Life in Phoenix, Part III

Regency House Regency House

This work (and salary) did help in the lifestyle change Libby and Mike wanted.   Recalling her apartment days in Chicago, Libby had thoughts of high-rise living.   In Phoenix, Arizona, this was pretty much a fantasy, but there were a small number of high-rise condos in down-town Phoenix.   They searched for over a year and finally found a nice condo apartment on the 14th floor of a 22 story condominium: an old building built in the year they were married.   The building was called Regency House.

In a relatively short time they sold their house: they had lived there 28 years, during which they had added to it and upgraded features of it.   The improvements made, plus the time interval, allowed them to sell it for 5 times what they paid for it in 1963.   Their profit went into extensive enhancements to the old condo: hard wood floors, some configuration changes, a total sound system tied into the TV & stereo, and high-end custom cabinets and kitchen surfaces.   The result was beautiful condo unit that became a "show place" for the building - all due to Libby's interior design experience.

After 7 months of job searching, Mike got a contract programming job with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona (BCBS), solely because they needed someone who could program a language they formerly used that was very much like Pascal: Modula-2.   Mike was uniquely qualified for this task, as he had also taught Pascal in a local college.   He was brought in to BCBS to convert an old system to their current language, C++ (about which he had a passing knowledge).   He found himself working with much younger BCBS employees, and he didn't "fit in" with their non-work sctivities and discussions.   However, he did well enough at that job to be offered a permanent job with BCBS after finishing his contract, and was received a decent salary and good benefits.

The last 5 years at Honeywell/Bull were grim in several ways: the constant lay-offs, freezing the pension, and no salary increases for anyone.   When Mike had been with BCBS for a year, he was called in for an appraisal review and given a raise - he broke down in tears, after all those years of hopelessness at Bull.   He was embarrassed by this, but quickly explained why...

Blue Cross Blue Shield Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona

BCBS was not utopia, though.   Mike was much older than his fellow workers, and their advanced skills and methods were intimidating.   He was given only menial work (understanding why that was), and the yearly holiday parties there were uncomfortable for him.   After 6 and a half years, he formally retired, leaving no personal friendships.   It was a disappointment, but he had few regrets, knowing that his industry had passed him by.  [more]


Last Updated: January 12, 2021