Hot Mama

July 8, 2006    By: Kristen J @ 10:22 am   Category: Life

I don’t know if you’re aware of this but it gets really hot here in Arizona during the summer time. I mean really, really hot, 115 degrees hot. It doesn’t really bug that much though. After living here for a few years I’ve gotten used to it. No, really, I have.

There is something that does really stink about Arizona in the summertime…summer break!

Here’s the problem: While most of the country gets to send their children to school during their most horrible weather. We, down here in Arizona, get to have our children at home during our most horrible weather. My children get to stay at home and stare at me and wonder aloud how their mother is going to entertain them day after day after day after day. It makes a grown woman want to cry.

Frankly, it is too hot to send my children out to play so they spend most of their time indoors. We stay inside for the largest portion of the day and then as it starts to cool down in the evening we all tiptoe out to the pool chanting, “Hot! Hot! Hot!” and do our best cannonballs into the pool.

I’ve taken on 3 roles this summer: I’m Julie McCoy, cruise director to my oldest children, Isaac Washington, bartender to the youngest kids, and Gopher to the whole family.

As Julie my kids look to me to provide many varied activities for their entertainment needs. I’m not very good at this and the pay really stinks. The customers can get very belligerent if you are not meeting their needs.

As Isaac I spend my day getting drinks for the smaller customers. I think my job is trickier than the real Isaac’s. He didn’t have to put all of his drinks in spill proof sippy cups with all of their complicated parts and pieces. Maybe I should watch that Tom Cruise movie where he plays the bartender that flips drinks all over the place. That should entertain the older children while providing drinks to the younger ones.

As Gopher I’m just the all-around-girl for everyone. All day I hear, “I need… Can you find…Can I … Will you…”

The only role I really want to play is the actress who was always saying, “I want to be alone,” as she stalked out of the room. Don’t ask me to remember her name the heat around here is addling my brain.

[Associated song: Sly and the Family Stone – Hot Fun In The Summer Time]


  1. Summers must be horrible in AZ! I can’t even imagine.

    You’re making me miss the days when my kids were younger, though. I miss being the “kool aid” house, with all the neighborhood kids over, irritating as they were. My kids are older now. I want more time with them.

    Comment by Susan M — July 8, 2006 @ 11:40 am

  2. Summer is doubly annoying in AZ because we have a (roughly) traditional school schedule. In places like Minnesota they have a few months that the kids can’t play outside much but at least it is during the school year. Here we get them at home at the very time the weather calls for staying indoors. The upside is that moving here from CA allowed us to get a pool so we do have a total swim-o-rama around here all summer and that is pretty fun. The other good news is that school fires up around here again in early August so the end is near.

    Comment by Geoff J — July 8, 2006 @ 12:20 pm

  3. Kristen,

    How hot would you say it gets in Arizona? (hint: I’m looking for an answer that starts “As hot as…”) You did promise a post with swears after all.

    No, seriously, I grew up in Tucson and the hot summers are just intolerable. Every year during school (when the weather is great) I would promise myself that I wasn’t going to waste another summer sitting inside being lazy, and then when summer came I would remember why I always wasted every summer. We did do a lot of lying around inside (driving my mom crazy) wondering how it could be that hot outside. But, what really made me hate Tucson was when I grew up and had to get jobs where I worked out in that heat. The summer after my mission I serviced pools, and carrying around 80 lb. cannisters of chlorine from the truck to the pool and back for eight to ten hours a day in the 110 degree heat made me swear I’d live somewhere else. And now, here I am in beautiful Oregon, where it’s in the upper 80s today (yep, its a hot one for us), and all I can say is, you should move up here.

    Comment by Jacob — July 8, 2006 @ 1:22 pm

  4. Actually Jacob I grew up in Washington State and after many years of having most of our track seasons rained out and spending the winters sitting on a heating vent I decided that I’d live somewhere else! Honestly there is no place more beautiful than the Northwest during the summertime. I keep telling Geoff we need a little cabin up there so we can summer in a beautiful area near my family.

    Hhhhmmmm….The only hotter than a…I know is “Hotter than a snake’s belly in a wheel well.” Pretty lame, I’ll have to see if I can come up with some better ones.

