i woke up relatively early - 8:30am - eager to see how much snow fell since late last night. everything outside was already blanketed in a cover of snow.
unlike our last storm (which was much bigger), people seemed unfazed, and i saw many neighbors out and about, gathering groceries, despite the snow.
since i wasn't going anywhere anytime soon, i decided to use up my remaining leftover defrosted blueberries and make another batch of jumbo muffins. the blueberries left behind a lot of liquids which i drank as a super healthy anti-oxidant drink. there was a bit of freezer burn flavor, but otherwise pretty tasty. the muffins finished baking by 11am, and i had one for lunch.
i went out to shovel shortly after watching the weather forecast, where they said the snow would transition to sleet and then refreeze overnight, so the sooner you can clear the snow, the better. don had already done his sidewalk. temperature was just a few degrees shy of freezing, so it was a wet heavy snow, the first of the season, where we've had light puffy snow. it was heavy to lift, but came off clean from the pavement, and easy to stack. i only cleared enough of the backyard to carve out a pathway to the trash, figuring i'd save the rest for steve and paul to shovel.
because it was wet snow that would later freeze solid overnight, it was imperative that i go to belmont today and clean as much snow off of the solar panels. if i didn't, there'd be no way for all that snow to melt, and we might not have production for a week, maybe longer. the forecast said the snow would begin to taper off in the late afternoon before transitioning to sleet followed by a temperature drop. that would be my window. i called my parents to let them know i was coming. my father told me he'd already cleared about 80% of the panels, just a few higher points he couldn't reach from just the stepladder and the longest roof rake pole.
i left at 1:30pm, bringing a single blueberry muffin with me for my mother. most of the residential sidewalks weren't shoveled yet, so i walked in the streets, where it was cleared (down to pavement no less). when i got closer to lesley and harvard i moved back onto the cleared university sidewalks.
once i arrived at the station, i opted to take the 73 since according to the digital sign it was arriving now. that's when i realized i forgot to bring my wallet. by "wallet" i mean the stack of cards i carry with me bundled with a thick rubberband. at first i was like, "okay, no wallet, no MBTA card, i can just buy one," but it took me a few seconds to realize i also didn't have any of my credit cards or any cash. i was screwed. it'd take me 15 minutes to trudge back to my house, then another 15 minutes to trudge back to harvard square.
then i remembered i had my phone. my phone which has NFC google pay. would the MBTA ticket machines accept contactless payment? there was only way to find out. so i hurried back to the bank of machines, and sure enough, there was contactless. i had to act fast, since the 73 bus was due to arrive any second now, if it hasn't already. i went through the options trying to figure out what i wanted. the default option is to buy a single subway trip, but i wanted the bus. so i had to go through more options before i found the single bus trip. the cost was $1.70, i tapped my phone and paid, the machine dispensed a paper ticket. this is the second time contactless payment has saved my ass in the past 2 weeks, i'm 100% aboard the contactless express.
i hurried back to the wait stand. i could already see the 73 bus, stopping at the bend. the handful of people waiting didn't know the bus was already here, and one of them was complaining (to no one in particular) how the bus was running late and all he wanted to do was to go home.
we all piled into the bus. i was pretty happy with myself, figured out a way to get out of a tough bind. we left the station and stopped in front of the post office. that's when the driver seemed to have shut off the bus engine and got off the bus. we heard him fumbling with something in the rear engine compartment. he never told us what was going on, but when somebody tried to get onto the bus, he told him the bus wasn't going anywhere. none of the passengers asked what was going all, we all just sat there, waiting. i guess if there was a person to ask, it'd be me because i was sitting in front of the bus. before i could do that though, the bus driver finally said to everyone to get off the bus, after we'd been waiting for nearly 10 minutes. no explanation, no info on when the next bus would arrive. we all got off without complaint, even the guy who was complaining earlier back at the station.
