All the pinch-bloggers have been so good! Unlike the guys, I am not thinking of this as a competition. I’d never even try to beat Brandon at anything! He is soooo competitive. (And Jalynne, I learned yesterday that you have your own competitive streak!)
I’m going to be kind of random and just toss some things out that maybe you’ll find interesting.
I remember after Brandon signed with the Giants, some people in town had this idea that when a guy makes it to the big leagues, he doesn’t stay with his high school sweetheart. They thought , “If you get big-time you’re going to forget about where you came from.’’ Nothing could be further from the truth.
Brandon and I met in eighth grade when he transferred into my middle school. The best friends we had then are still the best friends we have now. One works in the oil fields. A couple are teachers. Another works for his dad. When we’re home in Hudson, which is about 90 minutes from Houston, we hang out at somebody’s house and barbecue and talk and laugh. The guys might play video games. Nothing too exciting. Our lives haven’t changed that much, which I’m really happy about.
But I confess that I had this picture in my head of what life would be like if Brandon made it to the Majors. I thought, “Oh, that is going to be awesome!’’ I thought I’d be shopping every day and going to the gym and going out to lunch. You kind of think it’s going to be right out of a movie. Some of it’s true. We stay in nice hotels on the road and I definitely shop more than I would if Brandon didn’t have the job he does.
But like Jalynne wrote, we stay pretty busy with packing, moving, settling in, taking care of all the day-to-day business of laundry, car repairs, grocery shopping, hair cut appointments, vet appointments for our dog Lilly. (With two babies, Jalynne’s even busier!) The guys really don’t have time for all that stuff.
During spring training and the regular season, our schedules are built completely around theirs. Brandon always tells me he feels bad about how much time the wives spend just waiting — after games, for their planes to land, for interviews to be over.
I love to cook, so I’m always happy when Brandon can eat at home. Usually he eats at the clubhouse after games because Joe, the chef, is so great. When I do cook, Brandon usually wants chicken spaghetti, a dish his mom taught me to make. It’s noodles, shredded chicken, Velveeta, cream of mushroom soup, cream of chicken soup and Ro-Tel diced tomatoes. It’s sooooo good.
Jalynne talked about the pros and cons, and one of the pros is the group of wives we have here. I love all of them. I’m particularly close to Ali Bumgarner and Nicole Vogelsong. We always sit together in the family section. It’s great because if Brandon is in a slump, for example, I can vent about how he’s being a baby and getting on my nerves! And the other wives aren’t going to think I’m a terrible person. We’re all going through pretty much the same things so we can relate to each other.
Actually Brandon’s easy. We’ve been together for so long and have been best friends for so long that we can talk about anything. I don’t know if everyone can do that. So I feel really lucky.
One other thing about the wives. We do a lot of charity work together. This month we each have to do a “favorites basket,’’ which means putting together a gift basket filled with our husbands’ favorite things. So for Brandon, I’ll put in popcorn, a bottle of Coke, a gift card to the movies (as you know, he LOVES the movies), a few DVDs, some books, the Bible and autographed stuff. Each basket will be auctioned off.
I mentioned Ali Bumgarner. Well, here is a story I hope I never have to live through again.
I was staying with her in Arizona after the team’s season-opening series against the Diamondbacks. (Brandon and I had to move out of our rental, and the Bumgarners still had their house.) Ali and I stayed in Arizona while the guys went off to play the Dodgers in LA. Our plan was to pack up our cars and drive to San Francisco, where we’d meet up with our husbands for the home opener.
Ali and Madison’s rental had lots of land. It was way off in the desert. I had our five-year-old dog, Lilly. One day, I left Lilly at the house with Ali’s dad, and she darted out the door and disappeared into the desert. It was horrible. Lilly is Brandon’s baby. He was in Los Angeles and can’t do anything about it. He was devastated.
Ali and I put signs up everywhere and sent out emails. When Lilly didn’t come back that night, a neighbor told us that not too long ago a pack of coyotes had snatched and killed a chihuahua right off the leash while a guy was walking it.
Another night went by. We kept putting food out. We kept scouring every inch of the property. Nothing.
After the third night, we were sure she was dead. So Ali and I packed the cars early that morning and set out for San Francisco. Three hours into our trip, Ali’s father called. He spotted Lilly in the front yard. But she wouldn’t come to him. Ali’s brother tried to rope her — he’s a champion roper — but he couldn’t get close enough. We turned the cars around and went back to Arizona to track her down.
When I told Brandon, he hopped on the first flight to Phoenix after the Dodgers games that night. The next day was an off day. He got in around midnight. We put out clothes that had our smell on them. We put out more food. We went to bed around 1, setting an early alarm. We wanted to find her before anyone else got up. Lilly might not come to the house if she saw anyone but us.
We got up at 6:30, and Lilly walked into the back yard at 7:15! Amazing. I don’t know how she survived for four days. Probably because she’s so anti-social. She’s snappy with other dogs and won’t go near them. She probably thought the coyotes were dogs.
I’m not sure what Brandon would have done if we didn’t get Lilly back. Sometimes I think he loves her more than me.
One blog reader asked Brandon how we go about finding places to live in San Francisco. It’s not always easy to find a six- or seven-month rental. Most landlords want a year. We always use a Realtor to help us. We look for a place that’s furnished and the utilities are included. It’s a pain to set up accounts for electricity, water, garbage, internet, all that stuff, and then have to cancel all of them six months later and pay a cancellation fee.
As far as players who have school-age children, their wives and children usually stay back home until school is out then spend the summer in the Bay Area. They’ll come out for long weekends and spring break. Or they’ll meet up for a road game. But most of us don’t have school-age children yet.
I’m sure I’m forgetting some interesting things. But I imagine this is more than you ever wanted to know!
Thank you for being so nice to Brandon. I love seeing the Baby Giraffe hats and stuffed animals at the park. It is so cool. I wish we could meet all of you and thank you personally. This has been such an awesome experience here in San Francisco.
And one last thing: Don’t believe everything Brandon writes about me in his blog. I don’t always fall asleep at the movies!