i made it to belmont earlier than usual since today was the big day: major appliance buying on tax-free weekend. i did the math last night, i'm not really saving all that much, just 6.25%, the MA sales tax percentage. i just got wrapped up in the tax-free weekend hype, an event that hasn't really been advertised very much, such that my father even began to wonder if it was even going to happen. is it really cheaper to buy an appliance during tax-free weekend, or better to wait for one of those holidays when appliances go on sale?

however when i arrived in belmont a little before 11:30am, i got wrapped up in yard work. the grass needed mowing and today was a good day for it: despite it being very hot and humid (another 90°+ day, day 4 of the heatwave), the sky was overcast and there was a chance for some rain later in the afternoon. while my father got the mower ready, i was pulling up crabgrass in the front yard. i didn't change into my shorts yet so i was just wearing my khaki pants, sweating so much i'd soaked my polo shirt and dripping onto my glasses. once my father moved to the backyard, i went inside to fill up a nalgene bottle with ice water and finally change into some shorts.

we were finally done close to 1pm. i went inside to enjoy the air conditioning that'd be on full blast since this morning as well as to have some lunch. i had some fried zucchinis and eggs, slathered in that hot chili oil dipping sauce.

my father collected dried beans from 2 ripened long beans on the vine. they were practically falling out. my father said they taste good dried, but i told him we needed to save the beans for next year's plantings.

one of the hydrangea cutting has died. not sure the reason, i think it just rotted from being tented. while i removed the tents (just glorified plastic bags), i also released a cloud of gnat flies. i decided to move the surviving hydrangea outside, behind some plants so it wouldn't get any direct sun. i'll need to treat it with mosquito bits at some point, but the soil is still very wet.

then came the main event, tax-free appliance shopping. the first thing we bought was a new refrigerator for myself. i ended up getting the 18 cu.ft. whirlpool WRT518SZFM in stainless steel for $791. i already decided yesterday once i confirmed the depth was only 28in. not the advertised 51-5/8in. it's scheduled to arrive in 10 days, which means i have 10 days to clean out my old fridge in preparation for the new fridge.

next we moved onto a new fridge for my parents. when i saw the samsung 21.8 cu.ft. RF220NCTASR fridge door fridge with bottom freezer, i knew it'd be perfect for my parents' place since they have a height restriction of 65-1/2 in. and when i measured it yesterday the height was only 65-1/4 in. my father also went to go check out the fridge after work, and he said it was a very good fridge and would fit in their kitchen. however today i learned that even at 65-1/4 in. that was cutting it very close with no margin for error. the only way it could fit safely would be for use to shave a bit of the bottom trim of the above cabinets. it meant extra work, but we could make the cut look like it was part of the original design, round the corners, repaint it afterwards. so doable but needed some work. so while my father was taking a phone call, my mother asked if the fridge could even fit inside the house. i just assumed that it would, but i checked just to make sure. the smallest dimension on the fridge is the width at 29.75 in. unfortunately, the doorways in my parents' house are only 29 in. i couldn't believe it. i measured every possible way to move something inside the house, and there was no way around the physical reality. if we removed the door stops on either side of the doorways it'd be a standard 30 in. width, that would involved destroying the door stops (can't imagine how we'd remove it without using crowbars to pry off those pieces) then putting then back in place. but what if we needed to move the fridge someday? there was no way around it. you shouldn't have to change the layout of the house just to make room for an appliance. even with the doors removed, the fridge was still 30.88 in. deep.

i was already fantasizing about playing with a french door fridge, all the cool ways to use it and customize the adjustable shelves and bins. those fantasies will never become reality.

resigned to the fact that there will be no french door fridge at my parents' place, we tried to see if we could extend the life of our existing fridge. first we wanted to see how much electricity it uses per day. if it's an energy drain - this old fridge after all is from the 1990's - we would definitely replace it. my father and i pushed the fridge out from the wall so we could reach the outlet and install an energy monitor. underneath the fridge was a carpet of dust, dried up liquids, and mouse droppings. while my father cleaned the floor, i clean the dust and oil splatter from the top and sides of the fridge. my father then started cleaning the radiator grills, as they were completely dust covered. we used a small nozzle attachment on our shark vacuum to get into the small spaces to suck out decades worth of dust. once that was done we pushed the refrigerator back into place. maybe now with the radiator grills cleaned it'll operate better, get colder with less amount of energy.

we also ordered a new door gasket for the fridge. the moldy gasket was the original reason why my mother wanted to get a fridge a few weeks ago. i told her we can clean it, but it's already cracked in places, better to replace it. for our GE fridge model TBHA18ZRERAD, i found the parts number: WR24X450 for the fridge door gasket, WR24X449 for the freezer door gasket. genuine GE brand door gasket was $115, while the freezer gasket was even more expensive at $154. but leave it to ebay to save the day, where i found a WR24X450 gasket for just $33.50, delivered by next thursday.

