Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Phoenix/Tempe: Day 1

Our flight took off at 6:50am ET Monday morning from BWI. We were scheduled to stop in Columbus and at Chicago Midway before arriving at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport at 10:50am PT. After minimal sleep the night before, we were beyond exhausted. I slept through almost the entire flight. I hardly remember the stopovers in Ohio and Illinois (we didn't get off the plane). I was awake for the final hour or two of the Phoenix leg, just enough to see America's heartland transform in to arid desert once we passed the mountains (Andes, maybe? I'm no geography major).

We landed two minutes ahead of schedule. The pilot was fantastic. Smoothest landings ever. Announced temperature upon initial descent: "A cool 100 degrees". At 10:30am. But it's a dry heat!

So, we get the rental car. Initially, they talked us up from an economy (no power locks/windows) to an intermediate, with seductive talks of getting a Sentra. We were given a Sebring with an empty gas tank. Fortunately, I noticed the gas light on before we left the parking lot. So, they were very apologetic and put us in a Saturn Aura instead. Soo-weeet.

GPS took us to Joe and Diane's house with no problem (close family friends of Melissa's). Diane and their daughter Sarah was home. She was sunning herself in the pool in their backyard. The house they live in looks like a part of a brand new development. Everything is clean and spotless throughout the neighborhood. Turns out, not only is the development about 15 years old, but they are the 3rd owners of their house. Amazing. Durability is high out here with no moisture in the air, I guess.

So, we grab a quick lunch and meet with the realtors, whose office is five minutes from the Haik's house. Don and Lynda Teehan have been phenomenal so far. They only take business from referrals. Zero advertising, yet they lead their office in sales every year by a significant margin. Don said from the get go that he was going to treat me like his own nephew. So far, it has felt that way. In 3 hours of house hunting, I feel more like they are friends of the family doing me a favor than business associates trying to earn money from me.

We looked at 10 houses on the first day, starting in the seedier neighborhoods Tempe has to offer. The first five houses were nothing special, but the second half of the day was very promising. I may have found the house I want, but it's slightly above my initial price range. Financial discussions will start today. The house is a gorgeous one-story, four bedroom with a pool and hot tub in the backyard. It is only about 5-10 minutes from campus, which adds value to the location. We have another 10-15 houses to look at today, so we'll see what happens.

After we were through, Don and Lynda drove us to the campus and showed us the area a little bit. Mill Avenue is the hot spot in Tempe, the downtown strip where all the bars, restaurants, and shopping outlets are. Looks like a blast. Very pretty area. We hope to spend some time there during our trip.

Back at their office, we sat and chatted about the area some more. They answered all my questions. Showed me nice things to do nearby (hike in Sedona, tube on Salt River, boat at Lake Pleasant, watch MLB spring training). It looks like the possibilities are endless here. I'm very excited.

The best news of the day--and this is laughable whether you know me or not--I made it through 3 and a half hours of house hunting in 110+ degree heat without sweating through my shirt.

We returned home and the Haiks cooked up a feast for us with potatoes, broccoli, shrimp (with Old Bay), BBQ chicken, steak, and corn on the cob. We got a little pool time in and then passed out at 9:30.

I'm about to go shower and grab breakfast before we start over again. Meet at the realtors at 9am today.

Another thing worth noting: within 10 minutes of being in Phoenix, while we were driving from the airport, I passed a car with a Radford University sticker and a VT remembrance ribbon magnet on it. Amazing.

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