i had my alarm set to 9:00 but i slept restlessly, a mixture of summer night humidity and anxiety about my roommate leaving. i woke up around 8:00 to use the bathroom and was surprised to find bram was already up. i waited in the living room, waiting for the sound of luggage wheels rolling to let me know it was departure time. bram left at 9:15. i gave my little farewell speech, hoping he had a nice stay here, wishing him a good semester of teaching back at school. he mumbled something about leaving some things behind and how he's kind of a slob. i smiled and said it was okay. he mentioned something about staining the pillowcases. no problem, i told him, as i ushered him to the door, moving his suitcase so he could get out.

and just like that, another roommate is gone. and just like that, i have the place all to myself again. i almost shouted for joy if i wasn't afraid of scaring my neighbors.

the first thing i do immediately after a roommate leaves is inspect the guest bedroom and begin cleaning. i was surprised to find a small empty suitcase. i got the vacuum cleaner and swept the floor. those rugs will have to be washed since bram always wore his shoes inside the house. i removed the bedsheets and threw them into the washing machine. that's when i noticed the pillowcases. they were spotted with what looked to be bleach stains. not a big deal, they were old to begin with. maybe that was what the extra $15 in rent was for, replacement cost.

next came by favorite part, cataloging all the things my now ex-roommate left behind.

he left a pile of loose change on his desk, about $6 worth. i haven't seen so much coinage in a while, not since i began doing most of my purchases with my debit card (in order to rack up the 10¢ citizen bank's green$ense bonus for each transaction).

while i was loading up the washing machine i found a pair of bram's underwear in the dryer. this is the 3rd time i've had to handle his underwear, almost like an intentional joke. the first two times he just left them in the bathroom after he showered. the pair in dryer were boxer briefs, probably his special sexy underwear since i know (from personal experience, gross) he normally wears normal briefs (whitey tighties).

he left a lot of toiletries behind. actually, he left all of it, except for the dental floss and a box of unused disposable razors. his toothbrushes scare me because apparently he brushed hard. for some reason he also had 2 brushes, and one of them was stained yellow. when he first arrived he just left his toothbrush on the nearby countertop, so i gave him a little glass cup to use as a stand. the only thing was he never cleaned out the cup, so over time it was full of discolored toothbrush water. i ended up cleaning it myself a few things because looking at it made me feel sick.

i always thought it was funny that he purchased a container of axe body spray. i've seen the commercials on tv, but i figured only frat guys and guidos use the stuff. honestly, it doesn't smell that bad. but i already have a scent, it's name is brut.

since i was taking an inventory of the bathroom, i cleaned up a little bit as well. number one priority was cleaning all the floss specks from the mirror. something else that almost made me retch. he is by far the most unclean roommate i've ever had. he also routinely urinate on the floor, which i've gotten used to cleaning up, so it was that big a deal. every morning after he finishes using the bathroom i go in on my hands and knees and dab the pee drops off the floor. but i got brave and took out my UV light to find any spots i might've missed.

i've discovered that my roommate is really into all things natural, whether it's eating only organic and borderline vegetarian diet, or taking all sorts of alternative medicines and herbal supplements. what i really want to know is where he gets all this stuff, because i've never seen some of the things he bought in all the places i go shopping for food (if i had to guess, maybe whole foods).

i found empty containers of chyawanprash, which after some research i discovered is an ayurvedic health tonic. you're supposed to eat it? forgive me i offend practitioners of ayurvedic medicine, but the stuff looks and smells like what you'd find in a spittoon. even after i washed out the bottles, i could still smell it in the house. i must've burned half a dozen incense trying to mask the odor.

bram left behind a lot of grains. i recognized the bags of lentils although i've never cooked with it before. there was also a bag of little red grains that turned out to be quinoa. there was a bag of reddish-orange spice that just said, "$18/lb" - it didn't smell like anything i knew but tasted spicy, probably some curry powder. there was also a package of teff flour, which i found out is some sort of ultra-nutritious ethiopian flour. not sure what he used it for because i never saw him making anything with it.

