there is no rest when you're on the census payroll. i found that out last night. even though i said i wouldn't be available to work on saturday, imagine my surprise when i looked at my census phone and saw 77 cases waiting for me. that had to be a mistake. but was it? maybe i accidentally said i could work on saturday. the census was gaslighting me somehow, making me think it was my idea.

regardless, i couldn't do anything about it until this morning. my plan to sleep late wouldn't be realized as i slept restlessly, worried that i had work the next day. i woke up at 8:30am and when the clock turned 9am i sent my new supervisor a text message, saying that the census gave me work even though i said i wouldn't available. he replied shortly after, said it was a known bug, didn't say anything after that. so all that worrying for nothing. the weird thing is by noontime, the case list updated, and now i just had 25 cases, still all the leftover ones i couldn't do from this past week. i'm afraid come monday all these same cases will show up again. like a turd that won't flush.

i went to star market this morning to stock up on schweppes seltzer, still on sale. there was just two flavors, plain and black cherry. i opted for black cherry, had to buy 4 in order to score the discount. i also got some caramel vanilla cream green mountain coffee for my mother.

with two cases of seltzer in the rear bike baskets along with a watermelon strapped over the top, i began to slowly wobble cycle my way to belmont. along the way i passed by houses and apartments i'd enumerated over the past weeks, i didn't want to look at any of them. i arrived by 10:30am, my father already waiting for me outside, as he promised my aunt and uncle we'd go to their place to drop off a bottle of sour plum juice and pick up some hardy chrysanthemums.

my aunt had already left for her tennis game, only matthew was at home, gardening in the backyard. he gave us a tour of what was growing in late summer. he had a bunch of delicata and butternut squashes (our own delicata and butternut came from him). the flowering vine that i saw back in spring that i thought were clematis is actually a red mandevilla. he also had hops growing in the back of his garden; my father snipped off a branch to propagate some of his own. we dug up two hardy chrysanthemums matthew had transplanted and returned to belmont. we also took a broken solar floating fountain, figuring we might be able to fix it.

we returned home before my mother came back from her walk. she made some wonton soup for lunch. afterwards i assembled the shark apex vacuum that'd arrived on friday and showed my mother how to use it. she had taken it out of the box yesterday and already said it was too heavy. but i showed her that once it was in operation, it's actually not that heavy. i have a shark rocket vacuum of my own, purchased in july 2016 to replace my old circa 1992 eureka mighty mite vacuum that my former roommate mary smashed into a million little pieces during a psychotic episode. the shark rocket is a great vacuum (shark still sells them), but the shark apex is their next generation corded stick vacuum. the vacuum head has two brushrolls: one for carpets (brush roller), one for floors (soft roller). the brush roller is also designed to be self-cleaning so hairs don't get caught inside, something that happens periodically with my shark rocket. there are also lights, both on the vacuum head and the handheld unit. and it came with a myriad of attachments, way more than i ever got with my rocket.

we took a simple pass of the living room rugs, and when it came time to empty the dust cup, we were shocked by how much dust and dog hair had accumulated. there was so much dust it formed a cone shaped donut that fitted over the mesh exhaust filter inside the dust cup. there was no doubt this vacuum sucks in a very good way.

i paid $116 (including taxes) for a factory refurbished model (costco sells a similar model for $170 with less accessories, currently out of stock). true, the handheld unit of the apex seems a bit bigger and heavier than my rocket, but that's only because it's packed with more features: besides the light, it has a dust cup that's detachable, and has both pre-motor and post-motor filters (although not HEPA certified). but the weight was something my mother had the hardest time reconciling: she simply wanted a vacuum that was light and easy to use. my sister stopped by at some point, and seeing us with our new vacuum cleaner, decided to go home and get her cordless dyson ($350-400) to compare, which she believed is the best vacuum ever made. i tried both, and although i agree that the dyson is lighter and more convenient, it doesn't clean as well as the shark apex. the dyson doesn't have a motorized vacuum head, but instead the vacuum head operates through the suction from the handheld unit. the shark apex on the other hand does have a motorized vacuum head, and will pull the vacuum, particularly on carpets.

i don't know if my mother ended up liking the shark apex or not. whatever the case my be, it's still a lot better than the dyson canister vacuum they currently have, something my parents bought on my recommendation, but in hindsight is a terribly hard to use vacuum, and now seems to be replaced by dyson's cordless vacuums.

