feeling tired, going to bed early, don't have time to write a full blog entry. suffice to say, xiaowu dropped by my parents' house in the evening and put in a new expansion tank for the furnace. my parents have heat once again after roughing it for the past 24 hours with 3-4 space heaters located throughout the house running non-stop. earlier this morning i went on a monday supply run with my parents: stop & shop, costco, restaurant depot, bianco & sons sausage, malden 88, harbor freight, ocean state job lot.

i'll elaborate more tomorrow. going to bed, waking up tomorrow morning for another deep cleaning dentist visit at park street.

i set my alarm so i could wake up at 8am and call alewife company to get someone to go over to my parents' place and replacement the leaking expansion tank. i was worried all night, as the temperature outdoors continued to drop, every time my own heat kicked in, i imagined my parents freezing in their house. i spoke with mike, who still remembered me. he said the earliest they could come would be next monday afternoon. i sort of had a feeling it'd be a week out, but i took the appointment regardless. our second option is to wait until xiaowu gets back in touch with my father; i have no doubt he can fix it, but given his track record of not showing up for appointments, i wasn't confident about his service. i called my father to let him know they'd be a week out without heat.

my parents were supposed to come and pick me up at 10am for a supply run, but i told my father that since i was already awake, they could come earlier. while waiting for them to show up, i went online and looked for other plumbers in the belmont area. i had a few leads, but we wanted to wait and see if xiaowu would get in touch with us before i call other plumbers.

my parents came at 9:30am. first stop was stop & shop by mcgrath highway. neither of my parents have been here before, but i stopped here one time a few years back in search of sugar free black cherry jones soda. my 2nd aunt had a $50 gift card and we came to cash in. unfortunately when we went to go pay, the cashier told us the card had already expired, so we ended up paying $50 for grocery we could've gotten elsewhere for cheaper.

next we went to costco, just picked up a few things. we did get some hot dogs afterwards. my father was eating in the cafeteria area, but neither my mother and i wanted to eat outside due to coronavirus reasons, so my father quickly ate the rest of his hot dog before we finally left.

restaurant depot was the next stop. my parents were in search of david's scone mixes, but either they were all out or no longer carried them. they're also still out of stock for clear plastic cups. my parents grabbed some frozen edamame beans but the checkout line was so long so decided not to get anything there and just leave. so the trip was restaurant depot was a complete bust, ended up costing us 25 minutes.

we then drove to bianco & sons sausage to get some chinese sausages. my father went inside to get them, my mother and i sat in the car.

stop number 5 was the malden 88 asian supermarket. my father ended up sitting in the car while my mother and i went inside to shop. the main thing she wanted was to find some japanese kamaboko but they didn't have any. we settled for some imitation crab. malden 88 has great selection but the prices can be hit or miss. stuff on sale are cheap, but overall their prices are higher than chinatown. their meat prices especially were crazy expensive, 2-3x more than what we saw in the past. i think i saw some ube on sale, they called it purple yam, which is another name for ube, but could also be purple sweet potato since sweet potato and yam are often times used interchangeably.

when we got back to the car my father told us xiaowu had contacted him, said he'd stop by the house this afternoon. we were under pressure to hurry up with the rest of our stops so we can get back before xiaowu shows up.

our final stops were at the fellsway plaza. while my father waited in the car, my mother went to ocean state job lot while i ran quickly into harbor freight to pick up a clamp light for my grow shelf setup. afterwards i met my mother at OSJL. she didn't even want to come, but when i found her she was carrying a box of yarn. i got another bag of sunflower seeds. we ended up staying there longer than necessary because the cashier overcharged us and we to sort it all out at the help desk.

3-1/2 hours later we were back at the cafe, unloading the supplies. we hurried back to belmont, where my sister had dropped off hailey since this morning. when i went inside the house i couldn't find the dog anywhere, but found her curled up on the sofa. i let her outside so she could go use the bathroom.

since last night, my parents had been running at least 3 electric heaters non-stop, with another one in the bathroom. it was costing us at least 10kWh per unit. the house was actually surprisingly warm in places where the space heaters were running, but once you step elsewhere - like the kitchen - you can suddenly feel the temperature drop.

i finally got around to eating the costco hot dog. there was a bunch of packages on our doorstep when we got back to the house, one of them was a box from amazon that contained a aioneus-brand 40W 4-port charger (including one QC3.0 port, $12) and heyuzb-brand stackable refrigerator bins ($31, 4 large and 4 medium). when my mother went to go walk hailey around the park, i launched my drone hoping to catch sight of them. but by the time i got airborne, they were already back.

