Friday, February 6, 2015

Caitie Timmerman

When I was growing up in California, most of my extended family lived in Michigan. We spent many summers and 1 Christmas (my only white Christmas) in Michigan with my cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents. We didn't see them often but I loved those trips to Michigan so much. There was the pack of us cousins, all around the same age,and I loved spending time with them. Running around in the warm summer rain with my cousin Stephanie is one of my fondest memories. We don't have warm rainy days in California. I also remember the stifling heat and humidity, another thing we don't have in California, and Stephanie and me staying closed up in Grandma's bedroom because there was an air conditioner in the window in Grandma's bedroom. I remember the big house my Grandparents lived in before the moved to a retirement community and Grandpa giving us money to walk down to the "candy store" on the corner. Thinking back, it may have been a liquor store but they had candy and that's all we were after. I have so many great memories of those trips to Michigan. I really had no idea how lucky I was. I didn't realize the expense of those trips. That expense is the reason I have only been back to Michigan three times in my adult life, two of those were for funerals and once just to get us all together. And if I'm being honest, my parents paid for all 3 of those trips too.

My cousin Mike is the oldest of the 15 of the grandchildren. He is 3 years and 1 day older than me. Three years is a big gap when you're 7 and 10. But I always loved Mike. I think when I was really little I just loved that his birthday was the day after mine. I'm sure there were times when I was the annoying little cousin but I really thought he was so awesome. I wanted to spend time with him. Mike was smart and funny and I admired him so much. As we got older I think we were both kind of the odd man out in our own immediate families. I think we both grew up with very strong emotions that didn't quite fit in the emotional norms of our parents and siblings. I was close to my parents as was Mike to his, we both love our families and are loved by them. But there was this "thing", I can't describe it. We both just kind of drove our parents crazy and there was a lot of emotion behind that for both of us, I think. I don't think either of us wanted that. Some kids seem to enjoy making their parents crazy. But, I think Mike and I just wanted to be understood. I'm guessing at his feelings here, it isn't something we have discussed. We just felt connected in a way that never expressed until now.

We're both in our 40's now and have adult children of our own. I haven't seen Mike since 1991 and we grew apart as people do when they start families of their own 2500 miles apart. We've both been through divorce and raising kids and have had many life experiences since those days of running to the candy store. But last week something happened. Mike's daughter Caitie, who was only 21 years old, died suddenly and unexpectedly. The absolute worst possible thing I can think of happened to him. I didn't know Caitie. I had heard stories of her and seen pictures and my Grandma, who passed away in 2013, always kept me informed of family life in Michigan. But when my Mom called to tell me Caitie had died, I cried. I didn't cry for my own pain, I cried for Mike and his wife. I cried because the pain of losing a child is most certainly the worst pain imaginable. I ached for him and for my Aunt Linda and Uncle David who had lost their grandchild. We aren't meant to lose children. It isn't the natural order of things. Tonight, for the first time in 24 years I talked to Mike. We talked for 3 hours on the phone. We covered as much of the last 24 years as two people can cover in 3 hours. He told me the story of the events that unfolded day his daughter died. And then he told me about the years his daughter lived. He told me about who she was and about how many people loved her and all of the people who were loved by her. She was a giver. A giver of love and time. She was active in her church and she loved Christ and she was willing to share that love with anyone who wanted to hear about it. What a beautiful soul I missed knowing in this life. What a beautiful gift God gave to the world and her family when He created Caitie. Caitie gave me the gift of that 3 hour conversation with my much loved cousin, her father. The gift of seeing Mike's belief in a God that will carry us when we can't go on alone. I have prayed every day for His grace for my hurting family. I have prayed for a peace that passes understanding and I know that Mike has found beautiful moments of that peace. Of course he is sad and angry and hurting and he misses his daughter beyond measure but he knows that God has not left his side, that God has a plan for all of us and Caitie's work here was done. We know that Caitie is in heaven with Our Heavenly Father. I can't wait to meet her when I get there.

Mike's wife posted the attached picture on Facebook this morning. It is how Caitie lived. Thank you, Caitie for the gift you have given me.

Jeremiah 3:33
Call to me and I will answer you. I will show you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Year Of Change

Wow, it's been more than I year since I last posted to this blog. So much has changed, and so much is still the same. I'm relatively sure no one reads my blog anyway, but I do comment on a lot of blogs so someone may end up here at some point. If you found me through a blog comment, HI! Thanks for stopping by.

