i couldn't wait anymore so at 10:30am i finally used the bathroom, though with unfinished business since i was worried that sandy might need to use it so i didn't take my mine. sandy finally woke up at 11am, boiled some water, used the bathroom, then retreated back into the bedroom. so much for my dream of a sandy free day. just 12 more days before she leaves!
needing to get out of the house, i left by 12pm, letting sandy know out of courtesy. she sheepishly came out of her room and said she was working from home. like practically every day last week. my parents weren't home yet when i got to belmont, they went to chinatown this morning for a supply run and was at the cafe to help my sister's godmother with some tax paperwork.
a heating oil delivery truck stopped in front of the house. i intercepted the driver before he was able to fill the oil tank. i asked him if it'd be okay to skip this delivery since the weather was getting warmer and we'd probably stop using the furnace in a few more weeks. he said that was fine, but told me to call their office to make sure our address wasn't placed back into the delivery list again. i went to the basement to check the tank, it was less than half filled, but the tank holds 200 gallons of heating oil, and in 2 months time (since the last delivery) we've only used a little more than half. later in the afternoon i called the heating oil company and put the account on will call, which meant they'd only deliver if we contacted them (typically takes 3 days).
when my parents finally did return home, we microwaved xiaolongbao for lunch.
in the afternoon my father and i went to the winchester mahoney's to see if they have anymore new trees in stock. definitely a lot more than last time, but still not at full capacity, as forklift trucks were busy lining up the trees for display. the back lot was empty while this time they were already half full. a lot more yoshino and kwanzan cherries of various sizes and prices. also a lot of dogwoods. there were several varieties of crabapples, their root balls buried in mulch to prevent them from freezing overnight. they didn't have any adams crabapples, and when we asked about it, they said they weren't getting any this year.
they did however have prairiefire crapapples, but a little small for our intended purpose of finding a good screen tree. i introduced my father to witch hazel, several rows of yellow flowers scenting the air with its delicate fragrance. he set his eyes on some flowering plums, Prunus cerasifera krauters vesuvius.
afterwards we went to the watertown home depot. they only had a few trees by the entrance, some weeping willows, a few redbuds. they were also beginning to stock up on their seasonal plants, but still a few weeks before they have all their inventory. there were a lot of grape varieties, but no description other than name and photo. we tried to find a handle for my father's grub hoe, the closest thing we found was ornamental round dowels (max size 1-1/2" in diameter). we also looked at electric chainsaws, the 16" was too heavy and we already own a 14". our chainsaw probably still works, just needs a new chain. we left home depot empty-handed.
we had squid nugget soup for dinner. my mother found them in the freezer. we didn't have any cilantro so the flavoring was a little off, and i could taste the fishiness of the squid bits.
after dinner i found two package of replacement chainsaw chains in the garage. one was used, and as it turned out, so was the other one. we ended up buying a new chain from amazon for $13. i also learned you could sharpen your own chain but it looked too complicated, easier just to go with a new chain. in 2017 alone (may and august) we purchased two replacement chains because we were in the middle of cutting down those two dead plum trees in the backyard.
today we made the most electricity so far this year at 42.35 kWh despite some peaks and valleys in the morning. but that good news was dampened by the fact that after more than a year of solar power, we finally realized that production was getting clipped at 6kW. i always thought it was natural that there was a plateau at 6kW no matter what time of the year it was, even though our panels are rated at 8kW. my father actually brought it up, said it didn't make sense. so i did some quick calculations, pulled up the playback data for the day, and added up all 24 panels individually. while the inverter read 6kW, we were actually making 6.3kW, a loss of 300W, and that was only for that period in time. the realization was startling: think of how much more we should've been making if it weren't for the cap! our suspicions were further confirmed when i checked the inverter model - solaredge SE6000 - which is only rated for a maximum AC power output of 6000 VA, even though i can accept 8100W of DC power input.
i spent so much time checking over the data that i didn't leave belmont until after 8pm. my parents had streamed some live taiwanese political broadcast onto the tv before i left. when i got back, sandy was in her room chatting with kelvin. she came out briefly to let me know she made some pork ribs tonight and said i could have some, along with a vita lemon tea. the ribs were good, but the vita lemon tea - a cantonese nostalgic drink - tasted like lemon-scented cleaning solution.
after learning that our solar production plateau is actually a bug and not a feature, i couldn't stop thinking about it all night. the problem is united solar installed a solaredge SE6000 inverter when they should've installed the more powerful SE7600. even in the contract it said we should have a SE7600. it's a mistake on their part that cost us more than a year's worth of peak production. i need to call them tomorrow morning but ever since lucas left, the company has sort of forgotten about us. i wrote them an e-mail about a month ago regarding some minor issue but they never replied back. i'm not looking forward to the amount of phone tag i have to make in order to get someone there to take a look at the problem.