frances showed me all the norwegian food they brought for me to try yesterday during dim sum. this morning i took another look. judging from the selection, you'd think norwegian food is just chocolate, fish, and cheese. i opened up a package of smoked salmon and made an english muffin sandwich. i also added a slice of gudbrandsdalsost, which is processed goat cheese, or as they refer to it, "brown cheese," and some arugula. it tasted pretty good, the savory salty smokiness of salmon combines with the sweet gaminess of the goat cheese. later i sent frances a photo of my lunch and she was surprised by the combination, since brown cheese is usually eaten separately since it's sweet.
i went to the cafe around 11:30am. it was sunny but windy, though not as bad as yesterday. it made for a slow ride as i fought against wind resistance. i was there to give the freezer one last defrost, after being gone for the past 2 days. i was expecting to see a lot of ice build-up, but there was only a little bit; whatever defrosting i did on monday was substantial enough that the ice was slow to reform. the secret is to blowdry the fins for additional minutes, to melt the ice deposit on the unseen portion of the drip tray. you have to melt it long enough so that water pours out instead of just drips. only then can you be sure the ice has entirely melted. afterwards i went to my sister's place briefly to play with hailey (my sister was in the shower, i don't even think she heard me) before leaving.
i biked to belmont to prepare the house. first i checked underneath the cabinet, once again happy to see there was no mouse in the trap. i'm beginning to think we may finally be rid of them for the time being, but no harm in leaving the trap on for a few more weeks just in case. or maybe move the trap to a different location, but i haven't seen any mouse signs (e.g. poop) for a while now, not since the last mouse. i turned on the heat, raising it up from 50°F to 60°F. i went to the basement and poured out the furnace drainage water bin. while i was there i also turned up the hot water heater from 90°F to 125°F (both top and bottom heating coils). once the water had time to heat up, i did a load of laundry, some dirty dog towels and some cloth placemats that'd been exposed to mouse poop, before tossing them in the dryer. since we were making a lot of electricity, i also turned on the living room space heater for some additional warmth.
i brought my own snacks, including a greek yogurt, a banana, and what looks to be some kind of gingerbread my 2nd aunt made last week and i'm only now finishing up.
6kW frustratingly still seems to be the plateau, but we're getting increased production because the length of day is getting longer, so the graph line expands outwards in both directions. sometime after 2:15pm production suddenly dropped. it briefly went as low as only 1kW production, which got me concerned that maybe there was something wrong with the panels (usual suspect: squirrels who like to chew wires). but i noticed some clouds forming outside. not a lot, but low hanging clouds that can momentarily eclipse the sun. though these clouds hurt production, they also help it by reflecting back the sunlight, so the net production is still the same compared to if we had a perfect bell curve. the final production for the day was 47.88 kWh, a new record by a bit over 1kWh compared to the last record high on march 31st.
my father called me in the early afternoon after they arrived in chicago. checking their flight number, i noticed they were due to arrive earlier at 5pm instead of 5:30pm, so i planned on leaving for the airport by 4pm. just so happens my sister came back around that time, and i was able to persuade her to drive to the airport while i navigated. i don't like going to logan because it's confusing to navigate, but added rush hour traffic and red sox opening day, that was a recipe for car accident.
traffic on the turnpike wasn't bad, just increased cars. it was in the underground tunnels that traffic came to a stop. not sure why they didn't think of it when they designed the big dig, but entering traffic merging from the right and then having lanes reduced is a guarantee for daily traffic jams. there was nothing to do but slowly inch forward bumper to bumper, watching texting drivers as cars build up behind them while the lane ahead is empty.
we parked in the terminal B parking garage, where they inspected the trunk (they do this because this particular parking garage is actually situated very close to an actual terminal, compared to the central lot which is farther away). we parked on the wrong side (american airline) and had to cross over once we were inside the terminal to located united airline. my father called again to let me know they'd already picked up their luggage. we found them opening up one of the suitcases to take out their jackets. while my sister went to go use the bathroom, i tried to pay for parking but none of the machines were working. we went up to the parking garage was there was no payment machine in the foyer, so while my parents and sister went to the car, i went back downstairs to find a working machine. i passed 2 broken machines before i finally found one that was working. i paid the $7 with my credit card and had 30 minutes to leave.
there was congestion in the tunnels and a touch of traffic on the pike, but once we passed by the last fenway exit, it wasn't that bad, though there was congestion on the exit into cambridge so we continued to the allston/brighton exit, where there was also congestion but not as bad (the cambridge turnpike exit needs to be completely destroyed and redesigned, it's terrible). later i found out the congestion around fenway wasn't caused by people going to opening day but rather people leave, as it was an afternoon game. my sister was originally going to make some dinner but had to leave. she did throw a bunch of ingredients into the pressure cooker to make a soup, but nobody had any as my parents were too tired to eat anything but some simple rice porridge and i didn't want to deal with the hassle of opening up on the pressure cooker. afterwards they were in the living room both nodding off to sleep, so we put all the food away and i biked back to cambridge.