after that i left for belmont by 11am. i was hoping to rendezvous with my parents before they left for the waltham OSJL, but by the time i got there, they were already gone. i decided to mow the lawn (mostly just to pulverize the leaves so i wouldn't have to rake it and also have it ready for composting). i did the front lawn before moving to the back. i barely started in the backyard before the mower ran out of gas. i could've gone out and gotten some on my own, but decided to wait until my parents came back.
i went down to the basement to check on the plants in the grow room. i was shocked that my father had pruned off nearly half of all the foliage on the gardenia. gardenias only grow flowers buds on my growth, so by cutting them off, you're dooming the plant from producing any flowers for the following season.
my parents returned home around noontime. while my mother was making wontons for lunch, my father went out to get some gasoline. after he delivered the fuel, he basically disappeared, as i did some more mowing before finally coming inside to eat. after i finished eating, i had 15 minutes before the game started, so i went out and finished mowing the rest of the leaves. instead of dumping the shredded leaves in the compost bin, my father and i dumped them into the raised beds as an organic mulch, but also to cover up the exposed chicken manure. afterwards the smell was definitely dampened. i asked my father about the gardenia, he said he saw a video online that told him to do that. i guess we'll see who's right. maybe the gardenia will grow enough now shoots to produce flower buds. one reason why he did it was the plant itself was getting too big, because we didn't prune it enough after it finished flowering.
my father had disappeared because he was out front fixing the flat tire on the honda. apparently when he came back from the gas station, he drove over a small branch in front of the house that managed to puncture the tire. if it was on the treads there might've been a possibility of repair, but this was damage to the sidewall. when i went out to take a look, the branch was still embedded in the tire, with a puncture diameter the size of a nickle.
my father worked to remove the old tire and put on the spare while i went inside to watch the browns-patriots game starting at 1pm. after what seemed to be taking a long time, i went out and saw my father was still trying to remove the tire. first problem were the lug nuts, which seemed to be rusted tight. we tried stepping on the tire iron to get enough force but none of the nuts would budge. the trick was to use a length of pipe to give us additional leverage; the nuts came right off.
however the wheel itself was still rusted shut to the axle. i saw my father trying to pry off the wheel with a crowbar. he also used a metal hammer. i went online to find a video of how to remove a stubborn wheel. they said first to put two of the nuts back onto the wheel, so when the wheel does come off, it won't roll off from the axle. then - with the wheel elevated - spin the wheel while hitting the tire from the back with a rubber mallet. i went inside the house and found the rubber mallet so my father wouldn't need to use the metal hammer. while he spun the wheel, i tried to hammer off the wheel with the mallet. i wasn't using enough force, because when we switched, he was able to finally loosen the wheel. after that it was an easy job of attaching the spare tire.
i kept imagining having to fix a flat at night on the side of the highway. if you didn't have a spare pipe for leverage or a rubber mallet for banging on the tire, how would you even realistically remove the wheel? i guess the problem is twofolds: first, the lug nuts were on way too tight, and second, the wheel had rusted to the axle from years of winter salt damage. if we took better care of the wheels, they wouldn't be this hard to remove.
i missed part of the early half of the game, but the last time i checked the score was 14-7, with new england leading, so i felt it wouldn't be a stressful game. cleveland scored a touchdown on their first possession, but that turned out to be their only score of the entire game as they were shutout after that. patriots continued putting up points, and the final score was 45-7. i felt bad because i actually like the browns, the perennial loser, but starting to get good recently. their lose today puts them back at .500, while new england improves to 6-4, just a half game behind buffalo, who also won their game today. if you asked me weeks ago if the pats had a chance to win the division, i would've said no, as the bills seem to be the dominant team in the AL east. but now after 4 consecutive wins, the patriots are in a different shape, and there's a chance we might actually catch up to them.
i refilled the birdfeeder. i set it out the middle of last week, but it must've gotten blow closer to the shepherd's pole, close enough so that a squirrel could get to the seeds without triggering the shroud to drop. either that or there were definitely a lot of birds visiting the feeder over the week. we definitely had a lot of visitors today. i saw: chickadees, male and female cardinals, bluejays, nuthatch, female house finch, and juncos. bluejays were a first, i don't remember ever seeing them coming to the feeder. i thought i'd set it up so that their weight would drop the shroud, but apparently there was still enough of a gap that they could get to the seeds with their sharp beaks.
i helped my father order a new tire from costco then book an appointment with the costco mechanic to replace the tire. the tire itself was $170, but after a $20 installation fee and taxes, the final price was $200. it's a shame, because the old tire seemed rather new, but there's no way it could've been patched.
we had noodles for dinner. i remembered to bring the box of unboxed weichuan brand medium-sized asian noodles from home. i also made a korean bean sprouts banchan.
by the time i returned home the temperature had dropped down to 40 degrees, the edge of when i normally add a layer of thermal underwear. i raced home, like i was trying to outrun the cold. if it gets any colder i'll need to start using my handlebar mitts. i know i ride when the temperature gets below freezing, but it seems like an exercise in masochism. either way, commuting during the winter months is cold. but at least with a bicycle i can warm up.
when i got back the sunday newspaper was still on the doorsteps, my neighbors still haven't returned. i brought the paper inside. i don't mind that they're gone - in fact i love it - but i'm a little annoyed they didn't let me know first. what about the daily morning newspaper deliveries? or packages? i think they just assume i'll take care of all of that for them, like i'm the warden of this house.