when i arrived at my parents' place i noticed one of their neighbors was having an open house. the place belonged to an elderly man who passed away last year, and the house has finally been cleaned out and put on the market. my father and i ended up going and checking it out. it's listing for over $1 million, though one look will reveal it's not deserving of such a high price. the house was built in the early 50's, and a lot of the fixtures inside seem like a time capsule to that era, like all the mismatched wallpapers. whoever buys it will either fall in love with the dated decor and do some minor fixes, or demolish the house entirely and build a mcmansion. our next door neighbor also came by to take a peek. the listing agency must not be very large because we didn't see anybody else looking at the place.
my father grilled some pan-fried pancakes and warmed up some leftover hyacinth bean & ribs stew for lunch. after i finished eating, i went down into the basement to inspect the plants. i haven't been down in 2 weeks, figuring my father was taking care of the neglected, but they seemed much neglected. one of our small potted jasmines had dried up entirely, the lemon verbana infested with aphids, and the reed plants devoid of water that they'd started yellowing. the lantanas are flowering though, and the weather starting thursday shows 70-80's daytime and 50-60's nighttime, so soon many of our houseplants will be moving outside for the summer. i took the lemon verbana outside and sprayed them with neem, later giving them a shower to rinse off the aphids.
i've been thinking about it for the past week but finally got around to spraying the grapevines. last year i tried spectracide immunox which seemed to keep the black rot in check but i think we still got phomopsis. this year i'm trying a combination of immunox (myclobutanil) and captan, based on information gleaned from an online article. it said to use 1.25 fl. oz. per gallon of immunox combined with 1.5 tbsp per gallon of captan powder. i cut the portion by half and made half a gallon of fungicide in the sprayer. that was enough to completely cover the grapevines. after i finished spraying (1pm), my father and i went out on a supply run.
first stop was the waltham home depot, where i was picking up 4 7ft u-post fence stakes i ordered online ($9.54/each). most of the people there weren't masked, the masked few were definitely in the minority. i ended up buying an additional 4 5ft u-posts when i realized the 7ft were simply too large for my community garden. i also wanted to get some fencing, but my father said i can simply using the pvc-coated garden wires to make some trellis lines.
next we went to the waltham costco next door (though the only way to get there was to take a circuitous route). sunday afternoon costco was packed; we found parking at the very far end of the lot, i don't think we've ever parked that far before. we returned the 10ft market umbrella we got a few weeks ago. we were there originally just for the eggs, but ended up getting a few more supplies, including a bag of jasmine rice and some paper towels. they also had kewpie-brand deep roasted sesame dressing, the one i'd get from my mother from chinatown at $4+ for an 8oz. bottle; the packaging here is different, but costco sells it for around $7 for 30oz, a real bargain.
our last stop was the waltham market basket. surprisingly, it wasn't as crowded as costco. i've been to so many different market baskets (chelsea, somerville, burlington, waltham) over the past few weeks, it's hard to keep them straight. after market basket, we went next door the market basket liquor store, the only one of its kind in MA. i was looking for chinese baijiu but the closest thing i found was japanese sake and korean soju. i got a bottle of choya golden ume plum wine as well as a case of woodchuck amber hard cider. my father left with a 6-pack of extra stout guinness.
we got back home by 3:40pm. although it was sunny (with high elevation wispy clouds), it was also blustery cold due to the wind, which felt made the 50 degrees temperature feel much colder. how all this will change by later this week! my father and i chased a small rabbit out of our backyard, when he saw it hiding underneath the long planters. using bamboo poles, we corralled it so it'd leave through the open side door. once the baby bunnies in the rabbit's nest are old enough to leave the nest, we'll need to chase them out of the backyard as well.
my father started frying the corn-starch breaded chicken drumstick pieces a bit before 5pm. we didn't do a korean hot sauce version this time, as it makes the chicken soggy. when the double-fried chicken was ready to eat, i did however douse it with alternating splashes of ketchup and garlic parmesan sauce.
i left by 7:30pm, getting home around 7:50pm. my bike seat became loose again and i thought it was the perfect time to swap it out with the smaller saddle i bought weeks ago. however, the new seat uses a different seat post bracket, and i didn't want to swap them. i also discovered maybe the reason the seat kept slipping was because the ribbing on the seat bracket had rubbed smooth. so i put my old saddle back on and decided i'd just get a new seat post instead first.
my mother went to get her pre-flight PCR test. my 2nd aunt on the other hand, she still got a positive with her home test so she didn't bother going to get the PCR. because she still had covid, she won't be able to take the flight back to boston tomorrow, so i had to call united airline to change her flight. we decided to delay it by a week - so instead of this tuesday it'll be next tuesday - so hopefully that's enough time to test negative. it seemed easy at first - i made the change online through the website ($133 flight change, no rescheduling fee)- but then i receive an e-mail saying there was a problem and i had to call them. apparently they didn't accept my credit card the first time around so i had to give it to them again.
once that fire was put out, i figured i could relax for the evening. but then my father called me and said my mother heard from a woman at the PCR testing place that the flight from taipei to san francisco was delayed. i didn't believe it at first, because when i checked the flight yesterday it was still running according to schedule, but when i checked it again, it was now delayed by nearly 5 hours. we were lucky to catch it in time, but the problem was my mother would miss her connecting SFO to BOS flight, so that needed to be rescheduled. i could do it online, but it told me there was no more SFO-BOS flight on that day, and i'd need to move her whole itinerary to the next day. not a big deal to spend another day in taiwan, except her 24-hours PCR test would expire and she'd need to do it again. so i called united again. fortunately the agent told me there was a SFO-BOS flight in the early afternoon, and my mother would be able to connect to that one, returning home at 10pm instead of 5pm. i called my mother to let her know her itinerary change. she told me her PCR test was negative, she found out 10 minutes after taking the test.
then while i was getting ready for bed, alex called me from tokyo. he wanted to ask me about his macbook pro, especially about time machine recovery, since when he sent his machine to apple to get it fixed, they ended up replacing his SSD with a brand new one, so all his data was gone.