In a word, this year has been weird. Couple of long trips to the DL for Mat with a long trip to the PL (pregnancy list) for me and things just got funky. Funky and weird are not synonymous with terrible by any means, it’s just the simple fact that Mat wasn’t playing in games and I was relatively secretly growing a human.
Lots of tip toeing around social media took place. A few panic attacks came with the slip-ups of TV guys. Finally, we went to the Hall of Fame gala and I was just over it. I posted a picture on my Instagram account of Mat and I, Mat’s hand ever so gently on my belly and I managed to only make one joke about having eaten too many burritos. Success.
Little did anyone realize I was 37 and a half weeks along and, up until that point, I had spent a crafty amount of time in baggy clothes and avoiding most social situations. I’m not even kidding when I tell you that I found a black shirt at Urban Outfitters in San Diego that hid the alien bump like a champ and ordered 10 online when I got home. TEN. I proceeded to wear these shirts basically every day past the seven-month point, when I actually started to look pregnant rather than just plump or chubby or like I had missed 399 work outs.
It wasn’t that these glorious black shirts made me look good, because they didn’t. In fact, they’re terrible in their own right. But perfectly baggy. Unassuming. Safe. My own personal pregnancy invisibility cloaks.
The only thing I really had to hide over the past 40 weeks was my sanity and there was simply no other way to protect it. With pregnancy comes the most obscene amount of personal questions and fact pedaling and while I love staying connected via social media, I had no idea how pregnancy hormones and ridiculous commentary from all corners of the Internet would go together. I am confident that I made a great choice.
Let me just tell you that you guys missed out on a lot of funny material as my friends had to put up with my nonsense all on their own because instead of putting my random thoughts into tweets, I actually sent them to my “real-life friends” like it was 2007 or something (don’t worry guys… I’m back to tweeting).
Now that it’s been a week, I’m not sure how I will handle social media as a mom. I swore I would never be “one of those moms who posts pictures of their baby all of the time” and as it turns out, I lied. I wasn’t even planning on saying anything about having a baby until the Reds had to announce the roster move for paternity leave and yet I found myself posting a picture from the hospital because I was so excited and filled with love that I would have screamed it from a mountain top had I not been on bed rest (that might be a stretch because that actually sounds really taxing but you know what I mean).
So. Here I am. Here you are. Here my blog is, getting the cobwebs dusted off of it. And, here our son is …
Landon Marshall Latos.
Thank you to ALC Watkins photography for capturing this image! This is not a paid endorsement or even one that Jennifer knows about but from one mom to another- if you’re looking for a maternity, birth or newborn photographer in Cincinnati, I strongly suggest that you look her up: http://alcwatkinsphotography.com
Disclaimer: This is going to be one of my venting posts. Maybe I’m not venting as much as I’m just thinking “out loud” because its 9 p.m. in Goodyear, Arizona, both my husband and my pooch are already passed out (sawing logs) and I’ve had some stuff on my mind for the past few weeks…
As my close friends who are all currently pretty far away know, I’ve been doing a good amount of whining this spring training. I’m not proud but I’m not perfect and I’m sure in the hell not content 24/7 so it is what it is. Every time I complain, I feel some kind of guilty. Maybe I consider how fortunate I am. Maybe I realize that things could be worse. Maybe I think of all of the people who would be quick to call me names if I expressed my current feelings on social media. Maybe… Just maybe I know that I have nothing serious to complain about but that still doesn’t change the fact that I just don’t feel like a ray of sunshine all of the time.
There are many baseball ladies who do not accompany their significant others to spring training. Some have children who are in school, some have other responsibilities at home, and for some, it’s not even a possibility due to financial restrictions or job schedules. You will find many MLB and MiLB ladies out there as we speak who are bummed because their favorite dude left for spring and they won’t see him for a few weeks or even months. That’s not me. Like every other season, I packed my junk and made the temporary move to Arizona because that’s just how we do it.
In the past, spring training was always a temporary move leading to another temporary move. There were seasons where we didn’t even know where we would end up at the end of it and others where we drove over from San Diego and then back to an apartment with a ton of unpacked boxes for decorations because I knew we wouldn’t be there long anyway and it was just inefficient to unpack things we didn’t really need just to pack them up again. Last season, we flew back to Cincinnati and stayed at the Westin, living out of suitcases for a while. Looking back, I guess my jokes about being a gypsy were never a joke at all.
