i woke up at 8:30am to meet up with my mother at porter square. i spent 20 minutes fresh squeezing a bottle of orange juice, then another 10 minutes making an italian sub. my mother called at 9am to make sure i was coming and to let me know she was already leaving. i left the house at 9:10am, walking instead of biking because i didn't want to bother getting the bike out of the basement, knowing that in a matter of hours it's be snowing then raining.
i found my mother sitting outside the stores in the cold. we went to star market first to buy some keurig coffee on sale. then we went to michael's, where we bought some yarn. even that early in the morning, there was still a bit of a line. it took even longer because we were using competitor coupons (ac moore 55% off one item) and the manager had to come by and ring up the special code.
back outside, i handed my mother her orange juice and sandwich. we then parted way, she returning to the cafe, me returning home. later i called her asking what they thought of my italian sub. she said it was too salty and my father said i put too much deli meat on the sandwich.
close to 11am it finally began to snow. not some small flurry but a steady snowfall, making everything outside look like it was viewed through a static filter. i set up the action camera to take a time lapse video.
for lunch i made myself a bowl of chicken sausage oatmeal. i didn't want to use the foreman grill because it can get a little smoky so i cooked the sausages in a pan, which got just as smoky and i managed to burn the sausages a little bit, leaving black char marks in the white ceramic pan (easily washed off however thanks to magical non-stick material).
it only snowed a few hours before it turned into rain around 2pm. we got maybe 2" of accumulation. i took the opportunity to clear the sidewalk, didn't want everything to turn into slush and then freeze solid overnight. afterwards i called my father, suggesting we go back to their house and clear the solar panels. enough snow fell that they were covered, and there wasn't going to be enough rain to melt everything in time before freezing solid overnight. besides, the panels on top of the sunroom would need some help anyway since the panel angles aren't steep enough for the snow to slide off on its own.
my father came to pick me up. the roads for the most part were okay, the rain naturally helped clear some of the more heavily trafficked thoroughfares. once we arrived in belmont however, the streets were glazed over with ice; apparently the town didn't seem fit to salt the roads beforehand, and they're lax with the snow plowing despite the exorbitant taxes.
on the ride from my house to belmont we pass by nearly a dozen solar installs. 3 houses just around where i live, and 2 others on the same street as my parents' place. from the snow condition on those panels, we had an idea of what was in store back at the house.
about a week ago at the end of january was the last time we cleared snow off of the solar panels. snow had partially slide off from the main roof panels. the wet condition made it easier for the snow to slide off, but the wet snow also has a tendency to clump together, so we didn't see any of that avalanche clearing with dry powdery snow. tops of the panels were clear, but the snow stuck to the bottoms. as for the sunroom panels, they were all covered, just a strip of clearing on the very top panels.
since we discovered last time that one person along with a ladder can clean the panels without needing to climb on top of the roof, my father was in charge of cleaning while i went to the front of the house to shovel the driveway and sidewalk. i managed to work up a sweat, on top of my jacket and clothes, which by then were rain-soaked. my father had cleared most of the panels, first working from one side then the other. greased by the rain, the snow slid off the panels easily, just needed some extra push to clear the downslope clumping.
we left as soon as we finished cleaning. i asked my father if he needed to change out of his wet clothes but he said only his jacket was wet. i got a ride back home.
i spent the rest of the day refreshing my knowledge of regular expressions. i know the basics, but it's always nice to learn a few new tricks. i'd also like to be familiar enough with regex that i don't need to look up every command every time i need to do something.
i also worked on some formulas for the solar energy google spreadsheet:
instead of manually pulling down a cell to populate a column, i used ARRAYFORMULA to do it for me automatically. i have an if-statement to test if cells have data before doing any calculations otherwise leave as blank. the trick was figuring out that if-statements within ARRAYFORMULA use * as AND and + as OR. writing it the regular way will give you an error message.
this was a formula i figured out to automatically populate the date field as new rows of data are added daily.
this formula was from a week ago, for a monthly summary page using a query statement to automatically create the sheet and populate it with numbers. it basically sums up each column based on the month. eventually there's going to a problem because right now i don't distinguish between 1-2018 and 1-2019 (though i can add another layer of condition to check the year). these query statement i also learned how to use the label function and pulled the column names dynamically (instead of hardcoding). i would like to learn how to automatically format the data as well, but i'll learn that some other time. it's referencing a different sheet but google sheet is smart enough to change the values for me (like when i rename the reference sheet).
for dinner i made an italian sub washed down with a warm cup of hazelnut drink.