Sunday evening at 6:20 pm, it’s just now completely dark and the little read-out screen in the back bedroom closet says 91. That’s percentage charge in our solar batteries solely from the sun.
I walk back into the kitchen to report the number to the Bearded One, who records the time and number in our Solar Book of Knowledge (we have other Books of Knowledge), a small lime-green notebook in which we collect these numbers for further study. We record these numbers all day, sometimes every half hour.
It has to do with learning how to protect the batteries from ever going below 75%.
“Check,” he says. He’s just come inside after his full day of transplanting pineapples,
stripped off all his clothes on the lanai, and is now sprawled naked in front of the fan in the living room. It’s just the two of us here.
We haven’t had a sunny day since the solar system became operational last Thursday. A foot of rain over the weekend. It’s beyond humid. My posture along with everything else is limp.
We barely got the percentage up to 94, which is where we need to get it each day, either by free sunshine or expensive propane-powered generator. It’s all new stuff to us. I’m ready to be completely charged by the sun.
My swimming buddy NeNe has been off-island, too, and I miss her and our swimming. I’ve been cleaning and baking and getting the house ready for our younger daughter, the Nurse, who is coming in two weeks. She came two months ago and we talked and swam and she hung out with her brother down at Kalani and took a yoga class. This time she’s bringing another exhausted hard-working nurse with her,
and I hope the sun is shining for them. Rain or shine – two totally different approaches to paradise.
The Bearded One gets up to take a shower and I head in to the kitchen to heat burritos and rice.
I’ve decided the girls (girls? they are ICU nurses!) should have the den area, not the back bedroom where the solar read-out is. The den’s a nicer room, has a better finished floor, and I’ll buy some colorful sarongs for the walls. They’ll need reading lamps, too. Everything is revolving around the kids – a whole ‘nother solar system.
“I want everything to be perfect for them,” I say to the Bearded One when he steps out of the shower.
“Me, too,” he says, and I think of his role as stepdad these 18 years. He’s very good at it. As he puts it, he knows his place — he sees the glass ceiling and embraces it.
“You do what you can,” he’s said on other occasions. “It’s a good gig if you can get it.”
The phone rings. It’s 8pm. “Who could be calling at this hour?” I breathe a whiff of worry until I answer and hear our oldest daughter’s, “Hiiiiii!” And then, “I’m fine, is this too late?”
My internal battery charges as we talk. She has negotiated a break from her job and if it’s okay here, she’d like to come visit, arriving a day before her sister leaves and staying until just before Thanksgiving. Our son will be here, too.
“So all three of you kids will be here for a whole day!?” I shriek. The Bearded One is listening and smiles wide.
The planets have aligned. The sun is warming us now. Our solar reading soars.