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Bloom Where You're Planted - And Other Fine Cliches

Original post made by jkgullo on Sep 16, 2013

My ambitions once I got to California? To land in my new hometown after flying with my worriless, drama-free kids and husband, and hit the ground running – taking on our new life in one giant, effortless stride.

The move itself would go flawless and without a hitch. We'd open our boxes of belongings and fastidiously place them all in the right and perfect spots and then wonder what we were going to do with all our spare time. We'd merrily go about our tasks and to-do's with a spring in our step. We'd be known as the whistling Dixie-ers who acclimated to a completely new environment overnight.

That was my dream. Now, here is what really happened:

Before the Move: My kids were both getting ready for high school. The only familiar surroundings they knew and had experienced during their young lives existed in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. How would we, the parents, tell them it was time to: saddle up, stop brooding, and be strong for the inevitable uprooting? Even I was wondering if this was going to be life changing and possibly tumultuous for us as a family.

Here is a helpful link to learn more about preparing your children for a big move: [Web Link kidshealth.org/parent/positive/talk/move.html]

Other tips from my own experience:

1. Include kids in the house-hunting process. It will be comforting for them to have an idea of where they are going, the scenery, which bedroom will be theirs to throw around their dirty underwear, where they'll hide banana peels and candy wrappers under mattresses, and where the potential 'sneak out after curfew' windows will be. They'll grasp an idea of how far the house is located to: schools, parks, libraries, ice cream shops, prospective hotties, etc.

2. Pull out a map and show your child where you'll be living and point out special geographical bonuses and landmarks. Ex: "We'll be living so much closer to the ocean/mountains/amusement parks/space museums, Haight/Ashbury peace-pipe-smoking-park-dwellers, etc.

3. Bring your child to his/her new school and show them around. Many children need to visually prepare themselves for their first big day at a brand new school.

4. Research sports teams, school organizations, and community organizations. Email Principals or other school staff and coaches to get more information about tryouts, lotteries, and registrations. Ask neighbors (if possible) about their familiarity with these subjects.

5. While encouraging your child to stay in contact with old friends, promote their relationship building skills with new ones. Show them how to build a scrapbook photo album or journal of the old house, friends, and memories.

6. Also encourage children to make a new journal for their hopes and dreams while living at their new home.

During the Move: The kids were distraught. Having to say goodbye to dear friends they'd known all their life was as traumatic as asking them to stop taking duck-faced photos of themselves. There were plenty of tears. Goodbye parties. Tears. Driving away from the old house we'd built many fond memories within produced - you guessed it - more tears.

During Flight: {Five-hour flight in progress}

Cat #1 is plenty sedated – or so I thought. He is clawing furiously at the cat cage. It's a new carrier, I tell myself. There's no way he could possibly mother lover! He has actually bitten a hole right through the mesh. I start to worry he's going to leap out and claw to death one of the passengers. What to do? What to do? I stick a book at the location of the ever-growing hole in the 'they-don't-make-things-like-they-used-to' carrier. Problem resolved.

Cat #2 wails the entire time. Problem does not get resolved.

Kid #1: Extremely-phobic-of-flights kid #1 has decided that the impending crash and burn landing will be simply awful for the screaming, hole-biting cats of ours. Logic does not prevail. We continue our white-knuckled approach to San Francisco.

To make your flights with pets a little less harrowing, here is what a couple of our major airlines suggest when traveling with pets:

Delta Pet Travel Requirements & Restrictions & American Airlines Pet Travel Information.

Landing: All cats are carted out from underneath cramped seats and we proceed down the walk of shame to get off the plane as humbly and apologetically as possible. I can't help but overhear one lady's whisper to her husband as we walk past: "Why don't people just leave their pets at home? Or sedate them at least?" I want to show her my empty bottle of cat narcotics and the gaping hole in my brand new carrier so she'll understand that we tried. We really, really tried. But then I think to myself that logic will again not prevail and nudge my kids to just keep walking as fast as humanly possible. Like seriously, I tell them, light a fire under that butt and scram!

While Waiting for the Movers to Arrive: In our case, we slept on our new house's floor, using our crumpled sweatshirts as makeshift pillows and our jackets as blankets. As I pretended to sleep, I kept thinking that things could be much, much worse. There were children in many other countries living in much worse condition, homeless people sleeping in squalor – on cement streets and sidewalks, no less. I had no right to complain about a stiff back and zero sleep.

I chalked this experience up to what I call the "Why Didn't We's"

Why didn't we think to stay at a hotel for a few days?
Why didn't we just pony up and purchase an air mattress and bring pillows with us on the plane?
Why didn't we think to shack up with complete strangers, possibly camping out in their living rooms? What breaking and entering laws?
Why didn't we think that the moving truck just might not beat us here with our furnishings?

For those who prefer to stay at a hotel with all the accouterments, a few suggestions in the Tri-Valley Area are listed here:

The Hyatt House (Pleasanton)
4545 Chabot Drive
(between Stoneridge Dr & Inglewood Dr)
Pleasanton, CA 94588
(925) 730-0070
Website: pleasanton.house.hyatt.com
*Pets Allowed (Additional Fees)
Average Daily Rates: $274 - $294

Hyatt Place Dublin/Pleasanton
4950 Hacienda Drive
Dublin, California, 94568, USA
Phone: (925) 828 9006
Fax: (925) 828 9030
Average Daily Rates: $189.00 (NO KITCHEN)

Residence Inn
1071 Market Pl
San Ramon, CA 94583
(925) 277-9292
www.Marriott.com
*Pets Allowed ($100 non-refundable deposit)
Average Daily Rates: $319.00 - $369.00
Discounts & Savings are also offered several ways:
1. Redeem Marriott Rewards points.
2. Use AAA/CAA memberships to save
3. Senior Discounts can save up to %15
4. Government/Military are eligible for special rates & offers

When all is said and done, I can now look back with fond memories (and a newly acquired appreciation for chiropractors) of the mayhem that ensues when a family uproots themselves, relocates, transplants, and then tries to grow roots in foreign soils. It's a process, but one that we all get through in order to bloom where we're planted. (Cheesy ending – but it's all I could think of on this fine Sunday evening).

Stay tuned for my next blog coming soon to PleasantonWeekly.com!

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