In September Nikki and I finally had to make the move. We were getting knocks on the door from Realtors trying to get us to let them sell the house rather than lose it to foreclosure. We hadn't heard anything about a timeline, but with the increase of Realtors paying visits we knew that our time was limited. I had been looking for a duplex for us for awhile without much luck. Some wouldn't take dogs, some would take dogs but not if it has any pit bull in the mix. I was starting to think we were going to have to get rid of the dogs. I love my dogs, they are like my children and the thought of losing them made me ill.

In August I found the perfect little duplex. I loved it from the minute I saw the pictures on craigslist. I applied for occupancy without ever seeing the inside of the place. When I went to see the inside it was even better than I imagined. It's a cute little 2 bedroom, 2 bath with a yard for the dogs and patio out back. The whole house has hardwood floors so it's super easy to keep the floors clean. The kitchen has beautiful granite counter tops and all stainless steel appliances. It's just gorgeous! And, although it was a little out of my budget, the owners pay the water/sewer/garbage and that saves me $100/mo AND the house comes with gardening service so I don't have to mow or rake leaves. It really is just perfect! Nikki and I are so happy in our new place. Keeping the old house clean was a major task! The house was just so big and it was right across the street from the levee, so you just couldn't keep up with all the dust. Plus, I don't think the carpets in that house had ever been replaced and the house was 20 years old. No matter how often we vacuumed and had professionals come in to steam clean, the spots always came back and the carpet was always filthy looking. Now that we have hardwood, the house just feels so much cleaner! I'm hoping my Mom and Dad will be getting me a Steam Shark for Christmas because I hear they are great for hardwood.

So, now that we've been in our rental for 2.5 months I have to say, we are BROKE! Working with my budget takes some serious planning and I'm having a little trouble getting everything worked out. But despite the fact that we're so broke, we are so much happier. Life just seems to be joyful again and I haven't felt that way in so long. Living in a house that was about to be pulled out from under us due to foreclosure was weighing so heavy on me. I didn't realize how heavy until we were out of there.

The other big change.....Nikki is learning to drive. Nikki had colic something fierce when she was an infant. She cried for 4 months straight. When she turned 4 months old it was like magic, she just stopped crying and I haven't and much to complain about, as far as parenting goes, since then. ENTER THE TEENAGE ATTITUDE BEHIND THE WHEEL OF A CAR! OH. MY. GOSH! This is seriously the worst part of parenting so far. She really does a pretty good job. There are some merging issues and other things that are to be expected. We live in a reasonably large city so learning how to get around with all those cars whizzing by can be difficult. But there are those times when she needs a little correction/advice from me and it isn't always taken with grace. I'll admit, it probably isn't always handed with grace. But it's REALLY FREAKING SCARY sometimes!! This has seriously given me a whole new respect for my parents! With any luck Nikki will be a fully licensed driver in February. We still need to sign her up for 2 more sessions with the professionals (there's that budget issue again) but I can see that she's improving every time.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

I'm Hungry!

Before I started this new journey I would eat a ton of food at every opportunity. When my daughter was out of school for the summer, sometimes I would stop at the croissant place on my way to work. I'd get 2 croissants, one for breakfast (usually blueberry) and one for lunch (usually ham and cheese). Inevitably, every time, I would end up eating both for breakfast and then head to Panda Express for the 3 item combo or to Taco Bell and get 3 items there or maybe to Subway, where I always got the 12 inch sub. Then when dinner rolled around (after I'd downed a bottle of wine) I'd eat until I was so full it was painful. This was a vicious cycle and I'd been doing it for years. It's no wonder I've gained over 100 pounds in the last 4 years! I often wonder just what it is that was making me eat so freakin' much food!

I'm hungry are two words that haven't really applied in my life for some time. Lately, I've been hungry a few times a day and it's WONDERFUL! I'm eating a reduced number of calories, but I'm eating those calories spread out in 5-6 "meals" each day. I've started to love things like yogurt and fruit. I rarely even think about fried food anymore. I get excited when I remember that I have a salad in the fridge to have for my afternoon snack. What a strange and healthy new way of thinking.

