the most important thing to happen today is getting the covid-19 results for my mother and 2nd aunt. fortunately they didn't have to wait long, since as soon as i got up this morning, i logged into their e-mail accounts and saw the test results from their cambridge tests had already come back. i was really afraid there might be a positive case because my mother had been complaining about body aches and throat discomfort, but both my mother and aunt tested negative. what was even more amazing was the rest results were ready as of late last night around 1am, just less than 11 hours after they tested. that's a pretty quick turn-around.

i rode to belmont in the late morning. my rear cassette was skipping so much, i had to ride in the 7th gear, the only gear that didn't skip. i didn't have time to figure out what was causing the problem, but i cursed my bike the whole way there, dreaming about getting a new ride (are bikes still hard to find because of supply chain issues?).

i had some leftover sauerkraut stew for lunch. my father added some sliced lamb into the pot. i then went into the backyard to do some yard maintenance. my sister showed up with hailey, and my parents went with them on a short walk to the park and back. i was busy side dressing all the sprouted garlic with chicken manure granules (blood meal would've been the preferred choice but i didn't have any). it's ironic that i'd be using store-bought chicken manure when we still have 4 large bags of it in the backyard; only reason why i didn't the more natural manure was the smell. maybe when i fertilize the garlic again in a few weeks i'll use the natural manure. the garlics in RB0 are much bigger than in the other beds. RB4 has the weakest garlic sprouts. i wonder if this is because in some of the beds i added raw chicken manure back in the fall? i don't remember which ones i added though, i'll have to check my photos.

elsewhere, i was going to do some pesticide spraying and watering of my grow room houseplants, but a very cursory inspection didn't reveal any mealybug infestation, so i did neither. i did notice there was at least one gardenia flower bud, but nowhere as numerous as last season. outside, the potted quince seedlings are sprouting. will they flower? who knows, but they'd make excellent bonsais. red shoots of peonies are starting to emerge. so are the hardy chrysanthemums, the southern patch we're looking to move to the western perennial bed. i found a package of wando peas, my father (and the directions) suggested soaking them overnight to hasten germination. finally, while inspecting the flowering trees, i spotted two cherry plum branches with black knot fungus, and quickly pruned them off.

i noticed it last weekend, that the 50W solar panel was no longer charging the basement marine battery. i figured maybe because it was too cloudy, or maybe the battery was already charged to capacity. but today when i was in the basement, i saw the battery was down to 0 volts, which is bad sign, because lead acid batteries are not supposed to fall below 12v or they get damaged. i checked the panel with a multimeter, it read 18V, so it wasn't the panel that was the issue. when i tried to read the voltage directly from the wires, it read 0v. when my father came back from helping my aunt fill out her taiwanese "quarantine system for entry" form, he checked the wiring as well. that's when we discovered that some critter had chewed through the wires. once we put on some new MC4 connectors, the battery charging solar panel should be working again.

my mother's new clover amour crochet hooks arrived today. she liked them right away, and even though i couldn't really tell the difference between the clovers and the chinese knockoffs, my mother said the clovers were much better, and decided to keep them. not only that, but she thinks they're just as good as the tulip-brand crochet hooks, and she likes that they're only half the price. she decided to take all the small sized hooks (2mm, 2.5mm, 3mm, 3.5mm, 4mm) with her to taiwan, leaving behind the larger hooks.

the rest of the day we waited for the second covid-19 test results from the arlington CVS. we didn't need it anymore since we already got the negative test results from the cambridge testing place, but we were curious to see if we'd even get it in time before my mother and 2nd aunt leave tomorrow morning. around 5:30pm my mother got a text from CVS with a link to see the test result. the cvs test result page was kind of sparse, easy to understand, but didn't look official like the cambridge one. plus, it took nearly 32 hours to get the results back, compared to the less than 11 hours for cambridge testing.

for dinner my mother made enough food for several days, as if she wanted to make sure we were well fed when she was gone.

my mother was taking her engagement ring back to taiwan to get it resized. she had the ring in her luggage, but i said it was safer to have it in her carry-on instead. when she went to go find the ring however, it was gone. both my parents were looking for the ring, unpacking the suitcase, but just couldn't find it. i also helped search, and i was the one who found the ring (and its ring box) in one of my mother's carry-on purse.

i returned to cambridge by 8pm. later in the evening my father called, said they needed to redo the "quarantine system for entry" form because they didn't get a barcode, like my californian aunt and uncle when they landed in taiwan yesterday. i filled out the form myself, i didn't get a barcode either, but the form was successfully submitted. the direction was kind of weird though, "take a screenshot with your phone" was one of the instructions. finally we figured out you don't get a barcode until you arrive in taiwan, after you've been processed.

still later, around 1am, my mother called me, said she was worried that we didn't confirm the tickets, wasn't even sure if we actually bought tickets, even though the airline already took out the money. i told her the airline confirmation code on her itinerary was proof the tickets were booked. i also checked the flight schedule, everything still the same, no time changes. before she hung up, i sent my mother a pdf book of 100 knit and crochet flowers. i don't think neither of my parents are sleeping tonight. they need to get ready by 4am and go pick up my 2nd aunt, then drive to the airport by 5am for the 8:20am flight (san francisco then taipei), arriving in taiwan by 6:50am boston time wednesday.