Tag Archives: Summer

Hiding from the Sun

17 Jun

There’s a reason why they think Arizonans are crazy and it has to do with our summer. As I write this, our high today is going to be 114, and it will get to 120 by August. So imagine being my kids and during their summer break, they can’t run around outside… they have to hide from the sun.

We have the reverse culture of everyone else in the United States (and this includes most of New Mexico and Texas), where we run around outside seven months a year, during our “winter.” From mid-October to mid-May, highs are in the 70-80’s, lows in the 40-50’s, and it’s absolutely gorgeous in the Valley of the Sun. But… come May, ah… we hide from the sun.

However, we don’t change our habits based on our climate – that would make too much sense! Instead, we have our school off in the summer because… that’s how we did it back in Ohio, why wouldn’t we do it here? To be fair, it doesn’t make sense in Ohio anymore, since all the schools have air conditioning. I grew up being told “it’s because back in the day, they needed kids to work the fields.” Except farmers didn’t; you need all hands on deck for harvest time… in October. It was because it was too damn hot in the school during the summer and the kids would melt.

This insanity continues in other areas. Our chain stores all bring out heavy coats in October, even though our climate doesn’t justify it and no one will buy them, but the regional vice president doesn’t get why they wouldn’t sell in Phoenix.

So although this cute pic of a dad running with his daughter and Corgi would make sense anywhere else in the United States during the summer, this is February for us. You could do this in June if you got outside before 8 am, which is generally not a problem, considering that we don’t have daylight savings time here, the sun rises around 5 am. So if my teenage son wants to sleep in, he closes his shutters, puts a blanket over the window, and then a blanket over his head. I don’t get that luxury, because the g-dam cat starts crying the song of his people if he’s out of food before 6 am. Or decides that the perfect time to terrorize our OTHER cat and get into a growling fight in the stairwell, the most echo-y part of the house.

Wow – this post went from being a “isn’t it weird living here” to a bitch-fest. My apologies. I’ll do better next time.

When Lazy Preppers Garden – Part 2

4 Jul

So first thing we had to do was remove the two dwarf palm trees that were planted in the back yard and move them to the front yard. Easier said than done. There was a lot of rock that had to dug out of the way first. Generally you put rock down on top of soil in Arizona to protect it from the sun. Except that our house is 47 years old… which means multiple owners have put down layers of rock to protect their yard over the decades, so there was up to six inches of loose rock that had to come up first. Oh… and sometimes the original construction company just left giant blocks of concrete out of the way.

Then we had to actually extract the dwarf palms out of the ground. Easier said than done. We had to do this in two stages, Thursday night, when the sun had just gone done but was still 102 degrees outside, and Friday morning, when the temperature was only 85, but the sun was coming over the buildings to shine on us (and raise the temp).

So I’m sweating buckets as take out an entire wheelbarrow full of loose rock to the front of the house (where thankfully, two wet holes are already dug for the palms), and slowly… SLOWLY… dig out the two plants. They had so many frickin’ roots that were all over. Oh, and we had to find and dig around all the gorram irrigation lines and what I hope was the regular water line and the fence with the crabby ol’ neighbor and… sigh, it was frustrating.

However, mission accomplished… well, the first palm came out, and when we realized it was almost 8 pm, we figured… eh, this can wait until tomorrow. So we sweated and heaved again and the second one out. NOW, have two good sized holes to use as our first sunken garden beds. Now just 80 more square feet to dig up… ugh.

So what home improvement project did your spouse/significant other convince you to dump a lot of time in? Share it in the comments below!

When Lazy Preppers Garden – Part 1

3 Jul

Me and my wife are lazy preppers. We don’t stockpile ammo or live on a compound, but we do think having some water purification and long-term food supplies are a good idea. Because the world doesn’t have to end to be in a situation where you’re out of power, food, and water for several days, possibly weeks. For example, when we were living in Ohio, the wind that remained of Hurricane Katrina knocked down power lines all across the state, leaving us in Cincinnati out of power for three days. People in the surrounding counties had to wait a week, maybe two, before their power got turned back on.

So we keep a lot of beans, rice, and a lot of dried goods on hand… which is you don’t vacuum seal it, only lasts for so long. So we end up eating a lot of beans, rice, and other dried goods. We do have two vacuum-sealed boxes of beans and oats that will last 30 years, but if your wife insists everything has to vegetarian and kosher, that either means you’re gonna be paying through the nose for prepared meals… or you just rotate everything else through your diet. Beans and rice will last for up to seven years if you treat ’em right, and that’s the cheap way to check all three boxes.

