And I'm still looking out the window at a yard full of snow.
And I'm watching the Winter Olympics. I like the figure skating (Johnny Weir is a hoot), but frankly, coming from Houston, I just don't really GET sports that involve hunks of ice and snow.
But that's about to change. As of today, all of my basic preparations are complete. First and foremost: Six pairs of tickets (great seats bought in the first 10 minutes of the pre-sale).
Weeklong rental of my 2 BR/2 BA plus kitchen apartment. Flights in and out of MCO (that's airline-speak for Orlando airport). Economy rental car. Two Astros jerseys and two teeshirts, personalized with FAN IN EXILE and lucky number 18 on the back. (You will definitely be able to recognize me at the stadium and practice field.)
A whole week marked VACATION on my Outlook calendar at the office. Plenty of SPF 75 (I really fry in the sun). Camera. Extra batteries.
Most importantly, I've got my Spring Training partner - my sister Elizabeth who will be joining me again for the second consecutive year. My husband is completely off the hook, for the first time since 2006; he's staying home with Shana the dog. My sons can stop making excuses about how busy they are with their new jobs. My daughters can stop telling me how much they hate baseball. Elizabeth and I are going to have a blast - again!
Sorry about posting so many pictures of myself. I don't post photos taken by others on my blog without permission, and I don't have any new ones of my own for this year yet. But very soon (three weeks and two days from now), I'll be posting what you really want to see: Astros in action. If you can't wait until then, you can go to my Astros Fan in Exile website and look at my photos from previous years.
Between now and then, I'm going to be posting some guidance for going to Astros Spring Training in my next few blogs. Alyson Footer is really good for basics, of course. She can tell you when the practice field is open, and where to stand to get autographs. She can give you much better advice on restaurants than I can, since I keep kosher and tend to acquire most of my nourishment in the local PUBLIX grocery store. But let's face it - Alyson's there on the job, not as a fan. It's just different. She doesn't have to dodge the old retired guys who are ushering when she wants to take a picture - she gets to wander around on the field. So look for a blog from me in the next few days, talking about where and how to take pictures at Astros Spring Training. And one on what to wear (including many pictures of fans in great hats from last year). Or... write a comment on my blog and tell me: What do you want to know about going to Spring Training, from a fan's point of view? After 5 years of faithful attendance, I've got opinions (and photos) of most everything - except restaurants.
Disappointing news: The Shuttle launch fell through - again. I keep hoping to see a Shuttle launch before the program ends, and have managed to arrange my trips to Kissimmee to match the launch schedule several times. But each time, the launch gets postponed. This time was especially disappointing, since the launch was scheduled for the Astros one off-day during my stay and it was also Elizabeth's birthday. We had an extra-special birthday plan for the day, but the launch is now a month later, and I'll be long gone. We're thinking of hitting the beach instead.