paul was outside the house this morning, laying down tarps on the front porch. i went out to meet him so i could teach him how to use the adjustable ladder. he wasn't able to find the oxi-clean or the spray bottle in the basement, so i told him exactly where it was while i quickly went across the street to star market to buy some boneless chicken thighs on sale this week. they didn't have any in stock yet so i returned home empty-handed. paul had already brought out the ladder and i showed him how to adjust it. he also said he couldn't find the oxi-clean, so i went with him to the basement to show him where it was. he told me his plan for today was to clean the front porch. i was late for the cafe so i quickly gathered up my things and left.

i was expecting it to be busy given how nice the weather was today but it was actually sort of quiet. deceptively quiet that is, we still had good business today, but it was stretched out over the course of the entire day, not just everything happening all at once, which is my idea of busy. spread out across the day, it's more manageable, but it's not as exciting, as like when we suddenly get 4 orders all at the same time.

my sister's godmother showed up unexpectedly. i thought maybe she got her days confused (she helps out with my sister on saturdays while my mother is still on vacation), or maybe she had some documents that she needed my father to take a look at. she showed up around noontime and left by 2pm. to be honest, we were kind of all set in terms of help - with my father, sister, and myself - the kitchen area is a small space, and when you have 4 or more people, it can get pretty crowded.

our aliexpress battery vendor informed me yesterday that our LiFeP04 batteries would be arriving today via fedex. when i checked the tracking number in the late morning, i was actually surprised to see it'd already arrived. checking the front door webcam confirmed that there was in fact a box sitting my parents' house's doorstep. it wouldn't be until later in the evening until my father could confirm the delivery.

all day long there was the sound of construction in the parking lot. my sister got a contractor to build a small removable deck (with parquet flooring) in the back so people can do outdoor seating during the warmer months. it will take up at least one parking spot, if not more. i could see the sawdust wafting in the sunlight, so i closed the door (as much as i could without cutting off the electric cord).

we got a delivery of plastic takeout containers, 3-compartment 8x8" "bento" boxes (with attached lids) and 6x6x3" small lidded boxes ("burger boxes" that are good size for small foods like vegetable buns). the seller was a young foreign man sporting a moustache and an accent (turkish?). he saw some of the other containers we were using and said he had those too in his truck, so my father and i went to go take a look. it felt a little shady, anytime you buying something literally out of the back of a truck.

my aunt came afterwards, had some hot and sour soup, my sister made her a ginger brown tea drink, and then took home a chinese sausage bento box.

i didn't leave the cafe until 4:30pm. when i got back to the house, i found paul painting the porch. i didn't think he'd get to painting today (especially since he had to wait for the wash to dry) but he's in a hurry to get it done before their tenants arrive next thursday, so less than a week. he still had areas to paint (like my side of the porch), but he made good progress all things considered. i'm in charge of staining the steps, and i'm hoping to get it down one of these weekend mornings. next week's weather looks to be rainy, so this is the only time we can do it.

paul told me they're leaving early tomorrow morning to visit a famous garden store in connecticut and to take a tour of some friend's garden. he asked if he can replace the mountain laurel in the backyard with a different bush. he's been wanting to get rid of that plant for years.

i went to star market again to look for boneless chicken thighs; this time around they had them. i bought two packages and returned home.

my package of 10x 15.7 x 11.8 x 2.4" ($25.50) growing trays arrived today. these trays are a weird size, about 2/3 the length of a standard 1020 growing tray. but these were advertised as genuine heavy duty (1.2mm thickness) and we on sale, so i decided to get them. besides the build quality, one of the main reasons i liked this size was i could fit 3 perfectly on a shelf. with the 1020 trays, they sort of protrude, and they are also empty gaps on either ends. when i got the trays out of the box, i was impressed with their legitimate heavy duty quality. made from thick plastic, it'd definitely a tray that can be used for a long time.

a standard 1020 tray i can fit 18x 16 oz. plastic cup pots; with these smaller trays, i can fit 12x 16 oz. cups. so i moved all my pots over to the new trays. afterwards, i transplanted some extra seedlings to empty pots. a standard 1020 tray can also fit 12 6-cell seed starter trays. these smaller trays can fit 8 6-cell seed starter trays, with a bit of room to spare. i ended up moving my nigella and chinese aster seedlings to the smaller trays as well.

these trays are so good i'm tempted to get some more. another thing i want to get is more led strip lights. prices have gone up - they used to be $50 for a pack of 6x 2-ft led lights - now they're $70 for a 6-pack. i did however see a deal for a $100 10-pack.

i wasn't finished with reorganizing my grow closet until 6pm. i cut up some baguette and ate them with some brie while watching the news.

when my father returned home i watched him open up the battery package. we bought 8x 100Ah 3.2V LiFeP04 cells for $253. they were bundled very well, each battery wrapped in a tight layer of foam packaging. with the encased batteries all over the dining table, it looked like bundles of drugs. my father only opened up one of the batteries, said they were brand new, in pristine condition, with plastic shrink wrap, no bulging whatsoever (unlike the stories we've heard from unlucky sellers buying from different china vendors). not sure how we snagged these bargain (almost too good to be true), the same seller now offers the same 8-piece deal for $446, a nearly $200 increase. we honestly thought they were going to cancel the order because it didn't make economical sense to ship something so cheap. but after 3 months, they finally came! my father tested battery: for something that's rated 3.2v, it still read 3.279v.

for dinner i made some more french bread pizza. i used up all my anchovies. i might bring the rest of these ingredients to belmont this weekend so my father can sample some of my french bread pizza. no anchovies, but i have plenty of pepperoni.