i went to star market in the morning to try out my 2nd uncle's gift card. i wasn't sure it'd work, so i purposely bought something i was going to get anyway - a 2lbs. box of strawberries on sale - in case the gift card didn't work and i had to pay out of my own pocket. everything went according to plan in the self check-out aisle, until i tried to pay with the gift card and it gave me an error and the beacon started flashing alerting me that i needed assistance from a store employee. one did show up eventually (i had to wait several minutes), punched in some code, and the gift card was accepted. in the future i may have to pay in the regular check-out aisle instead if i want to use the card without running into problems.
although the weather looked deceptively calm enough that i could ride the bike to the cafe, i knew from the forecast that there'd be a good chance of torrential downpours later in the afternoon, so i didn't risk it and decided to walk instead.
i got to the cafe right at 11am. first thing i did was to take a count of the number of tea eggs and made a dozen more. with the wet weather i was kind of expecting it to be a slow day, but around noontime a group of guys came to the shop and made a big order. i thought my sister and i had it under control: she was making the drinks out front, i was in the back assembling the bento boxes. but my parents were watching on the webcam and noticed my 2nd aunt was nowhere to be seen, so they quickly rushed to the cafe to help out. my aunt did show up eventually, a few minutes before my parents crashed through the back door like a charging cavalry. my parents, my sister and i were furiously assembling the orders (more came in during that time), while my aunt just basically watched from the sideline. in the span of 20 minutes we sold 6 bento boxes and 2 curry chicken platter, the situation made more stressful because we ran out of rice (my sister only cooked 2 cups this morning, thinking it wouldn't be busy) and charsiu pork. at least when the large group of guys finished eating (they were sitting in the back patio deck), they left a $20 tip.
after that busy spell around noontime, things calmed down again. my father drove my mother back home, while he went to the waltham market basket to buy some pork to make some more charsiu. we had zero phone orders today, zero online orders for pickup, but one grubhub for delivery. compared that with last saturday, when we had 5 online orders.
my father returned around 3pm. that was also the time when the sky started looking particularly threatening and a check of the doppler radar showed imminent thunderstorms approaching. my aunt decided to get home before the rain began, but my father ended up giving her a ride while we brought in all the chairs and tables from the outdoor deck. 3pm was also our last customer of the day - a man who made an order but then waited in his car and asked us to deliver it to him (he had a little boy in the car). after that we didn't have another customer until we closed at 4pm.
i was almost surprised when it actually started raining. torrential downpours, raging rivers of rain water washing the sidewalks and running into the storm drains. i can't remember the last time i rained like this, more than a month at least. my father told me that the overnight rain that fell filled our rain barrels nearly halfway; this latest rain would most definitely fill the rest of the barrels completely.
my father and i left after 4pm, while my sister stayed behind the cafe to mop the floors. when we got to belmont, first thing i did was to go out into the backyard and take out all my seedlings from the trays, which were partially filled with water (otherwise the seedlings would drown). i then checked the rain barrels, which were all full. by that point the rain was already starting to taper off, and i didn't even bother with an umbrella.
i was in belmont just on tuesday to do some yard work, and in just 4 days time, so much has changed. most of the peonies have flowered, though the rain caused the blossoms to droop down. the hop bines have overgrown our vertical trellis, i'm going to need to trim the tips to prevent them from growing any further. a lot of foxgloves have also started to flower, plus some additional flowers: robinson's red painted daisies, osmanthus, white columbines, and numerous spiderwort flowerbuds ready to open. in some of the raised beds i saw some squash seedlings, though none in the western bed (i think because my father planted them underneath the leaf mulch). i checked out the white peony my aunt and uncle left in the backyard yesterday, a monster of a plant, with giant buds ready to flower. the baby bokchoi are no longer babies and starting to produce flower stalks, so we need to eat them soon.
once the sun came out around 5pm, i ran to the back and front of the house to look for rainbows. i'm getting pretty good at recognizing optimum rainbow conditions and when i spotted it on the eastern horizon, i quickly grabbed my drone and went into the backyard to launch and to see if i can get a better view of the rainbow. sure enough, it spanned from alewife all the way into boston. i even saw traces of the double rainbow. the storm clouds were just moving away, and there some remnants just low enough that they actually passed through my drone.
there wasn't much day left before dinnertime. my mother made a stirfry with some backyard baby bokchoi with eggs, and some green asparagus (from last week) with smoked ham. the bokchoi tasted a little bitter, but my parents said they tasted pretty good. after dinner i made my blue cheese burger mix; the meat needs a day to solidify before it's ready for the grill tomorrow.
my father gave me a ride back around 7pm. we stopped briefly at the cafe so he could collect his cell phone. when we got to my place, i gave my father the carabiners i ordered online a few days ago, as well as a tray of tomato seedlings.
with no basketball on tonight, it was a pretty lowkey evening. i watched the first two episodes of the obi-wan kenobi series. my father called me, said he picked up the cooler one of their neighbors had thrown out. turns out it was no mere cooler, but a koolmate 40 by igloo, an electric cooler that runs on 12v. with a 40qt storage size and the ability to be used as a chest cooler as well as an upright cooler fridge. it was missing the 12v cigarette adapter plug, but it's something we can order online, and my father thinks he can just rig something up.
i bought two bottles of unhomogenized milk ($1) at haymarket yesterday. they'd expired 2 days ago, but seemed fresh enough that i wanted to try it out. i did notice yesterday that there were some solids in the milk, which didn't seem normal. i figured i'd find out if it's bad by taste testing it. so i finally tried a bottle tonight. it didn't smell when i opened it, which was a good sign. and when i took a sip, there was no flavor. actually, the liquid milk itself had no flavor, but the "solids" had a very creamy texture, almost like i was eating chunks of unsalted butter. later i did some research and i learned that homogenization is the process of blending the milk so the fatty solids emulsify in the liquid and don't form back into solids. it causes the milk to be liquidy, at the expense of taste. solid milk fat is actually very normal, and it's something that naturally happens to cow milk, that's how you can tell it's been unprocessed. i like it, and it didn't give me diarrhea like sometimes diary food can do due to my hit-and-miss lactose intolerance.