    Comment by Kristen J — July 8, 2006 @ 2:52 pm

  5. Ok, here you go:

    It’s so hot in Arizona that…
    the birds have to use potholders to pull worms out of the ground.
    the potatoes cook underground, and all you have to do to have lunch is to pull one out and add butter, salt and pepper.
    farmers are feeding their chickens crushed ice to keep them from laying hard-boiled eggs.
    the cows are giving evaporated milk.
    the trees are whistling for the dogs.
    you no longer associate bridges (or rivers) with water.
    you can say 113 degrees without fainting.
    you eat hot chilies to cool your mouth off.
    you can make instant sun tea.
    you learn that a seat belt makes a pretty good branding iron.
    the temperature drops below 95, you feel a bit chilly.
    you’ve experienced condensation on your butt from the hot water in the toilet bowl.
    you would give anything to be able to splash cold water on your face.
    you can attend any function wearing shorts and a tank top.
    The 4 seasons are: tolerable, hot, really hot, and ARE YOU KIDDING ME??!!
    you discover that in July, it takes only 2 fingers to drive your car.
    you discover that you can get a sunburn through your car window.
    you notice the best parking place is determined by shade instead of distance.
    hot water now comes out of both taps.
    it’s noon in July, kids are on summer vacation, and not one person is out on the streets.
    you actually burn your hand opening the car door.
    you break a sweat the instant you step outside at 7:30 a.m. before work.
    no one would dream of putting vinyl upholstery in a car or not having air conditioning.
    your biggest bicycle wreck fear is, “What if I get knocked out and end up lying on the pavement and cook to death?”
    you realize that asphalt has a liquid state.
    a sad Arizonan once prayed, “I wish it would rain – not so much for me, cuz I’ve seen it — but for my 7-year-old.”

    Comment by Kristen J — July 8, 2006 @ 2:58 pm

  6. you’ve experienced condensation on your butt from the hot water in the toilet bowl

    That one was great! Oh I do not envy you in the summer. It’s been hot here, but nothing compared to you guys. We’re lucky we have a pool in our complex and the beach 15 minutes away! I’m just glad you guys are coming here. We’ll go there in November!

    Comment by Jamie J — July 8, 2006 @ 8:16 pm

  7. Yes, we’re glad to be visiting you guys out there.

    I met some friends to go running the other morning at 7:00 am thinking we would be ok. We were very WRONG! Next time we’re going to meet at 6:00 am which makes me very sad.

    Comment by Kristen J — July 8, 2006 @ 11:17 pm

  8. DH and I got married in the Mesa Temple…in August. We met early (7 am) that morning to take pictures…and I still sweat like a pig. Our sealing was at 4:30 pm, so we got out about 5:30 pm. The entrance to the temple faces west…you can figure out how the pictures on the steps went.

    Born and raised in the Phoenix area, it’s not that bad, really. I do prefer the cold (lived in Montana for 1 1/2 years) but am currently in El Paso. Not as hot a Phoenix, but hot enough.

    Comment by Amy — July 9, 2006 @ 10:04 am

  9. You guys are doing this all wrong, believe me. Kids understand things by direct comparison, and you need to have them experience something worse so they can appreciate that things really arent that bad. Here are my suggestions:

    1) Find some masochist to drive a car that has no air conditioning take your kids on a road trip to Death Valley and back all in one long haul, that would be so miserably, unbelievably, horribly hot that 115 would look like a picnic in the shade in Maine. But, do pack them a lot of water. Oh, and make the crazed driver stop at every scenic spot so they can feel the hellishly hot scorching dry winds. You have not experienced hot until you have done Death Valley with the AC off. And, yes, I do know what Pheonix in July feels like. Its bad, but not Death Valley bad.

    2) Kids complaining they are bored? One night, take all of their toys, games, books, DVDs, CDs, and everything fun away from them. All of it, hide them at someone else’s house for a couple of days. Then lets see them complain they have nothing to do except stare at each other. When they complain, say “What, all of this junk has been laying around and you never play with it, you only complain, so shut up, I sold it all on EBay!”

    3) Make them do chores. A lot of them. Backbreaking ones, like weeding or planting cacti, or picking up litter. Make them mow everyone’s lawn, in the entire neighborhood. After that, they will be glad you just left them alone in the house. If they start bugging you again, tell them to go and gas up the mower, that will silence them.

    4) Take them to the local public library and tell them they have to read five librarian-approved educational books at their reading level and write a paragraph on each one before they can leave.

    But, seriously folks, why not head north up to Snowflake or the Mogollon rim? Much cooler and more comfortable. There are so many old forest roads back in on the Mogollon rim that you could easily find a nice spot to camp for a few nites. Of course, they are totally unimproved camp sites, and I think its actually illegal to camp overnight there, but, hey, thats what adventure is all about and the odds of getting caught are pretty slim…unless you start a forest fire.

    Comment by Kurt — July 9, 2006 @ 2:19 pm

  10. Ha! Ha! I like those ideas. I have already beat you to the chores, my kids are now on a strict chore regimen every day. That has helped out quite a bit.

    Kurt, Kurt, Kurt, camping is fun when you’re the kid but not so fun when you’re the mom. It’s an issue I’m trying to deal with but I’m having difficulty making myself go through all of the work and stress of a campout in order for my children to have wonderful childhood memories. We are heading for the beach this week so we’ll have a few days of cooler weather.

