Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Move: To Madison, WI (1 Day Before Arrival)

Tuesday was so busy that it ran into Wednesday morning. Packing up kitchen gear, clothing, and other necessities just seemed to take longer than expected. This is a lesson to carry over for the furniture move.

To get from Houston to Little Rock, one takes US Highway 59 to Interstate-369 in Texarkana, then I-30 to Little Rock. It’s about a 7-hour drive.

East Texas from Houston to Texarkana reminds one of Mississippi, only more prosperous. It’s the trees. US-59 seems to turn and wander through forests and towns, with enough stop lights and left turns to make one appreciate freeways.

About four hours from Houston, in Jefferson, Texas, a cashier replied to a question regarding if the store required customers to spend a minimum amount of money in order to use a credit card. She replied, “We don’t have limits on credit cards. We’re not foreigners. We’re Americans!”

Once in Arkansas, it looked as if Arkansas is more country than Texas, in more ways that one. For starters, there appeared to be more country music stations per capita than in Texas. On US-59, one could easily pick up hip-hop or Tejano. In Arkansas, it was easier to pick up country. I saw three different people wearing a bandanna, camo, and overalls, respectively. That’s three more than in East Texas.

Maybe it’s because US-59 goes from town to town to town, but I-30 in Arkansas seems to go through a somewhat more northern-forest version of Texas, with far fewer towns.

When it comes to Little Rock, all I can confidently say is that if you’ve been in Houston for over a year, you forget what driving on hills is like.

Here's my current advice for people moving solo across the country for work. Realize that for all the planning that you do, you will be in “react mode” for much of the time. Talk with real estate professionals as soon as possible, if you’re serious about buying a house. Make hotel or AirBNB reservations for at least the first week in the new town. Reserve a PO Box online. If you’re not moving everything at once, be sure to have all the stuff you need for “camping out” in an empty apartment.

That includes a sleeping bag (or several blankets), cooking appliances (toaster, electric pressure cooker, etc.), and clothing that is appropriate for at least the next six months, depending on the climate.

For your first day on the job, you'll need Government IDs (passport, SS card, birth certificate, etc.). You will also need to dress professionally. This is for photos for your badge, the company’s directory, public relations, etc. What “professional” means varies among industries. Since you’ve likely had an in-person interview, you have an idea of what people wear in the office. Go for at least one “step” or “level” beyond what you saw. For men at least, if you walk in wearing a coat and tie, and see that the office is much more casual than you remember, then you can easily remove the coat and tie.

Tomorrow’s drive will bring experiences of Missouri, Illinois, and finally Wisconsin. Except for Chicago-area airports, I’ve never been to Illinois.

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