my new supervisor sent us an e-mail today. unlike our previous supervisor, he asked us for our personal e-mails when he first introduced himself, said it was a more efficient way to communicate. up until that point, we only knew each other from our census phone numbers, so there was some anonymity. anyway, the e-mail said for phase 2 we were simply enumerating as many addresses as possible. wasn't that also the point of phase 1? but now we're in the closeout stage, and every day we'll get the same addresses, and we're supposed to work then as often as possible in order to close. wasn't i doing that all this past week? so which stage are we in then? am i ahead of the curve or is that e-mail too little too late? seems like it should've been sent last week, instead of the weekend we're due to close up work. it would've been nice to know that i was going to be enumerating the same cases day after day, instead of discovering that on my own cosmic horror style. there will also be two conference calls tomorrow, either 10am or 6pm, but once again, it seems a little late when we should've been contacted a week ago. maybe our new supervisor has a lot on his plate, but i'm not feeling the same level of attention we got from our previous supervisor, who was much better. good news is depending on how long the call will take, i can count that as work, so the longer the better.

in the backyard, i didn't see any woodchuck damage, but a part of the fence looked like it had been dug from our side of the yard. later my father spotted another new hole, i think the woodchuck used that hole to return to its den. we ended up blocking that hole with some more bricks. we planted the chrysanthemums, one in the front yard on the western side of the house, another in the backyard, between our two flowering trees. i cut back all the ornamental grass and we dug up that whole area. mixed in with the ornamental grass are spiderwort roots. they look similar, but the grass roots look more fibrous and resemble bamboo roots (something i'm intimately familiar with) while the spiderwort roots look like chow mein noodles. we threw out the ornamental grass but saved the spiderworts, replanting everything along with the chrysanthemum. i also helped my father prune his dragon fruit cactuses. later we planted the hop plants, applying some rooting hormone beforehand.

i tried fixing matthew's solar water fountain but it was too badly damaged. i cleaned out the pump section and put everything together but when i exposed it to the sun it didn't do anything. the fountain might've been left outside during the winter, or left to run dry for an extended period of time, whatever the reason, it could be beyond saving, just use it for parts instead. i found our two unused solar water fountains and they work fine. i haven't used it this summer because if hailey sees it she'll attack it.

my mother was cooking tonight when she was chopping some green long horn peppers she got one that was unusually hot and the juice managed to seep into her hand to the point where it was too painful for her to cook so my father had to take over. she spent the next hour trying out various remedies for reducing "hot hands": baking soda paste (that worked, but once you removed it her, it started hurting again), alcohol wash (works while there's alcohol, but started hurting once the alcohol dried), washing (didn't do anything), and ice pack. later we were having dinner and she said be careful of the hot peppers but they were nothing, so i think she just had a freak capsaicin accident.

one reason why i biked to belmont today (besides needing to carry a lot of cargo) was so i'd have a chance to use my new P2R 800 lumens bike light. just how bright was it? even just at 400 lumens it was blinding, but that's the bare minimum if i want to illuminate the roadway. i didn't dare set it to 800 lumens (650 ft throw distance), that's simply too bright. at 400 lumens the battery should last 2 hours and 10 minutes; at 800 lumens only 1 hour and 20 minutes. 200 lumens 4 hours 30 minutes, 100 lumens 8 hours and 10 minutes. if i just want to be seen, i can just use 100 lumens, but i kind of like being able to see the road clearly as well, catch any potholes or debris.

as i made my way home, i noticed that every time i hit a bump, the light would droop down because it was too heavy for my extension bar. i either needed to tighten the bar or find a new configuration where the bar would drop from the weight of the light. the best thing about the P2R is the battery level indicator.

entering my backyard, i saw something jump out of the shadows and disappear underneath my neighbor's porch. a baby rat! it's the second time i've seen a rat in my backyard this week, the other time was taking out the trash and seeing an adult rat running away. thanks to the green line extension project, a lot of displaced rats have moved elsewhere, like our neighborhood. actually i saw a rat yesterday as well, around 6pm, when it was still daylight, running towards a group of contractors who were talking. they were in as much disbelief as i was to see a rat approach people so casually. what this neighborhood needs is some feral cats. sure, they might kill the occasional bird or two, but that's the price for reducing the rat population. if only there were cats that hunted only rats, they'd be the perfect urban animals.

i finished watching the second half of the celtics-raptors game when i got back home. toronto was dominant tonight. celtics managed to get close, but the raptors showed everyone why they're the defending champions. now it's a best out of 3 series. game 5 monday 6:30pm.