Monday, July 10, 2017

Reading in the Pool When It's 120°

Phoenix recently made the news, not due to some dumb stunt by one of our politicians (for a change), but due to what weather forecasters now call an "excessive heat advisory." For years after I moved here, you never heard anyone make a peep about excessive heat advisories. I guess the powers that be trusted us to know that when it's over 110° you stayed inside as much as you could and if you couldn't, you tried to stick to the shade and kept yourself hydrated. 

This excessive heat advisory was for temperatures in the 115° to 120° range, and where was I? Was I staying inside? Nope! I was sitting in the pool in the shade with a big container of raspberry iced tea and my books. It did reach 120°, and airlines were canceling flights due to the heat, but I was quite content where I was. Being a pro, I have learned that there are a few things one should do in order to make reading in the pool a pleasant experience during a period of intense heat. I thought I'd share some of the tips I've learned.

Number One: a pair of gloves comes in very handy. I already knew this from experiencing many Phoenix summers. You do not put bare flesh on such things as car door handles and steering wheels when your vehicle's been sitting out in the broiling sun all day. However, my gloves are for another purpose.

When we had our pool remodeled, Denis requested this nice metal railing to be installed at the steps for our "senior years." (I can see that many of you already know where I'm going with this.) Since my knees are a few decades older than the rest of me, I already need the railing to get in and out of the pool. 

Yes, the railing is out in the aforementioned broiling sun all day, and those gloves are vital. I use a pair that I bought for doing light gardening. They have a layer of latex on the palms which gives me extra grip when I need it.

Just how vital are these gloves during an excessive heat advisory? On the day it reached 120°, I took hold of the railing to step down into the pool... and the latex on the palm of my glove melted and started to stick to the metal. I can just imagine the song and dance I would've done if I'd touched that with my bare hand! I get a bit queasy just thinking about it.

Number two: all those dishcloths I've been knitting come in handy.

In the photo, you can see my plastic tote bag that I bought at Harrod's in London. (Pool...waterproof...) You can see one of my books. (I always bring out at least two.) And you can also see a couple of my knitted dishcloths. I bring out three of those. One is used to dry off my hands. A second is to fold in half and put my cell phone inside on top of the tote. I don't leave my cell phone inside the bag because it's almost the same as putting it inside an Easy-Bake Oven. You'll see what the third is used for in a minute.

In this photo, you can also see part of one of the two umbrellas (tip number three) that shade me from the sun. Both are UV-resistant. Even though I'm sitting in the shade, I still get a tan; the sun out here is fierce. I well remember going out on a boat on Lake Powell. When Denis and I got back to our hotel room and I undressed to get in the shower, the sun had gone through my shirt and my bra: I had "lacy" sunburn on my chest!

Now you can see what I use the third dishcloth for: to put underneath my big insulated container (tip number four) of raspberry iced tea. If I were to put my tea directly on the pool decking, no matter how well the container is insulated, the ice would not last very long at all. When it's 120°, ice is important!

These are the tips I've picked up from living in the Sonoran Desert during the summer. Some of you may still think I'm off my rocker to sit in the pool and read when it's so hot, but it works beautifully for me!

Oh-- I forgot to take a photo of my mosquito deterrent (tip number five). Granted, mosquitoes are few and far between when it's 120°, but I hate 'em and take no chances. I have a small filigree lidded metal box in which I burn mosquito coils. I like the smell, and it keeps 'em away from me, and that means my reading experience is even more pleasurable-- especially when the temperature goes down a tiny bit and the humidity rises for monsoon season. 

Since I wrote this post, I've taken two more photos. (I keep forgetting that my smartphone is also a camera!) Here is photographic proof of tips three and five!

You need more than one umbrella in Phoenix!

For burning mosquito coils.

What is your favorite place to read when it's hot? Something tells me most of you prefer your tea and books to be somewhere air-conditioned....


