Yes. The heat.
Oh, come on. It's not that bad. Well, it might be if you're brand new to the southwest.
Tucson is usually 5 to 10 degrees hotter than Las Cruces. Here's the 10 day outlook for both cities:
For reference, it was 113 in Phoenix yesterday, 6/21/11.
If you know the tips and tricks to surviving the heat, it's really no biggie. (Says the desert rat.)
*First and foremost, keep yourself hydrated with water and/or replacement drinks like Gatorade. Here's a great tip from a family member of mine: buy a few bottles of water from the store, remove half the water and then place the bottles in the freezer. It'll keep your water colder longer and feels really nice on the back of your neck if you have to be outside for a while.
*Keep your mid day tasks to a minimum. Try and do your errands early in the morning or in the evenings.
*Minimize your children's activities as well and keep them hydrated, even while swimming.
*LEAVE YOUR PETS AT HOME.
*I've heard two different sides to this tip: fill your gas tank when it's cooler. Some say it doesn't matter, others say it does matter.
*Invest in a good hat that has a wide brim and a neck cover. You can get those almost anywhere in Tucson.
*Pick up good sunscreen. I never use anything lower than SPF 50 when I'm going to be outside for a while.
LEAVE YOUR PETS AT HOME.
*Sunglasses are a definite must as well. As much as I don't like the wrap around kind, those really do offer great protection.
*If you have to park your car outside a lot, think about getting the windows tinted and grabbing a windshield screen, too.
*Get your home AC unit checked before the major heat hits. If you procrastinate, chances are you'll have to wait a while for an appointment. Around here, AC companies 'triage' their daily appointments with the most critical cases - elderly, sick and so on - go first.
*Invest in sunblocking panels for the windows in your home that face east and west. It will help your electricity bills and keep your home cool. Also invest in shade screens like canopies for your backyard.
*LEAVE YOUR PETS AT HOME
*If you have no way to keep your pets inside your home while you're gone, make sure that they have plenty of shade and water. Please do not tie them up or chain them. Give them the ability to find their own comfort zone in your yard, away from direct sun. Leaving them in the garage with proper ventilation would work as well.
It is possible to survive as a new Southwest resident. Take the necessary precautions, give yourself time to acclimate yourself to the heat - especially if you've NEVER lived in a climate like this. Above all else, listen to the warning signs your body sends out to you. The American Red Cross has great tips and precaution lists for you to look over.
Remember: 120 isn't that bad as long as you're inside and enjoying the AC.
EDIT TO ADD:
You always remember a couple of things to add after you write a blog!
I wanted to add that keeping your vehicle serviced is very important. I can't tell you how many cars I see on the side of the road during the summer. Their hoods are up and the radiator is steaming away or the treads have peeled off of their tires. You need to make it a habit to keep on top of your car maintenence so you don't get stranded!
One last thing - if there are elderly residents in your neighborhood, keep an eye on them if you can. Unfortunately, seniors will not use their AC's as much as they should if they have financial problems. Most cities set up cooling stations during extreme heat. Offer to take them to one or to a senior center.