    Amy, Wouldn’t the temple let you schedule your wedding for 4:30 am? That’s what time all of the AZ natives suggest when you talk about morning activities. “Hey, lets have a play group tomorrow morning.”

    “Ok, what time?”

    “Why don’t we start at 4:30 am that way we can be done before it gets too hot.”

    Comment by Kristen J — July 9, 2006 @ 5:57 pm

  11. Try selling pest control in Phoenix. Door-to-door, 10AM – 9PM, 115 degrees, six days a week.

    Not so fun.

    Comment by Rusty — July 10, 2006 @ 7:29 am

  12. I grew up in Arizona, out in Lehi, north east of Mesa. And yes it can be very hot. But some of my fondest memories are out there.

    Some of my favorite memories are the horseback rides we took to Red Mountain. We chased the Indian cattle, (something I am sorry for now, the poor Indians would have to try and gather the cattle back together again) chased a burro once, but never could get close to him, and tried to keep the dog from getting bit by a Gila Monster.

    Then we would take the saddles off and ride the horses in the river. That was the some of the most fun I have ever had! One time we took a can of corn to heat-up and eat. Being only fourteen at the time, none of us knew that you had to poke a hole in the top of the can before you put it on the fire. After it blew-up, there were hot coals all over everything. My mom was not too happy with the holes in my new Levis.

    When we came back, we would go swimming in the canal to cool off. Again, some of the most fun I have ever had.

    After I got older, I would find myself working on top of a roof in the summer time and working in Flagstaff in the winter. Not quite the same memories, but I still love Arizona. And we did not have air conditioning in either the house or the car when I was a kid or a pool either. But times are different now.

    Comment by CEF — July 10, 2006 @ 12:25 pm

  13. You’ve reminded me of the thing I do not miss about Mesquite, NV: the 112°F in the shade weather.

    Comment by Kim Siever — July 10, 2006 @ 6:16 pm

  14. Thanks for sharing CEF, I love to hear those kinds of memories. I don’t know how you did it with out a/c though. When we first moved out here the a/c went out in my car and my little kids would get so red faced. I felt so bad for them.

    Kim, I guess I’m not the only one suffering in the heat then. Those poor Nevadan’s are dying too.

    Comment by Kristen J — July 10, 2006 @ 7:01 pm

  15. Rusty,

    Another Mormon pest control salesman knocked on my door less than an hour ago. Apparently these companies recruit heavily at Mormon schools. (I was nice to him of course.)

    Comment by Geoff J — July 10, 2006 @ 7:08 pm

  16. Arizona is hot – but you get used to it. My first car, that I drove for several years, had no AC, black vinyl seats and nonuv treated glass. I drove around with a towel on the seats. Also the steering wheel would melt/shred when it got hot in your hands. SO much fun.

    The worst I probably ever did was helping my buddy pack for his mission. His room was a converted garage, and his parents were tearing it down after he left. He had to pack all his stuff and put it in the attic above the garage. We started at 8pm, he left at 8 am for the MTC. I kept waiting for it to cool off. Never did. It just felt wrong.

    But nothing can be quite as nice as being super hot and baked and then going into an cold house, you just love every minute of it!

    Comment by Jay S — July 11, 2006 @ 10:46 am

  17. This reminds me of a story I heard about some tourists who were taking the taxi ride from the airport to their hotel at a tropical island in the summer. The driver kept swerving from one side of the street to another, seemingly at random. Finally one of the tourists asked what he was doing.

    “In America, you drive on the right side of the street. In England, they drive on the left side of the street. Here on the island, we drive on the shady side of the street.”

    Comment by CS Eric — July 11, 2006 @ 1:02 pm

  18. You are so right about that Jay, the coolness of an a/c house can be so wonderful. On the other side of the coin sometimes these houses can get pretty chilly and it’s nice to step out in the sun (for a couple of seconds).

    CS Eric, too funny. Do you think I’d get a dui if I started doing that here?

    Comment by Kristen J — July 11, 2006 @ 1:55 pm

  19. Oh great. I read this just as we leave Friday for a Vegas-Grand Canyon-Phoenix-SoCal 11-day vacation. I’ve got to stock up on my lip balm. :-)

    It’ll be a great vacation I’m sure. We’ll live in the pool and the A/C. If I stayed here in NC, I’d have similar complaints to yours but about the oppressive humidity more that the heat. We’re moving July 29th and the Elder’s Quorum unanimously decided to start at 7am to try to beat the mugginess.

    Comment by Chad Too — July 12, 2006 @ 6:15 am

  20. I’m sure you’ll have a blast on your trip Chad. Just make sure that you drink A LOT of water if you’re doing any hiking in the Grand Canyon.

