i left by 8:30am, google map predicted it'd take just 18 minutes to get there. it was a nice ride, i was going against traffic, there was hardly any cars once i got past arlington center. the sky was overcast, looked like it'd rain, but i checked the weather earlier, rain not expected until the early afternoon. temperature was also cool but a 3/4 sleeve raglan pullover was enough to keep me warm.
i ended up arriving at GBM with 5 minutes to spare. they weren't even open yet, but i saw somebody inside the service shop, so i put on my mask and went in. i spoke with frank, who came out to take a look at the bike. he took photos of the odometer and the license plate. he said he'd try to have the bike serviced by today, but said it'd be okay if i didn't pick it up until tomorrow or friday due to the oncoming rainstorm. i didn't ask how much it'd cost, but their website said annual motorcycle service (spring time) was $460.
the bus stop was just across the street. i checked my public transportation app, said a 77 has just passed 5 minutes ago, and there was a 26 minute wait for the next one. so i sat patiently, my helmet next to me, an umbrella in my bag if i needed it. 3 other people magically appeared minutes before the bus finally came at 9:30am.
the 77 is the life blood of arlington's public transportation system. it goes from arlington height all the way to harvard square, 6 miles along mass ave. it's one of the buses you'd take if you lived in arlington and needed to get to a subway station (porter and harvard square) to go into boston. the 77 is notorious for being a long and crowded ride. fortunately for me it wasn't rush hour and i caught the bus upstream. nevertheless, the bus became more and more crowded the closer we got to cambridge. even though it was packed, nobody sat in the empty seat next to me, whether out of courtesy or fear i don't know. everyone was masked (mandatory) and i assume most people were vaccinated, so it should've been relatively safe. about a third of the passengers got off at porter square to take the subway. i got off a few minutes later at the stop closest to my house.
going through porter square i even saw my father's car, on his way back from what i assume was a market basket supply run. i was sure it was him because when i checked the map his phone location was right where i was.
it was drizzling slightly by the time i disembarked, but not enough to warrant using an umbrella. instead of going home, i took a detour and walked to the community garden to check on my plants. the gardener who has the dahlia plot next to mine was there. he either didn't see me or choose to ignore me until i said hi to him. we had a nice chat about our gardens, i introduced him to hyacinth beans, cypress vines, chinese asters, nigellas, and bitter melons. he took some photos of the asters which resembled his beloved dahlias. we also chatted about sports because i noticed he was wearing a red sox hat. he told me he played football back in college, and we shared our mutual shock over the cam newton cut yesterday. the whole time it was still raining but thankfully stopped. i did however get a few more new mosquito bites.
my white bitter melon has not burst yet, but nor has it turned yellow. it's starting to show some spots though, don't know if that's a part of the ripening process or insect damage. there was another smaller curled melon that has turned yellow and developed a fissure, i could see the red seeds inside. my chinese aster colors are violet and white with violet tips. my hyacinth beans continue to grow like crazy, i wrapped a few more tendrils back in on itself. the leaves are pretty though, and now it looks like a large bean bush, like i did it on purpose even though it's just a happy accident. i spotted 2 snails which i picked off my plants and crunched them underfoot. i take no pleasure in killing snails but i've had plenty of tender seedlings defoliated by their ilk that i dispatch them whenever i see them.
i checked out some of the other plots (lynn has these pretty pink beach peas, my garden neighbor picked some dahlias, and spider flowers are growing in the raised bed by the entrance) before finally walking home. i wore my helmet on my head as i was tired of carrying it. i picked off a ripe cloudy day tomato and put it in my bag.
for lunch i had a bagel with philadelphia cream cheese. i don't think i've ever eaten philly cream cheese as is, i've always used it for recipes. as is, it didn't have a lot of flavor. fortunately i also had a bowl of smashed cucumber salad i made last night but i forgot to eat them.
my new 4x6 ft chindi cotton hand woven area rug arrived in the early afternoon. UPS sent me an alert that the rug was left on my doorstep, nobody rang my doorbell. i vacuumed the old 5x7 ft kitchen rug before rolling it up, replacing it with the new rug. material wise they're similar, the new rug slightly thicker and the rows bigger. it felt good on my feet - soft - and the rug had a pleasant cotton textile smell to it. it has a lot more colors than i'm used to, it'll take me a while to adjust. my previous red kitchen rug had been my de facto rug ever since i moved in, through thick and thin. i even flipped it over as the other side was too badly stained, to extend the life of the rug. one thing i noticed though is even though 4x6 ft fits perfectly in my kitchen, the rug doesn't extend all the way to the edge of my kitchen sink cabinet, so i'm stepping on cold wooden floors, which i'm not used to it. i need to find a small piece of carpeting for that area. i was thinking about getting some FLOR rug samples (6x6" squares are $2 a piece with free shipping).
it rained throughout the day, intermittently light drizzle to heavy downpours.
GBM contacted me in the afternoon, said my motorcycle was ready. i asked about the price, frank told me $640. more than what i was expecting to pay, but may they replaced a lot of parts and fluids (like engine oil and brake hydraulics). he said my chain was at its end-of-life and needed to be replaced. i asked how much would it take to replace the chain, he told me he had to look up the chain price and call me back later.
a few minutes later i was on the phone again with frank. he said the $640 actually included the labor cost for the chain replacement, that the tune-up itself was just $393. the total cost to replace the chain (including the tune-up) was $870: $166 for the chain (i was a little surprised by how much it cost, he said they're meant to last a long time with proper maintenance), $20 for the front wheel sprocket, $40 for the back wheel sprocket, and the rest is labor. so an additional $470 to replace the chain, $230 of which is just parts.
while i was waiting for frank to call me back, i actually went online and looked up how to replace a motorcycle chain. it's not as easy as replacing a bicycle chain, and requires a tire bracket so the rear wheel can be removed, and special tools like a chain riveter to prevent the chain was falling apart. in the end it was easier to let the professionals install it than try to do it DIY. i also asked frank about my wonky shifter pedal. he said the mechanic took a look, said the bushing was worn out, but the pedal was otherwise fine. they didn't take the motorcycle out for a test ride because it was raining, but frank thinks the rattling sound i heard was my loose chain. i figured if the sound is still there after the chain is replaced i can always have them replace the shifter as well, but i think that's an additional $200-300 including parts and labor.
i helped my parents order some new takeout paper bags. my sister found some on amazon but amazon prices are not always the best. i was tasked to find it cheaper. we ended up getting it from the webstaurantstore.com for a few pennies less per bag, but when you order two cases (500 bags) they add up and we ended up saving $20 over the amazon.com price even including shipping and taxes. it'd be cheaper to just get brown paper grocery bags, but my mother and sister wanted smaller specialty bags which cost more. webstaurantstore is also weird in that shipping to a commercial address is actually cheaper than a residential place.
i still have my occipital neuralgia headache. it comes and goes, maybe not as bad as yesterday but still there. maybe it's my lack of sleep that's causing it?
for dinner i reheated some of the chicken broth with some rice noodles. i used the new vietnamese brand fried shallots: they don't smell or taste so great raw, but when i add them to the broth, they basically disappear. i ate while watching the red sox-rays game. red sox have nearly a dozen players out due to covid, and yet they were still able to win with a combination of triple-A backup players and chris sale's pitching.