August 01, 2016

A weekend with Caitlin

Thank you so much for your kind words on my post about Chandler. I'm still sort of in disbelief that he's actually gone. He's usually the first cat to come running into the kitchen when I feed them, and it's been so strange not to have him there. This morning, Monica jumped up onto my bed, and for a second I thought it was Chandler, and then remembered that it couldn't be. Having  my friend Caitlin here for the weekend helped my mood a lot, though!

Aside from the heartbreak of losing Chandler over the weekend, I did have a lot of fun with Caitlin. I met Caitlin because she was a reader of my blog, and she emailed me back in 2012 to thank me for my posts about my skin removal surgery. She said she had lost well over 100 pounds (I later learned it was actually 240 pounds!! She's very modest, haha) and she had skin removal surgery as well.

The following year, I emailed her out of the blue to ask if she'd be interested in joining a Ragnar SoCal team made up of several of my blog readers. She agreed, and I actually met her in person the following October. We were both running the Chicago Marathon, so we met up in Chicago the day before the race. If not for her, I likely wouldn't have even run the race--I had a panic attack when I arrived in Chicago, and was very tempted to just turn around and go right back to my sister's house. I ended up hanging out with Caitlin, and I am so glad that I stayed!

We ran Ragnar SoCal together in 2014, and then I visited her for a day in Boston when I went out there for the Heartbreak Hill Half & Festival for Runner's World. That was the last time I saw her, so it had been a couple of years.

Caitlin had never been to Michigan, so it was fun getting to show her around a little! She arrived on Thursday, and we took the kids out to lunch. Then, we drove the kids to my brother's house, because they were going to stay the night over there. Brian was making guacamole when we got there, so naturally, we stayed for a little bit ;)

That evening, my other brother, Nathan, came over to my house. He hadn't yet seen the documentary, so Nathan, Caitlin, Jerry, and I watched the film. (It is being released tomorrow, by the way! It will be available on iTunes and Amazon.)

On Friday morning, Caitlin and I went to the State Park for a long walk, while Jerry took Chandler to the vet. I already wrote about that yesterday, so I won't get into it again. But after having a good cry in the park, I decided that I would try not to think about it much while Caitlin was in town--I didn't want her to feel uncomfortable about the whole situation. (She went through the same thing with her cat, though, so she was totally understanding.)

We had sandwiches from Erie Bread Co. for lunch--their 13-8-on-9 is probably the best sandwich on the planet, in my opinion. We went back to Brian's to pick up the kids, and ended up hanging out for several hours. Brian had some model rockets that he and the boys put together, and the kids wanted to launch them. So we went to a big field for the launch, and Brian brought his quadcopter to film it. It was actually really fun to watch! The rockets went about 1,000 feet in the air, and then the kids ran to try and catch the parachute on the way down.

The rocket actually almost hit Brian's quadcopter

We left to go to dinner before heading to a Mud Hen's (baseball) game. I had been debating when I should tell the kids about Chandler, and I decided to tell them before dinner. I didn't want to ruin their time at the game, but I thought maybe the game would be a good distraction. Otherwise, if I told them right before bed, they would just be upset all night. It was heartbreaking to give them the news, and they reacted just like I thought they would; but I'm glad that I told them before dinner, because going out to eat and to a ball game was a good way to take their minds off of it. (Except for the fact that the kid sitting in front of us happened to be named Chandler! What are the odds?!)

We went to El Camino Real in Toledo, which is my favorite Mexican place. Then we headed to the Mud Hen's game. After we parked, we were walking to the stadium and we actually bumped into my friend Renee and her family, who were going to the game also! We found our seats, and I was grateful that it was slightly overcast, because we didn't have shade.

The weather felt perfect, actually--until the fourth or fifth inning, when it suddenly just started down pouring! Everyone ran for cover, and we ended up going down to where Renee's family was to wait it out.

We chatted for a while, and the rain wasn't letting up (they had called the game off) so we headed home. We watched an episode of Shameless (Caitlin had never seen it) and then went to bed. That night in bed, I got to talk to Jerry about Chandler--I had a ton of questions. I still just couldn't believe what had happened, and it was hard to fall asleep. When I got up, I decided to head out for a short run. Caitlin woke up as I was getting my shoes on, so she came along, too. We ran at a very easy pace, but it was so humid that it actually felt hard to breathe. We only ran three miles, but we were both really sweaty when we got back.

