("I went to the animal fair/The birds and beasts were there/The big baboon by the light of the moon/was combing his auburn hair/The monkey he got drunk/and sat on the elephant's trunk/The elephant sneezed/and fell to his knees/and what became of the monk?" You are welcome.)
Thursday, day one of the Home and Garden Show, is the best day to go. The crowds are sparse and the vendors have not yet exhausted themselves. That does not stop a few (white middle-aged male) vendors from ignoring me. I guess my money isn't any good.
Now that the interior remodeling is in the queue, not much left remains to do to the house. There is the patio problem, so I picked up a few brochures on decks. My SO needs a new garage, so he scouted a bit for that. Earth Fare is opening a store near my home, so we stopped at their booth to sign up for their e-newsletter and get free reusable shopping bags.
And I asked around about solar. My employer has a plan they call COyou2, whereby they provide funds for the employees to put toward home improvements that reduce our collective carbon footprint. (Yes, insurance companies care about climate change because they have to shell out big bucks on weather-related claims.) I used my stipend when I replaced my heating-cooling system and bought a new refrigerator. But now my employer is rebooting the program, providing more money for more projects. I don't want a hybrid car - too expensive and I don't drive that much - but I have some south-facing roof, so solar is an option.
Solar is still expensive, but there is a 30% tax credit that makes it less painful. Also, in some areas you can sell SRECs - Solar Renewable Energy Credits - to others. Here in Indiana, any excess power I generate goes back on the grid, and the electric company I use will give me credit for it. Add my employer's incentive and the payback is greatly reduced.
My dream house is an octagonal place in the country that is (mostly) off the grid, but I think the window of opportunity for that is closing (because I am growing too OLD). I can live quite comfortably in my current location for another twenty years, so I am going to make it as close to my dream house as I can possibly can. Now if the city would just let me keep a few chickens.