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Zombies and Cattle and Panels, Oh My! - Blather. Rants. Repeat.
A Møøse once bit my sister ...
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Zombies and Cattle and Panels, Oh My!
Four days since my arrival at Destination: Reunion. One of them mostly driving, three of them mostly working. Plenty of stories from each.

Sunday morning and afternoon continued the Diner Tour. This is one part of Long Island Life that really hasn't changed in the 40 years I've been away. Yes, there are IHOPs and Mickey's D (but no Cracker Barrels- Noo Yawkahs wouldn't tolerate what they did to Brad's wife), but these palaces of gastronomy and grease remain the centers of food and conversation for all.  I began just north of the hotel with breakfast and a Ted talk- my friend Ted, that is, who promptly repaid the loan from the reunion's bad planning the night before. We shared stories of kids and forgotten friends for about an hour, and I then pointed west and north for the rest of the day and night.

Well, a dip south into East Meadow came first- my first in at least a couple of years. Memories just flood as you go through, between the things that are exactly the same (the site of my first haircut), those completely obliterated (the Lakeville Plaza of my mother's long patronage holds just one store from even 30 years ago- the kosher butcher) and the things that are just ever so slightly off (the Meadow DELI?!? Really?!?). Carman Avenue, the road to our high school, was completely tree-shaded the first mile or so before you pass the jail, the high school and finally the hospital- all little changed in all these years.

I stopped at, but did not work out at, the local studio of the gym I attend; I drove by, but did not stop at, the church I grew up in; and I took the obligatory drive down my old street. There, a block toward our old home, I saw one of several sad sights that had popped up in a few other places driving round: homes (two I saw) and at least one business, fenced in, headed for or already been through teardown, with ominous Town Gummint signs on the fences warning of the ongoing condemnation.  I googled this when I got home, and they are having serious problems with "zombie foreclosures"- banks which begin the process, chase out the homeowners, but then suddenly realize they might be liable for code violations or injuries if they actually take title. So they don't; they do just enough to keep their mortgages from being wiped out, but the places go to shit in the meantime. That town, unlike most closer to here, is fighting back by demanding security deposits once the buildings go vacant, and adding the teardown costs to taxes if they don't maintain them. Not surprisingly, the banks are not pleased, and threaten to stop lending in the town if they keep being mean to them.  Yeah, right.

Our old home, and our longtime neighbors' next door, looked to be in much better shape, and I continued through to the last of the diner runs- after a detour to Barnes and Noble. There was reading and writing to be done.

My Met blogger friend Greg is on at least his fourth book about the Mets- or in this case, a Met:



I have autographed copies of the previous three, but hadn't gotten out to grab this one, so I picked up one to be signed and two of another book I heard excerpts from on NPR the previous day- more about the venues than the results or players found in them. One, I gifted to the other author in exchange for his kind extra words-



- while the other, I'm already enjoying reading here.

From there, it was close to a straight shot home- just two gas stops, the second just short of my sister's where I spent an hour at the halfway point before finally pulling in around 10:30 Sunday night.

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Monday was back to work, with a little twist. Several twists of udder madness, as it turned out:



Our co-worker Cindy took the day off from work for her 60th birthday, and awoke to find 60 of these in her front yard.  She usually gets milk for the office on Mondays, but I ran the errand this time, telling her she shouldn't have to spent her special day milking all those cows.

As days back go, it was pretty typical: three new clients, close to a dozen others popping up from out of left field, the people I did need to hear from not getting back to me, but overall not too bad..... except for dropping my glasses on the office floor and completely smashing the frames, one side irreparably.  I tried two different opticians, and was told to seek out a jeweler who might be able to weld it back; he was on vacation this week. Fortunately, I remembered that I'd lost, but then found, my previous pair with nearly the same prescription- but I couldn't find them at home.  Because they weren't there; I did have a vague memory of putting the extra pair in my car's glove box, now Emily's, and she confirmed yesterday that she does have them. I will pick them up from her tomorrow, try to fix the broken pair when Welder Dude gets back, and then put those in the glove box of my current car.

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Then yesterday, work began and ended early, because we had an appointment for our solar evaluation. The guy had already done the aerial photography, and while he had only one picture of the house mocked up with what the panels would look like (not, you know, twenty-seven;), it was a good start to explaining what they could do, what it would cost and how much it should save:



Those are on the back (south-facing) side of the house. "Save" rhymes with "Dave," which is what we named the very large pin oak at the far left of the back of the house. He needs to do a shade analysis to figure out whether the panels will get enough sun closest to his foliage.  But overall, it looks like a good fit.  The whole shebang comes to a little over 20K to install; a state energy agency provides an immediate rebate of over $3000 to act as a down payment; IRS and state tax credits instantly knock off another $10000-plus, and you finance the balance with an unsecured 20-year loan, partly paid back by the money you save on your electric bill. And you save a lot; the system is designed to produce enough electricity in a year to cover your entire usage (not every month- some months you buy, others you sell back your excess at the same price), so in theory all you pay on average per month is the utility's minimum connection fee of $17 a month.  Or, about what I paid in college for my first electric bill for my first (small) apartment.

Wowsers.  Only thing we don't get is Why isn't EVERYBODY doing this? Well, some just don't have the right roof size or angle or orientation, while others are just so indoctrinated by Cheetotalk about fossil fuels they consider it unpatriotic.  I see it as a selfless effort to donate part of our property to the greater good. And getting a break on taxes and bills at the same time only makes it better.

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Today was fairly non-descript, although Eleanor just got home from a very good experience helping a co-worker of hers.  I leave in the morning for another two days away, but these will just be in Rochester, and will be broken up tomorrow night with a ballgame downtown there. I'll explain more after the event, but suffice it there is food involved.

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