i first noticed a few small fruit flies while cleaning out the cupboard. i didn't think nothing of it at first, until i got to the bottom of the pile and discovered a rotting kiwi covered in wriggly maggots. once again i held back from gagging. it didn't smell that bad, that's why i never noticed. the kiwi had to be 2 months old because i first saw it when bram moved in and bought groceries after a week living here. the sticky decay had permeated the non-slip grip mat underneath and i had to clear out the entire cupboard row just to pull it out and toss it. i'm a bit of a slob, bram's words repeated in my head. slob? there is no word to describe what you are!

bram had left a container of leftovers, a medley of lentils, quinoa, and ginger. i was tempted to try it out, but given his utter lack of hygiene, and not sure how long the leftovers had been in the fridge, safety overrode curiosity and i threw it out.

whenever a roommate leaves, i always ask myself, could i live with this person again? surprisingly, i could see myself rooming with bram once more, despite all his bad habits. i would have to be pretty strapped for cash though. even with all his faults, he does one thing right, and that's rarely being at home. if he ever does come back though, i'll have to lay down some more ground rules. like, don't store rotting fruits in the cupboard.

i went to belmont around 12:30. the weather looked so nice that i briefly thought about taking the motorcycle, but i knew it'd rain later in the evening, and took the bicycle instead, my all-weather vehicle of choice. my father had taken my mother to another rubber band ligation procedure. my sister left soon afterwards to pick up a friend at the airport (what, you're friend can't take the T?). i ate some pita and tzatziki for lunch.

garden snapshots:

after cleaning out most of RB1, suddenly all the arugula seedlings have sprouted, naturally sown. at this rate we'll have so much arugula we may never want to eat it again after this season.

i was in a good mood because my roommate was gone but that didn't last long. in the late afternoon i got an e-mail from my upstairs neighbor who once again is clamoring to get our house reroofed. it's not that i don't want to do it; it's just that i have zero money right now. from his wording i don't think the roof is leaking, but he's afraid it might after yesterday's torrential downpours. ever since he brought up the idea a year ago, every time there's some hard rain i get anxious because i fear he's going to bring it up again. his leak from last year is directly related to his broken skylight, which i've told him is his own responsibility.

my sister made dinner again, in the faustian bargain my mother made with her. even if the food is bad, no one dares criticizes my sister's cooking for fear of her getting mad. pointing out the pros and cons of dishes is a long-cherished past time around the dinner table. now when my sister cooks everyone eats nervously.

i found a shattered bike light while riding to belmont earlier in the day. after dinner i showed it to my father, who likes fiddling with broken electronics. after changing out the AAA batteries and playing around with some of the loose components, we managed to get it to work. it's a vistalite light,1 a brand i never heard before. it's weird because it uses 5 green LED's instead of the usual white or red. it has a unique design where you can toggle between constant-on and flashing by rotating the circuit board and piecing the light back together.

it was already raining by the time i got ready to return to cambridge. i covered up my things in the rear baskets with trash bags to keep out the water. it was only light rain, the sort that made me wet in the front but dry in the back. i spotted a drop leaf table a neighbor had thrown out and went to retrieve it after i locked up my bike. the table is in pretty good shape, with a single drop leaf. the only issue is the leaf has no support, although it looked like it did at one time.

if my upstairs neighbor thought yesterday's rain was bad, tonight's storm was even worse. it seemed like hours of hard rain beating on the back of my air conditioner, punctuated with intermittent sounds of thunder and the flash of lightning. it was useless watching television since i couldn't hear anything. i kept thinking about my upstairs neighbor, imagining rivulets of rain water seeping from the walls, him racing from room to room with catch buckets. i didn't know whether to laugh or cry. if the roof was going to leak, this would be the storm to do it. i anxiously await word tomorrow morning to gauge the aftermath.

1 a vistalite VL200SP. there's almost no information on this light online, only 2 webpages, one of them in icelandic. it's not very useful because of the green LED's, but interesting because of its unique design.