with our third'easter arriving early tomorrow morning, i of course found myself at market basket. before a snowstorm the last place you want to be is a supermarket. and to be at market basket, when on a normal day it's so crowded people are crying from the trauma, that's just insane. but here i was. surprisingly, it wasn't as crazy as i'd thought, but of course it was just late morning. after work, i imagine police officers will be stationed for crowd control, in case any of the shoppers get a little rowdy.
my 2nd aunt actually called me earlier, asked me to get some boneless chicken thighs for making curry, and to get some milk. i could feel my mind rebooting when she said that. milk? the day before a snowstorm? might as well ask me to get bread as well! those are two emergency food that always get sold out first. i had to tell her that maybe in a day or two, but there would be no milk today. having said that, i actually bought some milk, but just for myself, the last gallon of whole milk. i quickly hid it in my shopping sack, didn't want to start a fight over the last milk.
the sky was already a riot of different clouds, especially cumulus, which i don't remember often seeing during winter. something big was coming and we're just specks.
i picked up some things from home and left for the cafe, where i dropped off the chicken thighs. my 2nd aunt asked if i could help her hang back the clock she took down to adjust the time. "take down" is a polite way of saying she dropped the wall clock once again. that's actually my own clock, which i replaced after she smashed the last one trying to do the same thing. this one had a big crack on the bottom and she taped up a broken piece. fortunately i wasn't that sentimental about the clock.
and then went to my sister's place and rolled out the snowblower so i could spray some snow-jet non-stick polymer coating to the chute. this was something my father was supposed to do at the beginning of the season. of course we didn't have very much snow until these past two weeks, so there wasn't an urgency. and it also depends on the snow: dry snow is no problem, but the wet snow we had last week was hell on the blower. snow-jet requires two coats (drying in between) but hopefully one will suffice.
hailey was at my parents' place with the electric heater on (i gave my sister the go-ahead because today was a high production day). on the table my sister had gotten some general tso's chicken chinese takeout for me. she must've gotten it last night, because it was already cold, but even if she'd gotten it this morning it would've been cold anyway since i got back to belmont so late. although i appreciate the gesture, it also annoyed me, because i'd already planned my meal: leftover sandwich from yesterday for lunch, followed my a greek salad for dinner.
however, i decided to visit home depot first before eating. figured after i get all my errands done, i can finally sit down and enjoy a good meal and not have to go out again. i noticed the sunbug solar installers were back again, this time putting on the actual panels. out of curiosity, i went down and asked them the specs: 33x panels, LG 320 panels on angled on the lower level (wraparound balcony), canadian solar 300 panels on the upper room installed flat. i'm not sure why they didn't angle all the panels. i also don't know the count of each panels, but i'm guessing 12 canadian solars, and 21 LG's. that'd mean a system of 10.3 kWh. i didn't think they were installing at many panels, but seeing the house from the front i could see they actually have a pretty large flat roof area.
i went to home depot to pick up another T8 fluorescent shop light and to see if they had any japanese eggplant seeds (if not then i'll need to order them online). the T8 shoplight i wanted was actually kind of hard to find, as the store seems to be pushing the more expensive (though more efficient) LED lights. i actually had to log into their website, look up the light i wanted, and have it tell me where it was located in the store. it was actually where i was looking, just sort of hidden (a few boxes on the lowest shelf), and it wasn't on display either. along with the shoplight, i picked up a pair of warm white (3000K) T8 fluorescent tubes. i then checked out their seeds: a more extensive selection than OSJL, but still didn't carry the japanese eggplant variety i wanted. i did pick up a packet of blue columbines though.
returning to belmont, i finally had breakfast/lunch around 2:30pm, eating the leftover ham & cheese croissant and a bagel nugget. my 2nd aunt also gave me some scallion pancakes which i ate a few slices while i watched MSNBC.
