I don’t know how the rest of you withstood the past eight weeks. It was May and it was 38 degrees. Then it was June and it was 38 degrees and also pouring. I attended a nephew’s after-season baseball tournament in sweatpants, watching the soccer moms hunch into their lined leggings and five dollar lattes. Spam emails offered me opportunities to “escape the heat” when I required a parka to enter the basement. It wouldn’t end. It wouldn’t end. It wouldn’t end. I begged the Lord. It wouldn’t end.

When it did end, last week, overnight, I didn’t trust it; I was a beaten animal who had been offered an entire dead cow on a very large platter and I refused to approach it, for this was clearly some sort of awful prank. Surely, the sun lived only in fairy tales.

I was exhausted. It was an odd sort of exhausted; not the kind of exhausted that happens after a string of Olympic-viewing all nighters or driving until your eyes are gritty or helping to deliver baby camels or whatever it is people do to drive them to put Red Bull in their bodies. It seemed that every single thing I did was coated with a grimy film of tired. Bedtime arrived before a 6:20 first pitch did. Opening wine required too much energy, so I just plopped a mini-box of raisins in some vanilla extract and hoped for the best. And so on.

This state of being reached its apogee right around the time the Reds were drilling down on a four-game losing streak, just after breaking three games short of .500. The Wild Card race, too, then, was meant only for strip malls in the Bermuda Triangle and Sasquatch bachelorette parties.

The cheapest, least-fattening way I have found to relieve this degree of melancholy is to look up real estate listings. Where? Anywhere. I’ve had 17 addresses in at least the past 15 years. Moving vans don’t scare me, but three solid weeks of rain as the Zip Dip OPEN sign blazes forth does. I find myself attracted to minimalism lately, for the fewer possessions I own, the easier it will be to slam the car door, settle my laptop in the passenger seat, and plug Guam into the GPS. Josh The Pilot can parachute in eventually. The trash is at the curb and I haven’t gotten a newspaper delivered since 2003. Other than my electrolyte powder supplier, I cannot imagine who in Cincinnati could possibly miss my physical presence.

Usually, I run a search for tiny homes and studio apartments in Florida, where it’s warm, or Colorado, where it’s considered mostly acceptable to ride horses into convenience stores. Traumatized by the necessity of wearing a hooded jacket to a mid-June parish festival, I’ve been focusing more on Florida, as far south as I can get without actually emigrating to Bolivia. This involves exploring properties in the Florida Keys, all of which are a bit out of our price range. Once I got excited when I saw a listing in Key Largo on the shore for a mere $185,000, but it turned out to be for a boat slip, and, as I watched the Ohio overnight temperature forecast sink to 52 degrees, I considered it. Did I actually need a boat to live in a boat slip?  Couldn’t I just bob around on one of those giant unicorn rafts and find a bar with walls in case of hurricane?

This is Marlins country. Surely the Reds will visit occasionally, with plenty of good cheap seats available for the asking, probably up to and including the dugout if I was willing to forego access to a ladies’ room. But then I felt sad that a rectangle of water was worth several thousand dollars more than the actual physical West Side house we live in, and new friends in Florida never ask what parish you’re from. They just assume you’re from somewhere else, and they’re usually right. Plus, no one knows how to pronounce “Reading Road” properly anywhere but here. So I’ll stay warily put for the moment.

Are you trusting the weather and the land on which we currently stand? Can you credit these brief rises and falls, rises and falls out of last place, like a lung learning to breathe? When I lack certainty, I run; a carefully attuned gut is the hallmark of the nonmathematical mind. But can I even trust my lack of trust? Baseball is a grind, the players are always saying into Fox Sports Ohio microphones– but when the parts of the machine start to slide effortlessly past one another exactly as they should, shiny and efficient, is the usual wear and tear still extracted?

Maybe this fanbase is so exhausted, loss-logged, and beaten by rickety bullpens that a newly mixed team, any team, will seem a tonic to us, even if it’s about as stable as a plot of ocean. But now, right now, with the All Star break upon us and Puig slipping effortlessly over the plate in the stadium lights, it’s best to stay a while.

32 Responses

  1. Scott C

    I hate the cold as well, and occasionally look at real estate listings in Florida. I’m looking for one of those 55 and above communities. I told my wife, just think we’ll be the youngsters down there.
    I also have a hard time trusting the current “winning ways” of the Reds, much like the weather it is hard to trust. I don’t know maybe I’m just getting old and cranky. I have to go and yell at those darn kids t get off my lawn.

    • Doc

      Tucson Arizona. Warm. Dry. Reds games are over before bedtime. Spring training, when optimism shines brightest and the Reds are T1 on the regular season. And the Reds come to play the D’backs once. The series might even count for something other than draft position this year.

      • Scott C

        Does not sound bad at all. May have to start looking at real estate out there.

      • Mary Beth Ellis

        Oh I love Tucson. I served two residencies there and have vague young childhood memories of looking at cacti whizzing by as my great-uncle drove wildly up Kitt Peak.

        I spent 2016 Election Day at a residency in Tubac. Always on the list as a potential living site.

      • Jim t

        Spent 8 years assigned to Davis-Monthan AFB. In Tucson. Loved every minute of it. Mountains, dry heat and the desert is beautiful the small time it blooms. Lots of sun shine. Followed those 8 years with 5 at Vandenberg AFB. 50 north of Santa Barbara. The area is called the flower capital of the world for its climate. A little south of Hearst Castle for some context. From there it was off to Cape Canaveral Fla. where I spent my last 7 years of active duty. Looking back I would choose Tucson over the other two places every time. Loved the sunshine. My love for my home town and my grandkids is what keeps me in Cincinnati but I am seriously considering spending January and February in Tucson. With 20 years in the AF I may have missed 2 opening days. My leaves were always centered around being home for opening day. Also Tucson got the Dodger games so when the reds played them I got to listen to Vin Scully call the games. He was the absolute best.

