Have you read “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” yet? You might want to see what happened before this.
Do you have an important occasion coming up? An anniversary, perhaps, or maybe a marriage proposal. Heck, maybe it’s just a Friday. Read on as I have the perfect place to stay.
I wake this morning unsure of what I will do. I’ve contacted a few agencies and organizations in hopes of volunteering but most have not returned my calls. One called back but had no one-off opportunities. At about 10:00am my phone rings and it’s Josie, from The Dining Room calling me back. She asks if I can come in and volunteer from 12:00 noon to 2:30pm. Perfect.
I grab a bite coffee and some Green Eggs and Ham (yup, that’s what it says on the menu) at Theo’s Coffee House on the corner near The Dining Room. As I mentioned in “A Yurt by Any Other Name,” there’s a large homeless community here in Eugene. Run by Food for Lane County, The Dining Room is a place where people having housing and financial challenges can come to eat. In other places, this would be known as a soup kitchen, but in the interest of preserving dignity and respect, this organization’s “soup kitchen” is a restaurant. You can read more about The Dining Room on Rebel-With-A-Cause.
At noon I report for duty and am welcomed by Josie who tells me more about the organization and shows me around the place. She introduces me to Angie, the Dining Room Coordinator and, before I know it, I’m grabbing an apron and some latex gloves. I’ve been assigned to busing tables.
Within five minutes of opening we have 30 people seated at tables and 100 more outside. The need here is great and the volunteers truly care about the people and the organization. We’re constantly on the move serving main courses, desserts and drinks, bringing salt, pepper and hot sauce on request, clearing away dishes and wiping down tables. There’s just this one local college student who seems to have grown roots. While others tell me they do this because they enjoy helping others, they see the need and they’re happy doing it, when I ask her why she does it she tells me it’s required for credit for her degree. I hope she finds her passion.
I, very proudly, finish my shift without once sending dishes crashing to the floor or spilling coffee on anyone. I consider this a successful day. Vikki, the Volunteer Coordinator, asks me where I’m headed next. That’s a fine question. I haven’t a clue. I ask her how far the coast is and she asks how fast I drive (I like her). I tell her it seems that I drive faster than 90% of the population of Oregon. Really, in Phoenix, if the speed limit is 65 it’s expected that you will drive at about 75. We tend to think of speed limits as suggestions. Here in Oregon, if the speed limit is 65, they seem to travel no faster than 62 miles per hour. Vikki tells me that Florence is a cute little town on the coast about 90 minutes away. I head out to my car and have a little talk with Siri and we decide that the ocean sounds like a good idea.
After about eighty minutes shoes off, jeans rolled up, I’m walking out onto sand dunes towards the Pacific Ocean. It’s feels like it’s about 60 degrees with 60 mile per hour winds blowing sand in every place you don’t want sand. As I approach the ocean, I drop my shoes on the beach and fight the hurricane force winds in order to dip my toes into the frigid water. My freshly painted pink, sparkly toe-nail polish looks great with my blue feet. After about three minutes I head away from the water to collect my shoes and find a place to stay. If you take any of the advice I provide here on Drop Me Anywhere, please take this – take note of where you drop your shoes. There’s sand . . . everywhere. And one thing about sand, everything looks the same when you’re surrounded by it. After a ten minute search, I finally locate my shoes and do the long trek over sand dunes to get to my car.
After a short drive into Old Town Florence, I come across the Edwin K Bed & Breakfast. Marv, who along with his wife Laurie, owns the place, is there to greet me. He is incredibly welcoming and shows me around the place. It’s a beautiful, 100 year-old Craftsman House. These are houses which you used to be able to buy through the Sears catalog with the note, “Assembly Required” (and you thought IKEA required some work). The house has had additions and now is a seven bedroom, nine bath, two kitchen, truly beautiful home. Marv points out the sherry which is served daily from 5:00-8:00pm and the shows me to the “Winter Room.” Sold!
With beautiful blue, gray walls, ivory lace curtains and the most incredible attention to detail, I feel like I’m in a Currier and Ives painting. The original, metal bathtub is on a tile pedestal in the room. By “in the room” I not only mean that it’s in the bedroom, not in a separate bathroom, but contrary to the previous two nights, I don’t have to grab my flip-flops and a flashlight in order to use it or the toilet. Marv even gives great instruction on how to use a metal bathtub (fill it and let it sit for 10 minutes so the tub warms up).
The $145 it includes a five course breakfast too! If you have a special occasion coming up, an anniversary, a marriage proposal, a weekend away from the kids or just a weekend away on your own, book this place now. It’s a truly wonderful experience.
I take a quick shower to wash the glacial sand out of my nooks and crannies and head down to share a sherry with my fellow guests. There’s a couple in their early sixties driving down the coast to Long Beach, a younger couple from Romania driving up the coast to Seattle, and a fifty-something single woman getting away for a few days. After a drink, we all head our separate ways to find dinner.
Marv has recommended Bridgewater Restaurant for some good seafood. I walk a block down the road, look at the menu and decide this is perfect. After a nice glass of wine and a healthy and tasty dinner of salmon (and a complementary shrimp cocktail) the waiter brings me a dessert menu. I do my best to resist and, when I see the size of the desert delivered to the table next to me, I decide that there is no way I can order a desert even if I want one as it’s enough to feed at least three people. The ladies on the receiving end of the dessert take note and, before I know it, they’ve asked for an extra plate and are sharing their hot fudge brownie cake with me. I could get used to this place.
I waddle back to the B&B and spend a few minutes sharing dinner stories with my fellow housemates before heading up to my beautiful bathtub. I run the tub, light my French lavender candle, put in some lavender bath soap to substitute for bubbles and hit the Mozart playlist on my iPhone. I climb in my big, beautiful tub, pick up my kindle, lay back and immediately slide down onto my back with my head under water while holding my Kindle up in the air. Note, short girls in extra-long bathtubs beware. After lifting myself back up, I carefully brace myself against the sides, sit back (carefully) and enjoy my night of indoor plumbing.
Tomorrow – Dunes and Nudes
[…] Tomorrow – serving lunch, busing tables and The Joys of Indoor Plumbing! […]
[…] you read “The Joys of Indoor Plumbing?” You might want to read that […]
I can’t believe you took a Kindle to a bath! That is a recipe for disaster!
When askd why he robbed banks, Jesse James said, “That’s where they keep the money.” WWhy do I take a Kindle in the tub? That’s where I keep the books. And I read in the tub.
I hope one day I’m lucky enough to be a guest at the same place you are so that we could meet and sip sherry during the afternoon social/happy hour. Such a civil thing to do together, oui?
That would be great! A beer would have felt out of place. I love civility.
[…] if you read “The Joys of Indoor Plumbing” you’ll remember that I volunteered at The Dining Room, a great organization which uses a […]