  1. You are well prepared for a heat wave, Cathy! I like your ideas, too - a lot. They're smart. I like the idea of remembering to keep a lot of iced tea (or other noncarbonated drink) with you. I learned that lesson the hard way once when I was at a conference at ASU. I almost passed out from dehydration and hadn't noticed how low on liquid my body was. Never again!

    1. You'd think he'd know better by now, but Denis became dehydrated recently. It's no laughing matter!

  2. Not in the pool, to hot and humid, I actually sweat when I'm in the pool.

    1. I know there comes a point when hot is just plain hot, but when it's 120° here, the humidity is normally only about 5 or 6%. You can almost feel the moisture being sucked out of you... unless you're sitting in the pool!

  3. Gosh, you are one of the most well-prepared people I've ever heard of. You figure out everything! No wonder you can tolerate being outside in your pool in 120 degrees.

    The poor birds. How do they fare?

    I have a few questions: What type of raspberry tea do you use? Also, where did you get an insulated large container like that?

    Good luck on surviving that heat. It takes work to do it, like living in survival mode.

    I can't tolerate heat. Even at the Disability Pride march I attended the other day, it was only in the mid-80s. However, someone touched my arm and said, "you're hot!"
    And I have to remember to stay hydrated, too.

    So, no carbonated drinks, huh? I thought it was just non-caffeinated drinks that don't count.

    See what we learn here?

    1. The worst time to be outside is from 10 AM to 2 PM. I get in the pool at 2 PM. The birds are insanely busy as soon as the sun begins to rise, but from 10 to 2, they're much quieter, sticking to shade as much as possible and only flying in to take advantage of all our birdbaths and fountains (and the oranges). By the time 5 PM rolls around, they start getting busy again until the sun goes down.

      I drink a bottled in-house brand of raspberry iced tea from a local grocery store. I also drink green tea or water as well. Carbonation isn't good for you, period. I hadn't read about caffeine being a no-no out in the heat, but I'm not running a marathon, so I'm not going to worry about it. The one thing that is the worst thing to drink at the pool is anything alcoholic.

      I have two sizes of insulated drink containers. The one in the photo is the small one. I bought both from a gas station chain here called QuikTrip. They're the best I've ever had, and I hope they never wear out.

      I've had a long time to train myself not to do anything stupid out in such killing heat, so I don't even think of it as surviving. I love the sun. I love the heat. I love the desert. I lived here for almost fifteen years with no air conditioning at all, which is probably why I love my pool so much-- I remember those years!

  4. Ok. I'll have to find some tea bags and make that myself. No in-house raspberry tea around here. I have made blueberry tea and black cherry, but must get more and then make the iced tea.

    I haven't drunk alcoholic beverages for decades, am alcohol-intolerant. Wish I could drink wine now and then, but don't.

    I'm sure containers like that are around here somewhere.

    The birds have the right idea. I don't go outside in the summer until later, often not until the sun goes down. But if I have errands to do, I go later in the day. (And I'm finding if I wear a hat with a brim, the sun isn't as hard to take.)

    I could not survive NYC summers without a/c. I don't know how you did it or do it outside, but I can't do it. I do remember, however, growing up in Chicago where in August we would all just pile in front of the big fan (no a/c then) and drink iced tea and wilt. It would hit over 100 degrees frequently.

    And I note the blog readers are benefitting from the pool reading with lots of reviews, making me wonder how I can find to read all these A-graded books.

    1. A hat with a large brim is an excellent idea. And...most people use umbrellas when it rains. In Phoenix, a lot of people use them to keep the sun off when they walk from place to place. Hardly ever a need for them otherwise!

  5. Wow, you really covered a lot of things I was curious about with all that heat. And how you managed to stay out there so long! We heard about the flight cancellations up here in MN on the news too. Hope it will level off after a bit! The glove trick, for getting into a hot car, would sure work in a lot of states!

    1. It certainly would! The heat is now slightly below 110° which would feel cooler, but now monsoon season is settling in and the humidity is rising. Ick.


Thank you for taking the time to make a comment. I really appreciate it!