More on this after I've had sleep, but today only confirmed for me that people who live in a constant affirmation of spirit energy and fairies and UFOs and Feng Shui are most likely to retreat to these fantasies instead of facing the cold truth in front of them, namely, that the 100-year-old house on the 17 acres they bought is a horror show that needs ten gallons of gasoline and a lighted match far more than solar panels on the roof and to have the bathtub repositioned.
Spent most of the day in said horror show, repeating (along with friend's very knowledgeable and construction-background cousin), "Do NOT put any money into this house. Make it habitable as much as possible while avoiding the deathtrap chimney and electrical and plumbing, but put your money into the new, wonderfully designed, green-conscious house you will put up in its place, and the party you will have when this thing comes down." Not sure she heard it, but I have convinced her to have an inspector come in to look at the heating and electrical at least (there is a wood-burning furnace attached to a cinderblock chimney that is held together with DUCT TAPE), and get some ideas of what needs to be done. Also spent all day ripping out absolutely filthy wall-to-wall carpet that had seen years of heavy smoking and who-knows-what else. What was underneath it was not pretty, but at least it wasn't pourous, and it didn't reek.