one of the first things i did when i arrived at my parents' place was to check the electronic mouse trap underneath the counter in a cabinet. the almond butter apparently wasn't enticing enough, as i noticed fresh mouse droppings but no dead mouse. fortunately i bought a jar of real creamy peanut butter and after cleaning out the almond butter, smeared a pea-sized glob of peanut butter. i also smeared a little bit by the entrance to the trap.
solar production wasn't bad today, given all the thick clouds floating overhead. we managed to produce 25.3 kWh. at this rate however, march might not beat february in production. the 2 nor'easters plus this this one coming later tonight really put a damper on total monthly production. but it's hard to say, trying to predict solar production is a lot like trying to predict the weather.
the rest of the day i surfed the web on my computer while trying to keep warm: the thermostat was only turned on to 55°F but i had the electric space heater running until the late afternoon when production fell below the operating threshold. my sister came home in the early evening after her catering gig, changed into some new clothes, then went to her friend's house for dinner. i was in charge of feeding hailey and feeding myself, warming up half the portion of general tso's chicken with rice for dinner.
before i ate however, i had to clean up all the mouse droppings underneath the steel kitchen shelf. it was my sister who first noticed it, but while i was using the microwave, it bothered me so much that i had to clean before i could eat. it seems like it'd been there for a while, and maybe the mice were living there at one point. i kept trying to find what they could be eating but everything we had we kept in plastic bins ever since we discovered mice had gotten through a bag of instant oatmeal mix. hopefully these were old droppings. cleanup wasn't so easy however. i tried vacuuming, but the vacuum head couldn't reach the bottom of the shelf, so i had to empty the shelf and pull it out. then i scrubbed the floor with bleach to disinfect it. it got me so mad i'm tempted to get some sticky traps instead of just that one electronic trap, humane kill be damned. hopefully these mice are just passing through, because i went through the kitchen putting away anything they might eat, even going as far as dumping out hailey's water so there's nothing for them to drink.
my sister came back after 7pm. i told her my plan for tomorrow: walk down to the cafe in the early morning and wait until there was enough snow to use the snowblower. i'll do two passes, once at the halfway point, and once when the snow has nearly finished falling. afterwards, i'm taking the bus to belmont to begin shoveling out my parents' place. i'll stay there overnight, and come wednesday morning, with the storm hopefully gone, i'll get up on a ladder and clear the snow off the solar panels. i was hoping my sister could give me a ride, but she wanted to put away her car at the alewife station parking and not have to worry about digging it out, which i understand. i'm also thinking about digging out my aunt lili's place, but that won't be until wednesday morning, provided i have enough energy.
the worst part of all of this is the long range forecast calls for yet another nor'easter - the fourth'easter - scheduled for early next week. the snow total kept on climbing every few hours that i watched the news. the 6pm broadcast said 10-15", but the 11pm broadcast said 16-20". the peak of the storm will be from 5am to 3pm. the only good news is this will be a drier snow, which is easier to clean versus wet sticky snow.
i biked back to cambridge, savoring this final ride, since i don't expect to be riding much after we get blanketed with snow tomorrow and possibly next week. when i went to go put my bike away in the basement, steve and paul had pushed a stack of chairs where i usually park my bike. it got me a little angry and annoyed, because that's my side of the basement, but maybe it's just temporary, so i found a spot to wedge my bike. i'll have plenty of opportunity to rearrange the basement when they leave for martha's vineyard come mid-may in 2 more months. i'm actually surprised they're not down there today, keeping an eye on their island property. it'd be the ultimate irony if their summer home got damaged and they have no place to live during the summer since they already rented out their condo.
my newly-replacement bathroom halogen bulb has started flickering again. a brand new bulb, so i'm beginning to wonder whether the problem has something to do with the light fixture itself, maybe a broken starter that needs replacing. when i took out the bulb, i noticed corrosion on one of the prongs. i just flipped over the bulb and reinserted it back into the fixture and now it's bright again. maybe it's moisture related, but i've had this light from the very first day i've lived here, don't know why it'd suddenly start acting up now. but when i get the chance i should take apart the fixture and see if there's anything wrong inside.