Giving up the wine has been more difficult than giving up the food. I'm still pretty proud of my effort however.

I LOVE rain. I love to sit on the couch with a cup of coffee, a fire in the fireplace, a quilt covering me, my dog snuggled up asleep and a good movie. I leave the windows open and I listen to the glorious sound that rain makes and breathe in the fresh scent. Fall and Winter are definitely my favorite times of year. Last Sunday was a rainy day and it wasn't a good thing.

About 3 years ago we had a small leak in the laundry room ceiling from the roof. I climbed up on the roof with some caulking and sealed the leak. The next year the leak was back, but now not just in the original place, but new places. This leak required several buckets. We tried to seal the leaks, with little success. Last year the leaks became even bigger. My husband had gone up on the roof to install a sun shield on his office window and stepped right through the rotted wood. The rotting just got worse as the rainy season continued and we just used more buckets. But the ceiling was cracking more and more with every storm.

Last Saturday it started raining and the ceiling was REALLY heavy with water. I did everything I could to cover that part of the roof. I went to bed feeling pretty good about my accomplishment. Sunday morning I woke up and went to check my handy work.....The floor in the laundry room was soaked and the water was literally pouring in. We were emptying a 5 gallon bucket every hour. I headed to Home Depot and Ace Hardware and I bought plastic sheeting and a staple gun and I did the best I could to cover the problem. I stood on the roof in the pouring rain. After many hours of cleaning up the mess and standing on the roof, I changed into some dry clothes, snuggled up with a blanket, fire in the fireplace, and tried to relax. And then I heard it....THUNK. Nikki said "What was that?" I just closed my eyes and said "I think it was the ceiling falling in." and sure enough, the ceiling gave way and now water was pouring in from so many spots I had to rush out and buy more buckets. I sat alone on my couch just crying. I felt so alone. There really wasn't anything more I could do. But the rain tapered off in the evening, so at least there wasn't any more water pouring into the house.

That night, I just wanted wine. I hadn't had any in a few days. I had held off buying some earlier when I went out to get buckets and plastic. But at the end of that monster of a day, I just wanted to have some wine. So I drank wine that night. I haven't had any since, but I'm not ashamed of myself and I'm not going to dwell on it. I did what I needed to do to make it through that day. I didn't over eat that day. I didn't go get a huge pizza and polish it off, and that was an accomplishment.

Monday morning one of the engineers at work asked how my weekend was and I said "Great, my ceiling fell and I have a huge hole in my roof." I explained the problem to him, the shape of my roof, etc. Long story short, he said "I can fix that. I can do a fix that will get you through this year at least." He had me take pictures and he and another engineer set about coming up with a plan to fix my problem. Yesterday the two of them spent about 4 hours buying supplies and assembling the boards, flashing and caulking on my roof and it only cost me about $60 in materials. I feel so blessed. I can't even think of a way to thank those guys. I was feeling so alone and unable to provide for myself and my daughter and out of nowhere came two guys who showed me that I'm not alone. And they didn't ask for anything in return, they just wanted to help me.

And now that my roof is somewhat whole again, it's time to get back to the business of helping myself. I've been doing a great job with my food choices and I'm not drinking. I've had more energy and I'm starting to take care of some much needed chores around the house. But I haven't been exercising like I need to and you know what....That's OK. I have made some awesome changes in last month. I'm on the road to getting healthy and I'm happier than I have been in years!!

I'm FURIOUSLY HAPPY! But that story is for another post.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

So Much to Blog...So Little Time

I keep meaning to update my blog. It seems like things are happening that I get really excited about and if I don't blog about them right then, I lose steam...both with the excitement and the need to blog about the excitement.

Let's start with what I'm doing to get healthy and happy. I've started eating healthier. I do occasionally fall off the wagon but I haven't gone out for lunch (a BIG problem for me) in almost a month. I stock my office at work with healthy, balanced, low calorie, yummy food and I stick with that. On October 3rd I walked in my first ever 5K walk. It was a run/walk but I'm in no shape to run so I walked it. I walked with my Mom and I finished the race. We came in dead last by a long shot but I finished and the journey left me feeling so great!! The following weekend I walked my second 5K with my Mom and I beat my time from the previous week by 10 minutes. Still dead last, but still an awesome journey! I started walking around the block with Nikki right after the first 5K. I was doing well, for a few days, but I seem to have lost the motivation along the way. I have a long way to go. I need to lose about 100 pounds. But it can be done! My friend Alyshia lost even more weight that that through diet and exercise and now she's a personal trainer! And she's REALLY inspiring so I highly recommend you check out her blog if you're on a journey to do something that's really difficult.

