it was a day of clean-up at the cafe (while simultaneously opened for business), as we were getting the place ready for the contractor to come by at the end of the day (4pm) so he can demolish the water damaged countertop today and install a new one tomorrow. my parents were there early to help out, right after their acupuncture appointment. my 2nd aunt was there early too. the only person who was late was my sister, the one person who was supposed to be there first.

fortunately it wasn't a very busy day - as if yesterday's record breaking business broke the wheels of commerce and it needed a day off today. nevertheless, we still had 14 transactions, several of those online orders for pickup.

alex stopped by briefly to throw out some of his stuff stored in the basement into the dumpster. he threw out so much it looked like there wouldn't be enough space for the old countertop. earlier my father and i tossed out 3 old mattresses along with one of the suitcases i bought when i was in china (leimasu brand, the wheel broke after a few trips).

my parents were roasting the charsiu pork and making vegetable buns. my father drove my mother back home around 3pm, only to come back at 4pm to meet the contractors.

the whole reason why we were replacing te counter was because the old bunn coffee brewer broke (burst the tank) and leaked back in february, soaking and warping the countertop and cabinets. my sister file an insurance claim (with corroborating evidence courtesy of several webcams) and they gave us the money to replace all the damaged equipment.

we thought maybe a team would show up but it was just one guy, the boss. he made quick work of the counter: he showed up at 4:20pm and had most of the counter ripped up and tossed into the dumpster by 5pm. we all pitched in helping him throw pieces of broken cabinets into the dumpster. it was actually kind of fun throwing things away. the contractor was coming back early tomorrow morning at 7:30am with a plumber friend to disconnect the sink and old unused dishwasher before removing the final piece of old bar sink countertop.

i left afterwards, my father trailing behind me. on the doorstep in belmont was the lifetime-brand 6ft faux wood grain plastic and metal picnic table ($210). we ordered it back in june, it took about a month to arrive due to inventory issues. also on the doorstep was the replacement fudingzhu osmanthus we ordered a week ago ($35) from newlifenursery.

we opened up the osmanthus first. it was supposed to be gallon-sized but it looked more like quart-sized. this one only had a handful of branches; the one we got back in october had way more branches and looked like a miniature bush. this one also had zero flowers while the previous osmanthus was full of flowers (of course osmanthus don't flower until the fall-winter). however, we have all summer to allow it to flourish outside in the bright sun, so hopefully this new fudingzhu can grow healthy enough to survive the winter indoors. plus, when fudingzhu flowers, it doesn't matter what the plant looks like, it will literally flower everywhere and for months on end.

i went inside to order some thai chicken and rice online for pickup before going outside again.

my father had the picnic table in the backyard, its pieces spread around the opened cardboard box. it seemed complicated, but before had a chance to try piecing it together, i noticed the live animal trap i placed behind RB2 had sprung. i looked inside and couldn't see anything, but the number of flies buzzing around was not a good sign. my father and i tried to see if there was a rabbit inside until i saw a tuft of fur poking out from the cage. i thought it was dead at first, but then i could see it breathing. i lifted up the cage and the animal inside was definitely alive, bouncing from one end of the cage to the other. i caught a glimpse and immediately knew it wasn't a rabbit. it was a squirrel instead! it was much more active than a rabbit, and might've been in the cage for at least 2 days since that was the last time my father checked. i opened the cage with a stick and the squirrel bolted out and ran up the maple tree.

my father and i went to go pick up our what-the-chick takeout. the past 2 times we've had problems with our online order, and i had to wait 15-20 more minutes to get my food. this time however they had it ready the moment i arrived. i didn't see anyone else except the middle-aged thai guy.

the roasted thai chicken and rice was good, its deliciousness enhanced by the fact that i didn't eat anything all day (that's not true, my parents made scallion bread with their electric baking pan). my mother said the rice was too oily and only ate half of her food. the hot sauce that comes with the roasted chicken is the secret sauce. i don't even care what i'm eating, as long as i get to dip it in that hot sauce. i'm starting to think it's a combination of fish sauce and habanero peppers.

after dinner my father and i went back out into the backyard to assemble the picnic table. we couldn't make sense of the direction but there was a QR code that pointed to a video showing how to assemble the table. that gave us a starting point. it's actually not too hard to piece together, and the design is pretty ingenious. if we thought the table would be lighter than a traditional wooden picnic table, that's not the case at all (75 lbs). besides the weight, another thing we noticed right away once the table was assembled was it was a bit rickety. i never had that problem with a wooden picnic table - which always felt very solid - but this table you can shake it and it feels like its falling apart (which it won't). the more people sitting on the benches though, the more solid it becomes. the pros are we don't need to treatment it (like we do with a wooden table) and it can be folded and stored in the garage during the winter. there's also a hole in the center of the table to pull an umbrella, but we already have plenty of shade from our backyard maple tree, although we could move the picnic table elsewhere if we wanted to. my mother likes it because you don't need to swing your feet over the support brace like you do with a wooden table. we ended up elevating the table onto 4 bricks so the metal ground bars don't kill the grass.

i returned home by 8:30pm. i had another surprised back at home: my aquarium light finally came. it was supposed to come yesterday, but was delayed until today. the aquaneat LED aquarium light about the same length as my old beamswork light, but half the width. i actually don't mind, because i have a glass fish tank cover that has a hinge strip in the middle where the light can't shine though; with this skinnier light, i can piece it entirely above a pane of glass so there's no blockage. the light also includes not only white LEDs but also blue, green and purple. not sure the reason for those other colors (and there's no option to turn on certain LEDs), i can only see it when i see the reflection of the lights above the glass cover, but the light that shines down into the tank seems otherwise uniform and i noticed also seemingly brighter than my old beamswork light.

after a hot shower, i settled in to an evening of hard cider, fishsnacks, watermelon seeds, and asian pear. i watched the yankees-red sox game which was broadcasting national on FOX so it wasn't blacked out like it normally would. this was actually my first red sox of the season. boston was down by 1 point but managed to tie it in the 8th inning. in the 10th new york went up by 2 runs, but the sox came back to score 3 runs in a walkoff win courtesy of verdugo. i may start watching baseball again! especially now that the NBA season is over and football isn't until the fall.

later in the evening i had a bout of explosive diarrhea. not sure what caused it, and it reoccured a few times to the point were i was afraid of hearing my stomach gurgle because it meant i had to rush to the bathroom. but i'm a seasoned veteran of diarrhea, it comes with eating suspect foods all the time.