I moved to Phoenix nearly three years ago. It was December. I marveled at how we were able to wear shorts nearly year-round. I laughed inwardly at the person I saw wearing a fur in January. And then summer hit, and the joke was on me. No one prepared me for the intensity of a Phoenix summer. In fact, new coworkers asked, “Is this your first summer?” before laughing to themselves. It didn’t take me long to understand what they were getting at: “Summer feels like someone put you inside of a very bright oven, closed the door and left you there for 4 months.” One positive? I’ve learned a few Dos and Don’ts to pass along for those of you who are suffering through enjoying their first summer in the Valley of the Sun.
1. Don’t be pregnant: I made this mistake. My October baby had me dragging 20+ pounds through the entire summer. And everyone knows being pregnant is like carrying a furnace inside of your body. I literally saw just ONE other visibly pregnant lady in August. They clearly got the memo.
2. Don’t be fooled by “winter” utility bills. Winter is in quotation marks because I was still wearing shorts. The first time our electric bill hit $400, I just about died. But I didn’t. Because it was too hot.
3. Don’t blow dry your hair. Seriously, open the car window or drop the top on the way to work/daycare/pay your APS bill and it will be dry when you get there. Blow drying your hair in the summer is like walking into an oven wearing a heater. Especially if your spouse incrementally raises the temperature in the house in an effort to lower the utility bill because of #2 even when you are #1.
4. Do get used to exercising at odd hours. I used to work at night and would get home between midnight and 1 a.m. People would be out running, walking their dogs, doing pilates, whatever. It may literally be well over 100 degrees until the sun goes down. Get used to it.
5. Do give up the concept of “a dry heat.” Dry heat is what they try to convince us southerners is better than humidity. It is not. See the oven example above. Except add in that someone is blowing the hairdryer in your face set on “high.” And also you are standing in coals.
6. Don’t be outside. Ever. Unless you’re in a body of water or have left the city. Seriously, there’s no reason to be outside, even when your kids’ school/mailbox/newspaper is merely feet away. In my son’s words: “It burns, it burns!” Slap on some SPF 2000 and stay in the pool or in your home.
Enjoy summer! You’ll see me in October. Until then, I’m the one driving my car from the garage to the curb to pick up my newspaper.