Last week marked the official beginning of summer. It is unofficially the second full month that we’ve seen triple digits here in Phoenix this year. (We first hit 100 degrees on April 28, 2013). Today, we are expected to reach a record high of 118. Why on earth did I move my mother here now? In retrospect, I should have waited until October. The people that bought her house could have waited, maybe.
There are many neighborhoods throughout Arizona that have manmade lakes, palm trees, green grass, beautiful flower beds– illusions of coolness. Mine isn’t one of them. We are in the raw desert. When I look out at the aluminum trailer in the yard under the blazing sun, I can’t stop thinking about my childhood Easy Bake Oven. My mother must think I’m trying to kill her.
To add to the guilt, they’ve been joking on the local radio about the extreme temperatures. In response to the question, “How hot is it?”, people are calling in answers like:
I saw a dog chasing a cat and they were both walking.
Hot water comes out of both taps. You burn your hand opening the car door.
The asphalt has a liquid state. You can fry an egg on the side walk.
The birds have to use potholders to pull worms out of the ground.
The potatoes cook underground- just pull one out and add butter, salt and pepper.
The trees are whistling for dogs.
My own true story goes like this: I checked the mail on the way into my office and left it all day on the dashboard. That night when I opened the envelop from the bank, my new ATM card had melted into a wavy piece of plastic with completely flat numbers. Note: NEVER leave anything in the car. The glue holding the rubber soles onto your shoes melts. Cosmetics don’t stand a chance. I’ve left my 83 year old mother in a tin can.
On top of the extreme temperature, the desert is full of all sorts of scary wildlife. We’ve had many visitors in my back yard. Packs of javelina, mule deer, bobcats that want to eat your dog, lots of coyotes that want to eat your dog, even big birds that want to eat your dog.
This “little” guy in the picture above (whom my bird loving neighbor informed me is a young red tailed hawk) was outside my back door the other day trying to come in. My mother also said she heard something on the roof of her trailer. When the skylight darkened, she looked up, and this “little” guy was peering down in at her. Apparently he is a very social little guy, but he would definitely eat my dog.
The other things that give me the heebie jeebies (and I hope with all my might that my mother doesn’t encounter them) are the rattlesnakes, scorpions and tarantulas that we often get in the summertime. I can tell you all sorts of stories, but I’m trying to forget them. Note: If you ever visit the desert in the summertime, remember to pack a small black light. Scorpions phosphoresce under the black light, and you can scan your bedroom (and bed) at night. You don’t want to hear my story- believe me. Just buy a light. Here’s what they look like when you find one.
I hope the trailer is scorpion proof. Mother will not be pleased.