Sunday, October 5, 2008

A Year in the Desert

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

Last week marked the completion of my first year in Arizona, and although I bitch about the heat, my landlords, and the blankety-blank cable company, it has been a memorable and eventful twelve months.

I expected one of the best things about relocating here from the Midwest would be my proximity to my little grandson, Sebastian, and that would have been the case had he not moved off to Oregon with his parents in February. I did get in some quality time as one of his very first babysitters, allowing Molly and Scott some brief respite from their 24/7 responsibility.

My job has also been a huge plus. I have been fortunate throughout my working life to almost always land in a good work environment, and the Family Advocacy Program at Luke Air Force Base has been all that and then some. I work with wonderful people. Recently I was offered a chance to relocate to Georgia, but turned it down at the last minute primarily because I would have felt awful bailing on my co-workers here in Arizona.

I have been to a couple of plays out here, and have another one booked. I am also going to attend a Coyotes hockey game. I have discovered some great places to eat, and I am starting to become more involved in the community. One of my more memorable outings was to see Barack Obama, Governor Napolitano, and Caroline Kennedy rock the house at a February campaign event in Phoenix. That was an evening that I will never forget.

The Phoenix Airport (Sky Harbor) has only racked up one incident of homicide by staff during the last year, and with that little transgression aside, it is a remarkably easy airport to navigate with direct flights everywhere that I need to go. This past year training has taken me to San Antonio and Washington, DC, and I have made two trips back to the Ozarks by air.

I have also put some travel miles on my little car. I made a trip to Nogales, Mexico, last February, and in August I drove to Tombstone. I also did two road trips to San Diego, with a third planned for November for Molly and Scott's wedding. San Diego is a little over five hours from Goodyear, but there is a lot to see and do along the way - including the famous date shakes at Dateland, and a wonderful souvenir emporium in Gila Bend.

Today my apartment air-conditioning isn't working - again, and my jerk-wad landlords (Palm Valley Luxury Rentals) have retaliated on my refusal to sign another contract by raising my rent - but hey, every cactus rose is surrounded by a few pricks! It's just part of life in the desert.

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