The difference this spring training is that we actually have a home to miss (an even bigger reason to feel ridiculous for not putting my super happy Stepford wife face on every day). Granted, I have no actual desire to be home without my guy yet I can’t help but miss waking up to foot warmers in the form of cats sleeping on my feet and 3 huge dogs slobbering all over the place. I just want to drink coffee in my own kitchen while I plan out my errands for the day. I miss my gym. My routine. My friends. My sister. I might even miss the lady down the street who always thinks we’re speeding because our cars are loud. The thermostat in our bedroom that always makes it either too hot or too cold- I kinda miss that too.
I refuse to believe that these feelings make me ungrateful or unaware of my blessings. I’m thankful to wake up every day in sunny Arizona to my husband’s 6 am alarm (okay, I hate the alarm). It’s nice that he gets home from work at a decent hour and aside from a knee injury, there’s been nothing serious to stress about.
When I get back home, there will be a ton of chaos and I will no longer have afternoons to spend with Mat. He’ll be working 10 hours a day IF he’s even in town. I’ll be holding the fort (read: the zoo) down and trying not to miss him or my flights every other week. I’ll probably even get a little frustrated every now and then. As the months progress, I may even start looking forward to a little off-season peace. Who knows. I might just be a human with real human feelings and everything! (crazy, right?)
It doesn’t take any deep reflection to know that one of the greatest challenges is learning to appreciate the present no matter how blue the past, how bright the future or how screwed up things might get at any given moment. But I don’t think that looking back, looking forward or appreciating your current situation has to be a mutually exclusive mindset. What I’m saying here is- don’t do what I do and feel bad about feeling bad from time to time. (I’ve almost decided that it’s okay to stop beating myself up about this. almost.)
I’m no authority to tell you what to do but I’m pretty certain that feelings are feelings and they are valid no matter how silly or irrational they might seem to others or even yourself when you really step back and think about it. As much as I keep expressing that I want to be home, I know that being in Cincinnati right now would have its own set of challenges.
What I’m trying to say here is that the grass may seem greener but it’s never, ever easy and all we can really do is try our best to make what we can out of what we have at any given time. And you know what- if you want to feel grumpy despite the number of things you have to be grateful for, feel grumpy. (Just try not to do it too often because that’s no fun.)
After all, the first step is admitting you have a problem, right? Right. It’s only then that you can choose to fix the things that don’t bring you happiness or you can learn to be at peace with them.
Happy happy hunting.
I would like to start this post off by saying that I absolutely love the name of this event. If we ever expect to help people overcome hardships, not only do we have to provide a helping hand but we absolutely have to establish a system that will assist them in reclaiming independence and building a new life.
This off-season we were fortunate enough to be able to do a little volunteer work at the Emergency Shelter of Northern Kentucky. I was more than impressed with the dedication of the staff, the way the shelter is run as well as what it offers residents. While we sadly wont be able to attend this event as we will still be in Arizona for spring training, I am asking you guys to check it out, spread the word, attend if it strikes a chord in your heart or even make a donation if you would like to.
Homeless to Hopeful is an event to raise awareness about homelessness and it is taking place on Friday, February 28th from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at the Notre Dame Academy Theater.
Following is the official press release for the 2nd Annual Homeless to Hopeful Event:
This winter has proven to be a challenge for all of us, but especially for those who are homeless. The Emergency Shelter of NKY has sheltered already this winter close to 400 adults and Family Promise of NKY that sheltered family was full every night. Local statistics within the Emergency Shelter of Northern Kentucky, indicate an overall 18% increase in homelessness. ESNKY is also searching for a new home to ensure that we continue have the one and only cold weather shelter in our region.
The 2nd annual Homeless to Hopeful event will raise awareness of homelessness in our own NKY community. Videos with real testimony as well as live speakers will be a part of the event. Jessica Noll, from WPCO will act as emcee. The event will also feature basket raffles and a silent auction to raise funds for both Family Promise and the Emergency Shelter of NKY. Mat Latos has provided a signed jersey and baseball. Wine baskets, round trip airline tickets and other themed baskets will be available.
