i called my father this morning asking if the nest thermostat was acting up today. he said so far it'd been quiet, which is a good sign. i adjusted the cafe heating schedule online as i noticed it was still set on 70°F late last night.

after a few slices of panettone for lunch, i went outside and did some yard work: raking up some leaves, branches, and acorn debris from the backyard, and pruning back some of the english ivy in both the backyard and front of the house. i also trimmed off the coleus flowers. i thought about visiting my community garden - which i haven't visited in weeks (actually a whole month)- but decided to postpone it until tomorrow. instead i biked to market basket to get some groceries. i decided tonight i would make lentil chicken soup. i realized i've never cooked lentils before, even though i have some in the house (left behind by former roommates 1 2).

i went to the cafe in the afternoon to test the motion sensing light strip we want to install in the stairwell of the upstairs apartment. i asked my father again if he heard any strange clicking from the basement furnace since we installed the 24vac transformer, and he said it's been very quite. also it was warm enough today that the furnace never kicked in, but that wouldn't affect the clicking issue, which is a side effect of the nest thermostat's proprietary power sipping technology. so the transformer may very well have fixed our problem. yes, it means having to rewire the thermostat whenever we switch from heating to AC, and we still need to snake the transformer wire behind the wall, but it beats having to return to using the manual honeywell mercury-switch thermostat.

my father and i went to the apartment and tested the led neon strip light. the light itself wasn't important - we can use any type of strip light we want. we were there primarily to check out where to mount the motion sensor so the stairwell light would turn on either from the top or the bottom of the staircase. we figured out the sensor works the best when we turn off the photo sensor and have it always turn on when it senses motion. we finally figured out a good spot, and will install the light at some future date.

while my father was testing the sensor, i was looking out the kitchen window into the neighbor's backyard. when i was there yesterday i noticed the large sunflowers the neighbors had grown. but there were these other plants i didn't recognize, nearly as tall as the sunflower stalks, green and leafy with no flowers that i could see. it took me a few seconds to go through my mental rolodex of plant identification before i realized what i was looking at: marijuana plants! i'd never seen cannabis live before, but i'm sure of it: growing in a secluded spot, with some sunflower screens. it was a little shocking but marijuana is now legal in massachusetts: a single person can grow up to 6 plants, while a household can grow up to 12. it's just surprising to see it being grown out in the open, i figured anyone who was growing would grow them indoors. even though marijuana probably grows best outdoors, the biggest problem is theft. these neighbors actually have a pretty good spot, no one else can see their pot garden except us.

speaking of grass, originally i wanted to go to belmont to water the lawn. but after doing some research yesterday, i realized it's now too late to grow any new grass as it takes 6 weeks for the grass to mature. we'll experience our first killing frost within that time which will pretty much end the growing season. next year, either start the grass early spring (march-april), or early fall (beginning of september). i also wanted to use up the water in the rain barrels, but it's going to rain so much later tonight, it won't make any difference, as there'll be enough rain to fill the barrels 2-3x over.

before i returned home, my parents gave me a container of tofu soup and leftover instant pot beef stew. my lentil chicken soup will have to wait until tomorrow or this weekend.

feeling snacky, i rummaged through my kitchen looking for something to eat. i've invested in some healthy snacks (carrots, celery, humus), and came across my container of tabouli salad which i like to eat with melba toast. not sure how healthy it was because i finished the whole container along with a box of melba toast. i have to think it should at least be better than the processed junk food i sometimes eat.

i called my father after my parents returned home, to ask him to unhook the terminal leads connecting the outdoor pump to the indoor battery. with the strong winds, there could be a good chance that the plastic bucket we use to keep the contacts dry will be blown away, exposing the contacts to the rain, and i didn't want the rain to cause a short circuit on the battery.

the weather wasn't all that bad today, temperature in the lower 60's, warm enough that i could get by in just a shirt and jeans. there was sun this morning, but by the afternoon storm clouds started rolling in, eclipsing the sunshine. the northeast will experience a bombogenesis event, pelting the area with torrential rain and winds later this evening. i didn't have dinner until much later (beef stew), to coincide with the 9:30pm broadcast of a new episode of single parents. my parents gave me some irish breakfast tea which i didn't like because it's too bitter and strong, had to take out the teabag otherwise it'd make the tea even more bitter. i like black tea where i can steep for a long time with no bitterness. i finished a honeycrisp apple before throwing out the trash.

by the time i threw out the trash it'd already started raining. rain i don't mind, but the winds scared me, afraid of falling tree branches or down power lines. it was heavy at times, the rain beating against the windows, the wind howling outside. it kept pushing the side door open, which beat against the side of the house; it was annoying enough that i went out a few times to slam the door shut, only to have it blown open again.