i arrived in belmont at 10:00, ready for the second and last day of painting. i found my father in front of the house trimming some overgrown hedges. besides the poor paint condition, the front of the house is also almost completely hidden from view by the bushes. it must be the least maintained house in the entire neighborhood. hopefully sometime next year we'll get the place in good shape again.

today i worked on priming all the bare wood window frames with a small can of white primer. for some areas (window by the stairs, parents' bedroom window above the basement entrance) i had to get creative and construct my own scaffolding using ladders and wooden planks. it was fairly easy work, especially in the warm late morning and early afternoon autumn sun, with nothing but a blue sky overhead. it's hard to believe in a few short days temperature will drop down to the freezing point. after my father finished pruning, he climbed back on the roof to paint the last few sections of bare wood with the yellow-tinted primer. he told me it was actually an oil-based primer instead of acrylic; that would explain why soaking the brushes in water had no effect, and why i couldn't wash off the paint from my hands.

my father left for the cafe around 2:00, which was also the time i finished. i went back inside the house to rest and wait for my mother to return. gary showed up around 3:00, i could hear the garage door opening. even later than yesterday! i didn't bother going out to check in with him, i figured he'd be able to see how much painting work we got done, work that he was supposed to be doing. he sanded the eastern side of the sun room until it got dark (sometime after 4:30) and went home.

my mother came home about the same time gary showed up. she immediately started preparing dinner and i had a bowl of noodles by around 4:00. a bit before 6:00 my godmother showed up. i left half an hour later via bicycle since my mother asked me to visit the crafts store in porter square to pick up some more yarn (last day to cash in on the veterans day 25% sale). i stopped by the cafe first, where i got half a large daikon radish from my father, as well as a packet of rice noodles.

i came home, dropped off my things, then went out again to porter square. i've grown a little apprehensive about biking in the dark, despite my collect of lights. with all the road repairs happening everywhere, bike lanes have sort of disappeared, not to mention poor road conditions (gravel, pot holes, steel plates, uneven surfaces). but i'm always happy to be biking, just going somewhere while getting some exercise as well. i've just been riding my grocery bike which is okay, but that thing is a beast and heavy as heck; i should switch to one of my many faster road bikes.

after picking up some yarn at michael's, i returned home.

today china and the US announced mutual changes in visa policies. the visa duration has been extended from just 1 year to now 10 years. if this was true when i left for china last year, it would've saved me from having to pay a penalty for overstaying my visa. but a 10 year visa probably doesn't mean i can stay in china for 10 years; it just means i don't have to renew it every time i go to china.

the daikon radish was for sichuan paocai jar 1, which still had some room. i chopped up the radish, added it to the jar, and let the excess brine overflow. i sampled a small piece of cabbage, very crisp and salty. i also tried some of the brine, very spicy (no surprise given how much thai chili pepper i added). talking with my mother earlier, she recommended i add more rock crystal sugar to my paocai. so into each jar i added 2 more tbsp. one interesting thing i noticed was paocai jar 2 was already full of small fizzy bubbles. could it be fermenting already?

while eating some dried carambola, i suddenly felt a weird sensation on the right side of my mouth, like somehow a tooth went missing. i carefully took everything out and realized my upper right molar had cracked. not a chip, but a crack, a quarter of the tooth coming loose. that was a problem tooth to begin with, having been filled on numerous occasions, including china, and then just last week at my allston dentist's office. what was startling was what was inside the tooth; back in changshou i had a root canal done on it, and the dentist there packed the cavity with some sort of chinese medicine. i don't know what it was, but it was smoking when i saw him put it into my mouth, and by that point i was just relieved that the tooth had finally stopped hurting. but seeing it now, it was some sort of black substance. i also noticed he didn't do a good job filling it back in, that's why whenever i sucked on that tooth, i could taste a little bit of whatever that was inside.

it's a shame because my right side was the good side, because one of my molars on my upper left (the one that i cracked back in chengdu) is very sensitive to cold temperatures. now i don't have a good side anymore! fortunately i have a dentist appointment on friday; it's just for a teeth cleaning, but maybe i should call to let them know i may need a longer appointment. this is a crown procedure for sure, not sure how much it's going to cost me. i have one other crown already, i remember it's a fairly laborious process. but i think that tooth might've already been root canaled (or partially anyway), so maybe it's an easier job. i just hope i can get it fixed before thanksgiving, the biggest eating event of the year! i need me some good teeth!

at 40 years old, i should be expecting some dental issues, especially given how reckless i am when it comes to eating candy. i guess it was just a matter of time before my teeth started crumbling. everything seems to be falling apart these days, including my washing machine which still hasn't been fixed yet. at least megabus found my cellphone, but when i called them back several times today, nobody picked up from their lost & found department. the lesson here is never lose something on the megabus because it's a hassle getting it back.

finally, my bottle of nivea essentially enriched moisturizer arrived today. i first came across it back in china, at the chongqing carrefour, while searching for some hand moisturizer to take with me into the mountains of western sichuan. i get perennially dry skin on the back of my hands every winter, and this nivea moisturizer worked wonders. not only did it get rid of my dry skin, but it left it feeling silky smooth afterwards. i got a little tube which cost something like RMB$18 for 50ml. because it was such a small amount, i would only apply a little glob at a time because i didn't want to use it all up. i ended up buying another tube sometime later. the following year, back in changshou, i saw the same lotion sold in a larger 125ml container which i bought for RMB$30 (i think). now back at home, i got an even larger container at 500ml for $3.85 which is only RMB$23. not only are things like these cheaper in the US, but they come in bigger portions.