Monday, May 10, 2010

Visiting the Houston Farmstros in Florida

This past weekend I had the opportunity to visit Garrett in Kissimmee, Florida. Garrett, being the sweet gentleman that his mother raised him to be, picked me up from the airport and greeted me with an Astros cap that he had convinced the clubhouse manager (aka clubby) to give to him.

I could not have asked for a more perfect weekend...with the exception of the weather. The sunshine state greeted me warmly, with 90% humidity and 90 degree temperatures. Clearly, my albino skin was not thrilled about the increase in UV index rating that corresponds with travelling south, so was sure to I lather myself with sunscreen on every run. Although, the temperatures made me sweat so much that it was probably washing away all of the sunscreen.

With that being said, on Friday I grudgingly woke up in the early hours of 6am and handed Garrett his breakfast: the protein bars I had brought all the way from NC, courtesy of Trader Joe's. Since I was already up, I ran early in the morning down the major highway near the hotel. I found out later that one of Garrett's teammates had been driving down the same road on his way to practice and saw a redheaded runner, and thought to himself "Bullock would like that kind of girl - redhead and a runner!"...A half second later, he rememebered that I was in town. Ironic that it was actually his girlfriend!

During the time that Garrett was at practice on Friday and Saturday, I found various ways to keep myself occupied. I went to Whole Foods to buy three pounds of bulk granola for Garrett, as well as containers of Kiefer yogurt. By the time I had finished all of my errands to spoil him with food, he was already back from the field. On Saturday I didn't have his truck, so I ran a really slow seven miles and then just sat under a canopy at the pool and read a book, The House at Riverton, for three hours.

When Garrett wasn't playing baseball, we hung out obviously. This is where everything was quite perfect. Garrett had scoped out the area in Celebration, Florida which is a picturesque town that is too perfect to be true. It is like the town out of the Truman Show, but better since it is actually real. Flawlessly manicured lawns, neighborhood electric vehicles, and only local restaurants and stores are what give this small town its character. There are small ponds scattered throughout, with walkways that connect each to the other. All of this is only located 2 miles from Garrett's hotel/permament place of lodging for the past two months.

Garrett and I in Celebration

From his own self-led tour, he looked at menus to the restaurants and picked the one that would be best for his red-headed vegan wonder. Afterwards, we walked one block and watched Iron Man at the town's tiny theater.

On Saturday, we ate a late lunch at Whole Foods, hung out at Barnes and Noble (I bought him the Girl who Played with Fire), and ate at Dandelion Cafe - a vegan restaurant that Garrett had researched. Located a couple miles from downtown Orlando, this restaurant was in a remodeled house that boasted solar panels on the roof and lacked air conditioning. The food was absolutely delicious - I ordered vegan nachos on top of greens and Garrett ordered quinoa with greens. Afterwards, we got self-serve frozen yogurt from the Florida chain Mochi. Since the Orlando Magic were in a playoff game that night, we got to see a pretty hopping social scene.

Garrett and I in Downtown Orlando

One of my favorite parts of this trip was when I got to hang out with some of Garrett's fellow farmstros. These guys came from all different areas of the US (LA, Indiana, South Carolina, Pennsylvania) but all shared a common love: baseball. Just as dedicated as Garrett, they are all in the minors for as long as the Astros will see value in their baseball playing skillz. I enjoyed getting to know all of them and was glad to see that Garrett was in good hands. Of course, I did buy all of these young guys a shot of Grey Goose in order to toast their accomplishments...after all, they are professional baseball players!

I went two months without seeing Garrett and now I'm preparing for the four month long hiatus until he gets done with his second season in the minors.


Meghan said...

MOCHI! :) It sounds like you had a fabulous time! I'm so glad that Florida was able to welcome you with our fantabulous sunumid (sunny-humid) weather!

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