i had the unpleasant task of calling up comcast/xfinity to renegotiate internet plans. not only for myself, but for my parents as well, both contracts expiring in a matter of weeks. i was looking over the bills to familiarize myself with what we're currently paying when i discovered that xfinity had been charging me since may a equipment fee of $2.90/month for a tv box and remote. i never had to pay a fee before, not since i cut the cord back in june 2016, almost 5 years ago. and i would've definitely returned the equipment, knowing how comcast loves to charge a fee for just about anything. so before i could get the plan negotiation, i first had to solve the case of the mysteriously materializing equipment fee.

bethany was my agent this morning, i finally managed to get ahold of a live agent after 5 minutes of working the automated phone tree. when she checked my account, she could see i didn't have cable service because it'd been long enough it wasn't in the record anymore. i told her i returned my cable equipment when i got rid of cable, and in fact, i don't even use a comcast modem, but instead use my own, that's how much i try to stay away from any comcast equipment. i told her i never had an equipment fee before, but one just magically appeared one day. she told me they periodically do equipment audits, and maybe they discovered i still owe them some equipment. the idea was outrageous, and bethany said she'd open a troubleshoot ticket, but i was feeling she didn't believe me, and i would end up paying the equipment fee forever, since i didn't have any other recourse. finally she told me it'd be okay, and while i was trying to figure out what to do next, she heard back from her technician who said they found my old equipment after all. bethany said they'd reimburse me for the $30 they already charged.

next on the agenda was to renegotiate my internet plan, set to expire by month's end. i currently pay $59.99/month for internet only (100/5Mbps), which might seem like a lot, but i used to pay $80/month before i found out about the promotion one day when i called comcast about something else unrelated. bethany told me about a new 200/5Mbps plan for the same amount i was paying now ($59.99), the only caveat being it's only for one year, with the price jumping up to $95/month once the contract expired. comcast is always trying to push people to faster speed, enticing them with low initial monthly rates before it skyrockets later on. i'm happy with 100Mbps download, that's plenty fast (it used to be 60Mbps download before comcast bumped it up for everyone in order to stay competitive with verizon FIOS which is 200Mbps), but if a temporary speed increase meant i could stay at my current rate, i'd take the deal.

so bethany texted me a link to a contract page which i'd sign digitally. looking over the plan, i noticed the 200Mbps speed was actually an option. i asked if i could just get the 100Mbps instead, with the caveat being the price would go up to $70/month in year 2. why that wasn't offered to me initially is probably because comcast makes their agents always push for the higher plan (potentially more expensive). so she made the change and sent me a new contract. it was essentially the plan i have now, with a price increase of $70/month in year 2 instead of $80/month.

the final item i had left for bethany was to renegotiate my parents' internet plan. there's is a lot easier because unlike cambridge where comcast/xfinity has a monopoly in highspeed internet, in belmont they can choose between comcast or verizon. my parents currently pay just $40/month for the same plan i have (because they're relatively new customers, unlike me; with comast the longer you stay the more you pay), which i thought was to expire in 2 weeks. but bethany told me only their contractual obligation expired in 2 weeks, but they were still entitled to the $40/month plan for another year. so i didn't have to do anything, they're safe until next year, which means switching to verizon FIOS (which is $50/month).

once i was finished talking with bethany, i called comcast again, this time their internet essentials number. i was calling to see if i could pick up the internet equipment for my sister's godmother. when i spoke with someone yesterday they said i'd require my sister's godmother's id, but i get a different answer every time i call, and i was hoping today i'd get the answer i wanted. the agent i spoke with added my name in the application note. i asked her what i needed to pick up the equipment. she said i'd need to show my sister's godmother's id, but the way she said it sounded like i could just show them a photo, and that was something i could do. later i had my sister send me her godmother's id photos, which she has on file for some reason.

finally after an hour on the phone i was done with comcast/xfinity.

i put my umbrella plant in the bathtub and sprayed it with some commercial grade insecticidal soap. i'm hoping the aphids are no match from this latest round of treatment. the plant itself is getting awfully big, i need to trim it at some point and try to root the pruned branches.

after a matcha latte for lunch, i rode the bike to market basket to get some groceries. temperature was in the upper 50's, warm enough that i didn't need my jacket, i just wore a sweater. trying to lose some weight, i have salad on the mind this weekend, although i did get a package of corned beef, figured i could keep it in the fridge as emergency food since the expiration date said it could keep until june. i also bought some almond milk, getting sick of regular milk for my lattes (besides, whole milk spoils so quickly). they also had chicken feet, i bought two packages, along with some chicken gizzards and hearts.

after unloading some groceries into the fridge, i took the rest to the cafe. i was planning on visiting the fresh pond comcast/xfinity, and decided to go there first instead of the cafe. i was returning some unused xfinity streaming boxes (xfinity's version of a roku box) since i never got them to work and they were just gathering dust in my house. afterwards i tried to pick up the internet equipment for my sister's godmother. when the woman checked her computer, she couldn't find the phone number, the home address, or the application id. it almost felt like the 3 weeks of calling was in vain, because apparently whatever it was that snagged the application initially was still happening, no progress. embarrassingly, i had to leave the store and call comcast from outside. i was on the phone for nearly half an hour, just standing outside, being on hold for most of the time, before i couldn't take it anymore. when my agent got back on the phone with me, i told him i was hanging up, and hopefully they can get everything resolved without having me on hold.

from fresh pond plaza i biked to the cafe. my 2nd aunt and godmother were both there in their knitting circle. my godmother had just gotten her first dose of moderna this morning. i dropped off the chicken feet and gizzards, and told my father i wasn't successful in getting the internet equipment. i tied the seed starters to the back of my bike and returned home.

i'm trying hard to not snack so much, or only stick to healthy snacks. it didn't help that i only had a matcha latte for lunch. i ended up eating some stuffed grape leaves.

in the evening i made a chicken caesar salad. i bought a caesar salad kit which contained a bag of romaine lettuce, a packet of caesar salad dressing, some parmesan cheese, and a few croutons. i could've easily assembled my own ingredients, but this way my portion size is already measured (although the package said it was 3 servings; i ate the entire bag). i had some leftover frozen chicken thighs in the freezer which i thawed out earlier. after coating them with olive oil, kosher salt, and fresh ground pepper, i grilled them in my smokeless foreman. i haven't used the foreman in a while, but i have a feeling it's making a comeback. i used a meat thermometer to make sure the chicken was cooked (close to 20+ minutes) before taking them off the grill. note to self: chicken thighs don't go too well with caesar salad, because of the mixture of dark and white meat along with pieces of skin; i prefer the classic chicken breast when it comes to salads. i was worried that eating a salad on a cold night would feel lousy, but fortunately it wasn't too cold tonight since the temperature outside today had been so warm.

the delivery service for costco contacted me tonight regarding my sister's godmother's new full size mattress and box spring. they will arrive between 12-2pm, so i need to be at the apartment during that time. i'm hoping to get some mcdonalds afterwards.