i woke up this morning to put my medical records in order. i've been putting it off for a few weeks because who really enjoys making calls to insurance companies and hospitals? first i had to get my member number from celticare (my new insurance) since they still haven't sent me my membership packet. the doctor they had as my primary care physician was wrong (probably just somebody they picked at random based on my location). the only problem was when they went to update my info, my current doctor was no longer accepting new patients. they needed a prior approval override, which might take 7-10 business days. next i called MGH to update my insurance info. when i gave them my celticare member number they were able to pull my information from the database. when i told them about the prior approval override, they said they knew nothing about that, and according to their information i should be covered.

so i called back celticare just to make sure. my main reason is i might go to MGH tomorrow morning and get some lab work done. this was something my doctor requested about a month ago (something slightly abnormal about my liver), but i'm only now getting to it. would celticare cover me, or would i need to wait for the prior approval to take into effect? the person i talked to said i was good; since i wasn't even seeing my doctor and just getting some tests done, the prior approval stuff wouldn't have mattered anyway. nevertheless, she put in a rush request and the approval should go through by tomorrow. finally, i called MGH again, this time to make a copayment i owed them. i thought i also had some outstanding balance (around $100) from way back, but turns out i actually had a $300 credit in my account. "would you like us to deduct the copayment from the credit and send you a check for the remainder?" yes please! not bad for morning work, made a few hundred bucks in the process.

my father stopped by while i was on the phone. he came around back and was knocking on my window. he brought me my bag of mulch. i took him into the basement to see my bicycle collection. he was more interested in the potential of converting the basement into livable space. we'd need to reconfigure some of the pipings and ducts, relocate the water heaters, and move the gas and electricity boxes - but there is a potential to turn my 40% of the basement into another room with a staircase from the first floor. he estimated it'd be $10k for the basement reconfiguration, and a few thousand more for the actual interior work. this is all wishful thinking for the time being, since i don't have the money. even if i did, i'd spend it on insulating the house better than trying to turn the basement into an additional room.

i can't stand the fact that my roommate goes to work so late. he sleeps earlier than me (not including his many evening naps before dinner) yet he wakes up later. i thought i was lazy but he doesn't get out of bed until well after 10:00, and doesn't leave for work until after 11:00. why is this a problem? because i feel like i can't get my day started until he's gone. even something as simple as using the bathroom, i don't want to be in there if he needs to get ready for work. maybe i'm too considerate. i should stop worrying about him and think more of myself. he's only here for less than a month (although he still doesn't know when in august he'll be leaving).

once my roommate finally left for work, i made some oatmeal for lunch. it's not the most glamorous of foods but at least it seems healthy. i take mine with some brown sugar, raisins, and a dash of cinnamon.

afterwards i grabbed my bag of mulch and marched down to the community garden to cover up the unsightly dried mulberries. despite putting in 2 days' worth of garden work, i'm pretty sure i'm going to get flagged again this weekend during the inspection. they don't like any part of the garden going wild, and i definitely have some wild patches: the asiatic dayflowers, the raspberries, the chinese lanterns, and the mint & violet border. it's not enough to kick me out of the garden but i'll be waiting for my letter of reprimand come next week. i wore my gardening gloves the whole time; the last time i was here i touched something that made my fingers itch.

coming back i saw a bianchi mixte bike. i don't know if it can be considered a true mixte frame because the sloped top tube only divides into a pair of smaller tubes at the tail end. i don't like these seat tube mounted mud guards; i prefer wheel-hugging fenders.

i ran into ed. we got to talking about bicycles, and he showed me his collection of spare bicycle parts, including a stack of old wheels, front and back. i might be able to buy a 27 x 1-1/4" rear wheel off of him for the schwinn le tour road bike sitting in my basement. it's a shame that it's too tall for me to ride (the top tube comes up to my waist) but i'd like to fix it anyway, maybe sell it and use the money to buy another bike.

instead of waiting until tomorrow to get my lab work done, i decided to do it today, so i could have all of tomorrow free to do other things. when i got there the receptionist looked through a special filing cabinet drawer that had my folder. she gave me the lab work sheet and i added my name to the list of patients on the clipboard. i then proceded to wait. it was a busy day and i must've been behind 8 other people. i wasn't in any particular rush and just sort of sat there and vegged out for half an hour. i struck up a conversation with the woman sitting next to me. she turned out to be a gloucester nurse who works at brighams beth israel but comes to MGH because her doctor is here. she lived in cambridge for 6 years beginning in the late 90's, and actually just lived a few streets down from me. she thought i was a resident physician waiting for the lab works of one of my patients because i looked too young and seemingly not ill.

i was there only to get one test done, a hepatic panel, so the phlebotomist took just a single test tube of blood. the lab usually sees two patients at a time. the old man sitting across from me was a talkative russian. he told his phlebotomist that he was a doctor for 55 years so he knows about all the procedures and said she did a very good job drawing his blood.

it was about 3:00 when i headed into boston, towards the north end, to the wharves besides the new england aquarium. i didn't quite know the roads so i was riding on the sidewalk for much of the time, going slow enough to not be a nuisance. i was there to reserve a seat for a whale watch tomorrow morning. i finally decided to cash in that rain check ticket victor gave me since the weather tomorrow appears to be exceptional (much like today). boston harbor cruise has 2 whale watches during the weekdays, 10:00 and 12:00. each one lasts for 3 hours. i decided to go with the 10:00, giving me plenty of time to do some haymarket shopping later and return to cambridge before the friday rush hour traffic.

i opted to return to cambridge across the longfellow and down hampshire-beacon. just getting out of boston was a white-knuckle experience as i weaved between cars, both moving and parked. traffic congestion was my friend as i quickly made my way to the head of the line. in my mind i was visually all the different ways i could get hurt, from being squeezed by an unsuspecting car to the inadvertent opening door.

back at home, i ran into renee. we chatted outside while steve and paul welcomed a visiting friend (this can mean one thing: get ready for a noisy night). i got a chance to ride her bike, a lightweight trek hybrid with 700x35 wheels. she bought it new for $600. i told her i was looking for something comparable on craig's list for $100; she didn't think i'd be able to find one.

i went to rite aid to pick up some beef jerky for tomorrow. for dinner i had 3 slices of leftover pizza.

i came across a posting for a $40 ross compact in cambridge, an almost exact match to the ross compact my mother currently rides but in a much better condition. from the photo, this one looked to be purple, with a 3-speed hub gear instead of 10-speed. it still has original front and rear reflectors, chrome fenders, original seat, and a chainguard. i quickly contacted the seller (the posting had only been up for 20 minutes), who called me back soon afterwards. she told me more about the bike: the seat post seems to be stuck, but might be adjustable if the bolt can be loosened; although it's a 3 speed, it seems to be fixed on only one; she bought it on craig's list a month ago, but selling it again because where she lives it's too hilly not to have a bike with more gears; she did replace a tire. turns out she actually works a few blocks down from me; we arranged to meet up tomorrow at 3:00.

around 11:00 i left for harvard square to get some cash from the bank. the place was filled with young people just roaming the streets.1 it's kind of sad really, since there aren't too many places for people to congregate. in harvard square, it's mostly banks. banks, college students, taxis, and homeless people.

1 i realize now that part of the reason for the large crowd was because of the harry potter midnight screening. that would explain the mass of people i saw outside the AMC theatre. i didn't see anyone dressed up as any of the characters though (although i wasn't close enough to get a very good look).