You might live in a climate that’s inhospitable to human life if…

July 30, 2008 | 40 comments

Texas: you’re killing me. I love you, I’d never leave you, and I am even proud to be a sixth-generation resident of you, but you’ve really got to cut it out with the heat.

This summer I feel like I’ve had a taste of what it would be like to live on Mars. The way I act about going outside you’d think that my house is some sort of life pod and that merely opening the door would cause instant catastrophe. As I gaze outside, sensing that it’s only a matter of minutes before the desiccated grass spontaneously bursts into flames, I wonder what my ancestors thought of this place when they first arrived on covered wagons from the lush land of Illinois. Clearly projecting my own modern lingo onto them, I imagine their letters back to kinfolk up north going something like, “Dude, WTF is up with this weather????”

In an attempt to prove that the problem here is not that I’m a whiner but rather that I am trying to live in an area that is entirely not suitable for human life, I have developed the following list:

You Might Live in a Climate that’s Inhospitable to Human Life If…

  • Computer weather programs use increasingly dramatic icons to summarize the forecast, like a red thermometer, a red thermometer on fire, a sun with an exclamation point, a sun with sunglasses, a sun with sunglasses and a red exclamation point on fire, etc.
  • The native peoples had to resort to eating cactus.
  • You can never decide whether you’re more terrified of the rattlesnakes, the water moccasins, the wasps, the tornadoes, the golfball-sized hail, the black widow spiders, the brown recluse spiders, or the scorpions.
  • The scorpions living in your house think it’s too hot to be outside.
  • Your wine drinking routine has become: grab the glass by the stem, swirl, smell the bouquet, fish out the gnats with your finger, sip, and brush away the ants that have descended upon the droplets that spilled on the table.
  • You consider getting the Anointing of the Sick before you walk to the mailbox, just in case you don’t make it there and back.
  • You don’t want your toddlers to wear loose clothing during the springtime for fear they’ll become airborne from the gale-force winds.
  • Even local nerds don’t think “hot enough for ya?” jokes are funny.

And there you have it. If all of these conditions describe the area in which you live, as is the case with me, you might live in a climate that is not hospitable to human life.


  1. Jill

    9 months out of the year it is wonderful to live in Texas. Spring time ,when the bluebonnets bloom ,makes me giddy.

    Oh Summer you evil sister who robs my friend Spring of her flowers and fresh breezes. Go away and let Fall come in with a cleansing rain.

  2. Someone Being Me

    So true. This heat is ridiculous. But even worse than the heat is the complete and utter lack of rain. I can’t tell you the last time it rained here. Ugh!

  3. Tari

    Yeah, it’s warm-ish down here right now, isn’t it?

    But we don’t own a snowblower. Just sayin’ …

  4. PJ

    I know what it is like to live in a hot climate. I live in a part of CA where during May thru Oct it varies between 100 to 115.

    I was in TX about 8 years ago during July and I swore never to go back during the summer. It was 100 and 95% humidity at 5 AM on my way to the airport.

    God bless you hope it cools down soon for you. I love your post

  5. Heather

    I used to live in San Antonio, and I must say, I don’t miss summer there. We moved to SA in June, only to quickly learn that the “it’s not the heat, it’s the humidity” expression we used in Georgia wasn’t true. It WAS the heat.

  6. AmyDe

    reading other comments – I thought summer WAS 9 months out of the year in Texas.

    I’m in Atlanta and I hear you loud and clear – so over the “Oh you live in “Hot-lanta” comments. You wouldn’t think that was funny if you had to burn your thighs on leather car seats and blister your hand on the buckle as you strap yourself into a car in which the air is incinerating your lungs as you try to breathe – and that’s WITH the funky sunshade thing in the window.

    I hear you – crazy weather!

  7. Big Tex

    Could be worse… you could live up here in the Northwest where it’s beautiful maybe 3 months a year (I’m being generous here). This week, I wake up and it’s 49 degrees. Maybe reaches 70. Cloudy. My heater has been on in the morning.