Tickets: $15.00 for adults $5.00 for students (college/high school/grade school)
To purchase tickets: Call Janet at Family Promise 859-431-6840
Thank you for taking the time to read about a cause that is very important to us! A little bird told me that you might find some items autographed by Mat in the silent auction…
Giving back and helping others is something I grew up doing. There are so many charitable causes out there and so many people and groups who can use a helping hand. Many times, all you have to have is a big heart to help them.
I vividly remember 8th grade where I had to log 100 hours of community service over the course of the school year to graduate. I could volunteer anywhere I wanted as long as it was approved by the school. I chose to volunteer at a convalescent hospital. I don’t recall why I chose that project but I do recall feeling awful for the elderly people who had sort of been abandoned by their families or simply didn’t have any family. You don’t know what “lonely” is until you find yourself living in a medical institution where you have permitted social hours and are otherwise constrained to a room with a hospital bed.
I will admit that I was uncomfortable at first. A lot of the residents had mental illnesses. Some of them wouldn’t remember my name from week to week. Some thought I was their daughter. Some came out of their bathrooms without their pants on. I was a teenage girl and quite frankly, I wasn’t sure how to process all of that. What I did know was that no matter what oddities I experienced, I would always leave knowing that I made someone’s day who no one else really took the time to care about. Need I go on to tell you that that’s an awesome feeling? Probably not.
In high school, my mother decided that we should volunteer to prepare dinner for a homeless shelter whenever we could. Sometimes it was her, my sister and I. Sometimes friends helped. It was a small shelter that only took about 60 people a night. My mom and I would cook our butts off (with the help of my baby sister) and deliver a warm meal to a shelter of men, women and children to what was really just a building with cots to sleep on and tables to set the food on.
I will admit that I was uncomfortable at first. I felt guilty. Who was I to waltz in there with enough food to feed 60 people to people who had nothing? Were people going to treat us strangely? Were we going to make them feel bad?
The first time we served the homeless a dinner of spaghetti and meatballs was one that I will never forget. I was so nervous that I barely spoke at first. I just didn’t know how to interact because I felt so fortunate to have a roof over my head. I wasn’t living a lavish life but I had a single mother who busted her a-word and was fortunate and good enough at it to take care of my sister and I. That’s more than so many people could ever wish to ask for.
The night progressed. I served some plates. Shared some smiles. Felt terrible that these beautiful souls found themselves suffering in the place they were. Without a home. Without a family able to bust their a-words to help them. Some of these people didn’t even have family. Some of them had been laid off from their job and living paycheck to paycheck was no longer an option. One of them went to my high school and played on the varsity basketball team.
I saw his face come through the line and I didn’t know whether he wanted me to recognize him or not. I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t know what to do. I sort of froze. I racked my brain. Do I act normal. Do I keep my head down. I wasn’t friends with the guy but he recognized my face and I his. I rashly decided that I was going to treat this as a normal interaction to ease the tension. I acted like I knew him. Made small talk. Made him feel large talk. It was the right decision. He looked nervous- like I might tell people at school. I never did. I don’t even think anyone knew I was volunteering there? I didn’t exactly have many friends in high school but that’s another subject. He will probably never know it but his energy and resilience inspired me in more ways than I can describe.
Once everyone was served I decided to talk to some other people. Socialize. Treat them like normal humans. So many people forget to do that. I learned that some had lost their jobs. Some lost everything in a bad divorce. Some couldn’t find work for months. Some had been disowned and were struggling to find their way. Some didn’t have a single family member or friend in the world. Some didn’t want to talk they just wanted to eat and sleep. The ridiculously outstanding revelation was this- they were all people just like you and me. They were all so appreciative that we bothered to bring them a meal. And care. Because no one else cared enough to help them.
I will never forget my experience there. I will never forget the lessons I learned. I will never forget that there are millions of homeless people struggling in our nation.
