Sunday, June 9, 2013

The Road to Going Galt

My Pops leading Monster & Flower around on horseback.
Writing is something I learned to enjoy after a wonderful college class at Arizona State University called ENG301 Writing for the Professions. It by no means made me a perfect writer but it showed me how to make ideas flow smoothly and encouraged me to explore the world of writing. Enter Blogspot stage left.

Now I had a platform with which to lay down my ideas. After a few awkward attempts to author my own blog under various themes, The Orange Jeep Dad was born and continues to provide a great venue for expressing ideas, logging family adventures and connecting with like-minded people around the world. I have every intention to share our new adventures with everyone as we start down this exciting (and extremely nerve-racking) road to increased self sufficiency by moving our large family from the busy hustle-n-bustle of a large metropolitan city (outskirts of Phoenix, Arizona) to a small town in Oklahoma.

Once Wifey and I reverse engineered our plan, we knew that our end goal was to live in a specific area of Oklahoma. The family farm was at the center of a concentric circle which would map out the jobs I would apply to based on a desired thirty minute or less commute time. That established a list of jobs, in my case hospitals, that I would begin soliciting.

Not knowing very many people in the healthcare industry in that region, I turned to the next best thing in my opinion: LinkedIn. LinkedIn, for those unfamiliar, is kind of like FaceBook in that it allows people to "friend" or, as they called it "Connect" to other individuals on the website. Where it is different from FaceBook, is that you create your profile which serves as an online resume. Potential employers can do a search on the website for people who have listed, in my example, Sonographer as their job title. It helps people looking for jobs to search postings for jobs, as well as help employers search for specific criteria on members' resumes.

Without getting too much deeper into the "how's and why's" of LinkedIn, there's just one more aspect I want to mention because it is pertinent to my story.  When you connect to a person on LinkedIn, it connects you on a 1st level connection with that person. There also exists a 2nd level and 3rd level of connection.  The best way I can explain it is to say that if I "directly" connect to Tom who works at Starbucks coffee shop, then Tom and I share a 1st level connection. If Tom is also connected to Jim "directly" because Jim gets his favorite latte every morning from Tom, I am now "indirectly" connected to Jim on a 2nd level connection. In other words, everyone you "connect" also connect with their other connections on a 2nd or 3rd level of "indirect" connection. This comes in handy when you are applying for a job because, as an example, I can contact Jim and discuss employment opportunities while citing Tom as our common friend and casually mention that Tom can vouch for what a terrific / hard working / loyal etc person I am.

Well, as I searched the area in small town Oklahoma for a job, I zeroed in on the closest hospital to our family farm.  I searched LinkedIn using the keyword of that specific hospital by name. This brings up profiles on people who have listed themselves to be employed by the same hospital I was seeking.  A few dozen employees popped up but only a few were accessible without paying LinkedIn's premium fee to have full access.  Nonetheless, I found an ICU nurse and attempted to reach out and connect to her. I clicked the CONNECT button and hoped for the best.

Within 24 hours Mrs ICU Nurse accepted my request. I typed her a quick message thanking her for accepting my connection request and told her how I had just been in her little town a week ago for a family funeral. I shared with her that returning to see family had stirred my desire to move back to Oklahoma but I needed to find a job there before moving my entire family one thousand miles. She asked about the funeral and who was involved. Turns out SHE KNOWS MY FAMILY!

Within two hours, she returned a message saying she had just walked down the hall and had a talk with the Director of the department where I wanted to apply.  "He says send him your resume, he might have something for you." I was FLOORED! Before leaving Oklahoma during our funeral stay, I spent the entire last day calling every job ad on the internet for the hospitals in OKC and got nowhere. I left several messages that went without acknowledgement and had no idea how I was ever going to get a job there.

Visiting Grandma last Christmas in Oklahoma.
I sent the resume and three weeks went by.  I received a few emails from the Director with simple questions like "How many exams, on average, would you say you complete in a month?" That was the entire body of the first email. Another week went by. Second email said simply "What kind of salary are you looking for?" These emails were not giving me warm fuzzies. I didn't want to be pushy but I wasn't getting any younger either. I sent one more email the following week simply wishing him and his family to be well as this was the week of several horrible tornadoes in the area.

Finally, the planets lined up and I received an email with yet another single sentence: "When are you available for an interview?" I replied "anytime" and waited probably a whole ten minutes before I called the Director and said "how about now?" LoL.

The interview couldn't have gone any better. We joked, we talked numbers and after 90 minutes went by I realized we were at an awkward junction. As he said "Well...." a few times, I finished his sentence and said "'s hard to hire someone without seeing them in person, right?" He asked if I could come for an interview to which I replied "Unfortunately, no." I explained that I had been to Oklahoma twice with my entire family since Christmas and I simply couldn't afford the expense (flying and driving were the same cost). I felt I was starting to lose his enthusiasm so I mentioned using Skype as a way to interview me online with video conferencing. He liked the idea and said he'd get back to me after talking with his I.T. people about how to make it happen.

