kevin was still home when i woke up this morning at 9:30am, but finally left by 9:40am, the same time my upstair's neighbors' energy auditor arrived. steve had asked me if i'd be home in the morning, in case the auditor needed to check anything in my house. thankfully he didn't, and 20 minutes later he came back downstairs to grab some replacement LED light bulbs. he finally left an hour after he first showed up.

i heated up some leftover spicy mexican chicken soup for lunch. in the afternoon i biked down to harvard square to run some errands.

first on my list was to cancel an old td bank checking account. i created it back in 2015, and since then it's just been sitting unused. i came to close the account and withdraw the money (of which there was still several thousand). the clerk helping me out behind the counter was a pretty woman named rahele, of uncertain middle eastern or indian ethnicity, i couldn't tell and didn't want to be rude and ask. i found out the account hadn't been used for so long it was listed as inactive. fortunately there was still enough money that it didn't incur any fees. i hadn't closed a bank account in so long, i'd forgotten how it was done. they don't do bank-to-bank transfers, and a cashier check would cost me $8. the only free way was cash, which was the option i chose, even though it felt a little weird to have so much cash on hand. it took a long time, a lot of checks and authorizations, rahele held on my to my driver license the whole time. fortunately the bank was empty that time of day, until a man came in waiting to deposit a check. there were two other clerks but they didn't help out with the customer. "you don't want to deposit your check with the phone app?" i asked the man as we both waited in line. he mumbled something, then said he uses the app for other things, just not for deposits. a supervisor had to come out and key in the authorization code for an account closing, and only then was rahele able to give me my cash.

next i went to the verizon store to get some info on a family plan upgrade. the plan we have now is $180/month for 5 people. a few weeks ago while looking at the verizon wireless website, i saw they had a new unlimited plan that was just $30/person (for a family plan of 5 people). the plan we have now is just 6GB shared between the 5 accounts. because of that i only use my data sparingly and for emergencies, mostly the gps. this day and age, the year 2020, unlimited is the new default, with your choices being of different 4G/5G speeds,SD/HD streaming options, and international roaming/text/data. the math says under the new plan it'd cost us $150/month, but i wanted to know how more taxes and fees would that entail. the agent i spoke with - helga - she worked out the math and the total comes out to $170/month, $10/month cheaper than what we now pay, but with unlimited data. it seems like the better deal so i decided to switch.

my sister called me immediately, said her verizon cloud had been deactivated. i never even knew we had that on our old plan, i'm not even sure she uses it, but she got an automated text message about it and was freaking out. i told her i just made the switch. she asked about hotspot. once again, i didn't know we had that on our old plan. when did we ever use it anyway, with just 6GB worth of data? my sister told me sometimes at the end of the month, when it looks like we still have plenty of data left, she'll use the remaining data to stream a movie, usually about 2GB worth. whatever she was saying was bullshit, nobody does that. i ended up saving us $120/year for unlimited data, and all she could complain about was random services nobody uses.

i retrieved my bike on the other side of harvard yard. compared to a few weeks ago, the place was now crowded with returning students. instead of going home i pedaled to the somerville avenue walgreens to use up my $4 bonus cash before it expired come february. i bought some dove men+care deep clean soap. with the bonus cash savings and a coupon, i managed to cut that price from $8.79 to just $2.99. i also got some beef jerky.

my pair of canvas converse lucky star sneakers ($35) arrived today. i have another pair of converse but they're a little too light for winter shoes. i've been wearing my merell moab 2 hiking shoes as my everyday shoes. those pairs are getting worn, i should think about getting a new pair. i like that they're rugged and thick enough i can wear during the winter without freezing my feet. i'm also opened to trying some different brands.

today we set a new daily record for 2020 (though it's only been less than a month) with 34.04kWh of production. even though we only gently grazed 6kW, that was still enough to be a daily best so far this year. we also set a new monthly record for january (with still 2 more days left in the month): 550.71kWh, beating out january 2019's record of 550.50kWh. the next 2 days look to be exceptionally sunny, another 50kWh+ and we'd reach the 600kWh milestone. even though the month started slow, january 2020 was different than past januarys in that we never got a big snowstorm to halt our production; even on the worst days, we still managed to eke out some electricity.

my parents' january 2020's electricity bill came out yesterday. thanks to the fact that they weren't home for most of this month and an increase of production, they only had to pay $29.40 for this month's electricity bill. compare that with last month, where they had to pay $78, and the month before that $58. let's see how we do for february; based on 2018 and 2019's production, normally we still pay a little bit in february; not until march do we begin to make enough to offset the amount we use and start putting back credit again.

kevin came home at 6pm, not too early, not too late either, i can work with 6pm. he didn't make any dinner, retreated to his room and finished off some leftover from yesterday which he heated in the microwave.

already tired of spicy mexican chicken soup, i ended up cutting some russet potatoes into wedges and baking them in the oven. finished product was still a little soggy, not at all crispy, maybe they'll be better tomorrow. i probably ended up eating 2 potato spuds worth of wedges for dinner.

i've been trying to switch us from verizon to t-mobile for years, but my sister has always threatened that she'd never leave verizon and would rather pay for her own phone plan, which would end up costing the same as a family plan except only for one person. i did some more research tonight: t-mobile has a magenta plan where it's only $32/line/month for a 5-person plan, which comes out to $160/month including fees. that's $10-15/month better than the verizon unlimited plan i switched us to earlier today. the t-mobile magenta is also unlimited talk/text/data with 480p streaming just like verizon. however, the magenta plan also includes free data/texting abroad (in 210+ countries, though at 2G) and free mobile hotspot (something you have to pay for with verizon, $10/month per line). there are additional perks, like 4G data in mexico/canada, 1-hour of in-flight wifi (where supported), and 1 free netflix account.