The thing is- it’s so easy to give time, money, and any charitable energy to a cause that hits close to home. Disease hits close to home, cancer hits close to home, animals hit close to home. All more than worthy causes. Most of us have relative or animal friends who have suffered a cruel injustice but most of us will never experience what it’s like to not know if you have a safe place to sleep at night. Many of us will never even consider that anyone could become homeless at any given moment. It’s an issue that lacks awareness and I really hope to assist with changing that.
Long story long, I am thrilled to finally have a few things in line to help the homeless in our community and I might ask that you will join me every now and then.
The only resource you need to help others is a big heart, an open mind and a little spare time.
Thanks for hearing me out.
p.s. Google your local homeless shelter. A $10 investment of a loaf of bread, some peanut butter and jelly may go a long way. A $0 investment of donating a coat or blanket you don’t need will likely make someone’s day as well.
You might have seen me mention food allergies or whine about the fact that I can’t drink wine without getting sick over the past few months. You have probably seen me posting gluten-free meal ideas. You may have caught the one tweet where I complained about having to take a million supplements every time I eat. I never planned on sharing the why with you all but in order to make a point, I am going to have to.
A few months ago, I began to see a naturopathic medical doctor for various reasons. I was mainly sick of feeling absolutely terrible and being prescribed anxiety medications because “nothing was wrong” with my blood work. I was sick of taking anxiety medication just to function. I was sick of not being myself.
After a few hours of testing, we discovered a ridiculous amount of things that were going wrong in my body. Goody. Of the list of health short comings, the worst was my digestive system. To put it simply, anxiety can be caused by a lack of harmony in your gut. Even more ridiculous- being stressed out can cause the exact digestive issues that in turn cause you to have anxiety. Pretty rude, right? Right. (Especially when you deal with the amount of stress I have been subjected to).
Over the past few months, I have been busting my a-word trying to get my digestive system working properly with hopes of feeling like a human again. Through supplements and mindful eating, I have managed to get a grip on things. I’m still not in perfect health but this didn’t happen over-night and it’s not going to go away over-night so I continue to work on it. I’m happy to report that I only have to take anxiety meds on rare occasions. And that’s awesome.
Let me get to the point- It feels so good to feel like myself again but it has also opened my eyes to just how terrible I had been feeling- mentally and physically.
Last year was one of the most miserable years of my life and I have been through some pretty dark times. It wasn’t just the year itself, it was that I was already so beaten down (although I would have never admitted it) that everything hit me like a ton of bricks. All I kept thinking is WHEN AM I GOING TO CATCH A BREAK. Newsflash: If you want to catch a break, you better give yourself one.
If you’re like most, you have no idea what I just said. On paper, my life looks so nice and easy that people are quick to be offended if I have a bad day. On paper, my life looks so easy that I am quick to be offended by myself when I have a bad day. But the thing is this- I am only human and the paper lies. Life isn’t about comparing your struggles to those of anyone else but it is about being compassionate enough to know that we all struggle at one point or another.
To give you some perspective, there were days that I stayed in bed until 5 pm. The day would start out with me pretending to be fine, Mat would go to work around 1 pm, I would get back in bed and lay there- lifeless, sometimes crying (embarrassing but I’m not much of a liar so there you have it), missing my friends, missing my family, ridiculously lonely, lost, sad, wondering if I was making terrible life choices. I’d eventually hate myself for feeling that way because what reason on earth do I have to be miserable on paper? I’d peel myself out of bed, put some clothes on and go to the ballpark because if I didn’t, I would have never left our apartment/ socialized with anyone other than Mat (who was dealing with a boat load of his own stress) and the Kroger cashiers.
(I think this post is quickly becoming something I never intended it to be but so be it)
I was so sad and out of sorts that I didn’t even bother to socialize with other wives most of the time because I was so ashamed of myself for feeling rotten and didn’t want to bother anyone else with my negative energy.
Note: Due to the nature of the business, wives and girlfriends in baseball try to be supportive of one another. When things like trades happen, most of them have been there, done that. They know that your life just got flipped upside down and that you are entering alien territory. Even the Reds front office reached out to us/me in ways that I will forever be grateful for.
Sure, my friends and family were only a phone call away but it takes a lot for me to admit that I am struggling and even more for me to seek help. Being strong is my thing. Other people need me to be strong (I think). They are used to me being strong and independent (I think). Part of that is me being stubborn and more of that is me needing to know that I can stand on my own two feet (I know).