A few days later, on a Friday at 1pm, we connected on Skype. Our audio ended up not working so I called him on my cellphone and we chatted over our cell phones while we watched each other on the computers. It worked good enough with no lagging and within 20 minutes, he offered me the job. 

Woo hoo! He gave me the weekend to think over the offer and I turned off the electronic gadgets. There it was. Phase One of Going Galt complete. I had the job in the town right next to our family farm. It wasn't too long after the initial wave of adrenaline rush that another emotion engulfed me:

What am I going to do now?!?

  • I have a family of eight to move 1000 miles and I begin working my new job in exactly TWO WEEKS...
  • We have lived in this house since it was built in 2001 and have accumulated TONS of stuff.
  • Big Sister (my 15 year old) is engulfed in summer school at the moment and THINKS she has a boyfriend. Oh boy.
  • The Queen (my 12 year old Princess) gets her braces removed in two months.
  • We're running low on funds (my last paycheck was last week).

and the list goes on and on...

Now I have to figure out how to make the transition. I have an idea but I need to work on it some more tonight.  I'll post more tomorrow.

How would YOU do it?



  1. The first step would be to find a good reputable realtor to get your house on the market. You need to visit with the realtor at your home before you leave for the new job to make sure you cover all the contingencies. During my working career, I had to move a few times to other states, from Pennsylvania to Michigan, from there to Texas, and a stint in North Carolina. Good luck and congratulations on the new job. It is so much harder to find a good job when you are out of work and need one. Doesn't put you at an advantage.

  2. Congratulations! You have a huge adventure in your future and we're all ready to tag along thru your posts....

  3. As a new reader to your blog I just wanted to say good luck to you and your family and congratulations on the new job. I just went through having a two week until the new job starts circus and I feel for you. (New RN with 4 kids moved from UT to CO)

  4. Sell everything (including the wife and kids) except firearms and had tools.

    Buy a good pickup truck.

    Save the rest for farm equipment and other useful rural items after you get there and see what you need.

  5. Our move was a far shorter distance, re rented the biggest rental truck we could find, and sold or gave away (via craigslist) whatever would not fit. This forced us to choose carefully among our things, which was good for us. We missed very little of the things we got rid of, plus we saved a fortune in moving expenses. We had to use credit cards to finance our move, it took us a year to pay those off. It was worth it, though we do not like credit cards, it made the move possible for us. We wish you well, and God speed!

  6. When I left the city to move back home I gave away all my large items ... mostly in one day by dragging them to the curb ... I inadvertently blessed a newlywed couple with "one on the way" who had nothing ... when I got to my destination I found that the things I really needed found their way into my path ... sometimes we really do just need to make that leap of faith ...

  7. Congratulations!

    I've had to move pretty quickly before. It helps to start packing immediately (hospitals are a great resource for wonderful boxes), at first packing ONLY those things you absolutely know you must take.

    As you furiously pack for the first several days, start setting aside things you don't need to take with you. Be brutal. Next weekend, have a big yard sale. Specify "moving sale", because that means you are selling stuff that often doesn't get sold at yard sales. Have clear signs, preferably heavy black print on neon poster board. Your address is not needed. Just "moving sale", day and time, and a big arrow. Have plenty of arrows in the same coloring leading to your house. Price things to move. If you have collected enough stuff to sell, you will have a nice wad of money at the end of it. Some people have sales Saturday and Sunday.

    Make sure you start your sale early enough (6:30 or 7:00 at the latest). Call in to a local radio show, if you have one that takes yard sale notifications. Put it in the paper. This is often free. Make sure to have at least $20 in change... ones and quarters. With a moving sale, it would probably be good to have at least $40, so you can have some 5s in there, too. Try to price everything you possibly can, and masking tape and marker are just fine.

    It's a way to get some fast cash to help with things. You can put appliances, furniture, all sorts of things in the sale.

    As Anon 9:14 said, you can also give things away to people who need them. You can call the Salvation Army or other thrift stores, and they will come and pick up whatever you have left.

    As you continue to pack, continue to sift. Leave for last the things you think you might be able to bring yourself to leave behind. Rent the biggest truck you can. Pack it to the gills. It pays to be good at Tetris. Then call the thrift store again to come and pick up what didn't fit.

    This is what worked for us. :)

  8. God is obviously driving this as you have a place to live and now a job right where you wanted to be...things will work out.

    1. Contact a realtor and explain the situation. Get referrals from friends and speak to at least 2-3 realtors to see who you feel comfortable with.