After showering and getting ready, we headed up to Detroit for the day. I knew Caitlin would love Eastern Market (an enormous farmer's market). We walked around for a couple of hours, sampling (and buying) several things.

Eventually, we took our goods to the car, and then walked to Greektown. It started raining fairly hard on the way, and we both got soaked, but we agreed it was better than walking in the sun. Caitlin mentioned she likes pulled pork, so we went to Redsmoke, my favorite barbecue place. I'm normally not a salad person, but I do love their caesar salad with pulled chicken!

After lunch, we walked to Greektown Casino. We lost our money, but we had fun! ;)

This is blurry because I was SO cold from be wet (from the rain) and then
being in the air-conditioning--my hands were shaking so badly!

We headed over to the Riverwalk, which is one of my favorite parts of Detroit. It's so pretty! I was excited to see that they put chairs out along the walk, so we stopped and sat for a few minutes with a gorgeous view of Canada.

I told Caitlin she looks like a celebrity in this photo for some reason--maybe it's the black clothes and sunglasses? I love that picture of her, though!

It was a very long walk back to the car, and by that time, it was already after 3:00. I wished I'd been wearing my Fitbit, but I looked at the Health app on my phone, and it said that we'd gotten in over 20,000 steps--nearly 12 miles (including our three mile run). That's a lot of walking!

We picked up the kids and Jerry, and then went to Anson's for dinner (our favorite pizza place). I showed Caitlin how to play Keno, because she'd never played before--and I actually won $75 on a $10 ticket! It's always fun when someone hits all their Keno numbers--even more fun when it's ME ;)

After dinner, we hurried back to my house, because Dean (one of our SoCal teammates) was going to come over, too! He just lives about an hour from me. (I met Dean because of the Motivational Monday posts on my blog--I watched as he went from 317 pounds and running his first 5K to weighing 171 pounds and running a sub-4:00 marathon!). Jerry made a fire, so we sat around the fire and chatted for a couple of hours before Dean had to leave. It was great getting to see them both. Dean was injured for a while and couldn't run, but he has done an awesome job with keeping the weight off--I am very impressed!

Between the three of us, we've lost 517 pounds. Kind of crazy!

On Sunday morning, I took Caitlin to the airport to head home. It was a super fun visit, and a nice way to help me take my mind off of Chandler. I hope we get together again before another two years passes!

By the way, sorry it has taken so long to get the winner of the cat-lovers giveaway up here! I had a very busy weekend, as you can see. But congratulations to Laurie R! I have sent you an email to get your info, so I can pass it along to Purina :) Hope your kitty (or kitties) enjoy!


  1. Sounds like a super fun weekend!

  2. Sounds like a super fun weekend!

  3. Katie, I just want to say I am so sorry about your family's loss of Chandler. We lost our 19-year-old grey tabby, Casey, 4 years ago this month, and your post prompted me to go back and reread the blog post I wrote when she died. There were so many similarities--pictures with my kids, who are adults now, pictures of her in a box etc. I still get tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat when I think about her (like right now as I'm writing this to you). It gets easier, but Chandler will always have a place in your heart. And although one cat is never a replacement for another, it's interesting that Monica came into your lives right before Chandler crossed over the Rainbow Bridge....

  4. Sounds like a great time!

  5. Sounds weird, but I don't think it's a coincidence that a "Chandler" was sitting in front of you at the game - I would take it as a sign that your Chandler is happy, healthy, and at peace. Maybe his way of saying good bye. I'm so sorry for your loss.

  6. How do you all keep it off? Do Caitlin and Dean share your struggles with maintenance?

    1. Caitlin and Dean make it look so easy! I asked Caitlin about maintenance while she was here, because I really wish I could get to the point she's at (she maintains a very small goal range). She still counts her calories, eating 2,200-2,800 a day. She typically eats the same foods several days in a row, because she enjoys it and she's single (lots of leftovers). She loves David's Tea, and drinks that often to keep from snacking. And when she does snack, she typically eats lower calories foods--popcorn is a favorite. She also eats dessert every single day! ;)


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