Don’t get me wrong here… I had some great days in there but an overwhelming majority were some kind of awful. I felt like a zombie. Going through the motions. Trying to keep it together. Wondering when I was going to crack. There were some days that I couldn’t even bring myself to seek peace by practicing Yoga because I was afraid I would have a panic attack while driving and no one would be there to help me because Mat was at work and I had no one else to call so I just avoided driving entirely. I remember a 10 day home-stand where I was so stressed, I couldn’t even drive to the grocery store so I just ordered take out from Holy Grail every day. Love HG but that made me feel even more awful
about feeling awful.
Note: if you’ve never experienced a panic attack, be thankful. I am sure they are different for everyone but mine are usually something like a racing heart, lack of ability to see straight, tingling, freezing cold, and 178% certain that I’m about to die. Not exactly ideal driving conditions.
Let’s not forget all of the times that I was attacked on the internet. Maybe I said something that offended people. Maybe Mat gave up 6 billion runs and people wanted to send us both back to San Diego in body bags like it was our choice to disappoint them. Luckily, I had a decent amount of experience dealing with blind hatred and vile people on the internet but I don’t care who you are-you can only hear that you are hated, worthless, a terrible person etc. so many times before you wonder what you did to deserve to be treated like that.
Note: No one deserves to be treated like that.
This brings me to a point that I would scream at the top of my lungs if that meant that people would hear me….
YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT PEOPLE ARE GOING THROUGH. BE KIND.
That’s it. That’s all.
If you are going through a hard time, I truly wish for some light for you because I hate the thought of anyone else struggling. Looking back, I must say that it is never in your favor to be hard on yourself. “Life is a journey, not a destination” and I am a cheese ball and a half for referencing that quote but you have to trust the process and know that brighter days are ahead… you just have to be willing to find them- no GPS included.
Tomorrow night, Mat will be a guest on the Reds Hot Stove League Radio Show at Holy Grail from 6-7 pm. He will be doing some talking, autograph signing and all of that good stuff. If you miss baseball, come get your fix from 6-7!
We are teaming up with Holy Grail to collect donations to go to the Drop In Center- Cincinnati’s largest homeless shelter.
If there is a blanket, coat, winter hat, unopened toiletry items, pantry items or really anything that you can part ways with, we ask that you bring it in with you. We will be collecting the donations and delivering them to the shelter.
For a broader list of items needed, please visit this website:
“The need for food, clothing and toiletries is continuous – many of our residents come to us empty-handed, in need not only of shelter, but of basic possessions and sustenance as well. From socks and shoes to soap and sunscreen, we always welcome donations of new clothing and grooming accessories. Your gift of food items is also welcome – such as bulk quantities of canned or dry goods in addition to gift certificates to price clubs or supermarkets.”
Idea- If you are planning on coming down and you happen to read this today, spread the word this afternoon and see if you can get your co-workers or classmates to help you help us by bringing something to you tomorrow… A mini-drive for the drive of sorts (:
Last year, we had a costume contest for people dressing as Mat or I on my blog. This year, we want to have a costume contest for your animals. Send us pictures of your animal friends in their best Halloween outfits for a chance to win cool prizes and be featured on my blog.
Email to: DallasLatos@reds.com
Official Rules for So I Married A Baseball Player… Giveaways:Employees, officers, directors, representatives and agents of any MLB entity and each of their respective parents, subsidiaries & affiliated companies and their immediate families and those living in their same household, whether or not related, are not eligible for any So I Married A Baseball Player… (dallaslatosmlb.wordpress.com) giveaway. So I Married A Baseball Player… (dallaslatosmlb.wordpress.com) will determine giveaway recipients in its sole and absolute discretion. If you have received a So I Married A Baseball Player… (dallaslatosmlb.wordpress.com) giveaway in the last 30 days, you’re not eligible. If you live more than 100 miles from the ballpark where a game for which tickets are being given away will be played, you are not eligible for that ticket giveaway. If a giveaway recipient is determined to be ineligible, So I Married A Baseball Player… (dallaslatosmlb.wordpress.com) may, in its sole and absolute discretion, not give away the goods or ticket(s) or may give the goods or ticket(s) to the next eligible follower. You will be required to privately (through Twitter direct message or email) provide your name and address if you are selected as a giveaway recipient. So I Married A Baseball Player… (dallaslatosmlb.wordpress.com) will not keep or store your information or use it for any purpose other than sending your giveaway item(s) or providing you information on receiving the item(s). Giveaways are subject to all applicable federal, state and local laws, rules or regulations.
