i finally finished a dance with dragons last night and all i can say is this (without sounding too spoilerish): not enough dragons! you think with a title like that it'd be wall-to-wall fire breathers, but they're only a tease. the book ended with a huge cliffhanger, not sure how i'll be able to wait for george r.r. martin to finish the next book (hopefully it won't take years). at this point with the end of book 5, there are just too many characters, each with their own stories. although it's still interesting, plots need to coalesce and characters need to be brought together.

now that i've caught up to the entire series, my summer reading project is over and i can now go ahead and read something else. for instance, this morning i actually had time for an issue of entertainment weekly! but i'm afraid i'll still dream about a song of fire and ice for the next few weeks.

i woke up at 7:00 and drove the hurricane-relocated car to my parents' place so we could see our relatives one last time before they left. this involved driving to their hotel in dedham, which took more than half an hour. although far from the city action, it was a pretty nice place, although i got the feeling bing bing's parents would've much preferred somewhere closer. without a car, they were reliant on bing bing's boyfriend to chauffeur them around in his buick rental.

their return flight back to china actually left from new york city at midnight, so they'd get to explore the big apple for a day before heading home. bing bing's father took the keys, making good on his promise last time that he wanted to experience driving the 4 hours from boston to new york.

after sending them off, my parents and i stopped in chinatown to get some supplies. i took a hit of nasal spray earlier in the morning, but the effects were wearing off and my nose began to run. also bing bing brought us coffee at he hotel and out of courtesy i drank some, but coffee makes me "irregular" and i needed to use the bathroom (i held back until we were back in belmont).

with the honda element safely returned, i could retrieve my motorcycle from the garage. i also called the town tree services and told them the maple in front of the house was in danger of toppling over, or at the very least crash down on the cars parked in the driveway. the woman put my parents' house in a list but the road crew probably wouldn't get to it until weeks later (they have their hands full cleaning up tree damage elsewhere).

garden-wise, we pruned the broken sunflower stalks and tied up the rest to keep them standing. i collected about a dozen large green tomatoes that had blown off the vines.

i found my next roommate, who will move in mid-september and stay for 3 months. he found me through victor's girlfriend, who recommended my place when they found out he was coming to cambridge. he's italian but has spent the past few years in spain working on his phd in nanotechnology. while he's here he'll doing research at MIT. he sounded like a nice enough guy through his e-mails, but told me he's an okay cook which makes me worried my kitchen will be in danger of being defiled. he's also a bike guy and a sports guy, so already we have more in common than my last hirsute renter.

that means i have about 2 weeks left of carefree single living, so i need to enjoy it while it lasts. there are also a few things i need to get done prior to opening day: replace the moldy and old shower curtains, recaulk the bathtub, buy new pillows, buy new bedsheets, clean up the cupboards and fridge, wash the guest bedroom rugs.

my allergies grew progressively worse, until i had full-blown symptoms by dinner time: runny nose, itchy throat, watery eyes, and sneezing. i took some more nasal spray which helped a little, but my congestion was bad enough that everything tasted bland.

i enjoyed the ride home, remembering how much i love motorcycling. when i got back though, my allergies were even worse. riding the bike is like turning my nose into a high speed pollen catcher. did help that i hand-pulled a few ragweeds that were growing next to my parked bike. i promised myself i wouldn't take anymore benadryl because of how it made me drowsy, but that promise was quickly broken while i scrambled for a remedy. i'm going to get some non-drowsy claritin tomorrow, see if that's a better solution. sure enough, the symptoms disappeared, but i became lethargic, and will now go to bed.