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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Solar Power

     Today was the day we had seventeen solar panels installed on our roof.  The usual approach is for the homeowner to pay the substantial up-front costs and have it paid back over several years by spending less for electricity.  Some states and some utility companies have combined to make it easier on the consumer.  There are tax incentives and rebates.  In some areas the utility company permits "net-metering" whereby, if the solar array is providing more power than the house is using, the utility will buy the excess power back at the retail rate.  At least one solar company, Vivint Solar, has a different business model.The homeowner leases the solar panels by paying a fixed amount each month (adjusted annually).  The amount is substantially below the usual electric bill.  Granted, they get the rebates, tax incentives and the utility pays them for the excess power.  They are the owners of the array.  Since the amount we will pay each month is based on last year's consumption, and since we are gone during the sunniest months, the finances will be skewed until we stop summering in Maine.  It will be interesting to track the finances.

     The crew arrived just before 0800 as advertised.  I had expected to take some pictures of the several folks clambering over the roof, but I was asked not to.  Harnesses aside, they didn't always follow the company/OSHA rules while scampering over the roof and didn't want that photographed.  They did a professional, clean installation...unlike some of the DirecTV work that preceded them.


     Here you can see the two arrays of eight plus the odd seventeenth panel.  The difference in color of the panels on the roof of the screen porch is pollen!  The last shot shows the big inverter which inverts the panels' DC to AC.  Note the cutoff box between the two systems and the box that is ready to receive SCE&G"s bi-directional meter.  I'll keep you posted on how I fare financially.  Obviously, I'm not off the grid.  SCE&G will bill me even if I generate more power than I use just because I am connected to their grid.
     While all this was going on, the foreman kept a careful eye on the proceedings.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Bounty from the Sea

     Today there was a large oyster roast at the Santee Cooper park alongside part of the old Santee Canal. 

    There were at least 3,000 folks there enjoying chamber of commerce weather, a brassy ensemble of gray-haired old farts enjoying themselves and making great music, 

and unlimited roasted oysters.  Cindy and I went...Durelle doesn't do oysters.  Cindy doesn't either, but she found a hot dog with her name on it.  We planted two lawn chairs in the shade while Cindy went foraging for a bucket of oysters for me.  I minimized my walking and limited my activities to people watching.  While Cindy was standing in line for my bucket of oysters I snapped a few candids.  I hope the unnamed folks don't mind.  For most people it wasn't their first rodeo.  They came dragging tables, chairs, coolers of drinks and hot sauce and lots of youngsters.

     Eventually Cindy returned with the requisite bucket and a big grin.

     They were almost all single oysters.  There were a couple of twosomes but mostly select, single, plump, sweet oysters.

     Needless to say, I was "happier than a clam at an oyster roast".  That's not original; it's a Cindy line.

     When I got home there was another surprise that helped spawn the title to this blog.  I got a C.A.R.E. package (does that date me?) from Alaska.  I have a great friend who used to work for me in Alaska in the early sixties.  The phrase "work for me" requires a bit of explanation.  Since he was an E-9 and I was an O-2, It will be pretty clear to most readers who worked for whom.  The package contained cans of barbecued red salmon, and kippered king salmon.  In addition there was nearly a yard of Andouille sausage that I believe was made from moose meat.  Thanks, Buck, I look forward to sampling it all.
     Buck was an old-time Alaskan when we got there in 1963, and he's still there in Kenai, Alaska today.  Buck was a mentor before I knew what the word meant.  His subtle advice and friendship were appreciated then and still are today.  Thanks, Buck.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Pawleys Island Beach House

     Estelle Anderson and her daughters, Peggy and Karen, have taken to the idea of renting a beach house ON the ocean somewhere between Charleston and Myrtle Beach in March.  Estelle, as long time readers will remember, is a second mother to Durelle.  She made our wedding cake and a replica for our 50th anniversary party.  Here on the South Carolina coast, in the off season you can get a four bedroom, 2 story (above the stilts) with wifi and an elevator for $2500 per month!  Here's a couple of shots from their deck.

     It was a pleasant visit enhanced by the fact that Cindy joined us.  After a too brief visit, we adjourned to the Caledonia Golf and Fish Club for lunch. 

And a lovely lunch it was.  We were seated on a glassed-in porch overlooking the marsh.  Our waitress was named Cindy Marie which is Cindy's middle name as well.  It is an elegant old club with a life oak lined driveway just dripping with Spanish moss

 and some of the handsomest crepe myrtles I have seen.  This was not your "club sandwich and a beer" type of golf course restaurant.  Most folks (except for Estelle and I) had substantial doggie bags.
     I was outnumbered 5 to 1, but I tried to uphold the male gender.  Here's a shot of the five ladies.


Saturday, March 5, 2016

Pat Conroy

     I doubt that many of you are as fond of the writings of Pat Conroy as I am.  He wore his heart on his sleeve and in his novels, all of which were runaway best sellers.  He captured the soul of South Carolina, especially Charleston, in its lyrical beauty as well as its grit and sometimes ugly heritage.  He died last night at age 70 after a quick bout with cancer.  For those who may be interested, I have included two links: Pat Conroy and  Pat Conroy 2written by Adam Parker and Brian Hicks respectively.  The story dominated the A section of the Saturday paper.  Since Conroy died at 10:00 PM on Friday, you can imagine the scrambling to rearrange the paper.  Cindy was busy until later than usual.  Adam Parker was my mentor as I got into the book review business.  Brian Hicks has published both fiction and non-fiction.  His latest is an account of Joe Riley who has just finished his tenth four year term as Mayor of Charleston.