Since moving to Cincinnati, Mat and I have been looking for ways to get involved in the community. We considered doing some sort of school supply drive but to our luck and with the help of the Reds, we found that one already takes place annually! Project Backpack is an event put on by FOX19 WXIX-TV along with partner Kiss 107. To date, more than 8,500 Cincinnati-area children have received school supplies and backpacks through the efforts of Project Backpack and the community. How awesome is that?!
On Friday, August 2nd, Mat and I will be stopping by the Project Backpack event presented at Rookwood Commons to drop off some donations and say hi!
The event is from 6 am to 11 am and we would like to encourage you to swing by and make a donation. If you’re into the whole meet and greet thing, you can catch us from 10-11.
For a list of school supplies needed and other ways to donate, check here!
See you tomorrow?
Remember when you were in high school and you thought you had your whole life planned out? Maybe you didn’t exactly have a plan but you thought that upon graduation, you would either start working or pursue further education. At some point soon after that, you would have a real career- an adult job that allowed you to pay all of your own bills and eat cookies for breakfast. Once you figured out what your adult job was going to be, you would probably find a significant other. Hopefully, you would find “the one” and one day you two would get married. Soon after finding the person you would love for better or for worse, you would start a family and BINGO!- you won the life game.
I won’t be ignorant enough to assume that this was everyone’s personal goal or thought process (as it wasn’t exactly mine) but no matter where you went after high school, what pit-stops you made, what jobs paid your pizza bills, what your get rich/famous quick scheme was, there was likely some kind of pressure surrounding your existence telling you that you were doing it wrong at some point or another. You missed a step. You weren’t getting there quickly enough. You failed. You didn’t know where you were going or where you were supposed to be. If this was never the case for you, you may now be excused. If you’re like 99% of my friends, you might want to stick around.
I’ve always joked about the “no plan plan” being the best plan but I don’t think I’ve ever come up with anything more brilliant, although often challenging. It’s no secret that life has all sorts of crazy curveballs it can throw at you. Just when you think you know where you’re headed or where you want to be, something better comes up. Maybe something stops you right in your path. Something happens that sends your roller coaster down an entirely different track. Sometimes it’s thrilling. Sometimes it’s down right mortifying… but the fact of the matter is, you have no choice but to go with it. Embrace it. Stop comparing it to the ideas society has more or less shoved down our throats and most importantly- stop comparing your situation to that of those around you.
Looking at my very diverse group of friends, I don’t know two people in a similar situation. I have friends with unplanned children, friends who are still in a grad school program that they never intended to take so long, divorced friends, friends working minimum wage jobs because they really have no idea what they want to do, friends without jobs, friends who moved back into their parent’s homes, friends with failed businesses and crushed dreams, artist friends flying by the seats of their creativity, friends struggling to get by, friends who have their shit together, and friends with a white picket fence and the whole nine. I’m sure that you do too. While I can’t say how any of us ended up where we are, what I do know is that we have all struggled with accepting that maybe we are not where we thought we end up and maybe are never going to get there.
In my experience, this reality can be crippling and sometimes mortifying. To most onlookers, I imagine I have “the life”. While I wont bother to be ungrateful or say that my situation awful, guess what- I am nowhere near where I planned to be and sometimes, I’m not okay with that. I won’t get into details because this isn’t my personal sob story, journal or therapy session. What this is is me telling you that it’s all going to be okay.
If we’re ever going to overcome feelings of inadequacy, failure or maybe even the sting of uncertainty with a side of where do I go from here, we have to accept where we are, love what and who we have, and most importantly accept the process for what it is- life.