This morning on my way to work I told Nikki that I need to exercise tonight. That I WILL run! I'm done with being happy with a walk around the block once every other day. It's a 1/2 mile, it's hardly the most effective exercise regimen. So, tonight I run. I will run until I don't think I can run anymore and then I'll run 20 more steps. There will be no shame or self doubt when I hit the wall...I will just walk it off and run again when I catch my breath. I CAN DO THIS! I WILL DO THIS! Also, wine is not my friend! I gave up hard alcohol in August (people who know me know this was a big deal) but I started drinking wine. Wine has soooooo many calories and the carbohydrates are ridiculous! Wine is not my friend. I need to drink more water....and probably a lot of decaf coffee when the weather cools. I know even decaf coffee has some caffeine and it's no substitute for water, but I really love it!

Nikki is doing really well. She has been running every day. She also ran the previously mentioned 5K's with my friend Kathy, who is another truly inspirational person that I feel lucky to have in my life! Nikki is vegan, so her diet is already pretty healthy. She also just started conditioning for softball 2 days a week. The season doesn't start til February, but they're getting an early start on training this year. School is going well for her, as usual. I really love that girl! Being her Mom is truly the most awesome gift I have ever received!

So, taht's what's new. I'm doing what I can to get to a healthier me! I've lost 2 pounds....only 98 to go. But stay tuned! Cause it's gonna be a long and wild ride!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

No, REALLY...we're moving

This "We have to move" thing has really been dragging out but it really is getting closer. We have filled out paperwork for the Federal relief but we know we won't qualify and it's just buying time. So Nicole and I started de-cluttering this weekend. MAN OH MAN! Our upstairs landing looks like a mini-episode of Hoarders with all the stuff we have set out to donate! We usually get those "donation bags" in the mail at least once a week. The ones that let you know when the charity will be in your neighborhood and then you just leave the stuff on the curb for pick-up. I hope they plan to bring a big truck! I'm almost embarrassed to leave all that stuff on the curb for all of my neighbors to see. But, I can't wait to get it all out of the house! I think we'll go for round two this weekend. My closet is a weekend project all on its own!

Bill is planning a trip home in a couple of weeks to pick up the last of his things to take to Oregon. Since he isn't planning to move back to California, I don't see any reason to move his stuff when Nicole and I finally move. I want as little "stuff" as possible. Simple and clean..that will be our new motif!

I've started looking at rental houses and duplexes. I think we'll be able to find something nice, within our budget. I look every day and I just know that when we're ready, the right house will be there and we'll be OK. I think I'm due a little good karma these days! I just want something afordable, close to the high school and willing to take my dogs. Is that so much to ask?

Yesterday Nicole started her Sophomore year of high school. Here's to another gret year!!

Monday, August 16, 2010


It's getting closer to the time that Nicole and I are going to have to pack up our house for the move. I'm dreading it. I keep trying to look at the bright side, that we will get the chance to declutter and start fresh. That we will have a smaller home, which seems easier to keep clean (at least in my mind), that we will get rid of all the things we don't need. But moving is such a stressful undertaking. I almost wish we could find the perfect house, move what we want to move and throw everything else in a giant dumpster and be done with it. I'm hoping to have a garage sale to rid of some things, and make some money for the move. I'll be donating a lot of stuff to Goodwill because I have a lot of clothes that don't fit me and if I were to ever actually lose the weight I want to lose, the clothes wouldn't really be in style anymore. There's no need to move them. I have some things I'd like to freecycle or give away and there are a lot of things that just need to be thrown away. Bill has taken most of his things to Oregon, but there are still many things in the house that belong to him that we have to either have him take, or have him store. I don't want to have a house full of unnecessary stuff. I want it to be clean and organized!

I guess the best we can do is start slow and move forward and hope that it all goes as smootly as it can.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Shooting Stars...

Last night, my daughter went for a walk with a BOY! They went up and sat on the levee and watched the meteor shower. Dear God...When did my daughter start liking boys!? I'm doomed.