it's monday morning and my roommate doesn't leave for work until 11:00. before he wakes up i've already had breakfast (just a banana, nothing fancy) and called MGH to book a doctor's appointment. my regular doctor can't see me until the 13th but i have a consultation with a nurse practitioner this friday, the first day my new health insurance kicks in. when i told them about my high blood pressure, the person on the phone said she'd get the nurse to call me back to make sure i don't need to come in even earlier.

when victor finally wakes up i'm in the living room assembling the latest norwegian care package for frances. this was a close one, i didn't think i could fit everything into the largest box i had and was thinking i needed to find one even bigger. i bought out the large spool of packaging tape a few weeks ago. it was weird because there didn't seem to be any adhesion until i saw on the label that it needed moisture to stick. basically, a packaging tape that's activated by licking. i even tried it but stopped when i realized it was stupid and i didn't want to get a papercut on my tongue. fortunately i had a roll of clear packaging tape. how the hell does anyone actually use moisture-adhering packaging tape?

around noontime i take a quick bike ride to davis square, to the only sewing store i know, to buy some special needles for mending denim fabric. i ended up buying an assortment pack and a heavy duty variety.

i arrive in belmont around 1:00 and the whole family makes a field trip to chinatown for some groceries. my sister is driving at the same time having a fight with my father over the best route to our destination: my sister wants to take the turnpike (which costs money) while my father says we should just go down storrow drive (which is free). in the end, we take the turnpike, only because my sister is incapable of saving money or listening to criticism.

we make a quick stop at the chinatown cafe on harrison avenue to pick up some lunch before going to ming's market.

back in belmont it was time to eat. i had so much side dishes that i could only eat half of my spicy porkchop rice (saving the rest for tomorrow).

earlier my mother was roasting some sichuan pepper corns. now she was grounding them up with a mortar and pestle. that seemed too much work so she searched for her small food processor. when she found it, so saw that the cord had been gnawed away by mice. that's the 2nd kitchen appliance destroyed by rodents; what is it about cords that they love so much?

while my father was outside pruning back the rampant honeysuckle (it had taken over a dividing fence we share with our next door neighbor), i was taking more measurements of the house with a ladder. with these more accurate numbers i can do a complete model of my parents' house using sketchup for near future landscaping purposes. once i get better, i also want to model my own house and submit it as a 3D reproduction for google earth. the last thing i did was to plant the 20 freesia corms into the 8" plastic pot. i got conflicting info as to the best way to treat these flowers, but i don't believe they're winter hardy (contrary to the packaging description) and prefer to put them in a pot to easy winter storage in late fall.

i wanted to test out the new needles so i took out the sewing machine to practice on a piece of leftover denim. when my mother hemmed a pair of old jeans yesterday, the straight stitching was a pretty series of dashed lines on the top, but a jumbled mash of threads on the bottom. unfortunately, the "bottom" is the part facing outwards, so it looks a little off. after reading the manual, i figured out it had something to do with the thread tension. we were sewing at 5, but the tension can go as high as 9. with a thicker needle and a higher tension setting the stitching on the bottom became more uniform. unfortunately that revealed a brand new issue: while the top stitching is a series of dashed lines, the bottom stitching is now a series of slightly diagonal dashed lines. no amount of adjustment on the thread tension knob would fix the problem nor replacing the needle and changing the thread. my mother suggested adjusting the bobbin cage, which sort of amazed me because i didn't think you could adjust that (my mother knows way more about sewing than i do). tweaking the bobbin cage changes the bottom thread tension (as opposed to the tension knob, which only changes the top thread tension). i'll give it a try the next time i'm in belmont.

after dinner i was getting ready to ride back to cambridge, but i was carrying so much stuff that my father said he'd offer me a ride and we could throw the bike in the back. so not only did i have my bike, but also bags of chinatown groceries, and a bag of potting soil. i think i would've been fine riding back on my own, but with the cold weather i was more inclined to take the easier way home.

victor was already home, eating and using his computer on the dining table. he relocated to his room, where i could hear him watching a marathon session of how i met your mother.