    2. Start visiting churches as soon as possible once you start your job. Send the information to your wife (if she has to stay in AZ for a bit to deal with packing/moving/realtor issues), also links to sermon podcasts or recordings. This is one of your best ways to start feeling "at home" and start a support network. You may also make connections with people who can help you in various ways with your move - in my experience, Oklahomans are extremely friendly and willing to help others.

    3. Research the cost of the largest moving truck you are eligible to drive yourself. Check out sources of free or low-cost boxes (DON'T go to U-haul or similar, boxes there are way too expensive.) I concur with others about paring down and having sales. Allow your children some leeway, however, to bring sentimental stuff or things important to them.

    4. Talk to your tax advisor (if you have one) about the tax-deductible aspects of moving. When we moved from CA to OK we had relocation benefits through my husband's company; but there were things we moved ourselves and we were able to deduct that truck and those expenses on our taxes: boxes, supplies, and even the gas and food we bought on the trip because it was not reimbursed to us. KEEP ALL RECEIPTS!

    5. Sit down with your family, explain to the kids, and PRAY together about the move. For teenagers this kind of thing is huge. Ours were 16 and 13 so we were in a similar situation. It will be hard. Expect some angst which will last for a while. I myself had huge homesickness issues for at least 6 months which really worried my husband. I'm getting over it but change and being uprooted is hard, and it has nothing to do with not liking where we moved or being upset with the situation - things were just DIFFERENT and that was very difficult. Patience and love and lots of understanding will be crucial.

    I wish we lived closer to your "small town" but we are in the outskirts of a large city. Trust God - you will look back on this with awe as you see how it all worked together. I'm still shaking my head over the way this happened.

    Oh, and welcome to Oklahoma!

    Pamela in Oklahoma

  9. @DD Good suggestions. We have several friends and acquaintances who are realtors. Of course, that doesn't mean they're "good" ones, right? LoL. Anyway, we're looking into selling versus renting at the moment. Not sure which was to go yet but thanks again for chiming in. Your input is always invaluable my friend.

    @Anon 7:36 Welcome to the American Ride my friend. Should be VERY interesting.

    @Dave Thanks for the empathy. I'm sure I'll have more gray hair by the time it's over.

    @PP Solid advice! But I need Wifey around...who else will yell at me to put the lid down?!

    There's actually an old truck in the barn. I'm sure it doesn't run but I'll see what's going on there. Definitely need a good truck. Better yet, a Jeep truck!

    @Sam That's probably what we'll do. I'm sure garage sales (or moving sales) will be in our future. We've discussed putting things into storage if necessary. Not sure yet. First step is for me to go check out the job for a bit and start scouting around the new town. Thanks for chiming in buddy!

    @Anon 9:14 Sounds like you "inadvertently" played a large roll in a blessing bestowed upon that young family. Lucky for both of you. Thanks for posting and keep in touch. I'll need all the help I can get ;-)

    @Miss M You are absolutely correct. We have a lot to do. Hopefully by going ahead for a few months first, it will buy us a little time to start whittling down on the possessions. With six girls, we have a TON. Thanks for your helpful advice.

    @Pamela Thanks for the valuable input. You are right. Church is very important. We checked out a local church during our most recent (funeral) stay but it wasn't the closest to our farm. I'll be visiting that one on my next visit. I'm sure they will be very warm and welcoming. Especially once they find out I'm bringing several experienced babysitters to town ;-)

  10. A couple of posters have mentioned calling a realtor, but have you considered renting out your house? Given that funds are tight renting would provide money to cover any existing mortgage and any surplus invaluable to your family. If the market is slow where you live now it is certainly something to consider if only for a few months while you sort things out.
    As for your worldly possession, it is amazing how much you can live without and never miss.
    First time posting here, picked up a link from JWR the other day. Very enjoyable blog, we wish you luck for next couple of weeks.

  11. When looking for your rental truck make sure to Google coupon codes. I went with budget and found a 20% off coupon online. It ended up about $180 less then Uhaul which allowed me to add another day and still have the cheapest rental. This extra day helped with the loading and cleaning the house and cut down on the stress.

  12. First time I have read the blog as I saw you are moving to my home state, welcome. One thing you might consider on the housing issue is getting a mobile home to live in until the house is fixed up. You could come out better than renting and can always sell or resuse the mobile home once you get in the farm house where rental money is just lost. It would take more up front money versus monthly rental cost but also would allow you to live on the land right away and be there 24/7 to work it. Again welcome to Oklahoma I am sure you will like it.

  13. Congrats on the move. I would agree that you need to get a realtor in AZ. Even if your wife has to stay behind to sell the house. Remember an empty house can very quickly fall into disrepair, which can make it harder to sell. Ive done this 2x in the last 7 yrs. Each time my wife and I were separated for about 6-10 weeks, but it allowed us to get settled & I think it would help your kids finish summer school & get the braces off. Best of luck!

