DC typically wakes up around 9am and leaves for work by 9:30am. we seem to get up at the same time, so this morning i decided to wake up at 8:30am instead. but apparently DC was thinking the same thing, because he ended up waking early as well, where i found him in the bathroom brushing his teeth. i waited until after he left the house before finally using the bathroom uninterrupted.

earlier this week eliza asked me if i could pick up some old journals of hers. her parents have decided to move to a senior home and were getting rid of stuff, including these journals which were kept at their house. i was coordinating with eliza to see when i could go down to dedham, but her father has decided to keep the journals after all in storage for one more year. to be honest, i was kind of looking forward driving down to the south shore area, maybe do some bogging, or perhaps visit the nearby ikea.

i made it down to the cafe by 10:30am. DC came to the cafe for lunch with his advisor around 12:30pm. i meant to say hello but i was busy at the time and couldn't go see him. when i finally did, they'd already left.

my father tried testing the furnace for the first time today but it wouldn't start, despite the pilot light being on. the nest thermostat did warn me that the Rh wire wasn't getting electricity, but still allowed me to use the thermostat, even though nothing happened when we turned up the heat. we tested with a multimeter. the power switch toggle seemed to be getting power, and there wasn't any issues with the wiring because there was continuity when i tested between Rh to W1. when i tried to manually start the furnace by connecting Rh to W1, nothing happened. when i tried to measure the voltage across the two wires, the reading was zero. likewise, measuring the leads directly inside of the furnace gave zero voltage as well. out of ideas, my father called xiaowu and asked him to pay us a visit this week.

could the power switch be broken? to test, we first had to find the upstairs circuit breaker controlling the furnace. we turned that off and i probed the two leads of the power switch (screws located on the side) with the multimeter. there was zero continuity when it was switched off - which is normal - but there was also zero continuity when it was switched on. this meant even though the power switch was getting electricity, it wasn't transmitting it to the furnace.

originally my father was going to wait until tomorrow morning to replace the switch since we couldn't find a spare at the cafe. but i was getting antsy and decided to ride the bike to the nearby tags hardware store in porter square and buy a switch there. i headed out by 2:15pm, got back home 20 minutes later. the switch - the cheapest one i could find - cost $1.48.

i tested the new power switch (which is essentially just a light switch) before installing it: no continuity when off, yes continuity when on. once the new switch was installed, i went upstairs to flip on the breaker and check the nest thermostat. it still said it wasn't getting electricity on the Rh wire, but now that i think about it, it's always said that because we basically hacked the wiring of the thermostat so that it has it's own dedicated 24v transformer. just ignore the error. when i turned up the heat on the thermostat, the furnace in the basement fired up immediately. $1.48 fix for a furnace that up until 30 minutes ago we thought was broken. my father called xiaowu to cancel the appointment.

when my aunt came to the cafe later in the afternoon to pick up her catered order, she also brought along a zojirushi rice cooker she just happened to find on the curb. nobody finds more discounted high end rice cooker than my aunt. the 10 cup zojirushi rice cooker we currently use at the cafe was one she discovered at a good will store for cheap. the one that she brought today was the NP-HTC10 model (5.5 cups of rice), featuring pressure and induction cooking. induction meant the rice pot was stainless steel, and no spring-loaded pressure plate on the bottom like a typical rice cooker, but instead the cooker interior was completely smooth, other than a few contact points for activating the induction coils. it seemed to be in working condition and my aunt even tested it before dropping it off. it even had a battery backup because the clock was still running. the only catch was the non-stick interior of the pot was badly scratched, with multiple pieces of coating material flaking off. fortunately zojirushi does sell replacement pots, but they go for $89 (i later found out the pot is actually platinum coated, to alkalize water on contact; alkaline water breaks down rice protein which increases the sweetness apparently pots for later models come platinum coated, making them even more expensive). as for this rice cooker itself, it's actually one of zojirushi's flagship cookers, so it typically sells for around $500.

my 2nd aunt also came to the cafe in the late afternoon. turns out she had some documents to ask my father about, and wanted to consult with my mother regarding some knitting questions. she'd missed DC we came earlier; they used to be housemates when they shared the apartment above my sister's place.

i'd been waiting all day for my sister to finish cooking so i could use the oven to roast the 2 lbs. of chestnuts i bought from haymarket on friday. earlier my father had scored them with an X to prevent bursting and easy peeling, and we'd been soaking the chestnuts in salt water since this morning. i was finally able to roast the chestnuts by around 5pm, 25 minutes at 450°.

the chestnut shells started to curl just a few minutes after we put it in the oven. typically that meant it was done cooking, but i waited the full 25 minutes before finally taking them out of the oven. i was expecting more of a fragrance but wasn't any. i peeled one open, the nut meat inside was still moist, i was afraid it'd be dry from all that roasting. unfortunately many of the chestnuts were moldy on the inside, so you had to be careful when eating them. but on the off chance you found a good chestnut, it was sweet and still warm on the inside. hopefully i can score some better quality chestnuts elsewhere than haymarket (you get what you pay for). i remember seeing them sell raw peanuts, i might try that next time.

in the early evening feifei and her husband (current upstairs apartment tenants) showed up at the cafe. they were there to meet DC, who knows feifei's husband, being both astrophysicists. when DC finally showed up, i was able to say hello, as well as my 2nd aunt. they were meeting at the cafe for dinner, DC and feifei trying the sal & pepper chicken bento while feifei's husband getting the beef noodle soup.

after saying good bye to DC, i finally left the cafe by 6pm. i remembered to bring my bike lights as it was already dark. dark and cold. once i got back home, i heated up a hot pie in the toaster oven for dinner. it was still baking when DC finally came home. i ate while watching the latest episode (10) of andor, the prison break episode. i didn't have time to watch it a second time, but i probably will, so good.

my MLVOC travel pillow ($17) arrived today. i spent the rest of the evening with it around my neck to test it out. it's actually pretty comfortable, and useful too, especially when i started dozing off while watching youtube videos, it supported my neck so i don't jerk my head when i fell asleep. later i realized i was wearing it wrong. it's basically a u-shaped pillow made with memory foam, one side contoured, one side flat. i thought the flat side was supposed to face up while the contoured side faced down, but i actually got it backwards. no wonder the drawstring clip felt a little awkward, and i felt some tension in my neck area. once i placed the contoured side up, there was no more pain. now i can't wait to go on a long bus ride or plane trip, so i can have an excuse to bring the travel pillow.