Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Big Reveal

I am sure that everyone is anxiously awaiting news of where we are and what our plan for the future is.  So let me tell you already!
But this story can only be told right if we tell it from the start...the very start!

When we began dental school we started with the intention of owning a practice someday.  We loved the idea of being able to take time off if our kids had something going on and then the flexibility to work harder other times to make up for it.  Tyler had been a dental assistant before dental school and realized he wanted to treat employees different than he was treated.  We liked the idea of the kids being able to stop by the practice or hang around there a little if they needed to.  We liked the idea of them being able to work at the office when they are old enough. 

We also knew that owning a practice would be hard and that we had lots to learn first.  A couple years into dental school we started talking to all the dentists we knew and learning from them.  We met with a dentist from my home town that we didn't know before but has proved to be a great help to us.  He suggested we send out letters to dentist in areas we were interested in that were nearing retirement age.  We spent that summer sending letters and answering inquiries.  We met with a couple dentists as a result of this but nothing much came of it. 

When our fourth year of dental school rolled around we browsed the internet ads for offices but just didn't feel like it was possible to make it work from so far away.  We decided that doing a residency was the best route to take.  The residency helped Tyler fine tune his skills and brought us to Washington State where we were much closer to look for the practice we wanted.  Early in the residency year we met with brokers from different companies and talked about some options.  We emailed about some in different areas we were interested in.  We got a little excited about one in Eastern Washington, it had some good things about it but never felt totally right and my Mom was sick that year and we decided if we are going to be somewhere for a long time we wanted to be even closer to family.

In January of that year we got a email saying that a practice we had previously inquired about was available to look at again.  We decided to go and look at it.  It was in Port Townsend Washington.  Even if nothing came of it we thought it would be fun to go look.  You see, we went to Port Townsend for our first anniversary and thought it was a great little town so why not go back for a little trip?

The funny thing was as we drove up the 101 we started getting excited.  Different excited then we had  felt before.  It was beautiful, mountains on one side the water on the other.  We drove into town and we remembered how cute we thought the town was.  We went to the office and met with the dentist.  We thought he was very nice and the office was nice and the good feeling we had when we drove up there was still there.

After we left we both thought. let's pursue it and see what happens.  And we did for 7 LONG months.  We dug into the office and learned what we could.  We went and visited several times.  We got to know the dentist better and liked him.  Tyler worked there a week and liked all the staff and patients. We talked to others that have gone before us for advice. Things seemed daunting but all good things take hard work so we kept going.  It was banks that were making life so difficult (let me add in that I was VERY pregnant through most of this).  We finally decided if we did not have a solid assurance of financing before his residency ended that we would need to pursue other options. We never really thought we would have to do that because we continually felt right about Port Townsend. 

His residency came and went, Titus was born.  We had thrown out a couple applications and interviewed a couple places but we hadn't been too serious about it all since we had worked so hard on buying the practice and it felt so right  (it couldn't possibly fall through). 

There we were unemployed.  We worked out a week to week rent scenario, thinking any day a bank will approve the loan and we would move to Port Townsend.  But week after week it didn't. We were poorer than in dental school. We filled out paperwork for temp agencies hoping that would buy us some more time.  One agency said we had to come in and meet with them before they would give us work.  It was near my parents so we came to stay with them while Tyler met with the agency.  He called me from the agency and said "they said that just today someone came to them looking for a permanent dentist in Olympia.  I am going now to meet with them".  Then later he called and said "they want to meet you and they might want me to start next week".  I met with them that day.  There were promises of partnership and raises, mostly it was a real job (something we had not yet had).  We decided to go for it and headed back to Yakima, packed up and moved. 

I threw a grown up tantrum about it (but hey I had just had a baby so don't judge me too harshly).  It just didn't make sense to me and even though this new job paid money it wasn't what we had wanted and I just didn't know how it was ever going to work out.  But it was a job and we needed one.  I got over it though...eventually and decided to make the most of the new path we were headed on.

Turns out we loved a lot of things about Olympia.  We loved the school, the Church, the proximity to family.  The job started off alright and held promises of being better.  We tried to sacrifice our dream of owning and latch onto this new dream.  With time though this grew harder and harder.  Things at the new office were not good.  By January we knew it wouldn't work out.  We went back to the drawing board.

Because we had spent so many months trying to buy the Port Townsend practice we now saw the owner as a friend.  So we called him up just to see what has happening.  We learned from before though and did not put all our eggs in one basket.  We did pursue other avenues and even got job offers.  The crazy thing was we still felt right about Port Townsend. 

The job in Olympia ended and we were unemployed again (for the last time ever I hope, the stress of unemployment is not something I would wish on anyone).  We owned a home there and had sunk our roots in as deep as you can in 9 months.  But we knew we had to leave.  (Which proved to be another emotional and hard transition- but we would do it all over again- so many good things happened in our short time there).

This year we were able to find a bank to finance us and things have gone smoother (don't get me wrong it was still a long road).  The whole process is a lot of work, there are insurance to set up, things to order, and a million other things.  For the most part it's been fun getting it ready.  We feel blessed that we like the staff and the dentist we are buying from.  We have had a lot of people help us on our way (and to all of you we owe a big thank you!). 

We moved up here Memorial Day.  We found a nice rental (it's not my dream house but it's great for right now).  We have been spending any free time we have discovering what the area has to offer.  We have been surprisingly busy during this in between period.  Life has been hectic and lacking in rhythm.  We have been to Shelton multiple times and made a big drive to Colorado.  We have spent more time then I care to admit on the computer replying to emails from everyone.  We have been writing out checks left and right.  Everything cost money to set up and it's exhausting (if you know me you know I am not good at just handing over money).  But it's been exciting and fun working together.

Yesterday was Tyler's first "real" day at the practice. He survived and even though he came home realizing there are still lots of things to learn and do before it runs as flawlessly as he wants it to, it was a good day.  He is grateful to have staff that have been there and know what they doing.  Grateful to be back to work (the kids don't know what to do without him around, but they are excited too). We are grateful for the blessings that have come all along the way.

We have learned A LOT since this all started.  I think it was always meant to be the timing just was not right before.  Life after dental school has been hard and confusing at times but it is good and hindsight has a way of explaining the journey.   A lot of people ask if we are scared with the economy the way it is.  I guess I am scared a little, but if we were working for someone I would be scared a little too (we know about being fired).  Mostly we are not though. We feel right about it and so no matter the outcome this is where we are suppose to be.  We have prepared all we can for it.  We are excited and thankful! 

My fingers are tired from typing or I would write all about Port Townsend....next time!


Lynae said...

Congratulations! We hope that the practice goes well for you guys. We are glad things are working out!

Natalie said...

COngrats! It's nice to have things falling into place finally. I'm sure you've learned a lot along the way but I'm sure it's been stressful as well. We're trying to figure out what's important for us and figure out how to apply for jobs and where we want to go. So much to think, dream, stress over, and get excited about. We're starting our last year here in Buffalo and I just want to know already where next year will lead but I know I need to be patient and pray a lot over the next year. Good luck with the new practice! Congrats again!

Rachel said...

Reading that journey from start to finish was really inspiring! You guys worked so hard and overcame so much, and I'm so glad that you are now in a place that you feel great about. You are awesome!

Carl Fricke said...

Awesome, I saw a practice for sale out there over a year ago and thought that it would be fun to be in Port Townsend. Might be the same one seeing as it's no longer for sale. We're happy for you. Honestly, a little jealous, but very happy for you. I'm now a resident w/ YVFWC in Toppenish. Seeing that you've purchased and are very happy gives us some hope. Congrats.