a call from a collection agency woke me up early this morning. from the voice i could tell the agent was a young man, and somebody who's used to being curt with the people he talks to over the phone. it was just too early for me to think properly so the conversation was punctuated by long pauses as my mind struggled to figure out what was going on. he wanted my birthday for authentication. "sorry, i don't give out that information over the phone." the agent told me he couldn't continue without confirming who i was. "can't we do this over the mail?" i asked. the agent said they already sent me a letter dated march 1st. there was a pause. "what time is it? could you..can you call me later?" the agent asked me how much later. "i don't know..like...like an hour later?" he hung up. even though i was still sleepy, i was too worked up to go back to bed.

this phone call is in regards to some outstanding medical bills that was supposed to be split between my motorcycle insurance and my health insurance. i thought blue cross had taken care of it but the MGH bills i get every few weeks indicated otherwise. calling blue cross to check up on the claim status was something i've been meaning to do but unfortunately very low on my priority list. the young man whom i spoke with was actually legit because a week ago i did receive a collection agency letter. the amount owed isn't a big deal (about $200) but blue cross was supposed to pay that amount (that's the whole reason why i have health insurance in the first place). what do i care if it goes to a collection agency? i already have my 30-year mortgage, so having a stain on my credit rating isn't going to matter very much.

but i don't like to have things hanging, so i called my blue cross agent this morning. she wasn't there so i left a message. as for the collection agent, he never called me back even after making such a fuss to pinpoint a better callback time.

in the bathroom i noticed the bathtub faucet was leaking. if there's one thing i can't stand is a leaky faucet. fortunately i have the necessary expertise to fix it. i went down to the basement and turned off the intake valve. i then disassembled the cold water knob, flushed it out, and put it back together again. "just a second, i'm almost done," i said to victor, who just woke up. leaking fixed!

shuffling into the kitchen to make lunch a few hours later, i saw the large oil splatter all over the stove. victor was frying a hamburger last night and here was the end result. in the month that he's lived here, i've had to clean the stove a few times already. i was seriously annoyed and was determined to go over the cooking ground rules with him again when he returned home. what started as simply wiping off the oil became a full-blown dismantling of the stovetop and a deep cleaning that took almost 2 hours. the dirtiest part was the area beneath the range grills, where oil splatter and pot overflow residue had been collecting. also dirty were the burner heads, which were caked in black grease. i didn't know if they could be submerged, so i cleaned them gently with a magic eraser; it cleaned off the worst of it, but the burners were still speckled in leftover grease. after testing everything to make sure it was working, i reassembled the stove.

it wasn't until amost 3:00 before i had lunch. i've been dreaming about french toast for a few weeks now and finally had the chance to make them (served with a drizzle of vermont maple syrup). i also cooked up some kielbasa sausages, but left them in the pan way too long and managed to turn one side completely black (still tasty though).

less than half an hour later, i heard the front door open. at first i thought maybe the wind did it, but then i heard the rustling of doorknob and the thumping of shoes. victor had come back home. "you're back sort of early," i said. turns out he came home early so he could watch the european champions league quarter-finals match between real madrid and olympique lyon. this was an important game since madrid would be eliminated from the championship if they lost. he asked if i'd be interested in watching it with him. he made a plate of chorizo and an assortment of cheese. we watched in the living room streamed from his pc laptop with the audio from a spanish football station. the video stuttered a few times, particularly at key points. during halftime we were both on our respective computers looking for a better stream. i found one that was of poor quality (blurry) but had a steadier stream; we ended up watching it from my laptop in the second half.

madrid scored a goal in the first half, then added 2 more in the second half, ensuring their victory over lyon. i rooted for madrid because it's victor's team; i also didn't want to see my roommate in tears should his team lose. apparently lyon has beat madrid numerous times in the past, and madrid seemed unable to get past this particular team. also, for the past 6 years, madrid has been eliminated in the first round of the euro championship.

while victor was in the kitchen, i casually asked him what he does with the leftover cooking oil. i told him not to drain it in the sink, but either pour it into the trash or add it to the grease collection can in the freezer. i also asked him, "as a personal favor," to use the splatter guard if he's ever cooking anything with oil, to save me the trouble of clean up afterwards.

for dinner, some leftover meat buns.