    I miss the sweltering heat of Texas.

  8. Critterknit

    Ok, now I’m curious. (Approximately) where are you in TX? Given the wind commentary, I’m assuming someplace in west TX, but those temps don’t seem hot enough for mid-summer there. (I’m thinking back to the 112 degrees it was for several days when I lived in Lubbock one summer during college…..

  9. Jeana

    Right there with you, literally. And weeks to go…

  10. Sara

    The pest control dude said the giant roaches are just trying to get out of the heat. Dh said, “They’re supposed to survive the nuclear holocaust and they need to get out of the heat?!”

    It’s not quite 100 here, just feels like it to the roaches.

  11. Cheryl

    I’m definitely ready for autumn.

    Only…um…one and a half to two more months before we’re likely to be assured of regularly having more tolerable weather.


  12. maggie

    We used to have to go to Dallas for one week in the summer to visit family and one of those days was dedicated to visiting my dad’s best friend from college. Who lived on a farm in the middle of nowhere, hours and hours away, and I SWEAR every time we drove out there I thought we were all going to die of thirst and no one would ever find our bodies. Pacific Northwest weather may give me mental health issues, but I’m pretty sure Texas would kill me dead.

  13. Anonymous

    In Wisconsin in January it is often easily -20 F, or more, and that is the actual temperature, not the wind chill (for sissies). Still, I think the heat is worse. You can bundle up for cold. There is a limit to how much you can take off in public and be decent and that still doesn’t help.

  14. Matilda

    You must be in the Austin area judging by the scorpion comments. My mom hated those evil things when we lived there. The heat in San Antonio is exhausting especially when you are in the high school marching band. I love DFW, because you always have the hope of at least one decent snow sometime during the winter.

    I remind my husband that he is earning time off in Purgatory when he has to wear shorts on Thanksgiving. He says he has never lived any place where something tries to kill you as soon as you step outside. This Texas gal sure is thankful he has survived!

  15. Anonymous

    In Wisconsin in January it is often easily -20 F, or more, and that is the actual temperature, not the wind chill (for sissies). Still, I think the heat is worse. You can bundle up for cold. There is a limit to how much you can take off in public and be decent and that still doesn’t help. . . . I sympathize. It is hot here today as well, but we know it will end soon.

  16. Cheryl

    Man, you sure know how to make a girl miss home… I’ll take all of that over the Netherlands AND Illinois any day!

    (ummm, a different Cheryl than the one who commented already…)

    Also, it IS the humidity, go to West Texas, and you’ll discover that 100 degrees and 0 humidity is TOTALLY different than the 100% humidity in Houston or even the 50% humidity (or whatever it is) in Dallas.

  17. Carrien

    How about the fact that the temperature is consistently hotter then normal human body temperature?

    You can cut down on your fruit fly population with a mixture of apple cider vinegar and dish soap left out on your counter for a day or two. There will be many dead little bugs at the bottom of that dish by the end, and fewer in your wine.

    Oh, and you are funny.

  18. texas mommy

    So true and hilarious! I will say that I cut down on laundry during the summer as my 3 year old and 18 month old often wear their diaper as they play with this hose in the shade!

  19. Anonymous

    As a Native Texan who lives in NE Oklahoma, I can tell you that I actually do miss the heat. It gets just as hot here, but it’s just different because it’s not Home. But we do actually get seasons that change, and I’ve finally learned what winter really means. I’m from San Antonio.

  20. Anonymous

    I’ve been waiting thirty years to be able to say that I lived in Dallas the summer it went up to 121 degrees so – 100? Too bad. (But I didn’t have little ones then.)

    Jane M

  21. Corry O

    Oh, yes, the wonderful Texas heat…I abhor leaving the house here in Houston to run errands with the kids. It was so hot a few days ago that my three-year-old son got into the van and started screaming, “IT’S HOT!!!!” while literally trying to rip his shirt off. I took that as a sign to crank the A/C up another notch.

