I haven’t done a very good job of explaining why we left Houston, so here is the 30 second sound byte version: I loved my job(s) in Houston. Loved them. I worked with awesome staff at both the Elementary school and the private practice. I had the best little kids and really liked going to work. The district I worked for, Houston Independent School District (HISD), is/was MASSIVE. Per the 2009-2010 census there were over 202,000 students in HISD. A large number of students within that 202,000 required speech and language services resulting in the caseloads in Houston getting up above 65. Being responsible for this many students is ridiculous and ultimately leads to crappy quality of treatment and astronomical amounts of paperwork. Very few speech pathologists jump at the opportunity to drown in paperwork and provide crappy therapy to hoards of children, so the district needed a solution. contract speech therapists. I signed on as a contracted therapist that worked for a contracting company instead of directly for the district in August 2010. This meant that while my salary was significantly higher, I had great benefits, 401-K, etc I also was significantly more expendable.
In April, Matt and I had a big talk about what was next for us, and had decided to stay in Houston for one more year and move to California in the Summer of 2012. We found a new apartment, got our dog, and had a plan. Around that same time, HISD did a bunch of reorganizing after looking at the massive budget deficit (side note: there is no income tax in Texas, which causes a myriad of problems that I’d love to get into, but then Matt will remind me that this isn’t a political blog and to cut the sass), and ended up having a plan of their own, which resulted in reorganizing (read: cutting) my job and the jobs of about 110 other contracted speech therapists, occupational therapists, etc. That was enough of a sign for Matt and I, so that is why we packed up our zen-gardened apartment and moved across the country. ROAD TRIP!
To finish up our cross-country trek, 13 months later we decided to stretch out our road trip and see as many people as possible! We stopped in Albuquerque, to stay with Nicole and Dr. Major, my dear friends from Marquette, Phoenix, to stay with my extended family including a stop at this guy’s warehouse, and San Diego to see our good friends Kelly and Cedric (who introduced Matt and I) tie the knot.
Enjoy the condensed slideshow version of Road Trip Adventure Part II!
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Why is this party animal celebrating?
Because we’re moving to California!
At last, we are taking the plunge moderately back inside the box with our recently acquired big-kid jobs to chase the California dream! See you in wine country, my loves!
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Posted in Moving on June 26, 2010 |
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After much deliberation (Think: Tyra Banks-style in America’s Next Top Model), we’ve decided that our next stop will be Houston! Houston definitely was not on our radar when we started this process, but it seems like a great next step. We are excited to explore a new city, even though we’ll have to bathe ourselves in 60 spf sunblock every day before walking outside!
Although not on par with our original plan, I signed a 10 month contract with the Houston Independent School District. I’ll be working with preschoolers and elementary school kids! I am so thrilled. I get a pretty big kick out of those little guys and I must say, that I am an expert at playing Candy Land. Rumor on the street is that I get to wear jeans to work! Big plus! At times, it feels like I’m having a Speech Pathology identity crisis bouncing from hospital setting to skilled nursing facility to a school, but I am grateful for varied experiences and the knowledge new coworkers bring. Maybe one of these days I’ll stick to something!
The best part of all of this is that the school year doesn’t start until August, so I have the next month and a half off! We are planning to go to DC, spend time with Matt’s parents at their sweet digs in North Carolina, buzz to the Caribbean to knock off another country on the list, and spend 2 weeks in Milwaukee with my Marquette favorites. (insert fist pump here)
I signed on with another contract company who will be paying our housing, so we’ve been looking to move into this place. (Warning: I’m not sure what the scary Scorsese red motif all over this building is about…beware.) We’ve researched the walk score and it seems to jive well with our lifestyle.
- Houstonians eat out more than residents of any other city. Houston has more than 11,000 restaurants.
- Houston has a Theater District second only to New York City in terms of a concentration of seats in a single geographic area. Located downtown, the 17-block Theater District is home to eight performing arts organizations with more than 12,000 seats.
- Houston has more than 500 cultural, visual and performing arts organizations, 90 of which are devoted to multicultural and minority arts.
- More than 90 languages are spoken throughout the Houston area.
- Houston has a young population; 37 percent of Houstonians are 24 years old or younger and 34 percent are between the ages of 25 and 44.
- Home to 18 Fortune 500 companies
- Houston is one hour from the beach
- Houston has the most affordable housing of 10 most populated metropolitan areas; Houston housing costs are 39 percent below the average of 26 U.S. urban populations of more than 1.5 million.
All in all, we are really excited to be getting back into an urban setting. Come for a visit if you can!
Source: City of Houston and https://fisher.osu.edu/blogs/internship/files/houston
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Posted in Moving, tagged moving, shipping, uShip on April 27, 2010 |
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The biggest drawback to the traveling adventure we’re on is that we have to move every 13 weeks. When we decided that we were going to find our own housing for each rotation we also chose to find unfurnished places to make the remote search for housing easier. This meant that we would have to schlep our things from location to location. Moving stinks and is almost always a hassle. It’s expensive, time consuming, exhausting, and many trucking companies are both unreliable and dishonest. Thankfully, our good friend Michelle recommended another option to doing it yourself: uShip.com.
The basic idea of uShip is very similar to Priceline.com, only for moving rather than plane tickets/hotels. You enter all the details of your move including the pickup and drop-off locations, quantity & weight of items, and type of service you would like. Services range from white-glove freight shipping, to a dude with a pickup, and everything in between. After you input the details shippers submit bids for completing the move. They’ll specify a price, type of service, and days for pickup/drop-off if you put in a range of dates. As bids come in you can haggle details, request rebids, turn down the ones that are too expensive, and accept the one that meets all your needs.
Our cost for moving on uShip ended up being only slightly more expensive than the price of simply renting a small uHaul truck. When you factor in the price of gas, hassle of loading/unloading items, and the trouble of driving a large truck for a long distance we really came out ahead. Also, we didn’t have to worry about being liable for any damage to the shipping vehicle like you would with a rented truck. Most shippers provide insurance to protect your goods which is something you will not get if you move on your own. Not having to load/unload your things if you have a lot of furniture is more or less priceless in itself, especially when you can get that type of service for far below what major companies will charge you. We didn’t have a lot of things so I offered to help our mover load and unload in exchange for knocking some cost off of the bid.
Here are some tips and important things to keep in mind when using uShip:
- Submit the details for your bid as far in advance as possible. This will give you more time to wait out better bids, investigate and contact the shippers who have submitted bids, and be much less stressful overall.
- Use time to your advantage and don’t feel pressured into taking the first few bids. A couple early bids were outrageous but by the end of the week we were seeing numbers that were 1/5 of the initial bids. Be patient!
- Know what you are getting yourself into. If the shipper says he is using a trailer then it is uncovered. This means if there is rain you could potentially run into some trouble. Our shipper went out of his way to keep our goods safe in the storm that showed up but there was still some water that got in. This was our fault for not choosing a covered trailer or truck. Understand the service you’re accepting and if it’s unclear, ask questions.
- Contact all shippers when your receive any bid and again immediately after accepting a bid to set details in stone and get their (cell) phone number. Early contact will give you an indication of how much they will be willing to work with you and whether or not they’re worth your time. Setting up all the details for the move right away ensures that everyone is on the same page. Confusion about when you’re moving is the last thing you want.
Moving can be a huge pain but uShip can make it a lot easier. Be smart, patient, and use due diligence to get what you want for the price you want.
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