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....