today was an absolutely horrible day weather wise, freezing rain, strong winds, no sun. after some yogurt and granola for lunch, i walked down to harvard square to return a pair of flannel-lined pants at the gap before taking the 73 bus to belmont (thankfully they moved the station back inside even though renovations aren't finished yet, to be continued come spring). the sidewalks were coated in a thin layer of slippery sleet that made walking treacherous. the wind was also especially strong, threatening to collapse my umbrella on several occasions. when i got to my parents' house, i was surprised they were already back from the cafe.

since today was my mother's birthday, she wanted to go out for dinner. so the rest of the afternoon we waited until evening. my parents continued watching national party political coverage, psyching themselves up for the taiwanese election they'll be participating in less than 2 weeks. more birds were back at the feeder, i was happy to provide food for them under these poor weather conditions. i also checked the flight time to make sure japan airline didn't make any changes to the itinerary.

my mother was speaking with my sister, who kept calling complaining about inane things. finally my mother had enough and told her she didn't care. overhearing the conversation, i casually asked my mother, "[my sister] isn't coming [to dinner], then?" my mother said she would still come, but minutes later she sent a text message saying she was out. so it was just my parents and me. since we didn't have to wait for my sister anymore, we decided to go to the restaurant early, a bit after 5pm. we were seconds away from leaving the driveway when a car drove up to the front of the house. it was my sister, who seemed to have forgotten she cancelled just hours ago, as if nothing happened. she later said she was texting somebody else, and my mother got the wrong message.

the only two food options my mother was interested in was either spring shabu shabu in allston or joyful garden in watertown. she decided on joyful garden, because she didn't want to stuff herself on a vegetarian hot pot buffet the night before she's due to fly to taiwan tomorrow. we'd been there the weekend after thanksgiving with pansusu and tangtang; the place was to capacity at that time; but today, on the penultimate day of the year, there was hardly anybody there. the waiter gave us a big round table, big enough to seat 5-6 people. for my sister, it was her first time, though she said she'd probably tell her friend about it, who loves eating at new places.

my mother thought about lobster but the 4-member family meal doesn't include that option, so we decided to order individual dishes instead. the food was adequate, the salt and pepper porkchop was terrible (bland, sweet, not at all salty or peppery, and the pieces too dig to easily digest), but we ordered too much, and ended up taking a good portion home, all donated to me as my parents won't be here.

it was raining even more heavily by the time we left, and in form of icy hail stones the size of rock salt. the roads turned instantly white as so much hail fell within a short period of time. there was also loud thunder and lightning that seemed right above us and rocked the area like a bomb dropping.

back at the house, my parents gave me more food, as they would all spoil if i didn't take them. my father gave me a ride back to cambridge. earlier at the restaurant i noticed that kevin was already home by around 5:30pm. half an hour later i noticed he'd turned on the heat. i know i showed him the thermostat but i didn't tell him one way or another whether he could adjust the heat, he just took it upon himself. he only cranked it to 66°F, so i didn't bother remotely tweaking the setting.

kevin was already in his bedroom with the door closed when i got back. there was no weird smells in the house, even though i knew he'd been cooking from all the pots and pans and dishes that were on the drying rack (after i put everything away earlier today). the thing that caught my attention right away however was the fact that the kitchen was pitched dark, meaning he jumped the breaker again by using the microwave and the electric kettle at the same time. i asked him through his bedroom door if he jumped the breaker, but he either didn't hear me or pretended not to, because he didn't respond back. annoyed, i went down into the basement to reset the breaker. i also noticed the washer/dryer door was opened again: did he try to do laundry again after having washed a few articles of clothing friday night? i looked in the dryer and there was a pair of jeans; he must've gotten soaked walking back from the office and decided to quick dry his pants.

i made a quick trip down the street to mail off some paid bills for bin bin: overdue gas bill and january's condo fee, a combined total of over $1000. she'd left some signed checks for my parents to use to pay her bills, but around thanksgiving they disappeared, most likely accidentally thrown out in some house cleaning purge.

later in the evening when kevin finally came out of his room to use the bathroom, i intercepted him and asked about the microwave/electric kettle situation. once again he told me he didn't notice anything, either he's very unperceptive or a complete liar. i repeated to him again that when he ran these two appliances together, it will shut off the electricity in the kitchen. you know this has happened because the fish tank will go dark, the aquarium heater will shut off, and eventually my fishes will freeze to death. i also asked him what time he usually gets up in the morning. he said 7:30am, i told him i'd set the heating schedule accordingly. finally, since i was airing grievances, i asked him when he peed in the bathroom if he could step closer to the toilet. i didn't tell him all the times i cleaned up after him, or all the times i nearly missed stepping in his pee. he was embarrassed and apologetic, i brushed it off as something that happens quite often with roommates (true), told him not to worry about it.

while checking the wyze event logs, i noticed 2 people ringing my parents' doorbell in the middle of the night. from the audio, i could hear my parents were also confused as to why their doorbell would be ringing so late (8pm) and on a such a terrible night that nobody who doesn't have to be out would be out. these 2 young men looked like mormon missionaries though, but why they would be ringing doorbells after dark seems suspicious. i called my father later who didn't quite understand what they were saying, but was concerned enough that he wanted to call the police. a lot of their neighbors are away for the holidays, and he thought maybe these 2 were imposters casing the neighborhood. i told him i recorded a video of encounter and he asked me to send it to him while he called the belmont police. the police actually said they would come by the house, which my father thought meant they'd come inside, but actually it meant they were just going to circle the neighborhood a few times to see if they could spot anyone suspicious. more than likely they were probably missionaries, their love of godly preaching overriding their common sense. it's not that it seems like a rude thing to do to be knocking on people's doors so late at night, it's downright scary because who in their right mind would answer?

even though it's my parents who are flying to taiwan tomorrow, i'm the one who's really nervous. not that i think anything will happen, but i always get nervous the night before i have to fly overseas, so naturally i'm nervous for them. i'm also nervous about the ride back, when i drive the car and return to belmont. i'm not a fan of going to or coming back from logan airport. i've done it enough times, but i still get in the wrong lane of traffic, miss an exit, take the long way home. traffic should be light tomorrow, new year's eve, a lot of people have the day off (so i'm hoping). i'll just listen to my tunes and carefully drive back into town. i'm also going to be nervous when they return, because the ETA is 5pm, in the heart of rush hour traffic. but that won't be until a few more weeks. in the meantime i can just let it play out in my head, so when it finally does happen i won't be as anxious.