i decided to head out to belmont early, day 2 of memorial day weekend gardening. i paid a quick visit to the community garden first, to water my plants. i was surprised to see david, chatting it up with some gardening ladies. finally he asked me if i was the one who gave him the kugua (bitter melon) seedling a few weeks ago. "who else could it be?" i replied. ann was there as well, but seemed to be lost in her own world. i went to say hello to her before i left, i almost felt bad for disturbing her. i left for my parents' place directly from the garden via motorcycle.

since it's the end of the month, there were a lot of good stuff out on the curb from students moving out of their apartments. i saw an ikea råskog 3-tire utility cart out on the sidewalk. i pulled into a side street so i could go back and get the cart, trying to figure out the logistics of how i'd get it back to the house. off in the distance though, i saw a girl grab the cart. too late! at the same time, a woman walking in front of me suddenly turned around when she saw the same thing, apparently she was going for the cart as well! street "treasures" is about as much as timing as it is luck.

i got to belmont by 11am. i was also trying to get there even earlier (before it got hot) because my mother said she wanted to go for a walk, and we were going to go down to star market together. while she was heating up some leftover italian sausages for lunch, my father and i were out in the backyard doing some maintenance on our gas mower. he'd already taken off the cover from the air filter compartment. inside was an air filter that had never been replaced in the nearly 2 decades that we've had this mower; to be honest, we didn't even realize there was an air filter. we replaced it with a new one i bought and powered up the mower. immediately we could hear the difference, the engine no longer "wheezed" like it did before, it sounded like new.

my father then did some mowing until the gasoline ran out, so we could tip the mower on its side and remove the blade for sharpening. the blade was replaced fairly recently (2018), but i don't think we've ever sharpened it before. he had an angle grinder but that seemed too aggressive, so he was trying to sharpen the blade with a file instead. we made some headway before my mother called us in for lunch.

she wrapped sliced sausages in mustard leafs. i think it'd work if the leafy green was more natural, but mustard leaves have a sharp taste (especially red giant japanese mustard).

after we finished eating my mother decided so wanted to go out for a walk now. she asked my father to come as well, but we could leave hailey alone in the house, so a compromise had to be made: my father would come with us but turn back after a few blocks while we continued to star market. we cut through the park, where we could see a memorial day event happening at the belmont cemetery across the street, police cars blocking off car traffic on either end. we soon realized there was no way my mother could go to star market because the moment she disappeared, hailey started searching for her and wouldn't leave until she found her. so we ended up just walking a short loop before returning to the house.

my father continued sharpening the mower blade, this time using a dremel tool. that seemed to work faster than the file. once that was done, we put the blade back onto the mower, fed it some gasoline, and my father mowed the rest of the lawn (mulch setting). replacing the air filter and sharpening the blade made the mower like new again. looks like we'll hold off on buying an electric mower for another season, or until a better deal comes along. memorial day is a good time to buy a new mower, but the only deals i saw were for ryobi mowers at home depot, and i've already decided we're getting an EGO mower because they're more power and seem better made. i spoke with the next door neighbor yesterday when he was out mowing his lawn: they have an EGO 2135SP, the top of the line EGO electric mower that sells for $600. it's self-propelled but he said he never uses it. they also have an EGO edger.

there was some garage door drama around 2pm. while closing the door, i heard a loud crashing sound inside, and when i tried to open up the door, it was stuck. my guess: one of the garage door springs had a malfunction. my father and i ended up rolling up the garage door manually (heavy) and saw that the door spring on the right side had snapped off. fortunately we had a spare spring, from the time we fixed the left spring 1-1/2 years ago (garage door springs are sold in pairs). however, the eye hook holding the spring in place had sheared off as well, so we needed a new eye hook.

we ended up going to home depot, which was crowded. in fact, the entire arsenal yard area was crowded, which was a surprise, because i always though it was a artificial construct of urban planners that didn't get much use due to lack of commercial properties, but the myriad of people proved me wrong. anyway, they didn't have the eye hook we wanted - we wanted one with an open hook - but my father said we could pry one open. my father also got some generic nuts and bolts for his battery project.

we got back to the house by 3pm. clamped in a vise, my father tried to pry open the "eye" of the eye hook but it wouldn't budge. he ended up using the angle grinder to trim off about less than half a centimeter from hook. it was quite the production, with sparks flying everywhere, and my father even managed to burn himself when he touched the hook afterwards, which was scorching hot. we installed the hook onto the metal brace of the garage door then attached the spare garage door spring along with the pulley. another problem we encountered was the old metal braid wouldn't come off. the part that attached to the bottom of the garage door was crimped to a special metal bracket that seemed to be nailed to the door. so we decided to reuse the wire. with me on a step ladder pulling the spring and my father balancing on an empty barrel, we managed to clip the wire into the S-hook. we tested the door, it worked great, though if we need to replace the spring again in the future, we should get the blue-variety (140 lbs. rating), not the yellow-variety (130 lbs. rating) we have now.

we continued with our yard work. we planted the white peony my aunt and uncle delivered on friday afternoon. we decided to put it in a spot behind the garage. i thought i'd have to relocate a lot of perennials when i dug the hole, but it only affected a single small foxglove plant. i wanted to put down some chicken manure but my father said it might be too much for the peony, so instead i put a layer of compost first, before sprinkling some osmocote slow-release fertilizer pellets. i then held the peony in place while my father shoveled dirt and i filled in the hole. there are severl large peony flower buds, i won't know if they'll bloom or abort. in the container that came with the peony was a eyeless peony root. i ended up planting it near the grapevines, don't know if it'll survive.

we also watered the front yard in the late afternoon. the backyard seems okay, but there are a lot of dead patches of grass in the front lawn from all the lack of rain. my father hooked up another length of hose so we could run the rain water pump into the front of the house. naturally there wasn't a lot of pressure given the feet of hose the water had to travel through, so we watered in small batches using a round flat sprinkler.

we had leftover barbecue for dinner. my mother also steamed some corn in the microwave and washed the haymarket cherries. i could've easily eaten the entire 2lbs. of cherry all on my own, i don't know when to stop when it comes to eating cherries. my sister came to pick up hailey, didn't take any leftover barbecue, left with a container of instant tonkotsu ramen.

i returned to cambridge by 7:30pm. there was no parking, i had to park 2 blocks away again. i'll move the motorcycle closer tomorrow when people leave for work. i spent the rest of the evening watching celtics highlight clips on youtube.

i bought a pair of nike revolution 5 running shoes for $36 (originally $65, 30% markdown to $45, on top of another 20% memorial day promo). i've been thinking about getting back into running (for health and weight loss reasons) but i haven't worn my old running shoes in more than a decade (i actually dug them out of the closet, they're moldy from disuse). my former coworker kristine used to replace her running shoes every year, so i figured i was due. also probably a lot has changed in sneaker technology since the last time i've worn them, i'm curious to see how these new shoes perform. finally, new shoes might make me more motivated to run.