i did come up with a few possible candidates if my parents' old fridge is simply too old and needs to be replaced. maybe not this year, but eventually the fridge will fail and we'll need to get a new one. originally before i discovered the samsung fridge, my parents had their eyes on the whirlpool 18 cu.ft. WRT318FZDW ($701). it's got a lot of storage options on the door and it's one that's 65.375" so it'd fit underneath the cabinets. there's the GE 19.2 cu.ft. GTS19KSNRSS ($858), which also has a lot of storage options, including 2 adjustable door bins. it has a height of 65.875" which would definitely require some cabinet trimming to get it to fit. finally another whirlpool, the 20.5 cu.ft. WRT311FZDM ($989). with a height of 65.5" it'd fit underneath the cabinets with just a tiny amount of trimming. but what i like about that model is it has 3 adjustable door bins along with an built-in egg shelf and a butter cabinet. what i don't like though is the open bottom vents and the fact that the crisper drawers are two different sizes for some reason.

our last appliance purchase of the day was another upright freezer for the cafe. my father wanted to get the same exact one that they have now, a 21.3 cu.ft. GE upright freezer FUF21DLRWW, to replace a dead chest freezer. we bought int back in april 2018, from costco of all places, for $740. fast-forward 3 years later, not sure if there was a super sale back then, or prices have just gone up, but the same exact upright freezer now sells for $948 (plus another $25 to remove the old chest freezer), a $200 markup. my mother said it was too expensive and that we could make do with the freezers that we currently have, but my father really wanted to get another one, and he thinks fridge/freezer prices will only get more expensive in the coming future. besides, they didn't have any in stock until the end of october, so if we find a better bargain in the next 2 months, we can always cancel this order. so we ended up buying another 21.3 cu.ft. GE upright freezer (energy star rated). my father love these GE upright freezer so much, this one is actually our third; back in july 2019 we bought a smaller 14.1 cu.ft. GE upright freezer for $600.

it was too hot to be outside today. i did go out briefly to take some photos of the bitter melons using my wide angle lens. this past week my parents picked off another 3 bitter melons: 2 to give to my 2nd aunt, and one for them to eat. they had some leftovers, crispy raw bitter melons, salted, then blended with sugar, vinegar, and chili oil. i asked my mother why they didn't cook with it, she said with bitter melons so fresh, they're good enough to eat raw, which preserves their crispiness.

my father fried up some porkchops for dinner, using the technique of sweet potato starch to make the breading extra crispy.

after dinner we installed the new UV fluorescent lights that came for the bug zapper. it worked, meaning there was nothing wrong with the the UV lights look rather prezapper other than two old bulbs. tty in a deadly electrocuting sort of way. my father will put it back at the cafe on tuesday. these things are only good at catching large house flies. and moths, they' irresistible to moths. smaller bugs like fruit flies and mosquitoes rarely get zapped. mosquitoes maybe, but fruit flies impossible since they could never touch the two energized poles simultaneously to get zapped.

the sky looked like there might be a colorful sunset with interesting clouds. i stayed in belmont to take photos, but my mother left without me, making her way up to the reservoir, the highest point in the area. i left a short time later, walking up with my wide angle lens. i think a better choice would've been to launch my drone and get some photos that way. once i reached the top of the reservoir, i took some photos. i didn't see my mother but from her google location i knew she was on the other side of the reservoir. i thought it'd be buggy, but there were so many large dragonflies swarming around, i think they kept the mosquitoes in check. i went back to the house, hoping there'd be enough colors to warrant launching the drone. by the time i got back though, it was mostly cloudy by that point.

i got back home by 8pm. a few packages were waiting for me on my doorstep: my new leather motorcycle gloves ($22) and my hanes boxers. even though i got them in small, the gloves were still a little big for me. i got it for the snap enclosure, but they were designed for bigger hands, so even with the snaps closed they still sit loosely on my wrists (in hindsight adjustable velcro would've been better, like my old gloves). i would return them but the amazon seller has a restocking fee, and it's not worth the hassle. maybe i'll grow into them. i needed to replace my old gloves anyway, they're almost falling apart (velcro strap not sticking, strap almost falling off), but i've had them for so long now, they fit very well. if i ever get new gloves i'll make sure to try them on first, or order from a place that has free returns. as for the underwear, it was 5 pairs for $14.28. the photo in the amazon ad looked like they'd be blue plaid, which is what my old boxers were, but these came in all sorts of different patterns, from multiple-colored plaid to flowers. they're okay, i like a little variety, but i still prefer the traditional blue plaid. they're also not 100% cotton, so they feel like cheap fabric, but i'm hoping they'll feel nicer once i've had some time to break them in. i don't like the waistband though; not that it's uncomfortable, but they're branded with the words "hanes". i prefer clothes with zero branding, i don't like giving clothing companies free advertising.

i bought a mi band 6 tonight for $38. the ones that i and my family use are mi band 4. i was hoping to give it to my mother, who uses her fitness tracker more than anyone else. the band 6 has a bigger screen which makes it easier to read. it also has an oximeter but i don't know how accurate it is. it does have better sleep tracking though.