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these chinese HVAC repairmen, a little rough on the edges, but you can't deny how cheap their rates are. for $2200 i replaced my old furnace (canadian circa 1984) with a new high efficiency furnace. when they fired it up for the first time, i was surprised by how strong the hot air was coming from my floor vents. it even blew out a semi-circle of dust from the DIY diverting vent underneath my living room sofa. there also wasn't that distinctive gas heat smell i came to associate with my previous furnace. this was simply odorless air.

i finally managed to remove the washing machine timer from my stacked washer/dryer control panel. i could see where the two wires came off, but the problem was figuring out which was which (yellow/white). i had a 50% chance of getting it right, but getting it wrong might fry the timer. i then noticed that there were numbers on the timer leads, which corresponded to the colored wires which were also marked. from there it was a simple matter of reattaching leads 6 and 22. however, the bad news was it looked like the timer was already fried when it exploded when i first removed the control panel without disconnecting the power. there was the telltale signature of a small explosion - sooty blast radius and what looked to be melted metal. i'd already seen prices online - $120-150 for a new timer (maytag 22001180). if it's going to bring my washer back to life, it was worth it. but later in the evening when i went to go order the part, i decided to buy a used timer for just $50. if i can't resurrect the washer, then i may to call a professional or even consider buying a new stacked washer/dryer unit (pricey, $1200).

as for the dryer, i played around with the tumbling drum in the evening, got it to turn without the squealing sound, put everything back, powered everything up, and now it works fine. sure, in fixing the dryer i broke the washer, but i'll chalk this up as a learning experience. next time: turn off the power first before i start fiddling around with the appliance.

my parents came over around 2:40 after the repair guys left. learning that i didn't eat breakfast or lunch yet, we went across the street to grab some vietnamese. afterwards i went with them to the michael's in porter square (where my mother almost bought a rainbow loom) before arriving in belmont.

i got the news this morning: the chinese HVAC repairman who came over yesterday gave me his estimate at $2200 to replace my old furnace with a new high efficiency furnace. as my father was telling me, this guy has the cheapest price. much lower than GEM plumbing, which wanted $3300-3800 for an 80% efficiency furnace and $5000 for a 90% efficiency; and much much lower than addarios which was asking at least US$9000. not sure when this guy will start but he might purchase the furnace tomorrow and leave it in the basement to work on it next week.

not much happened the rest of the day. it was still windy out with intermittent rain, so i stayed indoors. as i was bored, i couldn't stop snacking, and everything i went to go use the bathroom and check myself on the scale i could see my weight increasing. maybe my scale is inaccurate but i must've put on 4 lbs. today, from morning to night.

i looked up various online photo book printing services: shutterfly, blurb, and snapfish. shutterfly had the most templates, but blurb had the best user interface (both web-based app and standalone app - with the standalone possibly supporting foreign language fonts). snapfish was also good and probably the cheapest of the bunch, with an easy-to-use web-based app as well. my mother wants to print out a photo book of her snapshots from the taiwan trip she took back in march. while researching for her, it dawned on me that it'd be cool if i did one for myself of my western sichuan trip back in august. i've never printed a photo book before so it'd be an interesting experience.

for dinner i boiled some chicken tortellini and mixed it with a simple from-the-jar tomato sauce combined with some steamed spinach. i ate while watching some thursday night football, drinking a bottle of old fashion root beer, old red eye brand. it tasted a little bit like our local moxie soda, but still nothing like the complexity of IBC root beer, which is the standard for root beer aficionados. all that pasta (and was there cheese?) made me a little gassy afterwards but that's where living single has its advantages.