Mature Life Features

Cecil Scaglione, Editor

Posts Tagged ‘saguaro cactus

Movin’ Madness ‘n’ Manners

leave a comment »

By Cecil Scaglione

Mature Life Features

The next person requesting assistance for a move will have to speak with my attorney. Everything in, on and around me hurts from dragging boxes, lifting furniture, climbing stairs, jumping  off trailers,  dodging characters carrying stuff, and just trying to stay alive. The soft warm rain we had Wednesday made the entire week survivable. As an aside, on our way to Phoenix, the saguaros that  began appearing alongside Highway 8 east of Gila Bend looked scrawny and scorched. On our return trip to our soft and comfortable beds, they appeared saucy and sated and green with the water soaked up during the week’s storms.  

Having moved into  a half dozen homes during my married-with-kids  period, several rules and reminders popped up as we transferred a household acquired by two adults and two youngsters over the past decade.

1 – If you’re not carrying anything, get out of the way.

2 – If you are carrying something:

            don’t drop it   

            don’t bang the walls with it, especially in the “new” house

            don’t leave it sitting in the middle of the floor — get it out of the way

3 – Make sure relatives, friends and neighbors who volunteer to help show up.

4 – Make sure they show up on time.

5 – Start early; moving stuff after dark is boring, tiring and unnecessary…

6 – … unless you’re moving in the desert, in which case you should start early, take off for siesta during the heat of the afternoon, and resume in the cool of the evening.

7 – Move ALL the big stuff first (see No. 8).

8 – The exception is COMPUTERS. Get them up ‘n’ runnin’ asap.

9 –Stay out of discussions on where things should go – “put the dining table there, the big mirror on that wall, the entertainment center in this room, etc” Let the moving family square up on that stuff.

10 – Before moving, measure all your beds and dressers and appliances and furniture to see if they will fit where you would like to put them. (e.g. The fridge hole in the new house was almost a quarter-inch too small for the fridge being moved. It had to be squished into its stall. A sofa set was too large and bulky for the site the family selected originally so it had to be taken back down the stairs it was laboriously manhandled up and replaced by a less formidable sectional set.

11 – Don’t forget the moving dolly at the “new” house because you need it to manhandle stuff onto the trailer or truck (or moving vehicle) at the old house.

12 – Plug in a fridge at the new house to cool water, lemonade, beer and other refreshments to make the experience more bearable.

13 –Pack a toothbrush in your pocket so you can handle that chore on the first night and morning in the new house without having to scramble through piles of boxes, bags and bins to find it.

These rules apply primarily to short moves done by families and relatives and friends and neighbors who know nothing about moving  and for which moving vans and moving people have not been hired.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

July 7, 2012 at 9:12 am

Phoenix Embraces the Desert

leave a comment »

Retired wagon in desert near Phoenix

By Cecil Scaglione

Mature Life Features

PHOENIX  —- Unlike its legendary-bird namesake, this sprawling metropolis ranked among the top-10 fastest-growing regions in the nation did not re-energize itself by rising out of its own ashes in the burning desert. More like that pink rabbit in the battery commercial, it just grows and grows and keeps on growing, stretching its sub-division and shopping centers over or around every cactus and crevice in the Valley of the Sun.

To get our arms around this urbanized sprawl that has positioned attractions and accommodations as much as two hours apart, we traveled by car, bicycle, horse, and balloon.

It was in Peoria, abutting Glendale at the northwest corner of this metropolitan mammoth of some 4 million people,  that we launched our exploration of this megalopolis by visiting the Challenger Space Center, one of several strung across the country. Retired personnel from space-program-supplier Rockwell International Corp. take visitors seamlessly through scenarios that allow you to fly space missions complete with emergencies calling for sudden solutions.

Still in up-in-the-air mode, we headed to Deer Valley Airport on the northeastern edge of town for a mile-high 90-minute balloon ride to enhance our perspective of the local growth.

If such a diversion doesn’t sound appealing, you can take a quick drive to South Mountain Park where several viewpoints offer panoramic views of this vibrant valley. The best time to head there is the first two weeks of April when rain-fed blooms carpet the mountainside. The education center inside the park’s entrance building tells you all have to know about the various critters and cacti.

For a closer look at those, we took advantage of a mountain-bike tour – others took a more leisurely hike – of Usery Mountain Regional Park east of the city. That’s where we were told that the giant saguaro cactus, which grows only in the Sonoran Desert that stretches from Arizona into Mexico, develops “arms’ not to denote its age but to balance itself against the relentless wind.

To pick up more easy knowledge, about an hour away is a hands-on complex designed to keep anyone from 8 to 80 entertained for hours on end. While the Challenger facility transports you into learning mode without you realizing it, the Arizona Science Center in downtown Phoenix caters to the touch-and-feel gene in all of us.

Visitors are encouraged to learn first-hand how to build a house, make a giant nose sneeze, watch heart surgery or clumps of iron filings dance to “Flight of the Bumble Bee,”and test their piloting skills.

There’s much more to this town than desert, of course, and one of its first breakthroughs was the 1929 opening of the Arizona Biltmore, which is worth a visit if, for no other reason, than to gawk at the walls lined with photos of celebrities at play there over the years and its ceilings lined with gold. More than 30,000 square feet of the glitter glistens over the lobby, a special meeting room, and main dining room that look and feel old enough to be comfortable without being frayed at the edges.

Prominent among the valley’s notable resorts is the Phoenician, which is tucked into a fold of local icon Saddleback Mountain. with its eye-candy nighttime vistas of the twinkling town lights to the south.

About an hour south, in the Gila River Indian Community, is the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort built by the Pima and Maricopa tribes of Native Americans. It’s on the grounds of a casino the two tribes built jointly. A miniature parasol-protected riverboat putt-putts gamblers on a man-made creek between the hotel lobby and casino every 20 minutes. You can tour the facilities via horse-drawn wagon or range farther by heading out on horseback from the riding stables. In the evening, storytellers pour out yarns from Indian lore and legend around a patio campfire.

The tribes also imported Rawhide, an Old West town complete with on-the-street simulated gunfights that had been a Scottsdale attraction for more than three decades. Real-man vittles eat up a majority of the menu at the Rawhide Steakhouse and Saloon, where you can rip into ribs or rattlesnake, which is as good a way as any to digest memories of this desert dynamo.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

July 27, 2011 at 6:45 am