early this morning my father sent me a photo of a sunbug van parked outside their opposite neighbor's house: they were getting solar panels. as well as they should, they have one of the best roofs in the neighborhood, but somehow it didn't sit well with me. our relationship with these neighbors have cordial at best, but mostly bordering on annoyance, especially after they decided to tear down their old single story ranch house and replace it with a 2-1/2 story mcmansion. things got a little less cordial when we discovered they were rerouting their driveway so it faced our house (adding more street congestion), and they were chopping down a perfectly healthy 40+ year old maple tree to make it happen (they promised to replace it with 2 new trees but they planted thin saplings that will most likely die after this winter).

but somehow it was a bit more bearable knowing that we had solar panels and they didn't. but not anymore. was it because i casually mentioned he should go solar during the tree removal hearing, even though he curtly replied he had bigger things to worry about? but it was just a matter of time; lining our small street, there are already 4 houses with solar panels including my parents'. even though these neighbors couldn't see our panels, they could surely see the panels of the neighbors behind them.

a few months ago the neighbor actually asked my father about our installer, but my father accidentally gave him the wrong name. in the end they went with sunbug, which is the installer of the house behind them. they must've made the appointment months ago to have it scheduled now, since a lot of people are trying to get installations done by the end of this year to apply for the 30% federal tax credit.

with the front door mounted wyze cam i can make out activities on the sidewalk, but i couldn't see the roof across the street. i saw they were taking out racks from the van; most likely tomorrow they'll actually put up the panels.

it does make me a bit jealous that these neighbors have the perfect roof. unobstructed from east to west, and now with their maple tree gone, a perfect view of the southern sky. their roof is also angled enough that they don't have to worry about snow accumulation, it'll just slide right off while we still have to struggle with clearing the panels with a snow rake. my secret hope is they don't get as many panels as we have (24x 335 LG), so we can still at least say we're better than them. at least they don't have pump operated rain barrels, we're still one up on them on that front.

i couldn't fall asleep afterwards, which was for the best anyway, as i had to go down to the cafe this morning and clear out the gutters before it started raining. it actually wasn't that cold this morning, temperature in the mid-40's. a lot warmer than the forecasted temperature by tonight, which is supposed to drop into the teens, with single digit wind chills. riding through the center for astrophysics, i passed by a swarm of roughly 200 grackles mixed with a few starlings, never seen so many black birds all at once.

by the time i arrived around 9:20am, it had already started raining a little bit. my mother had gone out on a walk, so my father couldn't leave the cafe until she came back. she finally returned 30 minutes later. by then the rain had changed into a very little drizzle.

my father and i moved the ladder from the basement to my sister's place. she complained that water from pouring out from her gutters, but when we climbed the roof and checked, everything seemed fine. so i called her up and she said the problem wasn't that water was coming out, but rather the fact that it wasn't. she came out of the house and pointed to the clogged downspout. we relocated the ladder and i climbed up to inspect the gutter. there was a bit of gunk which i fished out, but if there was blockage i couldn't get to it because of the bends in the downspout. i tried pouring in water which all came out, but then i realized we could simply spray out the obstruction with the hose, which we haven't stowed away yet. so my father passed me the hose and i blasted water into the downspout. clogged dirt washed out down below in a satisfying mess. once the water ran clear i knew the obstruction had been unclogged.

i left by 10:40am, by then the rain was falling more steadily. i had some lentil chorizo soup bruce gave me last night, but i saved it for dinner. instead i had a small date-filling mooncake for lunch along with a glass of black tea.

i turned up the heat for half an hour to warm up the house to 65°F. the rest of the afternoon was spent waiting to see some snow, which arrived in flurry form around 2:30pm, the first snow of the season. it was too warm to stick anywhere, and kept switching back to rain periodically. feeling kind of snacky, i had some corn chips with a guacamole dip.

having woken up so early this morning, i fell asleep on the couch around 3:30pm, waking up at 5pm. later in the evening i warmed up the chorizo lentil soup. i was going to just eat half, but i felt so hungry, i ended up warming the whole thing. it was pretty filling, just the kind of food for a cold night.