After my wife was released from the hospital, I took her home and began nursing her back to health. Luckily, my job search was starting to pay off. I landed two job interviews, but they were both out-of-state. I would have to leave my family behind to go and try to land one of these jobs.

I flew to Phoenix, Arizona and interviewed for a job which was actually located in Oklahoma City. I had never been to Oklahoma, and really didn't know what to expect, but I knew I needed that job, or my family would be sleeping in a car in two weeks. I was offered the job on the spot.

I flew back to New York and started packing my clothes, a sleeping bag and a small TV. I also started packing my family's belongings. They would have to finish packing up the rest of the household without me while I went to Oklahoma City to start my new job. With no emergency fund, I had to withdraw all of my cash from my 401k account to pay for the move, my trip to Oklahoma City and for a security deposit on a new apartment once I got to Oklahoma. I had to do this with a total of about $3,000, after paying a huge penalty for early withdrawal from my 401k account.

It took me two days to drive to Oklahoma City, and I had to do everything on the cheap. Instead of renting a motel room on the way to Oklahoma, I slept in my car at a truck stop. It was January, so I had to keep the engine running with the window cracked open while I slept so I would have heat. I ate two meals a day, lunch and dinner, and I bought everything off the dollar menu at McDonalds' to conserve cash. My new employer arranged for me to stay in a hotel once I got to Oklahoma City, but I had only one day to locate a new apartment.

Once I got to Oklahoma City, I rented the first place I found. The security deposit was $300, but I convinced the apartment manger to let me pay $110 on the spot, and the rest after I got my first paycheck from my new job. After this, I had a grand total of $70 left to live on until I got paid, presumably in two weeks. I had no pots or pans to cook with, only my clothing, sleeping bag and television. Luckily, it was the middle of the month, so the utilities and cable TV service were still working. I ate frozen burritos I purchased at 7-11 for 79 cents, and buckets of chicken I found at a local restaurant, 10 pieces for $6.99. One bucket would last me 3 or 4 days, and it included biscuits and sides.

I reserved the rest of my money from my 401k for a moving truck and movers, and to bring the rest of my family to Oklahoma City. After working at my new job for about a week, my wife called. She was simply too ill to pack the rest of the apartment on her own to move. I would have to drive back to New York, finish packing our items for the movers, clean the apartment and drive my family back to Oklahoma City...all over the course of 3 days.

I did get that accomplished, and we left New York the day before we were to be officially evicted. We headed for Oklahoma, and a new life.

(Part 3 continues tomorrow)


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