it might've rained overnight but i didn't hear anything. though cool yesterday (temperature peaked in the 70's around noontime and dropped after that), the heat returned today with a vengeance, pushing boston close to the 90's, causing sporadic spots of severe thunderstorms in some parts of the area (though not here in cambridge).

i removed the bandaid from the popped blisters on my hand. the skin flaps had turned white, but otherwise everything seemed okay, and some of the swelling appeared to have gone down. after a shower, i applied a new bandaid.

after a bowl of chicken sausage oatmeal for lunch, i headed out to the EMS in boston (by the allston border) to search for hiking shoes. but you already got a pair of hiking shoes, you say. that's true, but my mother went online and found a cheaper pair of merrell's, and i wanted to see for myself. they were the merrell hilltop ventilator waterproof hiking shoes, which retails for $95, about $15 cheaper than the waterproof moab. however, there was a sale this week and the price dropped to just $75. more importantly, they had ones in my size at the boston EMS store. strange thing is the merrell website doesn't make any mention of these shoes. are these an older version no longer made? the closest looking match were the merrell waterproof pulsate ($140). from the photos i thought they looked a bit ugly, that's why i wanted to see for myself. ugly or not, if they're a good fit, at $75 that's a real bargain.

so i biked down via memorial drive, across the BU bridge, and backtracked west along commonwealth avenue until i arrived at EMS. it was hot and i was pretty sweat, wiping the perspiration on the sleeves of my t-shirt. inside the store it was nice and air-conditioned. there was hardly any customers (unlike REI on sunday) and two assistants found me as i made my way to the hiking footwear alcove. i saw the merrell hilltop on display, it didn't look all that bad. i asked them if they had a size 7.5. the guy told me they only carried 8 or above. dejected, i was ready to leave, but told him when i checked online it said they had it in stock, and besides, the shoe on display was a size 7. he seemed surprised, and went to the store room to check. i sat down, enjoying the air-conditioning.

he came back with a pair of size 7.5, which he almost couldn't believe they had. it was that size, and sizes 7, 11, and 13. i tried it on, it was a perfect fit (earlier i tried the size 7, and my toes bunched up in the front). he asked where i was going, i told him the great smoky mountains, he'd actually been there a bunch of times, has some friends down there that he visits occasionally. he said now's the time to go since it's not very busy yet, as the kids are still in school. i asked if the hilltop was an older model. he actually said it was newer, because the moab's have been around for a long time, but he's only recently seen the hilltop's. i decided to buy the shoes, just so i could take it home and do a comparison with the pair of moab's i bought on sunday. besides, if i didn't like these, i could easily return that at the harvard square EMS store. before i left i also bought a bottle of natrapel bug spray (20% picaridin, 8 hours protection, 3.4 fl. oz. $6.99).

i was right next to the super 88 supermarket and food court, but it was so hot, i had no appetite, and just wanted to get home. besides, there was a risk of thunderstorms in the late afternoon, and i wanted to be back before it started raining. i went home via babcock-ashford-linden, making my way through allston and back into cambridge through the JFK bridge. this is the way i'd normally go, but definitely more traffic than memorial drive-BU bridge. passing through the small side streets of my neighborhood, i came across a linksys wrt54g router somebody had tossed out. i took it home so i could flash it with an opensource firmware.

at home i tried out both hiking shoes, one on each foot. i noticed the difference right away: the moab felt more snug, whereas the hilltop i could feel my ankle lifting with each step. the hilltop only has 5 laces, while the moab has 6. the hilltop seems to be designed for a wider foot. aesthetically i think they both look about the same. although i like the hilltop in terms of price, in terms of comfort and walkability, i prefer the moab.

i then went on a lengthy scavenger hunt, picking up things i needed around the house that were on sales at the various pharmacy stores. i went to the beacon street walgreens where they had a sale on nexcare bandages (buy-one-get-one-free, BOGO) but of course they were sold out of the ones i wanted (nexcare active waterpoof bandages, the opaque variety, not the clear ones). i still however managed to spend $14, everything from lip balm to beef jerky, from boxed candies, to sharpie markers. next i went to the somerville avenue rite aid to pick up my HBP medication prescription and some almonds and häagen dazs ice cream (BOGO, $5.39). my favorite cashier was there, we exchanged some pleasantries.

i dropped off my things at home before going out again to the porter square walgreens. like the one before, they were also sold out of their nexcare bandaids. one of the workers there told me the sale was all this month, so i could come back the next few weeks to check if their new stock had arrived. after returning home for the final time, i went across the street to star market to pick up a box of strawberries on sale. häagen dazs ice cream was also on sale ($2.99) and i couldn't resist picking up a carton of pistachio flavor (one of my favorites).

finally home for good, i took a shower then curled up on the couch with a bag of jelly beans to surf the web. the couch is dangerous and by 6:00 i felt tired enough to take a nap, waking up at 8:30 to heat up some frozen french bread pizza for dinner while watching a documentary on the roosevelts.