    We also have a problem with wasps mysteriously appearing in our living room. It never occurred to me that they are probably just hot, too.

  22. Kendric

    How can it be that nobody has mentioned fire ants?

  23. Martha

    I hear you. I have lived all my life in north Texas, and honestly, for the first 32, I could cope with the heat, bad as it was. Then I was pregnant during the year we had the most days over 100 since 1980. I honestly got heat exhaustion at the pool with my kids. You know what? This heat IS unbearable when you are pregnant. Which is why I’ve gone and done it again, sigh. Oh well… Babies are awfully cute.

  24. Holly

    You know, when I was a kid I spent the summer with a mission team helping to build a church in the Dominican Republic. It was easily 120 most days. We got up and walked 3 miles to the work place by 5:30 a.m. and were done by noon. We worked again in the evening. When I think of how hot it was, and how we worked outside and walked so much…I am not sure how I survived! I think people must just get used to it.

    Jen, what is WTF? I have not heard that expression before. I can guess – but don’t really want to do that.

  25. Big Mama

    Oh the heat. My word, the heat.

    I’m not sure how I’m going to survive.

  26. Adoro te Devote

    I am loving the comments here. Thanks! I live in MN, and this summer we’ve been quite spoiled as it’s been cool and dry. (Although we haven’t used our heaters…seriously…using a heater at 49 degrees????? REALLY????? That’s STILL shorts weather up here!)

    We do get a lot of the heat and humidity from the gulf, but I KNOW that it’s not usually as bad as Hotlanta (where I have friends I will forever refuse to visit in the summer), and it’s not as bad as Texas. I’ve been to Phoenix AZ and experienced maybe 102. It was hot, but the misters worked well, the shade was fine, and the lack of humidity made the outdoors quite tolerable. Give me 100 in dry heat any day over 85 in humidity.

    And thanks for the tip in getting rid of fruit flies…we get them, too.

    Reading all the comments here makes me thankful to live in the upper midwest. Incidentally, I grew up in IL (until I was 10), and winter is spring there in comparison to MN. Yet, when I read about the heat of most of this country, well, God bless winter! You CAN dress for the cold, but dang it, even stripping in the heat doesn’t make the heat go away! (And it’s embarassing, too….)

  27. Creative Clayer

    I never realized just how much like a hermit I could live until I moved to Houston. I especially love it when it’s pouring down rain in one spot, but dry as a bone two blocks down the street. And the rain doesn’t cool things off like in normal places…it just raises the humidity level and makes things more miserable.

    I’m assuming you are somewhere west of here though, given the cactus comment. It’s pretty green here and we have the luxury of shade in most places. There is no way I could move out of this area since they seem to have removed all of the trees in the next town over.

  28. Anonymous

    Can you train the scorpions to eat the fruit flies and ants?

    Sweltering here in NYC….


  29. MC

    Can’t agree more! I was driving to pick the kids up the other night – 95 degrees at 10 pm! Noone should need to use air conditioning at 10 pm. And don’t get me started on those fire ants.

  30. chandy

    Too funny! I’m in Phoenix, and it may be “dry” but 113 is just hot, whether there is humidity or not!

  31. Christie@tisbutaseason

    “Last stop before hell” should be the name of our town. 🙂 We’ve had 20 days over 100 SO FAR this summer. Just on the news at noon the weather man said with humidity it should feel like 110-115 today! My kids are only allowed to play outside before 10am and after 7pm (last night at 7pm it was still 97!!)

    *sigh* and I’ve lived here (D/FW) my whole life…a girl just can’t catch a break! 🙂

  32. RedSalamander

    I’m a New Englander, but lived in Charleston, SC for several years and learned that yes, it CAN be over 100% humidity without actually raining…Now, I drove an ancient Nissan that had a black interior and no air conditioning — you can imagine what a joy that was, especially in that suburban sprawl where EVERYTHING is a thirty-minute drive away. Being a cheapskate, as well as having that streak of weather-masochism peculiar to New Englanders, I refused to buy another car and drove that thing for five years.

