i woke up at 9am to get started working on the front porch. while paul is in charge of painting, i'm responsible for oiling the steps. since they're out for most of the day, today was the perfect day for me to work on the porch.

first step is cleaning the steps. i actually had time late yesterday afternoon - after paul finished painting the first coat - but i didn't want to rinse and clean when the paint hadn't even dried yet. unfortunately i couldn't find any of the scrubbing brushes, and i ended up quickly walking down to the dollar store to grab some.

i made a spray bottle of oxi-clean solution and went ahead scrubbing the dirt and algae off of the steps, before rinsing everything with a hose. i also did the same on my backyard deck, simply scrubbed off some algae spots i'd missed when i power washed, then rinsed everything off with the hose. i was finally finished by around 11am.

while watering the plants in my grow closet, i noticed some new sprouts from the second batch of seeds i planted on tuesday night. so it didn't take long to germinate, not even 4 full days - thanks to the heat mats. 5 out of 6 long beans had sprouted. 2 of 9 buttercup squashes. none of the bitter melons yet. 1 of 6 blue beans. and 1 of 6 hyacinth beans. i remember last year i had a particular hard time germinating hyacinth beans, they would simply rot before they sprouted, until i started using the heat mats.

i cleaned up and got ready to ride into boston to visit chinatown and haymarket. i oiled the chains first since i noticed it was creaking slightly again. while checking the bike, that's when i saw one of the long screws holding the rear baskets in place had snapped off. so i spent the next hour fixing that (fortunately i have spare screws). i didn't end up leaving until after 12pm.

i got to ming's market by around 12:30pm. i spent 20 minutes there, mostly collecting snacks, didn't even bother visiting the produce section. i then bicycled to haymarket. there must've been a bruins game happening because i saw people wearing bruins jerseys. there were also some visiting fans wearing rangers outfits. now that the weather's warming up there's more produce at haymarket, but i was surprised by the lack of citrus, especially golden nugget oranges. my haymarket haul: 2 lbs. of baby cucumbers ($3), 2 bunches of cilantro ($1.50), 2 bags of mandarin oranges ($2 each), a sleeve of garlic ($2).

i left boston by 1:30pm, making it back home by 2pm. the front steps were completely dry by then. had they been wet, i was planning on oiling them on monday, so paul can finish painting the porch tomorrow. but with the steps dry, i could oil them today, get it out of the way, even though my original plan was to leave for belmont by 2pm. today was also the perfect day since there's no mail delivery tomorrow sunday, so we wouldn't have to worry about the mailman accidentally walking up the steps while it hadn't fully dried yet. i figured i could quickly oil the steps in an hour, leave by 3pm.

first i had to tape, so i wouldn't get australian timber oil on the other surfaces. that took half an hour. that was followed by the oiling, which ended up taking 1-1/2 hours, as i applied the oil with a rag, meticulously rubbing the oil into the wood grain. i poured out just enough timber oil into a small disposable container, since i'd be dipping the dirty rag repeatedly into the oil. i also wore gloves. it wasn't too bad, the weather was in the upper 60's, and i got to chat with a few neighbors while i worked, including neil and renee.

i finished by 4pm, much later than i wanted. i cleaned up, running a bungie cord across the steps so nobody would try to walk up while it was drying. i also texted and e-mailed my upstairs neighbors, letting them know the steps need at least 24 hours to dry, and to use the back door.

i left for belmont, arriving by 4:30pm. even then my long day wasn't quite over yet, as i went down to the basement to water some plants (like the osmanthus) that i forgot to water last weekend. only then - about 5pm - was i finally able to rest. i didn't have anything to eat or drink all day, i made myself an ice tea.

my elbow compression sleeves arrived today. i got the one that was not only a sleeve, but also had a velcro strap so i could tighten my forearm muscles. i put it on immediately. at first it didn't seem to do anything - but after a while i forgot about it, along with the tennis elbow aches. so it really works. i can understand how the velcro strap works, but what magic is the sleeve working?

my father had unwrapped all the 100Ah 3.2V LiFePo4 batteries and measured their individual voltage. they ranged from 3.20V to 3.29V. the batteries also seem to be from two different batches, based on color and markings - 5 of one, 3 of the other. all the batteries were flat except for one, that had a very slightly bulge when you placed it next to the other batteries, but it seemed to be fine. i weighed the batteries, they range from 4.2 lbs. to 4.4 lbs. he was going to balance them naturally by connecting the batteries in parallel and allowing the individual batteries to distribute electricity until they reach a balanced equilibrium. the other way to balance them is by using an adjustable power supply, but the only ones we have all use analog display, so we're unable to get an exact voltage or current. we ended up getting an adjustable digital bench power supply (30V 10A, wanptek brand) from amazon for $72, arriving tomorrow.

we decided to get thai chicken rice for dinner. around 5:35pm i ordered online, said the order would be ready by 6pm. when we got there at 6pm though, they seemed confused when i came to pick up. they checked their takeout list and found my order, but they didn't make it yet, and told me to wait an additional 15 minutes. there was also a communication issue, the 3 thai employees don't seem to speak too much english, and there was also a hispanic man who shrugged when we made eye-contact. either their e-mail notification was done, or maybe there was something wrong with their cooking equipment, because one of the guy kept saying "roasting" and pointing to something i couldn't see over the countertop. there was already a woman waiting there, maybe the same thing happened to her. later a girl came in (savannah) with the same problem, but they told her she only needed to wait 5 minutes. that was followed by a young asian man, who also had his online order not made yet. he was just kind of standing there until i patted the empty seat next to me, to let him know he could sit down (we were both wearing masks, so was savannah, but one the other woman). i ended up waiting 25 minutes before i finally got my order.

this was my first time eating thai chicken rice ever since my mother left for taiwan, but my father had already ordered it for dinner at least one time by himself. i got the roasted chicken while my father got the combo. honestly, i could care less about what flavor of chicken, i just love the hot sauce it comes with, it's pretty amazing.

after i finished eating, i quickly rode back home, to catch the celtics-nets game starting at 7:30pm.

i wasn't paying attention to the game at first because i was tending to my grow closet, setting up a grow light and transferring the pots to my new smaller sized plant trays. but it seemed like the celtics were in the lead, which is a good thing, but leads can quickly change in a matter of seconds, and it was still early. but the amazing thing was boston maintained the lead, i don't think brooklyn ever had the lead, and every time it looked like they were mounting an advance, the celtics always had an answer. it was a weird game to watch because i kept waiting for the nets to explode, but once again, both durant and kyrie seemed muted. so i was anxious throughout, but when there were just minutes left in the game and we were up by double digits, it finally dawned on me that we might actually win this game. when it happened it was amazing, i couldn't believe it. the nets - predicted by many to win the championship this year - was now down 0-3 and on the verge of elimination.