i decide to make it up by doing some strength training exercise with my resistance band. the only other thing i needed to do outside today was to go vote in the primary, so i was waiting for the rain to let up. for lunch i reheated a frozen brick of homemade lasagna. i heated it for 45 minutes at 350° in the toaster oven and it was still cold on the inside. next time i should just use the big oven instead.
after lunch i walked down to the nearby elementary school to vote. i was the only one voting in the basement gymnasium. for democratic governor, i picked sonia chang-diaz even though she dropped out of the race, because maura healey is all but certain to be the next MA governor. for lieutenant governor i picked kim driscoll, former mayor of salem. for state attorney general, i picked andrea campbell over shannon liss-riordan. liss-riordan has spent $5 million of her own money to bombard the airwaves with her commercials, but there's something about her i don't like, the fact that she's never really been in government before, and the sense of entitlement that she can simply buy the election. william galvin for secretary of state (i believe it's his 8th term if he wins), christopher dempsey for auditor (not sure what they do, but i like his commercial), katherine clark for congress and majorie decker for general court representative (no idea what that job entails, but i recognize the name, even though she ran unopposed).
since i was in the neighborhood, i paid a visit to the community garden. i definitely wasn't there to water, just wanted to see my plot. there was a surprising amount of other gardeners there, i think most of them came after voting just like me. i collected a short but fat bitter melon, a single long bean, a red tomato, and a red serrano pepper.
i've been suffering from what is technically called "weeping eczema" for the past few days. it's basically a rash on the elbow crook of my right arm. besides being itchy, it also oozes out fluid from tiny blisters because of a bacterial infection. you can treat it with prescription corticosteroids, but since i didn't have any, i'm applying some aquaphor ointment instead. i don't know if it helps, but it keeps the skin from drying up, and most importantly, it prevents me from scratching at it.
new hampshire's primary isn't until next week, but we here in MA been bombarded with their political ads non-stop (southern NH share the same media market as greater boston), and things only seemed to have picked up this week. one thing i noticed is using china as a foreign scapegoat for everything wrong with the US. why not blame russia for destabilizing the international oil market? i saw no less than 3 NH political commercials (all republicans by the way) that made use of china as the enemy. apparently there are no chinese-american voters in NH, or the republicans figured they don't need their votes. this sort of thinking is going to lead to some hate crimes.
my upstairs neighbors finally left for their vacation around 3pm. jeff was still masked up because of covid while michelle slowly crawled down the stairs with her ankle boot (she literally sat on the wet steps and went down step by step on her butt) before jeff handled her a pair of crutches. i don't know how they went from being a fairly sporty couple to two very infirm people.
i promised myself that as soon as they left, i would start working on my sichuan paocai. it took an hour, from emptying the fermentation jar of old paocai vegetables, to peeling and chopping the new vegetable ingredients, then layering them into the jar. i'm reusing the liquid because it contains healthy fermentation bacteria. i didn't think i had enough liquid but i packed the jar with so much vegetables, it was beginning to overflow. i added more hot peppers this time, along with sichuan peppercorn and rock sugar.
around 5pm i decided i'd clean my aquarium as well. i didn't think it was that long ago, but the last time i cleaned the fish tank was the end of july, so more than a month ago. it was just a quick water change, i figured no more than 30 minutes. before i could get started though, i was going to transfer a colander full of leca beads into a plastic jar. so wouldn't you know it, i accidentally knocked it off the kitchen counter, spilling leca beads all over the floor. so i spent the next half hour picking up all the beads. it was basically a nightmare because they rolled everywhere, from under the fridge, to the oven, to under the shelves.
only then - about 5:30pm - was i finally able to clean the aquarium. because i didn't think it was that long ago, i didn't change out the activated carbon filter. instead i used a toothbrush to clean off all the wispy hair algae i could find (underwater, they kind of remind me of green cotton candy). i've used the toothbrush in the past but i found it easier to use my hands instead, but this time around i found it very useful, especially how i can twist the toothbrush and coil the algae around it like noodles. the tap water temperature was a perfect 72-74°, no need to adjust it to make it fish tank safe (besides adding a few drops of water conditioner). i siphoned out a bucket of dirty aquarium water before adding a bucket of clean treated water. because i didn't clean the filter, it took about 30 minutes to do this water change.
it rained the whole day. we went from zero rain for two months to too much rain in two days. another benefit of the rain? no ragweed pollen. i've been very symptom-free for the past 2 days. temperature outside was in the 60's, while it was a comfortable 70's inside the house. maybe in a few days i might take down my AC so i can have one of my living room windows free again.
for dinner i had some thin korean noodles mixed with chinese mala sauce. i added some pickled mustard green and a heaping of scallions. i also added some leftover sichuan paocai for flavor and texture. it wasn't too bad a meal considering it was so barebones.
by the time the evening news rolled around, the MA primary winners were already announced. maura healey won the democratic nomination for governor, no surprise there. on the republican side, geoff diehl won, although there's zero chance of him winning in the general election because he's an unapologetic trump loyalist. the biggest surprise was the attorney general race: andrea campbell won, beating liss-riordan. from the polls i saw, they were essentially tied, but campbell seemed to have won by a large margin; i guess i wasn't the only one who didn't like liss-riordan.
in the late evening i went to take out the trash. when i noticed nobody else had their trash out, i realized because of labor day monday, trash pickup will be delayed a day.