once i placed my wet laundry in the dryer, i biked up to the malden 88 super market around 9:20am to get a few things. that early in the morning there was little traffic and i made in there in just 17 minutes. my mother needed char siu sauce, which i forgot to get her when i went to chinatown via motorcycle wednesday morning. i also wanted to get some snacks for myself. i spent a little more freely now that i have some income; in the past i would've had to debate whether something was worth getting, but now if it looked interesting, i bought it. the total came out to about 2-1/2 hours of census work.
i returned home by 10:30am. the sky looked a bit ominous and i was worried it might rain, but it was all a bluff, since by noontime the sun was back at full strength again. i found myself sizing up houses i passed along the way, whether they'd be easy or difficult to enumerate. single family houses, i love them. multi-family houses with broken doorbells, i hate. apartment complex with cramped and hot entrances, i hate the most.
after folding my laundry (they were dried by the time i got back), i went out briefly to the dollar store to look for clamp jars. i've wanted to get them for some time now, and every time i'd go to that store i'd debate whether or not to get them. apparently i waited too long because they were all sold out. i wanted to get one to see if the lid would fit on the 4 liter fido jar i picked up a few days ago. instead i bought a few random containers (cereal tub, salad dressing dispenser) as well as a sewing kit.
i took the motorcycle to belmont around 11:30am. nobody was home - my parents were at their acupuncture appointment in framingham - except hailey who came out to greet me before she started barking to go outside.
i opened a bag of frozen french fries and was about to cook them in the air fryer for lunch when i noticed my parents were back. these frozen french fries are not as good as simply using raw potato slices. you would never mistake them for restaurant quality fries. my mother also made some rice noodles for everyone. i ate quickly, as i had a census face-to-face meeting at danehy park at 1pm.
it took me less than 10 minutes to get there from my parents' place. i could spot the census group immediately, as there were a handful of people standing around the parking lot underneath the shade of a tree. some were even carrying the census bag which meant they were still working today. i met my supervisor for the very first time, up to this point i only recognized her from voice. she sounded a lot like andrew's mother and a part of me was kind of hoping to see her that way, which was entirely not the case. we waited a few more minutes for people to arrive, in the meantime everyone texted their name to the group chat group as a way of introducing ourselves, take attendance, and allow people to match the number to a name and a face.
once the bulk of of group arrived (about 10 people out of the 20 or so my supervisor manages), we moved to a larger shady area of a nearby copse to have the meeting. someone brought a chair for himself but offered it to our supervisor. the meeting was supposed to be only an hour but ended up being 2 hours. i didn't mind as i was getting paid for my time regardless. i don't think i learned very much, or nothing i didn't already know from being out in the field enumerating for 8 days. it was just nice seeing other enumerators. i was a little concerned that some people weren't wearing their face masks correctly (mouth covered but nose exposed), including our supervisor.
an old man in a pickup trucker was eyeballing my motorcycle as i was about to leave. "750cc engine, goes up to 100mph," i told him, as he seemed to be interested. he and i both agreed motorcycles are dangerous. i told him about my accidents (road rash, broken foot), he was amazed i could keep on riding after that.
in the late afternoon my father and i took an inspection of the squash plants. he'd already removed one of the larger buttercup squash: not because it was getting too heavy, but because he was afraid it was stunting the growth of the squashes further done the vine. i found a few more vine borer eggs, and another possible infection site on one of the lower stems. the old stem where i injected Btk last weekend was a little soft, but still seemed to be holding together. i didn't notice any new frass, which is a good sign that whatever was inside the stem is now dead. i mixed a new batch of Btk solution, 5 oz. this time with 1/8 tsp of safer concentrated caterpillar killer. even that was way more than i needed. i wonder if it'd just be easier if i used the Btk solution undiluted, since i'm only injecting 1ml (1cc) at a time. in hindsight, i should've gotten a 3ml syringe instead (which was the size i used to have), but with a bigger capacity means thicker needle. the 1ml syringes have a very thin needle that goes into the squash stems without causing any damage.
i received an e-mail from the census today, letting us know of enumeration bonuses for the next 3 weeks: $50/week bonus if you work 15-24 hours and complete 0.75 cases per hour; 25+ hours with a 0.75 case/hour completion rate gets $100/week; and finally, if you go an entire 3 weeks working 25+ hours and complete 0.75 cases/hour, you get a $500 bonus. the reason is because they're pushing to get the count done by the end of september, since it wasn't able to get an october extension. just what exactly constitutes a completion i'm not sure. does confirmation from a proxy that a housing unit was vacant on april 1st count as a completion? or do completions only mean completing a full census interview? our supervisor also told us during our afternoon meeting that she heard that the census might layoff people the closer we get to the end date, only to keep the enumerators with a successful track record.
after dinner i returned home, didn't get back until 8:20pm. a package was waiting for me on my doorstep, the plastic garlic bowl i ordered a little more than a week ago. it got here awfully fast for something that shipped out of china with free postage. first thing i noticed was it has a smaller storage space than my terracotta garlic keeper. i'll use this plastic one for the time being, but at some point i'll just buy a new clay garlic keeper.
i also received a census letter with my invoice for week one. they'd already paid me, but i could finally see how they broke down the withholdings. i discovered my hourly rate is actually a little higher than what i thought it was; the topic of money was only brought up one single time during my initial phone interview before i was hired and then never again. anyway, actually a little more than 8% of gross income gets taken by the government: federal withholding, medicare, FICA, and state withholding. working freelance and not having received a paycheck with deductions in a long time, i'd forgotten just how painful it is to see how much the government takes out from each paycheck. hopefully i can get a little of it back come tax season next year, gives me an incentive to file early.
a shower, then spent the rest of the evening surfing the web and watching edge of tomorrow on TNT.