i left for haymarket a little bit after 11am. i found paul in the basement sorting through his boxes while i was getting my bike. i didn't bother asking him if he could move the cast iron table he relocated a week ago, now making it harder for me to get to my bike. temperature had been rising today which thawed out some of the snow and ice, but now the roads looked wet, which made me fearful of potential black ice.
word has it that the longfellow bridge will finally be opened to two-way traffic come may. it feels like that bridge has been under renovations for over a decade now, a testament to the inefficiency of american infrastructure repairs.
i bought 16 navel oranges ($4) from the citrus dealer on the corner of hanover and blackstone street. there was a larger crowd this time around, as i elbowed my way to the boxes of oranges to pick the ones i wanted. these oranges were bigger than the ones from last week, a grab bag from at least 6 different sources (most seem to be from california). i also got 16 ($4) smaller minneola oranges. i liked them because they seemed to have a deep orange color so i was hoping they'd be flavorful and sweet. i also got 2 3 lbs. bag of halo clementines ($3), 2 bundles of asparagus ($1), and a bag of spinach ($3) after my mother called to put in a request. i was planning on going to chinatown to get some chinese takeout for lunch, but my mother said she had a pot of beef stew cooking at home.
it took me 24 minutes to ride home, by then it was 12:40pm. i squeezed some fresh orange juice using 2 medium navels and 4 minneolas. the navels ranged in weight from 7-10 oz., while the minneolas averaged 6-7 oz. the navels had a nice fragrance about them, the minneolas i couldn't smell anything. the minneolas were harder though, and a very shiny waxy skin. sliced open, the navels were a light orange while the minneolas were a darker orange. the navels had a nice smell to them sliced open, the minneolas nothing discernable. navel juice was sweet but diluted. minneola juice was sweet but also tart. in fact, when i was squeezing the minneola oranges, they smelled more like lime than orange. i was afraid this latest batch of fresh OJ would be too tart, but my mother will be the judge of that.
after i finished juicing, i packed up my things and rode to belmont. i passed by the cafe along the way, where my father was there. i gave him the new store hours sign i printed out. my old roommate li saw me on his way to catch the bus and came in to say hi.
i had a bowl of beef stew for lunch along with some rice cake noodles. my mother tried this latest batch of orange juice. while she agreed it was more tart than the last batch, it was still sweet enough and had a robust orange flavor.
it was very wet in the backyard. the frozen ground combined with the melting snow meant the water has a tendency to pool on the surface, creating a muddy marshy mess. today was grey but i could still make out the sun at times behind the clouds. i thought we'd only get 5kWh of production; we ended up getting 10.40 kWh. the snow hadn't completely melted despite temperature hovering in the lower 50's. i was surprised that there was still some snow on the roof (though nothing blocking the panels).
my father was ready to buy a pair of smart plugs. i originally recommended the tp-link HS110 smart plug ($44.99 pair certified refurbished) because it has energy monitoring, but i didn't like the fact that the plug was so bulky it essentially covers up both wall outlets. and do we really need energy monitoring anyway? maybe we could get the tp-link HS105 mini smart plug, which takes up less space but costs a little more ($54.78 for a pair). then something caught my eye: a pair of dailycomb-brand smart plug for just $24.99. a few things attracted me: UL certified (for safety), rated for 2000W, and an A fakespot review rating. up until this point i thought all china brand smart plugs were rated for low power usage only, and besides, most of them are crappy and padded with fake reviews. so i was pleasantly surprised about the dailycomb, even though design-wise it looked like a frankenstein mishmash of different technology (it has an USB charging port for some reason). so i was going to try out the dailycomb, but then i found the yidian smart plugs ($24.29 a pair after coupon). they looked a bit cleaner design wise, just as good fakespot review rating, maximum power 1700W (16A), and best of all, it has energy monitoring - something the dailycomb didn't have. the yidian is also advertised as amazon/google/IFTTT compatible for voice command - i believe it'd work with amazon/google but i don't believe it'd work with IFTTT (it didn't matter anyway since we don't own any smart speakers). so in the end we got the yidian smart plugs. figured if it doesn't work we could always return it and get something else.
my mother had also been simmering some chinese lion's head meatballs all day long (i could smell it when i came into the house). when she went to prepare the spinach i'd bought, she told me that nearly half of it had gone bad, whether through expiration or freeze damage i don't know. she spent some time picking through the whole bag, tossing out all the bad spinach. i thought it'd be a waste to toss it all out so i took the bad spinach and added it to the backyard compost pile, which normally just gets leaves and grass clippings, hardly any kitchen scraps.
i was ready to bike home after dinner but by then it'd already started to rain. this was the beginning of a rain event that would last from now until all of tomorrow. i figured i could power through it, change out of my wet clothes when i got back, but my mother said they could give me a ride, which was just an excuse for her to make a pitstop first at michael's in porter square to collect more yarn. each of us had a 40%-off-one-item coupon. my father checked out just fine and went to the car, while both my mother and i had problems with our coupon, until one of the cashiers used his phone to bring up a working coupon.