also require adjusting the rear derailleur in combination) as i had other things to work on.

it was time to open the shifter housing. i started with the SRAM TRX front derailleur trigger shifter (left side). there were screws on the to and a large bolt on the bottom, but i didn't know which ones to remove to opening the housing. i ended up taking all of them off but the shifter still wouldn't open. that's when i saw there was one more screw but it was behind the handlebar, impossible to access without taking off the shifter. to do that involves taking off the handlebar grips, which are very difficult to remove.

i first tried creating small gaps in the grip and dripping soap water into them. that didn't seem to do anything, just made the foam grip sudsy (like a sponge), which made it slippery and harder to remove. i tried to pound the grip off with a combination of wrench and hammer, but made no progress. i went back to the soapy water, digging a little deeper with the awl. the grip still wouldn't budge. i did manage to remove the outer foam layer. i went online to look for other ideas and somebody mentioned compressed air. i sprayed the gaps with a can of compressed air but it didn't do anything. (i think they mean air compressor with higher psi value). finally i tried twisting it bare-handed and trying to pull off the grip. i got the top part loose, and then suddenly i could feel the grip finally coming off. by then it was almost 1pm and i'd skipped lunch.

lunch would have to wait however because even though i finally managed to take the shfiter off of the handlebar, the moment i released the last screw and opening the housing, everything inside sort of popped loose. i carefully tried to keep everything intact and went inside to first take a photo before trying to reassemble the shifter. trigger shifters - though convenient - are complicated because they contain springs and gears and other mechanisms. i ended up with a jigsaw puzzle of parts trying to piece everything back together again. though it was frustrating, it was also kind of fun, like reassembling a jigsaw puzzle, looking at each parts and trying to figure out where it belong. i went searching online for manuals or diagrams or videos. there were a few, but they were for different model SRAM shifters, nothing that looked like what i had. it got to a point where i was considering buying new shifters if i couldn't figure out how to put this one back together.

before i was able to successfully reassemble the shifter, my father called me asking for help moving the large (8ft) raised bed containers the florist gave him. i'd been working on the bike since this morning so i was still in daze as i rode the motorcycle to the cafe. besides the beds, we also moved the window air conditioner we got from matthew last night. we brought it to the smaller upstairs apartment bedroom. i thought it was heavy but it's actually light enough for one person to lift. my mother got a bag of old yarn from KC, include a skein of zayre dupont orlon acrylic yarn. i haven't heard the name zayre in years, but i still have fond memories of the fresh pond zayre department store. i bought my first teddy bear there, and i remember they also used to have a small diner-style cafe there that served hot dogs.

i returned home by 3pm and continued trying to piece back together the shifter. one thing i figured out was it wasn't working before because i didn't have a shifter cable to provide the necessary tension. when i put back the cable and give it a pull, i was finally able to achieve all 3 speeds. i decided to take off the other shifter (7-speed), so i brought the bicycle back outside. i thought maybe it was compressed air that did the trick last time, but i now know compressed air (from a can) is useless when it comes to removing a bicycle grip. what did it was soapy water dripped into the grip gaps with an awl. i got it soapy enough to remove the outer foam layer first, then continued dripping soapy water. i used a rubber pad for traction (the same thing i use to open up jars) and first tried to wiggle the grip. when i got a little wiggle, i then heard the cracks of the grip releasing on the inside, and the whole thing finally slid off with ease.

i went back to the shifter, this time ready to finally reassemble it. i got the shifter cable and fed it through the shifter as i put the pieces together, adding some grease on each layer. it was slow going and the whole assembly had a tendency to pop out of position, but i'd taken it apart and put it back together so many times by that point, it was just a minor inconvenience. once that shifter was done, i worked on the other shifter. i made sure to open it very careful, learning from my mistake, not allowing any of the tightly-wounded mechanisms on the inside to pop loose. after threading in a new shifter cable, i screwed everything back into place. i also kept on thinking why i couldn't remember installing cables on these SRAM shifters, since it's so challenging i would've definitely documented all the steps. turns out, when i bought these shifters in march 2012, they came with cables built-in so all i had to do was run the cables to the derailleurs. so i've been using these shifter cables for 7 years without changing them, not too bad.

around 5pm i got a surprise e-mail from kevin of united solar. he wrote: "we can come out tomorrow to install this. we could be there between 8am and 9am if that works for you. we will need to get inside. does that work?" i replied immediately, said yes. i almost couldn't believe it. i've been emailing them a few times every week since march, and finally it's happening. actually i had dream last night where i visited the united solar office to ask about the status of our inverter, and somebody there just blurted out, "you want your inverter installed? you got it. we'll do it tomorrow." talk about prophetic! i also called solaredge technical support with a few questions. yes, the data can be transferred over, yes, the extended warranty will apply to the new inverter as well.

i didn't eat lunch until almost 6pm, pulled out a carton of egg & potato salad while watching the news on tv. today was a cloudy but warm day. in the late afternoon the sun even broke out a bit, though the sky was weird, clouds on top of clouds.

i finished watching all my gentleman jack episodes, up to number 5. HBO announced today (in conjunction with BBC production) that they're renewing the show for a 2nd season despite the low ratings. it's a really great show (though nothing like chernobyl), sort of like a hybrid of downton abbey and poldark. i wonder if there will be any gentleman jack cosplay during the pride parade in 2 weeks.

i didn't have dinner until 10pm, just a pair of beef hot dogs, started my memorial day food eating a few days early.