frances contacted me last night, said she finished with her purchases, and i could ship everything out when i had the chance. that day would today, but first i went to the somerville target in the late morning to look for fast & the furious hot wheels for her son lars. that stretch of somerville avenue from union square to target has been turned into a one-day inbound due to the ongoing green line extension project, so i had take a detour from washington to medford street in order to reach that target.

it was another hot and humid day, with temperature in the 80's. it wasn't so much the heat as it was the glare, and i regret not wearing my transition glasses. on the bike with that bit of breeze it didn't feel all that bad, but whenever i stopped at a traffic light suddenly i'd start getting hot and panting like a dog to cool down.

some things have changed at this somerville strip mall. what used to be a discount outfitter store is now a cambridge health alliance clinic. target has also formed a partnership with CVS so there was a CVS sign outside as well. that advance auto parts store seemed to be closed, the front entrance partially shuttered.

inside the target it was all nice and air-conditioned. i went in search of a long container storage for my 2ft led grow strip lights. there was one (hefty-brand with a latch-enclosure lid) that was exactly 24" long but i was afraid it was still too short. i ended up going with a longer (29" long) under-the-bed storage box (room essentials brand, $11).

searching for hot wheels for lars gave me a legitimate excuse to hang around the toys department, otherwise i'd feel weird. i was surprised how cheap they were, 99¢ per car (although the special edition cars were more expensive, as much as $5.50/car). i didn't see any fast & the furious vehicles, so i ended up just getting some sports cars: a set of corvettes ($5) and a single camaro ($1).

i was tempted to get a ch'king sandwich for lunch at the burger king across the street but opted not to. traffic back through union square was a mess. a construction vehicle was behind me, dangerously extending its pneumatic arms within feet of my head. i was stopped at the lights but decided to ride on the opposite-way sidewalk (in front of a bunch of traffic police who didn't seem to be doing much) just to get away. i got back a bit after noontime, just in time for some news and my matcha latte.

the long storage box fit perfectly. there was still plenty of space after i put in my lights, enough room for the PSU, computer fans, and heat pad.

i spent some time packaging up frances' shipment (i had to upgrade to a bigger box, fortunately i was prepared) then entering in the necessary info to print out some USPS shipping labels. the box weighed 32 lbs., and the shipping cost $150. all that candy was like shipping bags of cement. i'm not sure if it's the heaviest box i've ever shipped - i checked my records, a few years ago i shipped a 30 lbs. box for $130 (shipment prices have increased). i finally left by 1:30pm to the post office. i was halfway there before i heard a lot popping sound and felt something wrong with the bike. i looked back and the tire had gone flat, i must've burst the inner tube. either it was the additional weight on the bike or maybe i hit a nail, i'm not sure, but in any case, i had no choice but to wheel the bike home for repairs. at one point the tire itself nearly fell off the rim, and the loose inner tube jammed into the brakes so the rear wheel wouldn't even turn. i basically had to lift the bike (60 lbs.) plus the weight of the package (32 lbs.) all the way home. i did stop briefly to pick up a waterpik somebody had thrown out.

the tire itself seemed okay, and when i finally removed the inner tube it seemed fine - i was expecting a catastrophic rupture. i did notice what appeared to be a hole near the site of 2 previous patch jobs. instead of trying to patch it up, i figured it was easier just to install a new tube. so i did that, it went surprisingly easy, the back tire was loose enough i didn't need tire levers to take them off or install them. after i pumped up the inner tube though, i noticed a large bulge on one side of the tire. so maybe the tire was busted after all. so i removed the wheel and inspected the tire again. nothing seemed wrong, i just seated the tire a little better, and that seemed to do the trick, the tire with new inner tube was working again.

i left the house again at 2:30pm. i rode gingerly, afraid my rear wheel would rupture again. there was no customers at the post office. the clerk was new and didn't know how to log in an international shipment. fortunately a more senior clerk came out from the back and sorted everything out. i wheeled the bike to the corner dunkin' donuts to get some munchkins ($6.50 box of 25). here too the cashier was new (young russian guy), ready to give me my order before i even paid. like before, a more senior staff caught the mistake and took my money.

i got back home around 3pm. sweat-soaked, i changed out of my clothes and took a hot shower. i then settled in for some snacks (munchkins), ice cold water, and the latest episode of loki (episode 5).

as for the waterpik water flosser i found earlier, it's the exact same model i have. it's not cheap either - it currently sells for $66 on amazon. the owner removed the tip - not that i would've used it, that would be too gross. fortunately the waterpik i have came with a spare tip, so i just attached it to the found waterpik. after cleaning it bit (it probably been outside for at least a day, caught in the rain, a waterpik is not one of those devices people want to recycle and reuse), i filled up the tank and gave it a test. it took a few seconds for the water to come out, but it worked just as well as my waterpik. one thing i wanted to see was if the 30 second indicator worked on this found model. there's supposed to be 3 vibrations after every 30 second to remind you to switch mouth quadrant, but there's only 2 on mine. this one that i found only had 2 vibrations as well, so it seems to be a design flaw.

i finally finished underground railroad. the end seemed abrupt and vague, but a truly hollywood-style happy ending would've been a disservice. i immediately went online and started watching the amazon prime adaptation of the book.

like yesterday, by early evening the sky darkened up again and there was a previous period of intense rain and occasional lightning and thundering.

for dinner i reheated some congee from yesterday, and had a bowl of cherry as well.