Autumn is…when, again?

Weird thing about living in PHX is that it remains so hot here well after summer that my brain gets real confused. I keep finding myself thinking things like “I’ll do that after Labor Day.” Like: I’ll start cleaning out the garage after Labor Day. Or I’ll start working on working on my yard again after Labor Day. Or I’ll look into a fall trip with the kids after Labor Day. Or I’ll start planning my son’s September birthday after Labor Day.

Obviously, dear reader, you know it’s well after Labor Day already. It’s just that it still feels, acts, and seems so much like summer here that I lose track of time and find myself still thinking I have loads of time in front of me to tackle the things I have slotted on to my fall to-do list when in actuality, I should have already started them. At least I haven’t already missed my son’s birthday?

Smells like bacon

Me: I hate these spray sunscreens. I just don’t think they protect at all. I feel like I’m just sizzling. Like they just seem like cooking oil or something, they’re so oily.

My Better Half™: So do you think they just repackage Spam & throw a sunscreen label on the bottle?

Me: Pam. Not spam. Not an aerosolized pork product.

Yup, this one’s about the weather

Today is a nearly-May miracle. It’s been only 72 and it’s rainy-ish.

Let me repeat that. Seventy two degrees.

Look, I get how perfect that might sound to you, Dear Readers, who may still be mired in winter. In fact, some of our friends came in town this weekend *because* they couldn’t stand yet another snowstorm and so decided at the last second to come here. They’ve invited us over to their hotel to hang by and in the pool all weekend. Here’s how that conversation went:

But it’s freezing!

“What are you talking about, it’s 70 degrees today and supposed to be almost 90 tomorrow!”

Like I said, freezing.

Maybe unless you’ve lived in a climate like this, it’s hard to relate to loving rainy, gray days as a byproduct of hating so much sunshine & warmth. But I do. (And I’m not alone.)

So while they’re hanging in shorts & swimsuits, I’ll be inside, curled up on the couch under a blanket, sipping hot coffee, and watching a movie with the Dawdler.

In Which I Gain 7 lbs in One Week

In addition to being sick, it has been too goddamn hot to set foot outside my front door. So I’ve not been going for the daily walks I so look forward to once summer is over. The September equinox may have signaled fall’s arrival to the rest of the country, but here it just means that in another month or so I might be able to part the blackout curtains that are drawn all summer long. Which, here, is at least 5 months long, give or take. (Please take, by the way. TAKE IT AWAY. I daydream that some southern hemisphere equivalent of a Nordic god will come and throw his reins around the sun and drag it kicking and screaming right where it belongs: safely underground until further notice. Or maybe Vermont since I hear it’s not all that sunny there? Maybe they could borrow it for awhile…) I get that I should expect it to still be this hot since I live on the surface of the sun but I am just over it. Every year I reach my breaking point, and this year, as always, it comes in September when it should not still be 107 (as it has been all week). I would be shaking my fist skyward as I say that but that would mean I’d have to expose my incredibly fair, delicate skin to even more sun damage. Where fair and delicate should be read as “formerly fair & delicate but now permanently sun-damaged and prematurely aged.”

In addition to being too sick and wiped out to brave the heat to get exercise, I’ve also been too wiped out to make multiple meals, which means we’ve been meal planning around Baby. Bad idea, as she has grown quite picky. Proper meals of a protein and vegetables – grilled chicken with vegetables, a lovely salad with fish – are all out of the question. She won’t eat any meat at all, nor most vegetables. She’s an utter carbitarian. A fruitivore. This means that our menus for the past week have looked something like this:

  • Mac’n’cheese
  • Spaghetti
  • Stuffed shells with pesto
  • Grilled cheese
  • Quesadillas
  • Leftovers of all of the above, served with sides of fruit and cheese

On top of everything else, now I’ve got another issue to tackle this week: our dryer seems to be on the fritz. All of our pants seem to be shrinking…

Shaking My Fist Skyward

So after this weekend of 105+, I take back pretty much everything I’ve ever said about “So what it’s hot! It’s hot everywhere because it’s summer. Just adjust accordingly!” Fate, you cruel bitch. I surrender.

