kevin has been here for almost 3 weeks, and i'm still trying to figure out his morning routine. he seems to be waking up later and later, but i think i finally nailed down a working schedule. on average he wakes up at 9am. so i've adjusted my nest thermostat heating accordingly, turn it on at 8:30am and back off an hour later, to perfectly coincide with the time that he gets up.

when i got out of bed around 9am this morning he was already up, eating in the kitchen with all the lights. he left for work a bit after 9:30am, forgetting to turn off the kitchen lights. this has happened a few times (bathroom, kitchen, bedroom, foyer); one more time and i'll need to have a talk with him. he's not the type of person who turns off the lights after he leaves the room. i hate people like that, especially since i for all the utilities.

my christmas cactus bloomed over the weekend, after i noticed small flower buds a few weeks ago. it flowered late this season, normally i start seeing flowers around november. i think it's because i kept it outside during the summer, where it really filled out. years past it's always been on the thin side, which i think induces it to flower earlier than later. after the first flush however, i don't get as many flowers after that.

my backyard neighbor kate was getting her large oak tree pruned today. she sent out e-mail monday to get permission (if needed) for the tree pruners to come into our backyard. i said sure, but she needed written permission, and gave me a form to sign. the sound of chainsaws alerted me that they'd started working this morning. they trimmed off a lot of the lower branches, which now allows even more light to come into my south facing kitchen during the winter. i think however during the summer it'll still be shady.

one of the windows in my living room has developed a gap; this is what happens when you buy cheap vinyl windows instead of more expensive quality ones. not sure how long windows last anyway, these are almost 20 years old, so maybe they already reached their lifespan end. the gap is such that it allows a cold draft to come in. i've sort of patched it with a strip of foam weather seal, but it really should be caulked. i was thinking about going out today and getting some, but i remember i already had some in the house. they were in a plastic box, and while i was rifling through the items, i realized one of the caulk tubes had leaked, getting silicone oil everywhere. i spent some time cleaning everything up, tossing out that tube of silicone. i did however find a tube of clear acrylic latex caulk, which was exactly what i wanted. judging from the weight there was still a lot, but the nozzle was clogged with hardened caulk which i had to dig out with an awl. the nozzle had been cut in the past exactly to deal with this sort of thing. once the caulk was flowing again, it was just a simple matter of sealing the window gap. it came out as while but i believe it turns clear once cured. either way it doesn't matter, should be better than the foam strip i was using before.

after an english muffin sandwich for lunch, i biked down to my parents' place to perform the second soil drench on the grow room plants. temperature today would reach the 50's but i was still bundled up as there wasn't much sun starting in the afternoon.

i brought in the mail and did a maintenance round. the kitchen didn't have a rancid oil smell like last time, maybe it was the warm weather, maybe the ventilation helped; i'd still like to borrow my sister's ozone machine and run it in the kitchen to remove any remaining odor traces.

looking in the counter cabinets, the mousetrap wasn't flashing (which meant no mouse) but i didn't trust it and checked for myself and sure enough there was a dead mouse inside, which i buried in the backyard.

i filled the bird feeder last wednesday and filled it again today. it was doing that thing where only one of the three compartments was draining seeds out to the feeding dish. i ended up dumping out the seeds to see what the obstruction was, it was several large dried berries. i filled the feeder back up and hung it up again.

finally i went to the grow room. there was hardly any fungus gnats. the few that i saw were lurking at soil level, not like it was before when gnats would fly in my face. this only after the first of 3 phases of soil drenching treatment. i collected all the yellow sticky traps so i couldn't accidentally stick to one while watering the plants.

i started with the tabletop plants first: a tray of cactuses; 3 long containers of various chives, garlic chives, and scallions; a small hot pepper plant (it's probably close to dead, almost no leaves, what's left is aphid-infested); and a thai basil. the basil i sprayed with some insecticidal soap in the sink as well, along with the thai chili pepper plant. i also drenched the prayer plants, saving the orchids for later (last). i already had a bucket of Bti-infused water i made from 9 days ago (during the first soil drench), i wasn't sure how effective it'd be, but the water looked pretty cloudy, which i took to be a good sign (full of bacteria). i also made a bucket of fresh Bti-infused water.

i then moved on to the larger plants, mainly jasmines and one gardenia. instead of moving them out of the grow room, i watered them in situ. this time around the drenching went much faster. instead of thorough soaking the entire pot, i just watered enough of the surface so that it was soaked before moving on. i used 3 buckets of Bti-infused water last time; this time i only used 2 buckets. finally i watered the orchids, which involves pouring in the water, letting it sit briefly, before pouring the water back out.

next came the sticky traps. instead of saving some of the gently used traps, i decided to throw them all out and use new ones. this would also make it easier to gauge how many more fungus gnats there are. i still had some leftover traps from last time (ordered from amazon), but cut up one of the traps i got off of ebay. these came in smaller 15x10cm sheets, which when divided makes 8 traps. instead of a waxy white paper back, these just had a thin translucent plastic back. these didn't feel as sticky as the previous traps, but just a bit of stick will capture fungus gnats. traps made from these smaller sheets were easier to handle because each trap had a non-sticky edge to grab onto. i still had to scrub my fingers with a metal scouring pad and dish soap to remove the sticky residue.

so i'm going to wait 10 more days before doing one final Bti soil drench (so the weekend of the 25-26th). this combination of Bti soil drench, letting the soil dry out a bit, and yellow sticky traps, just might end up working. however, only for fungus gnats. we still have a problem with aphids attacking the pepper plant and to a lesser extent the thai basil and ficus topiary. there also seems to be some mites on the jasmine and gardenia (hopefully the insecticidal soap spraying over the weekend has slowed them down). finally, i brought the pothos from my parents' bedroom (where it doesn't get much light or warm temperature) down to the grow room as well.

i got back home by 3pm. united solar did send me the check for "reference bonus", which i cashed ($200) using my phone app. it was from a roofing company, so that's a third business these guys do, besides solar installations and general electrician work. a bit later i went to star market to stock up on some sugar bee apples.

kevin came home at 6:30pm, immediately turned on all the lights in the kitchen while making dinner. i started making my own dinner after he finished, around 7:30pm, which was basically heating a square of lasagna in the toaster oven.