i woke up early a bit before 8am to witness the first snowfall of the winter season. never mind that it's still october and the official start of winter is still 2 months away. the snow had just started, nothing was sticking quite yet. i crawled back into bed, but instead of sleeping i surfed the web on my phone. at 9am the scheduled heating kicked in, warmed up the house to 65°F for an hour. i finally got out of bed for good around 10am. by then a thin layer of accumulation covered the landscape, from the streets, to the cars, to the trees. the forecast said anywhere from a coating to an inch at most, but it would continue snowing until the late afternoon early evening. it was a good day to stay home and enjoy the scenery.
feeling hungry, i ate the last of my fried chicken for breakfast. my plan for today was to wait until the snow started to let up before calling my parents to see if they need my help clearing the snow around the cafe.
after a shower, i poured half a container of liquid gel drain-o into the bathtub, hoping to clear the clog. the bathtub is working fine for the most part, but every week or so i have to plunge it, so there's definitely some kind of blockage somewhere. either more drain-o treatment if this doesn't work, or as a last resort, snake the drain from the basement.
i didn't have lunch until after 1pm. i made some coffee for the first time this season. unfortunately i let the decaffeinated hazelnut creme coffee steep for too long in the aeropress and the flavor was too bitter for my liking.
i was debating whether or not to cook the rest of my bacon in the smokeless grill. bacon smoke is simply too greasy to allow it to go unchecked in my kitchen. however, opening a window and using the fans to blow out the smoke would let out all the precious heat inside the house. so i had the bright idea of operating the smokeless grill by the back door and blowing out the smoke with a standing fan. but that was an even worse idea because instead of a window i had the whole door open. then i had a stroke of genius: why not running the smokeless grill outside on my backyard deck? sure it was snowing but i have enough of a cover to keep things dry for the most part. there's also a power outlet outside, so no need to run extension cords. the best part is i could leave it smoking as much as i wanted and not have to worry about the smell getting into the house.
it worked surprisingly well. the grill smoked even more than cooking inside because it was also creating condensation from all the heat. it felt a little surreal, standing outside with the snow falling all around, the smell of bacon smoke in the air. after i was done i moved the grill back inside to allow it to cool before removing the grill plates to wash. the avocado i was using was a little weird. even though it felt ripe, it was still hard on the inside, and i made a mess trying to press it into a workable spread. the cheese also never melted, because it was too cold outside for the grill to maintain a high enough temperature. i only used 3 strips of bacon, saving the rest to make another sandwich for dinner tonight.
on the cafe webcam i saw two people shoveling the parking lot. these must be the snow removal crew my sister hired, wasn't sure if they would be working so early in the season. that meant most likely my parents would need my help. i called them a short time later, my mother said they'd already shoveled the parking lot along with the sidewalks, super clean she told me.
i thought i heard my upstairs neighbors return home yesterday because somebody had gone up their entrance, but i think it was most likely a neighbor with a house key going into the house to turn on the heat. but my neighbors were definitely back home today because i heard their familiar stomping. naturally they wouldn't be a part of any snow removal so it was up to me to go outside (around 3pm) and shovel the sidewalk. it wasn't hard, it was wet clumpy snow that was easy to remove. afterwards i grabbed my camera and took a walk around the neighborhood looking for photo opps. it was still snowing, i had my umbrella and wore my rubber boots.
the money shot i wanted was a photo of a nicely carved jack-o-lantern topped with some fresh snow, symbolic of an october snowstorm. what i wasn't planning was how fogged up my glasses would become, where i could hardly see anything, and kept wiping off the fog with my fingers. at the same time i was trying to operate my camera while holding onto the umbrella. a few times the wind would yank my umbrella so i was clutching it with my neck, wiping the rain from the camera lens, and looking through the viewfinder with foggy glasses.
i ended up walking to the cafe because i remember i saw a really cool pumpkin. but i couldn't figure out where it was and never did find it again.
i only stayed at the cafe briefly - enough time to help my mother buy some shoes online - before returning home. it'd stopped snowing for the most part by then (4:45pm) so i put my umbrella away. that still didn't solve the foggy glasses problem, but it was one less thing to worry about. i did that trick where i wore my glasses almost all the way to the tip of my nose.
even though i only turned on the heat for an hour this morning, it was still warm inside the house. temperature was slowly dropping back down to 60°F, but it was still very toasty in the bathroom. i made some hot tea which warmed me up even more. before it could get any colder, the scheduled heating turned up the heat back to 65°F beginning at 6pm.
i was ready to settle in for a quiet friday evening when around 7:15pm we had a blackout. i was streaming a free showtime movie at the time and i couldn't understand why the video was still streaming even though everything else in the house had lost power (most likely whatever video was left in the buffer). i used my phone as a flashlight before i got my real flashlight then used the flashlight to find the candle in my bathroom which i lit in the kitchen. once again, it was only on the cambridge side of town; just across the street in somerville lights were on full blast. i took the opportunity to take some low light photos with my camera and my phone. i was ready for the long haul, if this was going to last for a few hours, i could still access the internet using the unlimited data plan on my phone. unfortunately my fun times in the dark would be short-lived, as power returned 10 minutes later. most likely there was a blackout elsewhere, and in order to fix it, they must've had to temporarily shut down the main power for a short period of time before turning it back on.
i didn't eat dinner until late, around 9:30pm. i made the last of my bacon and avocado sandwich. this avocado was good and ripe, and i was able to mash it into a paste to spread on my toasted bread. i still used the smokeless grill, but as a sandwich press. even after several minutes of 425°F heating, it still wouldn't melt the cheese so in the end i gave up. next time i should just melt the cheese while i'm toasting the bread in the toaster oven. and i'm not sure if pre-toasting the bread is a good idea, because the hardened bread then acts as an insulator, that's why the cheese never melted. toasted bread is also difficult to eat as a sandwich bread, combined with the crispy bacon, it made for a very hard sandwich, cutting up the roof of my mouth along the way.
temperature will drop into the 20's tonight. i'm worried about two things: frozen solid snow on the solar panels, and our rain barrels filled with water. i don't think the rain barrels will freeze solid overnight, but the bigger problem is the solar panels. hopefully it's a sunny day tomorrow that can melt off some of that snow. typically i like to clear the panels after a snowstorm, but i was caught off guard, wasn't expecting this much snow. instead of 1", we most likely got 4" of heavy wet snow. we also broke the boston record for the most amount of snow in october.