the rest of the day we were waiting for xiaowu to show up. my father ended up calling him again around 3:30pm, xiaowu said he'd be here around 5pm. this was a promising development, but i wouldn't believe it until he comes. my sister came back to the house to pick up hailey.

around 5pm the doorbell rang. my father went to greet xiaowu and the two of them went down to the basement. we thought maybe he was just going to take a look, but earlier xiaowu had already bought an expansion tank and started to install the new tank. the whole installation went pretty quickly, as he showed my father how to bleed the upstairs radiators to allow the hot water to flow through. i went in the basement to check out the repair, the old ceiling-mounted tank was still gurgling water non-stop into a catch bin, slashing water everywhere. i went upstairs to ask if this was normal, xiaowu said yes, once the old tank drains completely it'll stop. i scooped some water into a bucket and ran and forth to the sink to empty the water, which didn't seem to be letting up. i ended up taping a length of hose with duct tape so the water couldn't gently flow into the bin instead of falling from the ceiling like a splashing waterfall. the tank did eventually stop draining.

so in less than 24-hours, we went from discovering the expansion tank was leaking from and into the basement ceiling, shutting down the heat on one of the coldest nights so far this season, and then getting a plumber to come and fix it. xiaowu charged us $300 for the repair. that's probably around how much alewife company would've charged us (their manhour is $155 plus material cost), except we didn't have to wait a week. when the temperature outside is in the 20's, you'd pay just about anything to get your heat back.

not only is it fixed, but the new expansion tank means we no longer have to repeatedly empty the catch bucket from the furnace, which we've been doing for at least the past 10 years. when a furnace leaks like that, it means the expansion tank has gone bad and should be replaced. we know that now, but at the time we had no idea, just learned to live with having to empty the catch bucket every few weeks to recently every few days. my only complaint is the expansion tank seems awfully big, but everything is working again, and in a few more years we might need to replace the old furnace anyway, which might involve replacing the expansion tank as well.

the last thing we did was for me to crawl behind the desk in my old bedroom and bleed out the radiator. it was a little involved, the table required two person to move, and everywhere was stacks of my mother's yarn. as soon as i bled the radiator, i could feel it getting hotter.

my mother made chicken gizzards for dinner (bought them from malden 88 earlier, one of the few meat items that was cheap). my father found a near empty bottle of moutai that'd be gathering dust on a kitchen shelf. my parents ended up finishing the bottle, about 1-1/2 shot glass full.

i bicycled back to cambridge, wheeling the bike out from the backyard where it'd been sitting since last night. i can't remember the last time i bicycled to/from belmont, must've been a while. better get used to it, once we get our first snow, the bicycle is the only transportation i have besides walking and the bus. temperature was at 30 degrees, wasn't too bad, not as bad as last night when it was in the 20's and windy. the moon cast a rainbow glow behind some dappled clouds.

first thing i did when i got back was to set up the clamp light with the LED grow bulb i bought weeks ago. i got a general spectrum grow light in warm white. clamped to the top of the wire grow rack, it didn't provide the best angle though, i'll have to figure out some solution. i haven't been using any additional light on the grow rack in a few weeks, after i noticed the plants do get a few hours of strong morning light, even on the top rack. the clamp grow light may be for naught, but it's still good to have in case i ever need to light an individual plant or two.

while going down into my parents' basement yesterday, i got a splinter from sliding my hand on the back of the wooden handrail. i didn't even notice it at first, but when there was pain on my hand and i went to go check, i then remembered what happened. it was just a tiny sliver of wood in my pinky, but it went in straight instead of at an angle, so it was firmly embedded and hard to remove. after unsuccessfully trying to remove the splinter, i decided to forget about it and maybe it'd come out on its own. but it bothered me enough last time that i put some baking soda on the splinter and bandaged it up with a waterproof bandaid. later i removed the bandaid, hoping the baking soda would've drawn out the splinter (i've done this before and have gotten it to work); it did soften the skin, but the splinter was still stuck. anyway, long story short, tonight after a shower i could see the tail poking out a bit. my tweezer wasn't able to grab it, so i picked away at it with a safety pin, exposing enough of it for the tweezer to finally remove the splinter. crisis solved!