i finally replaced my face mask today. i just have two1: the black camouflage pattern cloth mask that my sister gave me and the disposable surgical mask i got from the waltham MGH at the end of april. the cloth mask i can wash; the disposable surgical mask i can't. the surgical mask is designed to be thrown out, and i've been wearing it for the past 2+ months as my everyday mask, from grocery runs to trips into boston, so it's gotten a lot of mileage. also a lot of germs too, as i've noticed some pimples on the lower half of my face from wearing a dirty mask. a mask change was long overdue. my parents gave me 3 surgical masks from taiwan (collected by my 2nd aunt when she was there at the start of the pandemic), so i used one of them. kevin also gave me some before he left, but they're pink, so i'd only wear them if i completely ran out of other masks.
i told them that putting the cash register at the far end of the store wasn't safe. a better option would be to move the register to the front of the store, leaving the back half of the cafe for employees only. i also used the chalk markers to write on the acrylic barrier - "order + pay here" for the register and "pick-up here" for a table where they can leave finished orders. i also moved a few extra chairs down into the basement.
i finally left before 11am. the sun was already baking the landscape, not a good time for watering, but we needed to empty the barrels anyway, and both electricity and water were free. i started by watering the front lawn. instead of snaking the hose from the eastern side of the house, i snaked it by the western side, where it was a shorter distance from front lawn to rear rain barrels and pump. i used my stationary sprinkler which didn't seem like it had a lot of power. the larger part of the front lawn i had to water in 2 sections, the middle lawn just 1 section, and the eastern front lawn in 2 sections as well. each section used up anywhere from 15-30 minutes of watering.
my parents told me that their next door neighbors finally got solar panels installed yesterday. the panels themselves arrived weeks ago, stored in the garage, while the neighbors were getting their house painted. instead of a mostly single roof like ours, they had a multi-roof (the house was an early rebuilt so has an unconventional style; now a quarter of all the houses in the neighborhood are rebuilt). the installers were still there today, an invaleon van and truck parked outside. two workers were busy doing some outdoor electrical work. they kept leaving and coming back, either on supply runs or maybe they had other projects to visit. i wanted to ask them about the specs but they seemed busy. what's weird is i never saw the neighbors; i figured they'd want to come out and admire their new solar panels but i was outside the whole time and didn't see them once.
afterwards i used the spray nozzle to water all the backyard plants with rain water. finally i set up the stationary sprinkler to water dry spots in the backyard lawn. by then (after watering non-stop for the past 2-1/2 hours) i'd depleted our rainwater supply to by a few inches, not enough for pumping, and i saw the sprinkler sputtering, which clued me in that our rain barrels were finally dry. when i went to the pump i could see it was trying to slurp what little water was left in the barrel but couldn't build up enough pressure. fortunately the seaflo is designed to run dry without problems so i wasn't worried about damaging the pump.
while i was doing all this yard work, i turned on the living room and bedroom AC's, setting them up on smart plugs so we can control them remotely. i came inside periodically, it felt so nice, like walking into a freezer, while outside it was hot and humid. i didn't have lunch and just had some cheddar and caramel popcorn which seemed to stave off my hunger pangs. i must've drank 3-4 cans of seltzer, could've easily drank a whole case. also during periods of rest i took showers to rinse off the stickiness. the sky looked like it might rain, as big puffy cumulous clouds kept passing overhead. but it was all for show, none of them strong enough to develop into rain clouds.
besides watering, there was also various other yard work:
i pruned the grapevines so the grapes were directly exposed to the sunlight. i accidentally pruned off a clutch of green grapes, but that's when i saw that some of the grapes already had black spots. i then went through and careful removed any grapes that had discoloration. if the infection continues, we may need to remove all the grapes this season (not much anyway, since we gave the grapevine a major pruning back in the spring).
i did a lot of weeding, from the raised beds to the perennial beds. i checked the squash and cucumber plants for vine borer eggs (front a few, not too much). when i was in belmont on monday my father moved one of the jasmine plants so it was sitting on top of the unused firepit. today i got some wooden planks to expand the platform and put another jasmine plant on top, since this is the sunniest area of the backyard. i moved the A-frame ladder back to where it used to be, by the ornamental grasses. i planted two sets of zucchinis in RB4. i collected most of the foxglove seeds. i planted the toothache plant seeds maureen sent me and soaked my tamarind seeds. i planted some more cilantro in the RB4 side plot. i mixed half a gallon of Bt solution and sprayed all the squash and cucumber plants.
my mother called me around 4pm asking to see if i was still in belmont. she asked me to stay because they were making fried porkchops for dinner. i was finally done with all the yard work by almost 6pm. i felt a little sunburnt, and took one more shower before my parents came home.
my father made the porkchops, my mother was too hungry that she started eating dinner without us. my father used panko crumbs this time, the pork had an amazing crispiness, most definitely tonkatsu style. i returned to cambridge a bit after 7pm, riding the bike, tagging pokeshops to fill up my items bag.
probably due to lack of sleep plus all the manual labor work i was doing today, i felt a little sleepy in the evening and decided to take a nap around 8pm on the couch. at some point for some strange reason i crawled onto the floor and slept there. i finally woke up by 10pm, my body a little stiff. i drink some cold snow chrysanthemum tea and had a peach. i turned on the AC when i first got home but turned it off about an hour later. the temperature outside was cooler than room temperature, but with so much insulation in the walls, it was hard to cool down the house. even when i leave all the windows and back door open at nights, it only really drops the temperature down by 2-3 degrees.
1 that's not entirely true: in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, our family friend who's a tailor made us cloth face masks. they're really nice, with a satin interior, but they're too thick and hard to breathe, so i've stopped wearing that one, that's kind of my backup if i run out of masks completely.