  14. I've been in a similar situation. You may want to look into renting a storage space locally, and placing everything into it that you cannot easily take with you. This saves you the expense of a larger moving truck, and makes for a lighter more flexible operation. This also gives you more options as to where you may stay temporarily once you arrive in the new area, because you won't have as much stuff. If the storage facility is close to you, then trips can be made with a family vehicle to deliver items to it. You can take a vacation later when you have time and more money, rent a truck, and retrieve your extra stuff. Consider leaving the furniture behind in the house also. This helps the Realtor "stage" the house, making it look more appealing to a buyer.

  15. I've just discovered your post - congratulations on the job. I'll be very interested to watch your progress and wish you every success. Like you, I also enjoy reading Patrice's blog. She's inspired me in many ways.


  16. First, congratulations! Second, reserve a Uhaul truck RIGHT NOW. You can put off the date as many times as you want, but the original reservation price will be cheaper right now and if the price does go down between now and the day you pick it up, you can get the lower price. My sister moved from New York to California and saved about $1800 by reserving the truck as soon as she thought about moving. She extended the rental date several times but never had to pay any other fees. Several people in our extended family have also done this and it always saves money.

  17. @Anon 12:11 Renting is a GREAT idea. Someone had just shared that idea with me a few days ago. I think that is a terrific way to: 1) keep our house in case of trouble in OK, 2) keep our house as an income (hopefully) producing asset, 3) keep my credit score from crashing if I had to short sell it. Thanks for mentioning it!

    @Dave Great idea! I hadn't thought of coupons for moving trucks. This is why I enjoy sharing adventures with folks. I get ideas that are very helpful. Thanks again Dave.

    @Anon 1250 Great comments. We DO want to live on the land right away. My Grandmother had rented out to a family prior (they supplied their own trailer) and they lived there for a year or two. I would consider something like that as well. I'm just not sure I could get a mobile big enough for 8 people. The upfront cost might deplete our funds and kill the ability to have a house built. Still working on that part. Thanks for the idea.

    @Anon 442 Yes, that part (sell vs rent) is going to be tricky. I think renting sounds the best so far. We even have a family two doors down that might want to rent it.

    @Radiowave Interesting idea, leaving some stuff behind. I'd have to calculate storage monthly cost versus just taking it with us but thanks for the idea!

    @anon 1003 Yes, I check Rural-Revolution almost daily and have for a couple of years now. Same with Enola Gay's blog ParatasFamilia. There are so many good folks forging a path out there. I enjoy reading their trials and tribs.

    @Tricia Really? I didn't know that. Guess I'll be reserving a truck soon then! Thanks!

  18. Downsizing for a long-distance move can be pretty traumatic, especially for kids. If at all possible, I recommend having a get-together so your tribe can say goodbye, and set up ways to stay in touch. Being able to skype with friends can help with the transition.

    Also, because downsizing is going to be necessary, the kids can give the surplus treasures that there is no room to take with you all to their friends. It helps create a feeling of continuity. They aren't throwing their treasures away, they are giving them to someone they care about.

    I would also recommend selling anything that won't fit in a suitcase or medium sized box unless it's a family heirloom. You will be amazed at how quickly you will find replacements for the big stuff after you arrive. My son and I moved from the east coast to the west coast with 7 suitcases and 9 boxes and in less than two months had a minimally furnished apartment: beds, sofas, kitchen table, chairs, a desk each.

    I wish you the very best on your move, and the idea of renting out your place is a good one. Many reputable realtors handle rentals in addition to sales. A good rule of thumb, if possible, is to "earn" $100 per month on the rental, earmarked for any repairs that might come up: reasonably priced home insurance usually has a deductible.

    Anyhoo, all the best and congratulations on finding a job close to your new home.

  19. I know this is a bit late for comments, but some of your readers made some great suggestions about rental trucks. I used to work for U-Haul and can tell you that reserving as soon as you know you are moving is an excellent idea. The date can always be changed, as others have said. Another thing you can do with them is to ask for extra days/ miles for your trip. Like many companies, each store is expected to bring in X amount of one-way rentals. They can give you two or three or sometimes even more days with the truck. You never know just what might come up during a move and the extra time can be a blessing. If you are going to have to travel to a little larger city to return the truck, ask for extra miles as well. Oh, another thing that U-Haul offers is one free month of storage. This can be storage at either end of your trip. Just a few suggestions. And welcome to Oklahoma. It's a great state! I just love it here and I'm sure even your reluctant teen will too! (Eventually... hehehe)

  20. Thanks ChickieI! I am test driving the Jeep with the trailer attached.. I thought the Jeep was bouncy before...

    Can't text, need both hands on the wheel. Thank you for the information though! Will reserve Uhaul ASAP.


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