I attempted to entertain Baby but she got bored (as did I). Here was our itinerary Saturday:

Our afternoon walk around the hood? Too hot, so that’s out. How about playing with your bear? Bored already? Here’s your lamb! Ok, let’s read a book…or 8. Still no good? Let’s listen to music while you crawl around…what’s that noise? Oh Jesus. She’s trying to eat a diaper. Luckily it’s a clean one. Wanna go swing in your…oh, no. it’s too hot out there and your swing is in the sun. You wanna go to…um….hmmm…the mall, I guess? What do you mean people watching doesn’t entertain you longer than 30 minutes? Sigh. Let’s go…um…well….home, I guess.

Remember your bear? Oh, right. You’re bored with him. Well, try it for awhile while I google playgrounds. Oh, City of Tempe, why is your website so anti-informational?! I can see that you have playgrounds but no info about any of them – do they have baby swings or just big kid equipment? Are they shaded?  Let’s just go drive around and see.

Hmmm. No luck but at least you’re down for a nap. Jesus. I’m starving. I could really go for a burrito. Hey! There’s a burrito place on the other end of Kiwanis Park. OMG! It has a drive thru! “Phone pickup orders only?!” Fine. I will pull over, look up your website & phone in my order from 5′ away. Oh, c’mon people. Your menu is a PDF that won’t open on my phone – time for a redesign, seeing as it’s 2012, guys. Forget it.

And that was just Saturday. I googled Saturday night looking for activities in preparation for Sunday. There are indoor playgrounds…at $9 a head and nowhere near me, so that’s out. The children’s museum online reviews say it’s a madhouse on weekends and toddlers beware.

Sunday, I decided to take her swimming. City of Tempe – WTF? The only pool you have open before May is the wave pool, and @ $7, kinda steep for a public pool. At least it’s indoors. But the waves are bigger than I envisioned – way too ‘scary’ for her, when she’s scared of the pool in the first place. Looking online, there is only other public pool open this weekend. Too bad it’s practically in Queen Creek, but hey, we got no other ideas, why not? After a 25 minute drive, it’s a 20 minute line to get in. Once we got in, it’s a f*ckin free for all. Parents not watching their kids who were practically running over Baby and definitely splashing her in the face. Thanks, little Assholes. We left after 15 minutes of ‘fun.’

So, yeah. I surrender. I have no idea wtf to do w/ her this summer. From what I read online, you get the same sort of Lord of the Flies experience at baby splashpads, other pools, & indoor playgrounds. Baby storytime at the public library? Tuesday afternoons in Tempe, Tuesday mornings in Mesa, Tuesday mornings in Chandler, Tuesday mornings in Scottsdale (are we seeing a pattern?) Did you know that more than 73% of moms are working moms? Cuz apparently public libraries don’t. (I realize that work isn’t always M-F but, c’mon).

I give up. This summer is going to be like Groundhog day.

In Which I Discover the Effects of Living in Arizona Too Long

My Better Half™: “Her little dimple is SO cute!”

Me: “She has a dimple?! Where??”

My Better Half™: “Right there!”

Me: “Oh my God, she DOES! It IS cute! How have I not noticed that before? Do you have a dimple?”

My Better Half™: “Yeah, over here.”

Me: “Do I have a dimple?”

My Better Half™: “I can’t tell if that’s a dimple or a wrink-le…”

Me: “What?? A WRINKLE??”

My Better Half™: “uh, nothing…” <walks away>

Note to Self: More sunscreen and moisturizer. Daily.

Swollen Summer

What’s it like living in the Arizona desert? Well, the first thing is the heat. Saying it’s hot is a bit like saying Bill Gates has money. True, but not nearly descriptive enough. The cliché is that it’s a dry heat. Yeah. So dry that water gets sucked out of the ground, leaving dissolved minerals known as caliche, an impenetrable layer, behind.

And so hot it’s like living on the surface of the sun. The first time I came to Phoenix was for a baseball game and it was 118°. Another time I burned my hand on my seat belt after getting in my car to leave the store. And the empty plastic Starbucks cup I left in my car’s cup holder? Melted.

But it’s not just the heat. It’s also the intensity of the sun. It’s sunny 295 days each year. I like to joke that people who don’t wear sunscreen every single day are turning themselves into human jerky. Or pleather.

It also makes it hard for me to tell what time of year it is. Flowers strained by the Death Star just bloomed a week or so ago. There’s no leaves crunching under my feet, and the morning’s “chill” simply means I gotta close my sunroof once in a while. It feels like an endless summer since I moved here, like someone forgot to tell Phoenix that it’s actually fall.