C’mon baby, light the fire. Actually don’t.

They’re heeeeeeere!

They arrived today. April 26, 2020.

Think I’m announcing rolls of toilet paper delivered by Amazon?

Fair enough. But no.

Something far worse but as enduring as these damned toilet-paper absences.

Triple Digits.

We here in Phoenix have been warned for a week. For once, forecasters got it right!

A massive heat wave’s settled over the West and Southwest, smashing records, especially in POS state California.

SoCal is baking (and I don’t care!) How many residents you think are defying closures of beaches and social distancing?

Tons, last look on Google.

One surfer was fined $1,000.

To be fair, it was after he disrespectfully blew off repeated instructions and warnings.

“‘Fuck you. What are you going to do about it?’ the surfer said to a lifeguard, according to witnesses. A police officer finally issued the citation. Yey cop!

No shortage of arrogant self-righteous a**holes in California.

Here in Phoenix (Arizona), the Triple Digits arrived early; normally it’s May.

Side note: I’m an unpaid walking farmer’s almanac. Been warning since December-ish that this summer’s gonna be extremely brutal — more than usual.

Thus far I’m on the money. Would be smart of Arizona’s weather service to hire me since my track record extraordinarily exceeds theirs.

“Only job where you can always be wrong and still keep it” I always say of weathermen.

Anywho — 103 degrees (39.4) here in Phoenix.

High for April, not a good sign. Come May, certainly June, we’ll be reminiscing about how frosty 103 was.

About then is crossed the next newsworthy threshold: 110 F (43.3 ).

From there it’s a straight speedy escalation toward 116-120 (46.6-48.8 C), where it settles for months. 

While this initial tap into Triple Digits is news, to my (unwelcomed) experience, it’s 110 (43.3 C) that’s most dreaded.

At that precise temperature, heat takes on distinct and different qualities.

It’s no longer sufficient to state simply “it’s hot.”

The heat impacts and takes a toll on the body in many markedly challenging, distinctive and detrimental ways — as well as one’s well-being and mind, depending on genetics.

For example, Mexicans (abundant in Phoenix) can still move, work, hoot ‘n’ holler in the heat; on the other hand, I of northern European descent blister then wither into slug with 1% life left.

Interestingly, scientific studies bear out my independent findings: 110 (43.3 C) is the cutoff for “bearable heat.” Beyond that …

In short: The Fire’s On in Phoenix.

Don’t Bug Me!

Mosquitoes in southern Arizona are particularly mean. Would hafta be to survive brutal sun and heat.

This I was unabashedly reminded of during my walk through the riparian preserve yesterday early evening.

I dressed for the bugs and mosquitoes. Jeans rather than shorts despite the heat, ugh. A T-shirt. Baseball cap.

I “erred” on two counts.

First, I didn’t spray myself with Off! soon enough.

Frankly, I didn’t think the mosquitoes were THAT BAD yet.

There’s a myth that Arizona hasn’t many mosquitoes because they can’t survive the dry heat. This is true, partly.

Caveat is where there IS water, mosquitoes boldly go and thrive — even in this desert. Especially so! For them too, water’s a scant resource so those little sons-of-bitches bully up around it.

Too late into my stroll, I watched mosquitoes make meals of my arms. Felt those telltale tickles on the back of my neck, face, ears!

Spotted one aggressively land smack on the front of my shirt. That takes cajones! Ha! No flesh there for you! SUCKER!

So outta my backpack came Off! (I tote it now like girls tote lip gloss.) Better late than never — the Off! not lip gloss — but damage was already done.

Second error was not spraying my feet.

I was in sandals. Mostly in motion, not resting.

Thus I thought it unlikely they’d make feasts of my feet … that they’d target upper body for easy mid-flight bites.

I was wrong. So wrong.

My feet are smothered with bumps! Lord they itch like hell! Swollen red from scratching. I’d post a pic but even I with a stomach for gross-ities am grossed out.

Did count a dozen bites in a 1-inch (2.54 cm) patch on one foot though. Paint your own picture.

Message to Mosquitoes

Two words for you malicious buggers.


Off! Deep Woods specifically. Spray repellant really works! (I prefer the “dry” over “wet” version — less messy). Kudos to maker S.C. Johnson & Son.


Just as I was contemplating slathering forearms and feet with a paste of baking soda and water, I flashed on an old rarely-used tube of hydrocortisone cream in a cupboard.

No offense baking soda. You’ve been my hero for bee stings in childhood and unclogging drains in adulthood. My loyalty remains.

That hydrocortisone knocks itch right out!

Prevents blood loss too — for as anyone who’s crazy-scratched itchy bites knows, it turns futile and ugly. 

Timely Takeaway

Suit up for those suckers.

Leave no stone unturned and no skin unsprayed.

Keep basic odd ointments on hand.

(Greatest of takeaways. While most folks keep that stuff without thinking, I do not — having made a lifelong career outta too-frequent moves and routinely tossing things to satisfy both my inner Anti-Clutter nazi and nomad traveling light.)

Sunday’s Score:

Mosquitoes: 35 (guesstimated number of bites)

Me: 1 (only for wisely choosing jeans over shorts for walk)

A Deserved Shout-Out


Ode to Off!


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