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Sunday, July 04, 2010

Moving to Arizona? Research it first!

above: Arizona in the winter north of Phoenix, 2005. Very unusual!
below: Arizona wildflowers in the Spring

I have never moved anywhere without researching the area. It’s only common sense that a person should want to know about an area before they invest in a home and a possible change in lifestyle.

In 1987, my wife and I decided to look into Arizona as a place to spend some time in the winter away from our home in Kansas City. We decided to buy a condo in north Scottsdale but before we did we looked carefully at the Scottsdale weather as we were not interested in spending time in a place with cold winters. If we wanted that, all we had to do was stay in Kansas City. By 1989, we liked it here so much that we made our move permanent. What was not to like about playing golf in average daytime temperatures of 65 during December and January?

Strangely enough, I have met people in Arizona who have moved here sight unseen and are not happy with the area. They say it is too hot in the summer and not warm enough in the winter. I asked one person from St. Louis who I met in November about 15 years ago how she liked our nice weather in that month. Her reply was she thought it would be nicer if it was warmer than the 72 degrees it had been that day. I felt like asking her if she would have preferred a St. Louis November day.

When someone makes the decision that Arizona will be their permanent home, they will probably have some questions about the area that will bring a laugh from Zonies who are used to the lifestyle here. I know this from experience as I had my share. For example: What is a swamp cooler? What is a load controller? Since rain is a rarity, why are there signs in the desert that say "Don’t cross road when flooded." I thought Arizona was a desert. Where are the sand dunes? (Try Yuma). What do you mean that every plant has a drip system? What’s that? Can you fry an egg on the sidewalk in June? (No, it just seems that hot!)

Now that I have logged 21 years in north Scottsdale and know the answers to the above questions, I still find humor with winter visitors who I see going to the pools during 55 degree January days in brightly colored swim suits with various pool paraphernalia under their arms. I guess if you have been wintering in Duluth, that 55degrees seems pretty inviting.

To leave a comment or read other comments, click "Jim's azcentral blog" in the right column under inks. You won't get a virus. Jim McAllister writes for The Arizona Republic.

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