i checked my transit app, which told me the 74 bus to belmont would arrive in 6 minutes. not knowing when the next 73 would arrive, i hurried back to the station to catch the 74. i got there with a few minutes to spare. before the bus was scheduled to arrive though, i checked to make sure the bus would actually take me where i wanted to go. thankfully i did, because apparently the 74 bus goes straight down concord avenue towards belmont, no detours. if i took the 74 it would not take me home. the bus i wanted instead was the 75, which wouldn't arrive for another 15 minutes. i kept checking the schedule, maybe there was another 73 leaving, but the number for 73 was greyed out and there was a service delay warning. better just to wait. in fact, all the bus routes has service delay warnings of 25 minutes. the 74 never came, and the schedule just updated to the next 74, which wouldn't arrive for another 20+ minutes.
when it came time for the 75 bus to arrive, it too was delayed, but only for a few minutes. i was starting to get worried that i might never get to belmont, and would need to call my father for a pickup. getting onboard the bus, i couldn't figure out how to use the bus ticket. do i feed it through the cash slot? or slide it? the bus driver had to show me, i simply tapped the paper card. apparently there's some RFID circuitry inside the card.
i got off at belmont and trudged through suburban streets to get to my parents' house. sidewalks were a no-go, so i walked on the roads, which thankfully there were no cars. here and there i saw people with snowblowers digging themselves out. it was almost 3pm by the time i arrived, 1-1/2 hours after i originally left my house.
i immediately went out to the backyard to clear snow off of the solar panels. i didn't believe my father when he told me he'd already cleared 80%, but it was true. all that was left were a few upper sunroom roof panels, and a few main roof panels above them. there was also a few panels on the upper left of the roof that he couldn't reach with the stepladder-pole setup. unfortunately it had snowed enough since he cleaned the panels around noontime that everything now was reburied in snow. it was hard work, especially the layer of old snow, which was wet and heavy and now starting to freeze solid. it took me nearly 1-1/2 hours, and all i could do was push off as much snow as i could buried fresh snow would cover up the panels again. chances are we'd need to clean the panels again tomorrow morning, when the sun is shining and there's some melting.
while i was doing that, my father was back outside reclearing the sidewalk with the snowblower. by 4:30pm the bulk of the snow had stopped. i'd say in total about 6 inches worth of wet snow fell in the area. i sent my drone up in the sky briefly just to take a photo of the solar panels. when i came back inside, my pants were soaked but i didn't have a change of clothes so i just continued wearing them. they were flannel pants anyway, so it was double layered, so it wasn't that bad. when i first arrived my parents were cooking strips of bacon. i ate a few strips when i came back inside, my reward.
we ordered a bunn CWTF-DV coffee brewer from webstaurant ($700). the insurance adjuster saw the damage earlier this week and will cover cost of repair and replacement upwards of $10k after a $500 deductible. that means we'll be returning the bunn VP17-1 ($270) we bought from amazon a week ago, which we haven't even taken out of the box yet. even though the CWTF-DV uses more power and is more than what we currently need, it's nearly the same model as the old bunn coffee maker. we had all the necessary hookups already (220v, water feed) and my father prefers the always-available hot water dispenser of an automatic brewer (CWTF-DV) versus a pourover brewer (VP17-1). the only catch with the CWTF-DV is due to a backorder, they won't be able to ship until after 10-15 days, so it won't arrive until end of march at the earliest.
for dinner my parents cooked up a mystery meat that'd been in the fridge. it was most likely some kind of beef, but could've also been lamb. my mother thought it was pork. regardless, it still tasted a little off, even after intense cooking.
my father gave me a ride home afterwards. i was a little dismayed to see that my upstairs neighbors didn't shovel at all, and there was a few inches of fresh snow on the sidewalk. after dropping off my backpack, i was outside shoveling. i made sure to make as much noise as possible so they'd be able to hear me.
tonight was day 2 of my jiu niang fermentation. already the jars are fill of liquid, and when i opened one of them, there was a distinctive jiu niang smell. i didn't do a taste test though, but i'll bring them to my parents tomorrow.