8/31/23

A FAST NOTE BEFORE I START – REMEMBER THAT I AM IN A DIFFERENT TIME ZONE THAN USUAL, SO THE POSTING OF THIS BLOG WILL BE LATER THAN NORMAL FOR THE NEXT FEW WEEKS!

And so this week’s moment of happiness despite the news.

If you’re a reader of this blog, or if you follow me on social media, or if you just happen to know me, then you know that I landed on the Oregon coast last Saturday. So I’m sure you would expect This Week’s Moment Of Happiness Despite The News to be about:

*the ocean, as constant outside my window as my own breath;

*the sea lion that swam alongside me on one of my evening walks;

*the incredible sunsets, and the beauty that is this place, even when it’s too overcast for a sunset;

*my accomplishing more in three days of writing here than I did in the last month at home;

*and I could go on and on. But…nope.

This Moment is about the shower.

Now, I have been crazy about showers for pretty much as long as I remember. I even remember my first shower, taken in Esko, Minnesota, in the standing shower stall that was built in our basement when it was transformed into a rec room. I was young, maybe eight years old? And I stood there in that hot stream and just reveled. Granted, it was in northern Minnesota, where anything that created a blast of heat was to be revered. But it imprinted on my brain and led me to always seek out showers.

My parents, for whatever weird reason, insisted that I only wash my hair on Sundays and Wednesdays. On those in-between days, I was relegated to the bathtub with dry hair. During the hormonally greasy teenage years, this was just awful. As soon as I left for college, the first thing I did, literally that very night, was start showering every day. I hated school breaks, as it meant returning to the Sunday/Wednesday schedule. But my parents moved away to Michigan between my freshman and sophomore year, and so I stayed with others during breaks that never heard of the Sunday/Wednesday rule.

Whenever we visited hotels, I soaked in the shower, where the hot water never ran out. Some folks look for comfy beds in hotels. I look for showers. The first thing I test is the strength of the water pressure.

When we built our condo, I spent most of my focus on our bathroom. OUR bathroom, not shared with three teenagers and a little Olivia. No rubber duckies. I insisted on a jetted tub and body jets in the shower, and when I went to the bathroom showroom to choose what I wanted, they measured me, so that one body jet, when it’s straight out, hits me at the base of my neck. The other one hits that little divot at the base of the spine. I slam those babies on and stand there until the water runs cold.

The year Olivia and I took the Amtrak Empire Builder to Portland, once again for a retreat on the Oregon coast, I chose a sleeper car so that I would have access to a shower on the train. This intrigued me to no end. While the actual experience was somewhat less than stellar (rocking from side to side, falling through the flimsy shower curtain), seeing the water drain through to the rails below was unforgettable. I even wrote a short story based on that experience. “Clean” was published in Prairie Schooner and nominated for a Pushcart.

But then there’s here. Waldport, Oregon. My favorite spot on this earth, at least so far.

The house I stay in is very simple, very basic, which is often what my overheated mind needs once I get here. The ocean is stimulus enough. But…the shower.

Showers, actually. The shower has two heads…one behind and one in front. So there is no time, absolutely no time, when any body part isn’t being hit with hot water. I can twist and turn to my absolute delight, and I’m still getting soaked. And the hot water lasts an amazingly long time.

There are no body jets. It’s not a standing shower, it’s in a bathtub. A 1980’s gold bathtub.

BUT THERE ARE TWO HEADS.

At home, due to rising water bills, I’ve stopped showering every day, and instead follow an every-other-day schedule. Which I hate, almost as much as I hated Sunday/Wednesday. But here…every day, baby. I get up, have a leisurely breakfast before checking my email, complete with a strong cup of coffee and a good book. And then…and then…I stroll to the bathroom, set both showerheads (they have separate controls) to asbestos, and I soak. Until the water runs cool.

I’ve yet to figure out how to make both of the heads run out at the same time. I typically end up shutting off one, and then standing under the other until it’s cold too. But that’s okay. It’s lovely.

And when I step out of the shower…I hear the ocean. After dressing, I look at the ocean.

There’s just nothing better.

Can you imagine a shower in the train with two shower heads and body jets??? I must call Amtrak.

And yes, that helps. Despite. Anyway.

(If you would like to read my short story, “Clean”, go to https://prairieschooner.unl.edu/excerpt/clean)

Sunset on my first full day here. Glorious.
But overcast sunsets are amazing too.
TWO SHOWERHEADS!

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