hailey slept with me in my sister's old bedroom, curled up at the foot of the bed. while trying to reach for her in the dark i accidentally poked her dog eye. she pressed up against me so hard that i was afraid i'd lose circulation in my legs. the room was cold and i tried to give her a corner of a blanket for cover. around 6:45am - about the same time as sunrise - i noticed she was already up, sitting on the bed. i let her outside to use the bathroom. when she came back inside she was waiting in the kitchen doorway for her breakfast. i gave her two scoops of dog food pellets and went back to bed. after she finished eating, she jumped back onto the bed as well, but left 10-15 minutes later, to go sleep in the living room, perhaps to wait for my sister to come home to pick her up.
around 8:40am i heard what sounded like maybe somebody coming into the house. i figured it was my sister but didn't hear anything afterwards, so thought nothing of it. i began surfing the web on my phone from bed, getting ready to wake up. that's when i heard my sister asking me if i was awake yet.
we were out in the backyard by 9am, to clean more snow off of the solar panels. my sister was complaining about the cold, she had no good reason to be outside except to spot me when i climbed the ladder. it had snowed a little bit overnight and there was a dusting of snow covering the panels i cleared yesterday. but in the amount of time it took me to get my equipment ready, that fine layer of snow was already fast melting once the sunlight hit it.
i first tried breaking the snow below the panels above the rear entrance. it was pretty stiff and even with the plastic snow rake i wasn't making much progress. it was also early enough that this area was still in shadow, and the sun didn't get a chance to soften the snow yet. i'd have to wait. in the meantime, i'd already decided yesterday i had to go onto the roof in order to properly clean the panels, even after my parents warned me not to do it before they left. i think if they could see how much snow was on the roof, they'd agree it had to be done. to wait for it to melt naturally would take days, and we'd lose valuable production during that time. it was primarily the area between the sunroom and the mainroom, a perfect place for a lot of snow to get trapped. i figured if i can shovel out that area, everything else will just melt on its own.
i moved the ladder to the other side of the sunroom, where i could get a handhold to help me up on the roof. i cleared some snow but apparently didn't clear enough and what wasn't supposed to happen happened: i slipped. but fortunately i had my hand on one of the panels and i didn't fall of the roof. that sort of put the fear of god in me, which i already had. once i was on the roof though (standing above the sunroom), i was safe. i began shoveling, the whole time sister pressuring me to hurry up because she remembered she had a doctor's appointment at 11am. from the roof i could see across to the neighbors with the new solar install, the contractors back again this morning to put down more panels. i wondered if they knew what i was doing, because from their vantage point it'd be impossible to know we had solar panels as well. maybe they thought i was just clearing the snow off of the roof, which still isn't a common occurence.
once i dug out a trench, i could gently slide the snow off of the main roof panels. i began shovel this new batch of snow, threw it over the roof onto the front of the house. with that done, it was time to work on the panel covering the sun room roof panels. it's a whole lot easier cleaning from the top than it is from the bottom. i tapped the mass of snow to break it apart then slid chunks of snow downwards off the panels and over the end of the sun room roof. unfortunately there was too much snow on the lower edge and there was a snow pileup, while i had to break apart by pushing the snow with the foam rake fully extended. i finally stopped a bit after 10am, with just a few panels still partially covered in snow, but confident the rest of the snow would melt once we reached late morning and the sun would be shining on it in full.
we left for my sister's place, where i stayed until she was done with her doctor's appointment around noontime. i brought the spare roof rake and cleaned up the edges of the restaurant, so there'd be an empty strip where the snow could gently melt into the gutters. once that was done i went back into the house. now that the internet was working, it was so much better, and it was far less boring. i copied some movies onto a 64GB thumb drive i found, thor ragnarok and jumanji. the drive was formatted in FAT32, which is supposed to support 4GB file sizes, but i couldn't over the MP4 files, which were about 2GB+ each. i did some searching online and discovered it's a known bug in OSX 10.13, that there's a file restriction of only 2GB when tranferring to MS-DOS FAT32 drives. i ended up making the transfer after all using the transmit app, which is what i normally use for ftp. i also checked the status of the solar panels. despite 4 panels still registering low output, production was already at 6kW.
my sister finally came home with gyros for lunch. we ate in the empty living room, sitting on the floor, watching the weather forecast on the news. once we finished eating, it was time to go back to work: first a quick stop in belmont because the monitoring app kept telling me 4 panels had very low production, and even though i'm sure the snow would eventually melt, just for my peace of mind i wanted to go back and clean off the final patches of snow; afterwards we'd go to market basket to pick up some cafe supplies; before finally dropping me off at home.
i thought i was clear the lower edges of the roof with the foam rake, but the angle just wasn't right, the pole kept hitting the gutter instead. finally i set up the ladder, and it took me under a minute to clear the remaining snowy patches, which by that point was quickly melting anyway, turning to semi-transparent slush.
we actually stopped by my place first, where i dropped off my bags, and grabbed my father's credit card for buying cafe supplies. but when my sister saw the card, she said it wasn't the right one. i unfortunately didn't have any money or additional cards on me (they were in the backpack i just dropped off at my place), but my sister said she had cash.
market basket was busy but we were lucky enough to find a parking spot right away, one that was big enough so my sister didn't have to worry about somebody scratching her car. inside the supermarket however it was very quiet, probably one of the least crowded times i've ever seen it. i think it only looked busy from the outside because so many parking spots were taken up by the snow banks, which we could see snow removal equipment busy working to clear it to free up more parking. it was weird shopping with a cart, usually i'm navigating the aisles on foot, putting everything into my shopping bag, so i can only buy as much as i can carry. my 2nd aunt requested milk, half & half, turkey, bananas, tuna, and zero-calorie jones soda. my sister bought a lot of stuff for herself. the only thing i got was a 99¢ 6-pack of yakult yogurt drink.
i finally came home around 2:30pm. it felt good to be back, but i was a little guilty for not helping with the shoveling. but i'm usually the one to shovel anyway, so i figured i'm allowed to miss cleaning up one nor'easter. even though i've been back to the house intermittently over the past few days, it felt like i was coming home for the first time in a long time.
i continued checking the solar production numbers. even though some panels were partially obscured this morning and a bit of early afternoon, the sun today was so strong that we managed to make 34.08 kWh, the second most production this month, only the 3rd time we reached 30kWh+ in march. i shouldn't be that surprised, as on february 27th we narrowly missed reaching 40kWh. if the weather cooperates over the next few days, and we get one of those perfect cloud-free days, we should reach 40kWh+ easily. today was also a weird day when the number reported for the inverter (34.05kWh) was less than that of the production meter (34.08kWh).
i ran speedtest on my home modem to see if i had the internet speed increase. it was just 24Mbps. so i rebooted the modem and ran speedtest again. this time i got a speed increase of 41Mbps. not the 60Mbps advertised, but not bad.