there wasn't much traffic on the road, it's actually pretty easy to drive around if you need to get somewhere. we went to aldi first. there was about 2 dozen cars parked outside, but there didn't seem to be that many people inside the supermarket. the mood i got was somber. people were either shopping alone or in pairs, i didn't see any children. also everyone seemed to be on a personal mission collecting items from a grocery list, nobody was just casually browsing the aisles. they seemed to have most items in stock, but i made the mistake thinking they'd have the everything bagels when they only had a few packages of the plain. i was there for the bagels as well as for the cranberry almond chicken salad, one of my new favorite foods. i also picked up some frozen cordon bleu and some fruit (grapes, plums, beef jerkies).
i pushed a cart this time, even though it meant touching potentially contaminated equipment; i learned that without a cart, it messes up aldi's whole checkout line routine. i was happy to see the cashier sitting behind a curved plastic shield, with just a cutout for the card reader or if you need to pay in cash; i'm actually more worried about supermarket workers than i am doctors or nurses, since supermarket employees probably come in contact with more random people in a single day that a medical staff, and all without the proper protection. i wish all supermarket workers can be this well protected. instead of bagging inside the store, we pushed the carts outside to the parking lot and bagged in the car instead. afterwards my sister pumped out some hand sanitizer for me to clean my hands before i got into the car. my hands get dry enough for moisturizing foam cleanser; alcohol-based disinfectant is probably the worst then, turning my hands into wrinkly mummy hands.
next was OSJL. my sister didn't need to go so she sat in the car. i didn't really need to go either, just had to get some bird feed and vegetable seeds. now that i've properly adjusted the squirrel buster feeder, seeds last a lot longer. and earlier this morning, when i checked my vegetable seeds collection, i discovered i still had plenty of old seeds that i didn't really need to buy new ones. nevertheless, since i was here, might as well get some. there weren't too many people at OSJL, no more than 2 dozen. most seemed to be single seniors, taking a brief trip to get some supplies. i made a beeline to the burpee seed display rack. at first i was disheartened to see most of the seeds were gone. turns out it was only on one face of the display, while there were still plenty of seeds on the other sides. not sure what seeds were such hot items that they were completely bought out. if i had to guess, edible greens, as people start believing that eventually all the supermarkets will be closed and they'll be forced to grow their own lettuce. despite the fact that the seeds were 50% off, i managed to spent $20 on 12 packets of seeds.
i went to the pet food aisle and grabbed a 10 lbs. bag of black oil sunflower seeds for $10. i also picked up a container of biscotti, and had i more arms, i would've gotten some wine as well, but by that point i was already at carrying capacity. there were markers on the floor showing people how far to stand. an old lady wearing a mask and gloves gestured behind her to let me know that the line was further back, even though there was nobody behind her. she was just social distancing to the extreme, standing 12ft away from the cashier. there was only one checkout line, and the young woman at the return desk motioned to me that she could check me out. while i was paying, a man interrupted us to ask if he could buy more than 1 3-pack mini hand sanitizers located only at the front of the store. the girl waited until after she was finished with me before answering his question, basically told him no, only one per person.
we stopped by my sister's place so she could drop off her supplies and pick up her dog before driving me to belmont.
when we arrived at my parents' place, my mother was angry that we went to aldi without telling her; not so much because we might've contracted the coronavirus, but more because she had grocery items she wanted to get. i think if we called, she would've tried talking us out of going. there was avocado toast on the table, which i ate, along with some strawberries sprinkled with suanmei powder.
my mother said my father has a fever and he thinks he might've contracted the coronavirus. using the electronic thermometer, i tested my father's temperature using his forehead: 99.3°F. a little high, but not yet fever stage. when my mother and i both tested ourselves, we were well below the body temperature average, with readings in the 96-97°F range. but it was strange that my father didn't have any other symptoms, other than a possible fever. no body aches (shoulders a little sore, but could be from carrying my aunt's suitcases when he went to go pick her up monday morning), no shortness of breath, no coughing, no loss of appetite. and if he was sick, how come my mother wasn't sick either?
my father and i went to binbin's house in burlington to pick up her mail. when we got there, the special tax letter tom brady has been complaining about was not in the pile. after all that drama, he forgot to bring it to the house! there was also an amazon package, must've been a subscription item they forgot about, a large container of car wash liquid.
back in belmont, i tested my father's temperature throughout the day, and at one point it went as high as 100.3°F, which was alarming. that sent my father into a panic. how did he get it? how bad will it get? my sister suggested taking a reading from the ear, which was a normal 98.6°F. later in the day, i did another reading, and this time both his forehead and ear read 99.3°F. that scared my father enough that he stopped cooking and went to go lie down in bed. finally he decided to take off some layers. he was wearing a sherpa wool vest on top of a light fleece jacket. soon after he removed some layers, his body temperature finally went back to normal. it wasn't a fever at all! just too many layers and freaking out over the thought of getting the coronavirus.
i spent the rest of the afternoon planting my vegetable seeds in soil-filled cups. i worked outside even though it was just 48°F but felt warmer in the sun. i had just enough potting soil to fill 47 cups exactly. i divided them up the following way: 8 sandwich slicer hybrid tomatoes, 8 rutgers tomatoes, 8 super sweet 100 hybrid cherry tomatoes, 8 shikou japanese eggplants, 6 hungarian wax peppers, 6 kung pao peppers, 3 million hybrid eggplants. i moved them to the basement and covered them up in syran wrap to keep through from drying up and the fungus gnats from laying eggs in the soil. i also moved out a few plants - terracotta potted jasmine, thai basil, thai chili pepper - and gave them a Bti-infused soil drench. the basil and pepper i also sprayed with insecticidal soap.
afterwards i planted some pea seeds (sugar daddy and fragrant heavenly gooddess mixed) with some nasturtium seeds in the raised beds. i planted peas too late last season and the weather turned warm before they could get going. every gardener knows peas are a cool loving plants, but i've never had much success of peas, partly because i always plant them too late, not realizing they can go in the ground much earlier. and i've had zero success with any kind of floral peas, so hopefully this spring will be different.
i wasn't expecting us to make so much electricity today - 45.65kWh. judging from the weather earlier, anything above 10kWh would be great, and if we can hit the 20's, that'd be excellent. production was so high that we broke the 8kW barrier, which is the theoretical maximum our system can generate.
we made so much that for march 2020 we generated 942kWh, just 26kWh shy of beating march 2019's record of 968kWh. if we only had another good day of production this month, we would've set the new march record. but also taken into consideration that march 2019 we still had clipping issues, so had things been operating under normal situation, we probably made even more electricity than that. so march 2019 is still the king of march solar production-wise.
the angle of the sun is such that the main roof panels and the sunroom roof panels are nearly equal in production.
so march didn't end with a surplus, but my parents just had to pay less than $5 from their utility credit. for sure they won't have to pay come april. and hopefully they can rebuild that credit during the summer months, when we generate a lot of electricity.
after dinner i drove the toyota back to cambridge. it's been a while since i drove the car, probably the last time was to pick up my parents from the airport back in late january. i've actually done a fair bit of bicycling during the winter because we didn't get any snow. but you wouldn't know it from looking at me, i didn't lose any weight, it's just been constant. now that it's officially spring, it's a matter of time before i take the motorcycle out.