I am not a motivational speaker or any sort of authority figure, I am just a thoughtful person who is sick of seeing beautiful souls get down on themselves. This blog may not change your mind, your life, your shoes or your socks but if you are here reading, I hope it at least serves as a reminder that we are all different beings with different paths and no matter how hard it is at times, I hope you can learn to love yours. In sickness and in health. ‘Till death do you part.
While I’m pretty sure it’s no longer a secret, I am writing this post to let you know that you’re stuck with us, Ohio. Mat and I recently purchased a home in Cincinnati. After over 3 years of 6 month leases and over 10 moves (if you count the moves to Arizona for spring training), we are ecstatic to finally have a place to call “home”. You know… a place to unpack our bags and maybe even stay a while.
As you can imagine, there were about 6 trillion factors that went into the decision of where we would buy our first home. I am from California and Mat is from Florida. Our families are essentially on opposite sides of the country. Then of course you have to consider the weather, traffic, lifestyle… Oh… and let us not forget- baseball.
Baseball is fun in the sense that you can be traded at any time so there’s really no such thing as planning how long you’ll be working anywhere. This is a big reason why many athletes don’t spend their off-season where they work as it makes more sense to just buy a home wherever they want to live. It has also made people curious about why we would buy a home in Cincinnati when Mat currently only has a two year contract to play for the Reds. Let me tell you why…
As you may or may not know, the trade from the San Diego Padres to the Reds caught us wildly off-guard. If you would have asked me at the time, I couldn’t have even pointed to Ohio on a map (don’t judge me- I suck at geography). When we came to visit for the first time in January 2012, I felt like I was in a foreign country. This may sound dramatic but I assure you, mid-westerners who go to California for the first time often feel the same way. For lack of better words, it’s just a culture shock.
Last season, we were welcomed by the entire Reds organization with open arms. I’m talking the whole Castellini family, the clubhouse staff, the media department, the ushers at the ballpark- EVERYONE was there to offer their support. It was pretty clear that we were in over our heads, extremely unfamiliar with the area, and more or less overwhelmed yet also excited… but overwhelmed. Having that support system made a world of difference. If any other baseball wives are reading this and you ever get traded to Cincinnati, have no fear- you are in GREAT hands.
Rewind… Only a week prior to the trade, we signed a lease on a home for the season in San Diego. We were made to believe that Mat wasn’t getting traded so we were pretty confident in finding housing for the upcoming season in the off-season. It also seemed like a good way to avoid some stress to just stay in the San Diego area until we figured out where in the world we would set up shop and buy a home.
If you recall, the trade was announced right before the holidays. We already had movers and everything arranged and we were headed out of town to visit my in-laws for a few weeks. Fancy.
Fast forward… picture me sitting in Virginia practically in tears for a few days trying to figure out what we were going to do with our things, our pets, our lives, etc, It didn’t make any sense to move to this house but our lease was up where we were currently living and they already had a new occupant lined up. We would have had nowhere to live until Spring Training if we didn’t move from downtown San Diego into this house. We were on the other side of the country with very limited time to figure anything out prior to our moving day. The stress was so overwhelming that we eventually decided to just go along with our original plan to move from downtown instead of trying to get out of the lease. By “went along with the move”, I mean that our boxes went from one San Diego residence to another- never to be unpacked.
I begrudgingly wrote rent checks for that San Diego home/storage unit all last season while we lived at the Banks for 6 months. We didn’t have a plan at the time but we knew that we never wanted to be in this situation again (paying two leases simultaneously). It is one thing (a very common thing) to pay a mortgage on your home in whatever city you choose to live in and have an additional short-term lease on a another residence where you work during season but if you’re anything like me, you don’t like throwing away money and that’s essentially what we had to do. GROSS GROSS GROSS.
Last off-season we spent countless hours looking at properties on the internet. We even went down to the Florida Keys to look at some homes. I love the Keys but I wasn’t exactly sold. We looked around Naples (Florida) , Austin (Texas), Dallas (Texas) but there was always the question of, “How the hell is this going to work when we are now looking at a timeline of buying a home during the season?”. Essentially- it would have been a giant pain in my ass. One day Mat said, “Why don’t we look at homes in Cincinnati?”. UMMMM. Excuse me? You want to do something reasonable that makes a ton of sense that we have never thought of before? WHAT IS THIS WITCH CRAFT?! Wait, wait… this idea is GENIUS.