    Of course, we had central air and fabulous beaches, which made it all bearable.

    When we moved back to New England, we came to Boston. The first summer we were up here, it was the hottest summer in fifty years or something like that. It was around 100 degrees for two or three weeks straight and ABSOLUTELY NO PLACE HAS AIR CONDITIONING. All the stores sold out of a/c units and fans, we drove to Maine trying to find a store that had any in stock. I remember going to the supermarket in desperation just to stand in the frozen food section.

    That summer, I actually missed being in Charleston, because at least the South has really, really good a/c everywhere.

  33. Patrick O'Hannigan

    Jennifer, When we lived briefly in Scottsdale, AZ, my wife and I were grateful for a family cat that turned scorpion-killing into a hobby.

  34. Kelly @ Love Well

    This is when Minnesotans get their payback for January. It’s 88 today, sunny, gorgeous. And it will be like this for the next few weeks. Perfect summer.

    But then the boom descends and we switch places. I could do a copy cat post of this in reverse come next winter.

  35. Jamie

    Great post; I treat my house as a “life pod” too, and then I get cranky because I miss the fresh air. Fresh, not that sultry, vaguely musty-smelling stuff that is thick enough to suffocate small animals, which is all that can be found outside during the summer.

    And here in Houston, instead of scorpions we have “palmetto bugs” — a fancy term for giant (of course!) cockroaches that 1.) come out in broad daylight, 2.) aren’t afraid of you at all, 3.) can FLY, 4.) are a good 3″ long, 5.) pretty much refuse to die. They also think it’s too hot outside.

    Isn’t summer great?

  36. lyrl

    Not a fan of prickly pear cactus jelly? I’ve never had it, but my grandmother apparently used to make it quite a bit. My mom’s family all like it. Up here in the Midwest, the native peoples ate bread made out of acorns. I’ve thought about trying to make some myself just to see what it was like.

    I lived in both the Texas panhandle and near Houston for many years. I’d just like to side with the people saying dry heat is very hot, but it is significantly easier to take than humid heat.

    Any heat is easier to take if you are out in it on a regular basis – it never stops feeling uncomfortably hot, but it becomes more bearable. At least, for most people it does. Maybe Irish genetics have only a reduced ability to adjust to the heat?

    I certainly do NOT miss the flying cockroaches. I didn’t even recognize the cockroaches that live up here – they are about 1/5th the size of the ones I was used to growing up.

  37. graceunbound

    Hmmm. Which would I prefer? 100 degree heat every day and things that try to kill you when you step outside, or -20 winters and shoveling snow? Y’know, I think I’m going to stop complaining about the snow!

  38. A. Noël

    Oh, stop, stop! I will be moving to Texas at some point in the next few years – and I’m a lifelong Southern Californian! I’ve dreaded the change so much that I seriously considered changing my plans. I finally asked God to show me what to do and was able to put it out of my mind.

    Last week I discovered there’s an FSSP outpost in the neighborhood where I’ll be living. Not only that, but Sunday Mass is at a Carmelite chapel. Now I’m looking forward to the move! Deo gratias!

  39. Jessica

    How about:

    You know you’re a Floridian when you wear jeans in 90 degree weather.
    lol, see it all the time.
    Are people crazy in Texas too? 🙂

  40. RedSalamander

    I was shocked when I visited Miami in August and saw all the hipsters in South Beach wearing long sleeves and jeans in that sweltering weather! What is up with that?

    People in Charleston favored loose-fitting sundresses during the hot months; which made more sense. And big hair will probably never go entirely out of style there, as everyone’s hair frizzes up the moment you step outdoors into the humidity. We used to call it the “Charleston perm.”

    Here in Massachusetts, we put on shorts when the temperature hits 55 or so…and we optimistically refer to the ocean water as “refreshing!”
    (translation: “My legs have gone numb”). When it gets up to 90 we are all paralyzed by the heat but we still refuse use air conditioning as that is commonly seen as a sign of weakness.

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