Adapting to a very different climate and city was easier than Mike and Libby expected. They were lucky in their neighborhood choice, because the local schools and neighbors were wonderful. The street on which they lived had more than 30 kids near their age; most of them were girls, which was great for Becky and Regan. The kids' parents were also close in age.
A first order of business was to get Regan and Becky "pool safe": teach them to swim in their pool without fear of drowning or injury. Phoenix has a high incidence of childhood drownings, and a backyard pool, albeit a luxury, can be dangerous. Fortunately, one of the neighbors had 2 high school boys who were on the State Championship swim team, and one of them was available to give the girls excellent instruction. There was never a worry after that.
The family learned that, especially during the summer, neighborhood activity usually centered around the private swimming pools. Another discovery was the terrible-tasting water that had high levels of calcium and had to be treated or softened to be drinkable.
They stayed there for 27 years, with young families coming and going. This was no doubt due to the good schools in the area, as well as the absence of "through streets" that would jeopardise the kids running about. Looking back, Mike and Libby were fortunate indeed to have been "guided there" by their first real estate agent.
Almost immediately, they met some very special friends there.
When they were settled, life in Phoenix fell into 3 categories: Careers (Libby & Mike), Family, and Activities
Mike's job at Honeywell was just what he was hoping for, and his new commute was much easier than in Chicago. The family's house was located equidistant from both the main Honeywell Plant and where he worked for about 3 years (an old factory). Driving to either location was easy, with most of it on a major highway that ran through town; For a while he drove an a non-air conditioned VW beetle...until he learned you don't do that in the summer. Sensibly, he sold that car and purchased a older used Dodge that was much more comfortable.
His work was challenging and fulfilling: interesting projects and competent associates. The "implementation process" the team used was very informal (almost non-existent): the project relied on the skill and experience of the developers, and Mike felt fortunate to be working with them. In their isolated environment, they could just design and code, without interference from management or Marketing people. This wasn't how software was produced at the main plant, and it's totally unheard of in today's structured development environments. The WWMCCS project was hard work, but it was fun, too. [more]
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