Coastal Getaway with a Side of Shingles

I was laid off on July 1. Obviously being unemployed is not ideal (especially with that $600/week coming to an end), but I’m using this as an opportunity to dig my heals into the Portland nonprofit world. Working remotely for my job in Indy was great in so many ways. There’s a lot to be said for stability these days. But it did feel in a way like I was living a weird in-between life – physically in Portland, mentally in Indy. Now I have no choice but to hustle and focus on finding a good job here. I did have a second interview this week for what may be my dream job! I’m trying to be positive and hopeful about it without putting all my eggs in one basket. It’s a difficult balance, but I’m working on it.

Eli was supposed to go to New Orleans last week to visit our friend Scout, but with the rise in COVID cases, it didn’t seem like the best idea. He already had the PTO approved and I’m free as a bird these days, so after he canceled his trip, we booked a couple nights in a coastal town called Lincoln City, Oregon. I found the place on Airbnb. It was more or less a slightly elevated motel room, which was fine by us because it was clean and had a sliding glass door that opened to a balcony facing the ocean. Born and raised in a landlocked state, I never felt a huge need to be near water. That’s changed over the last few years, probably from living along Lake Michigan and the Pacific Ocean. Whatever the reason, being near water – especially the ocean – brings me a full mind/body/spirit sense of peace that I can’t find anywhere else. A good dose of vitamin SEA. (I hate myself for that, too.)

Sunday, July 19

6:56 pm: After getting into our room (using a lock box to get our key and interacting with zero people in the process – excellent), we walked down to a very foggy and chilly beach. Nelscott Beach, I believe.

We went back to our room once I’d lost feeling in my fingers and ordered pizza from a local place called Gallucci’s Pizzeria, which I would recommend avoiding. It reminded me of shitty bowling alley pizza, except it was $35. We threw most of it away. RIP.

At some point in there, we also went to Walgreen’s (where a man was wearing a mask that said, “This mask is as useless as our governer!” and I had to do some quick deep breathing to not let it anger me) to buy anti-itch cream because a rash had appeared on my ribs on my right side the day before. Pain along the front and back of my body began during the 2-hour the car ride to Lincoln City, and I had diagnosed myself with a few fatal illnesses by the time we arrived. The most reasonable diagnosis was shingles, so we agreed that if the rash wasn’t better by Monday morning, we’d pop into an urgent care.

This may sound silly, but we were super stoked to watch the motel cable TV. We have access to quite a few streaming services at home, but there’s something about flipping channels that I miss. We found a Twilight marathon, opened a bottle of wine, cracked the door to the balcony to hear those crashing waves, and enjoyed a very relaxing evening.

Monday, June 20

9:04 am: Eli was up before me and ran out to get a coffee for himself, an oat milk latte for me, and a very large cinnamon roll.

10:35 am: The rash had not improved, so after a lazy breakfast in bed, we very slowly got ready for the day, enjoying the glimmer of blue skies from the balcony.

We found an urgent care in town where I was indeed diagnosed with shingles. When the doctor asked me if I’ve experienced any stress recently, I almost laughed in his face. Unemployment, new city, global pandemic, Donald Trump, systemic racism, evil federal agents… what do I have to be stressed about?

1:11pm: The sun finally fully came out. The shingles diagnosis had me feeling happy and validated. (I have a lot of anxiety about doctors thinking I’m being dramatic or not believing me, so when it turns out I’m not overreacting, I feel great.) We drove over to Roads End State Recreation Site. It was windy and cold, so we found a large piece of driftwood to lean against and stayed long enough to share a PBR tall boy and admire the many beach dogs.

3:08 pm: In search of warmth, we moseyed over to Devils Lake, a little more inland with a lot less wind. Pictures of this lake do not do it justice. It’s so peaceful and serene. Deep blue waters mirrored by the sky. Warm sun and a soft breeze. Dark green pines and rolling hills. I’m still not used to the hills and mountains at every turn here in Oregon, and I hope to stay that way. I like being amazed by things. It’s way more fun than being bored by things.

We went back to the motel for some napping. Normally I would feel a little guilty about this when visiting a new place, but because it was too chilly for a bathing suit, there wasn’t really much for us to do. Very fine by me. We napped with sounds of the ocean and Pawn Stars in the background.

6:13 pm: We wanted to go to this great restaurant called Tidal Rave just a town over for dinner, but they were all booked up, so we ordered carry-out from a seafood place down the road called Dory Cove. It was… fine. Under-seasoned, over-fried. You get it. Definitely not worth ~$70 for two people. But we got some wine and watched the Las Vegas Rugrats episode on my laptop, so all was well.

Eli went out to meet a friend of his who lives there, but I was feeling pretty meh, so I put on sweats, snuggled into bed, and watched House Hunters International on my laptop until Friends came on Nick at Nite. I know it’s lame, but Friends is my comfort show and its departure from Netflix has been a bummer for me during all of this transition and general chaos. An evening to myself with my favorite shows was truly just what I needed.

Tuesday, July 21

9:09 am: After his evening catching up with his friend over drinks, Eli was not in great shape when he woke up. I was feeling great after my restful evening, so I got up and went into town to get some coffee from the cutest little roadside coffee stand. I don’t know what it’s called, but it’s right next to Zuhg Life Surf Shop. I enjoyed another excellent oat milk latte and Eli enjoyed his pour over.

10:00 am: We packed up our things and checked out of our room. Even though it was pretty bare bones, I’d definitely stay there again. I grew rather fond of it during our stay. It was really affordable and had everything we needed, including a huge tub (which I could really use right now for these oatmeal baths – my legs are too long for normal tubs). We stopped at a cutie bakery called My Petite Sweet for some pastries and drove back over to Roads End to enjoy our breakfast with an ocean view, where we saw a woman with impressive dreadlocks walking her cat.

Getting away for a couple days was everything I needed. Just like most everyone else right now, my living space is also my work space. Getting out of that space allowed me to give myself permission to not check email or anxiously scroll LinkedIn. And I hear that if shingles is an indication of anything, it’s that I must chill. My stress level was so high that I woke up a dormant virus in my body! Like, damn!

10:56 am: We drove away from Lincoln City feeling refreshed and ready to get back to our little apartment and our big kitty, but not before making a stop in Otis, Oregon for a quick photo. IYKYK.

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