Part of this lazy prepper lifestyle is gardening, to ensure you have a long-range supply of food. I’m crap at gardening, but my wife loves it, so there we go. Obstacle two, we live in Arizona, which means the temperatures in the summer are currently 110, will go up to 120, and oh yeah, water is pretty scarce. No problem, there have been natives in this land for hundreds of years, and have started selling their drought-resistant crop seeds to the general public. Obstacle three, we don’t live in the country, or even a regular house lot, we live in a townhouse with a postage-stamp sized back yard. No problem, there’s something called square foot gardening to address this very issue.

This post is getting too long, so I’ll continue it tomorrow. Meanwhile, what do you do to prepare for the coming apocalypse… or snowstorm? Put your comments below!

My Bicycle vs. Arizona Summer

29 Jun

ROUND ONE… FIGHT!

Meet the Beast. It hasn’t earned its name yet, so for now, let’s call it the Beast. I ride the Beast because some #&#^$&*@ stole my nice red Specialized mountain bike from my own backyard! That beautiful bike that I bought in Connecticut, rode through a fierce New England summer and winter, and lovingly shipped back home to Arizona when my contract was through. Then in the Spring of 2019, some… person of ill repute took it and probably sold it for a dime bag; one-thirtieth of what it was worth.

So I bought a cheap black Roadmaster at a nearby liquidation store. It was $50; it wasn’t great, but it was new, and it worked! All was fine until one day in June 2019 I was riding home and I went down a ramp. The front brakes didn’t work. I drove shoulder-first into the pavement, broke my clavicle, and because I didn’t have insurance, let it heal on its own.

Arizona Summer wins!

ROUND TWO… FIGHT!

Four months later, my clavicle is healed without complications and I decide that it’s time to get back on the bike. The only problem is that I thought only the front tire was broken. So I get a new tire, put it on, problem solved, right? WRONG – front deraileur is bent so it only works in one set of gears, can only shift between two or three gears even without it, and I have to keep adjusting the handlebars.

After a month of trying to live with this, I say to myself, “You gotta get a new bike, man.” However, the wife won’t hear “Let’s pay $150-200 for a decent used bike.”

  • She says, “Why don’t you repair the bike you got?”
  • Problem? Repairs will run $50-70, if lucky, and will be worth more than the bike is.
  • Solution? Hit the Goodwill stores around me and see what they got.

I see a couple good bike, but they need serious repairs before they’ll function like they should. As a Scottish-American Jew, I’m doubly-cheap, and will not accept massive repairs that I can’t do myself. Also, I can’t do more repairs than change the tire. So I’m cheap AND mechanically inept. 🙂 So I happen to go around the back of a Goodwill and find a whole pile of stuff the Goodwill guy hasn’t brought into the store, including the Beast. So I just got the bike, replaced the tire, changed out the seat, and BOOM! I have a working bicycle again!

You win!

ROUND THREE… FIGHT!

Summer 2020 comes around, and with my kids stuck home doing school from home, they want to exercise. Except, I hadn’t replaced my son’s intertube in a while (reason: see above), so guess who gets to use my bicycle? Wouldn’t you know it? Intertube blows out.

Okay, not a problem, get a new intertube, get one for my son’s bike so that he can use his own bike for a while, and we’re golden, right? Heh. First day we replace my bike’s tube–flat again. Luckily, I had a thorn-resistant spare, but this time figured out the wheel was cutting into the actual tube input (sorry, don’t know the actual term). So we taped that up, no problem. While we’re at it, fixed Asher’s bike tire.

He goes on my bike again–BOOM! Same damn tire goes flat. Goes on his bike–BOOM! Both tires go flat. Thankfully, he wasn’t far from home, but walking it home half a mile in 100 degree heat, not fun.

Arizona Summer WINS!

CONCLUSION

We finally took our bikes to a new repair shop, the folks were very friendly, and we were fix my bike easy. (Tires inflated fine–not sure what happened.) My son’s bike is still in the shop because the supply chains messed up and there are no intertubes in that bike’s size.

So as brutal as Arizona Summers are, it’s not the 100 to 120 degree that’s gonna get you, it’s improper bicycle repair. 🙂

So what’s your worst bicycle disaster story? This is not mine (oh, not by a long shot), but let’s see if you can beat it. Put yours in the comment section below. Keep riding.

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