I will admit that it took me a few minutes to wrap my brain around this. We had been looking at homes on the water in Florida because we love the ocean and fishing. Plus, the weather in the off-season is not too shabby. The Texas idea came up because it’s centrally located. Cincinnati… well… Mat only has a 2-year contract so let’s just consider all of the factors and say that he gets traded after that, are we still going to want to live in Cincinnati? Spoiler alert- after not much consideration, the answer was yes. Cincinnati has it’s charms and it really REALLY grew on me. Something about the way of life and simplicity of things puts me at ease. I have lived in California my whole life and quite frankly, it was time for us to turn the page.
I pulled some properties up online, contacted a real estate agent and explained what we were looking for. We had narrowed it down to about 5 listings and planned to see them when we got to Cincinnati for the season to avoid making an additional trip in the off-season. The house that I thought I really liked was sold by the time we got here. I was kind of bummed but confident that we would find something we loved. The house that Mat really liked (all he cared about was that there was a pond on the property- literally- ALL) but that I was not so sure about from the photos was our number 2 and became the first house that we would see in Cincinnati. It was also the last.
From the minute we got to the house, we knew it was “the one”. The location was great, the layout was great and it had everything we were looking for. We waited and waited and waited for our closing date to come and lived out of suitcases at our friend Dave’s house in the meantime (this is going to have to be another blog post entirely- it was positively funny and ridiculous).
Our closing date finally came around and we got the keys to our new home and we were SO excited! Except that we had no furniture and were headed out of town for a 10 day road trip a few days later. CAN A GIRL CATCH A BREAK AROUND HERE?! I have never wanted to be settled so badly in my entire life so that 10 day road trip felt like a lifetime. A lifetime in which I couldn’t sleep, eat or function because i was so anxious and stressed. I’m talking sitting in the bathtub in the hotel room at 4 am ordering linens so as to not wake Mat up with my aggressive typing because I had SO much to do.
While I could have further stressed myself out beyond reason and took on this whole project by myself, I chose not to. I’m sure those close to me would agree that I may have capped out on the amount of stress I could survive through without cracking between the trade in 2011 up until this point.
I called for the help of Kelly Straka, owner of Lux Living Homes to get the interior of our new home to fit our style and to get this bad boy furnished. As you may have seen last week no thanks to the local media who tweeted out our address and photos from the previous owner’s listing, the home had a very country vibe to it. It was gorgeous, just not our style. Kelly suggested that we use paint and swap out light fixtures to update the general vibe and let me tell you- it made a world of difference. We are still working on the furnishing aspect but it has been fantastic to work with someone with such a creative eye and knack for finding really unique pieces that fit our personal style.
Then there was the whole unpacking thing… keep in mind we had boxes from the past few years stored at the ballpark, at David’s house in Cincinnati, in San Diego, in northern California and in Virginia. I’m good at a lot of things but tedious projects and organizing just aren’t for me. Like they say, patience is a virtue (that I don’t have).
My friend and fellow baseball wife, Alexis Rosenbaum recently began offering her services as a home organizer. While you may be reading this and thinking I’m lazy or awful for not figuring it out on my own, let me just tell you this- there is nothing I like more than efficiency and I will be the first to admit my short comings and figure out a better solution.
You can check out Alexis’ post about this project here: TheHouseWifesHouseWife. This post doesn’t do all of her work justice but you can get an idea of why I needed her so desperately. Due to all of the traveling and moving around, I often acquire multiples of basically everything. Had I been the one to have to go through all of that, I probably would have thrown it away in frustration.
With the help of the container store, Alexis had everything sorted out and easy to find. The even better thing about how well she organized our belongings is that everything has a place and it’s now ridiculously easy for me to stay organized. While her rates are more than reasonable for her services, the truth is- you can’t put a price on your sanity. If you’re like me and you have made it a habit to ignore the chaos because you think it doesn’t affect you- I will bet you a turkey sandwich that you’re wrong.
Now that I have typed an entire novel and essentially explained why I haven’t posted any blogs recently, let me end on this note. It feels so good to be home.