    7 am? What a bunch of pansies!

    Comment by Kristen J — July 12, 2006 @ 8:06 am

  21. I wouldn’t hike the Grand Canyon if it were January either. My visits to National Parks generally involve looking out car windows followed by guided tours of gift shops.

    It may soon all be academic. If all these wildfires keep up this could quickly become the Worst Vacation ever.

    As to the pansies… now I’ve got “little purple pansies touched with yellow gold” stuck in my head. Thanks ever so.

    Comment by Chad Too — July 12, 2006 @ 4:53 pm

  22. Totally agree with the Grand Canyon and water tip. I hiked the North Kaibab Trail and I had enough water to last me the trip back (we refilled at some water at the end of the trail). Some other missionaries who came with us did not and they were dying by the time we got to the top. One of them even had heat exhaustion. I end up having to donate the rest of my water to him. It’s a good thing there was a water fountain back at the top. I drank 3 litres of water before we got in the car and another litre on the way back to Kanab.

    Comment by Kim Siever — July 13, 2006 @ 9:59 am

  23. I have never understood why someone in sound mind would ever want to hike the canyon when you can ride a perfectly good mule.

    Three years ago my wife and I rode the mules down to Phantom Ranch and spent the night and rode back up the next day. Part of our 28th wedding anniversary. And just last month we rode the mules down form the North side. They do not offer an over night ride from the North side. But it was one of the most inspiring, wonderful and fun things we have ever done. Oh – gee- That is in Arizona also. :)

    I think Arizona should hire me for their PR person.

    The worst part about riding in a car without air-conditioning in the AZ summers, is the stop lights. Not much fun sitting in an what seems like an oven.

    Comment by CEF — July 13, 2006 @ 11:34 am

  24. Kristen, I think he’s trying to say the heat is endless and that it may take a while and heap of suffering through this heat but it will be fabulous in the winter.

    That’s what I keep telling myself everytime I get the SRP bill.

    Does school start on August 1st for your children?

    Comment by Téa — July 14, 2006 @ 3:38 pm

  25. Kristen, it’s 112 here today. Hot hot is it there? Or are we the only ones having a gigantic heat spell?

    Comment by chronicler — July 14, 2006 @ 8:29 pm

  26. Kristen, Think of the 7 month reprieve in late September when Arizona will begin basking in the best weather in the entire nation. I know it is hard to imagine when we are close to death from heat exhaustion (and humidity from an early monsoon season), but we are 80 days from the reason why we moved here in the first place (besides the strong housing market).

    Comment by Tony E — July 15, 2006 @ 7:37 pm

  27. Yes, but Arizona’s is a _dry_ heat :)

    Comment by ECS — July 16, 2006 @ 6:53 am

  28. Kristen, I hate summer, also. We live north of you, in southern Utah, but I hate the desert and I hate summer. We’ve had a drought for six years here and we go on water rationing in the summer.

    We’re considering a move to Eastern Idaho, near Yellowstone.

    I spend all summer in a funk. Plus nobody sleeps in my neighborhood in the summer. Kids stay up all night playing in the park behind my house, music booms from peoples’ houses, fireworks all night long. . .

    It totally bites.

    Comment by annegb — July 16, 2006 @ 7:51 am

  29. Sorry I haven’t gotten back to you guys. I have been sitting on the beach in San Diego. It’s pretty funny, they’re all complaining about the heat wave down here. I think it’s great.

    The reason I gave the water tip was because I read a book called “Death in the Canyon”. It chronicled every single death that was ever recorded in the Grand Canyon. A lot of them were from people bringing hopelessly small amounts of water with them. The one time I went to the Grand Canyon we looked down into the canyon, said, “Hey that’s really deep!” and got back on the bus for our guided tour of the gift shop.

    Seriously though, someday I’m riding that mule down to the bottom.

    On another note I tried my hand at surfing for the first time on this trip. It was great fun and worthy of a post all by itself!

    Comment by Kristen J — July 16, 2006 @ 2:06 pm

  30. I lived in PHX for five years, then in South Carolina for three before moving to the DC area. Yesterday, the Metro train I took into work had no air conditioning, and the temperature was in the mid 80’s with high humidity. A lot of people refused to even ride it and those that did whined about it. It frankly didn’t bother me. And another fellow on the train struck up a conversation with me about a.) how nice it was to ride an uncrowded train for once and b.) how the people who couldn’t stomach the discomfort were wusses. I mean, really, if they can’t stand a few minutes on a train with no a/c, what will these people do if a terror attack knocks out electricity in the summertime?

    Comment by V the K — July 19, 2006 @ 2:09 pm

  31. I know what you mean, I guess they’ll just swoon from the heat.

    Comment by Kristen J — July 19, 2006 @ 4:42 pm