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      I had a horrible pause when I realized I’m not all that far from being eligible for the Margaritaville retirement community we were making fun of a couple years ago.

      • Lwblogger2

        I’m not too far off either. Those patio-homes are looking better and better as my knees remind me that stairs are bad.

  2. Mark Moore

    We’re dealing with a string of 95+ days and little to no rain. I believe I’m ready for a change in the next couple of years, though I don’t know what that might bring.

    Great stuff as always MBE. Your writing always draws us in and makes us feel right at home.

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      thank you 🙂 Oh for a drought right now…

    • Lwblogger2

      Yes, kind of strange even for the desert. Cincinnati area has had more rain than Seattle this year and we just cane off a stretch over over 2 weeks where it rained every day. Now we get a day or 2 of no rain and then 2-3 days with rain. It’s odd. Lived in Cincinnati most my life aside from the 4.5 years I spend in the USAF and I don’t recall weather like we’ve had the past 2-3 years.

  3. RojoBenjy

    It’s conceivable then that you can buy the whole ocean for $185,000.

    You just can’t float in it all at once. You have to let it flow by. How long would it take to have all of it eventually touch your Key West slip?

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      I have never thought of it like that. Brilliant. Now 185 seems like an absolute steal.

  4. Jefferson Green

    MB, great stuff, as usual. With an engaging, anti-sugarcoating style you make me appreciate my hometown- and the Redlegs – a bit more. And I usually laugh out loud at last once, as well. No matter the state you are in, may you keep writing like this.

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      Many thanks. I was thrilled to see all the OTR development and riverfront improvements after being away for a while. Like a whole new city in some ways– and even more lovable.

  5. Jim Walker

    Last summer while streaming a Reds game onto a tablet poolside at my step daughter’s in the LA area, I decided SoCal was the place for us to look into the 55+ communities.

    At first my wife was on aboard too because aside from her daughter and grandkids, a surviving brother and host of nieces, nephews, and cousins live nearby.

    Then the fire season happened. The big killer fire was several hundred miles north; but several blazes substantial in their own right were reasonably nearby to my SD’s neighborhood. Though they were never directly threatened, they saw the glow, smelled the smoke and had ashes descending upon them for several days .

    End of plan at least for then. However my wife is now looking for places where tornadoes don’t happen. Maybe SoCal might slip back onto the OK list? But alas there was a 6.4 quake yesterday which shook them pretty good.

    I think whoever said pay your money and take your chances had it about right.

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      CA is absolutely terrifying. I just saw a video of a doctor talking about how the rat and flea population in the major cities is nearing the levels at which **bubonic plague** is possible.

      Best wishes.

      • greenmtred

        No worries about the rats and fleas: they’ll all fall into one of the faults. That’s the plan.

  6. Eric

    As I’m in a situation of looking at real estate listings for an entirely different reason, I can understand the “move or stay put” conundrum. In this case, however, it would be to move us closer to Great American Ball Park, not further away.

    I totally remember the weird weather swings of the Ohio Valley…just like I totally remember the doldrums of the early 80s before the Reds got good again…and then 1990 happened.

    The sunshine WILL come again, and stay awhile, before football weather sets in again. The Reds WILL, at some point, find their mojo.

    I hold that Senzel, Puig, Dietrich, Suarez, Garrett…and even Our Beloved Joey…are uncovering a bit more of it — win or lose — with each passing game this season.

    • CI3J

      You post reminded me of this Oasis song:

      A little space
      A little time
      See what it can do

      A little faith
      Peace of mind
      See what passes through

      The sun will shine on you again
      A bell will ring inside your head
      And all will be brand new

      Wait, hold on…

      A BELL will ring inside your head?

      David Bell?

      Hmmmmmmmm!

      • Eric

        Good stuff, man – and perhaps prophetic, at that!

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      It’s difficult to have a heart divided. Wherever I am, I always want to be somewhere else.

      • Eric

        Restless. We’re just…restless.

        “I wish there was a way to know you’re in the Good Old Days…before you’ve actually left them. –Andy “The Nard Dog” Bernard

        Memories, indeed, are golden. Except I don’t think anyone will ever refer to 2013-2019 as “the Good Old Days” of the Reds.

    • jazzmanbbfan

      Eric: I used to live in a condo downtown. From the front door of my building to the gate in the left field corner was a 7 minute walk (brisk walk). I went to a lot more games when I lived there and often wish I hadn’t moved.

      • Eric

        JazzMan, that’s some good times right there. Seven-minute walk to the ball park? Dang!

        I’m imagining a complex with a rooftop where you could go and watch the fireworks, too…y’know, if you didn’t go to the game.

  7. RojoBenjy

    Anyone going to the big birthday party at the park today?

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      I hear there will be fireworks, and people disliking the Pirates.

      • TR

        It’s likely few Pirate fans will show up at the party because they have a big game tonight against the Brewers at PNC, and they need a win to stay ahead of the surging Reds.

  8. jreis

    Another great piece Mary Beth. Yes there is no reason to think that the pattern of fridgid games in April, brutal rains in May and June and oppressive heat in July and August will not continue. at least the last weekend series against the Pirates should produce a couple of nice days. hopefully they will be meaning full this year unlike last year when we were 20 games out.

    I believe it is time to demolish old gabp and build a domed stadium. the “perfect days for baseball” are just to few and far between to warrant an outdoor stadium at this point.

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      but where will they put the truck no one (mostly) ever wins?

      • Jreis

        My idea is that if the reds hit 11 home runs in a game all fans can take their ticket stub to Jeff Wyler to get a free truck!