my desert vacation. in august

Palm Springs is not a destination most people would put on their calendar for August. But we did. When asked why the answer was pretty simple, really. It’s free. We’re staying at my Dad’s place. So all we have to pay for is food. And the shopping. Good thing there isn’t even a very good mall near here or we’d really be in trouble. Amazingly, our credit card has only been stopped once by the bank.

To tell the truth… a vacation in the desert in the middle of summer isn’t that bad.

First of all: how hot is it everywhere else right now? Friends have been complaining about heat in the upper 90’s or low 100’s. And that’s with drippy thick humidity. Sure, it’s topped 100 every day…. 110 some…. but the humidity is about the same as in the oven. Yes. Hot is hot. At some point, it doesn’t matter anymore. But the lack of humidity does make a difference. We still sweat. But it’s better. A little.

Secondly: things aren’t very crowded.

We went to a water park on Saturday. I’d have to assume that’s the busiest day of the week. Only one slide had a significant wait. And I didn’t care because it sure wasn’t something I was going to go on anyway. The wave pool was like a mosh pit, but I bet it’s always the most packed spot anyway. We sprang on the money ($115!) for a private cabana. It was nice to have the guaranteed shade, a table to eat at, a waitress to fetch our overpriced food and beer, and the little misters keeping our table, chairs and food moist at all times. (What I mentioned above about humidity making it worse? Defying that logic, everyone here mists the air. Which makes it cooler. Go figure.) Soak City drained our wallets but it was fun. Ok, so maybe the wave pool made me sea sick. And even the slide I did go on scared me half to death. But it was a fun day with the family.

The other night at the movie theater, we were the only ones in there. Not just the only ones watching Julie & Julia. (And I can understand why) We were the only people not being paid to be there. The kid closing had to wait for our movie to end to lock up for the night. Is it funny that even though we had the place to ourselves, we sat all together in a clump? Because, it isn’t as if we talked during the movie. (that would have been rude) On an airplane if there are empty seats, people spread out. Yet we huddled together. There were a few more people last night for the earlier showing of G-Force. Not a lot. They seemed to be like us: people with kids looking for relief from the heat that didn’t involve the pool.

Now I do want to know why the people running the movie theaters feel the need to keep them cold enough to hang meat? Maybe if the theaters were sold out then all those people crammed together would raise the temperature noticeably, creating a need for the excessively cold a/c setting. But with a handful of people, all it was was, well, cold. We were all wearing shorts and t-shirts. We didn’t need the arctic blast. But, I guess our $10 each had to go to something.

Third of all: we’re doing things we might have otherwise not done. Like a children’s museum that’s only 5 minutes from the house but that we’ve never gone to. I didn’t even know it existed. I have to say… I think that charging $8 each to go into a museum intended entirely for a kid is a bit excessive. Kaitlyn loved it and that’s great. But the rest of us forked over our money to just watch her. We didn’t take part in any of the activities. Unless you count restocking her “groceries” purchased at the pretend “grocery store” as taking part. I count that as volunteering and generally museum volunteers get in for free.

Certainly, there are some things we are skipping this year. Like the Living Desert. Which is a big zoo. I’m betting that most of the animals spend their days hiding in the shade, not doing cute things for sweaty onlookers. Kaitlyn asked about going and we told her variations on it’s probably closed, the animals won’t be out anyway, and no way are we walking around in a place with no shade all day long. I think she got the idea; she stopped asking about it.

I also passed on playing a round of golf with my brother. He loves the game. Plays every chance he gets. I enjoy the occasional opportunity to swat at the ball and swear then go drink a beer. But not when it’s this hot out. I’ll skip straight to the beer part.

We also aren’t scoping out any parks for play opportunities. I don’t think there is a swing/slide material known to man that wouldn’t become dangerously hot in this sun. Today Granddad took Kaitlyn to the McDonalds play land for who knows how long. He said there were lots of kids there. It’s obviously a popular alternative to outdoor activities. I wonder if he sat drinking a hot cup of coffee while she played…..

There are some things we just can’t partake of because they are closed for August. Pilates classes at the neighborhood gym. I’d have actually done that. The little clubhouse that makes turkey sandwiches and burgers for golfers at lunchtime is closed. That’s normally a good place to go because you can get there in the golf cart, which Kaitlyn considers a bonus. (Tonight she wanted to take the golf cart to dinner.)

Some places seem to have summer hours, but so far they’ve been open when we’ve wanted to go. So that hasn’t really mattered much. Besides, we live in a place where most stores close for 2-3 hours for lunch, shut for the night by 7 and aren’t open at all on Sundays. So some slightly abbreviated hours pretty much go unnoticed by us.

Would I come back to the desert in August? Actually, I would. It’s been peaceful and relaxing. It hasn’t been significantly hotter than spending a week at the beach in Italy like last August. Heck, every place is sweltering under a heat wave right now anyway. And isn’t vacation really about spending time with your family hanging out?

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