Coffee heat rising

Enough, already!

Yarnell dreamin’ again: I have SO had ENOUGH, already(!) of the gawdawful racket that comes with living in the lovely city.

The damned helicopters are hovering over the freeway, where some guy rolled his work vehicles and dumped nails — yes, NAILS — all over three northbound lanes. They’ve got the freeway shut down and are routing traffic up Conduit of Blight Blvd to Gangbanger’s Way, creating a massive rush-hour traffic jam. This would be a massive jam if it weren’t 7 in the morning. It’s hard to imagine what a mess they must have just now.

So sirens are wailing, helicopters are roaring, and the damn train on Conduit of Blight is going BONG BONG BONG BONG BONG BONG!!!!

I hate this racket. The sky is not supposed to roar. We were told the damn train boondoggle would be quiet (it is not). Between the cops and the ambulances, this area never is free of sirens howling.

Y’know, I love my house and my yard and my neighbors, but when you can’t enjoy the place because the ambient racket hurts your ears, you have to wonder why you’re staying. Especially with the city about to institute yet another scheme to dump transient drug addicts in your lap.

Interestingly, housing prices in Tucson are somewhat lower than they are here. I was surprised to learn this. The Oro Valley, an area on the northwest side of Tucson, has the lowest crime rate in the state, and yet the housing prices are similar to those in my part of the ’hood.

Tucson is surrounded by mountain ranges. If it weren’t for the city, it would be an exceptionally beautiful spot. Check out this little hovel, for example. How would you like that view off your back patio? I don’t much care for the late-model architecture — detest walls that don’t come up to the ceiling and dust-catching “plant shelves” — but one could live with it if the place were quiet and the views spectacular.

For what I could net on this house, I could buy a comparable place in Tucson, on acreage. There’s an area called Casas Adobes with houses whose vintage is more my speed. This place, for example, could be made more or less acceptable simply by getting rid of the owners’ ugly furniture. It’s cheap enough (if $312,000 can be called “cheap”) that I would come away with an even trade, after the expenses involved in unloading my house.

Problem with Casas Adobes, I suspect, is cued by those bars on the windows. Almost every house for sale in that district has bars on every window and door. And that’s telling you they have a crime (and probably a transient) issue. Trulia’s crime map makes the Casas Adobes itself look OK, but the area just to the south is not good at-tall. Well. The “area just to the south” is the entire city of Tucson. Which is, it must be admitted, mostly Chez Pitz.

On the other hand, the advantage of Tucson — as compared to lovely Yarnell or Prescott or Wickenburg — is that it is a city. It has a cultural life. In fact, because the University of Arizona (which resides in Tucson) still resembles a real university — as opposed to the learning-factory model of Arizona State — the university does support quite a vibrant cultural life. Tucson also hosts a major medical center, with one of the only top-ranking hospitals in the state. Tucson has a church, St. Phil’s in the Hills, whose music program appears to be similar to All Saints. Probably not as large or as elaborate. But there it is. None of those things hold forth in little burgs around the state.

Something to think about…

6 thoughts on “Enough, already!”

  1. Actually, as a long-time resident in Tucson, I can say that security bars on windows aren’t quite the same red flag as in Phoenix. It’s actually similar to what you see in Sun City – a lot of snowbirds and frequent-travelers put them up mainly for peace of mind. If you look at the street view of the 765 W Calle Casquilla house, you’ll see the houses are on large lots, no streetlights, and a very quiet neighborhood. That doesn’t necessarily add up to crime, but it does mean that nobody’s nearby to see if there’s unusual activity around a house when it’s vacant, so the owners may have chosen to put bars up.

    The best way to get a sense of the quality of a neighborhood remotely is to look at the google street view. Follow it up and down the street looking for things like trash, slummy-looking houses, houses of VERY different upkeep – some falling down, some nice and respectable-looking, and of course junker cars are a red flag. Oddly enough, “weeds” aren’t so much a red flag. It might just mean the homeowner doesn’t have a good sense of what “desert landscaping” should look like.

    The other area to look (if you can afford it) is in the Catelina Foothills area.

    • Yeah, that’s no doubt true. There are a lot of snowbird types there, especially up in the Oro Valley. Hmmm…. Gooooood idea to use “Street View” to scope out the neighborhood. That one, I’ll keep in mind. Really, though, if you did it here in the ‘hood, you’d see nicely kept-up houses all the way over to Conduit of Blight, because the area has been gentrifying for the past six or eight years. What you wouldn’t see is the bums. You’d have to be city-savvy enough to know that a tool like the light-rail would represent a bum Cadillac…but even then, I suppose, you’d need to be aware that anybody can ride the thing without paying a fare. Just get on, and if you see a cop about to get on at a station, hop off and wait for another train. So…most people pay, but in fact you can get away without it…which most of the transients do.

      • LOL. The OTHER advantage of the Casas Adobes/Catalina Foothills areas is that they’re both so low-density and off the beaten path that you won’t have many transients. There is literally nothing up there for transients to do. While the neighborhoods are nice to walk *IN* there’s nothing to walk *TO*. Unless a transient wants to hop a bus to get from place to place, it’s really not feasible to walk anywhere. The terrain is extremely hilly and the strip malls are miles and miles apart (making shopping challenging – but it sounds like you’re already used to that!) The transients tend to hang out in my neck of the woods – near Downtown and the University. In my neighborhood, there are parks to camp in, convenience stores to panhandle at, and useful services such as food banks and clinics.

        That said – I hate driving and I prefer having shops and entertainment close by, so I put up with the transients. The pros may eventually outweigh the cons on that one though!

        Not to say there is no crime in the foothills, it’s just people have to make a special effort to get there! 🙂

      • A low-transient environment would be mighty welcome at this point. I’ve heard that driving in Tucson is even worse than it is here…and I’m mightily not fond of driving. Amazon, though, is helping a bit to cut at least SOME of the extraneous miles.

  2. I LOVE Tucson. If you could move to a smaller house with everything you need, I recommend. Sounds like things are rough in your hood now and it’s time to move.

    • Tucson certainly has its advantages. It’s cooler, too. Matter of fact, I can’t see why you’d want a pool there: it’s not really hot long enough to get your money’s worth out in swimming time.

      The transient issue seems to be pretty consistent throughout the central part of Phoenix. When you get up to the far north suburbs, up around Happy Valley Road and waypoints, you don’t see a lot of bums. But the houses are cheaply built and the architecture dreary. I personally am not fond of living on top of my neighbors. Looks like there’s a little more elbow room in the Casas Adobes area.

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