Thursday, February 5, 2015

Channeling Ora Ball Carlyle

Woke up again this morning at 3am and before my brain had time to register that it was time for its merciless nocturnal "I'll never get another job ever again" and/or "how in the hell are we ever going to make it" onslaught, I decide to get up and at least throw in a quick load of laundry and turn the dishwasher on while we were still under nonpeak hours.  This is not the exception mind you. This is what I have been doing about 5 nights out of the week ever since my freelance assignments came to a halt last November and our savings has been slowly, but steadily depleted. As for the other two nights of the week? Let's just say that the CĂ´tes de Duras vintages have been known to be mommy's little helper on occassion when I can be at least assured a full night's sleep. 

So, by 3:10am, I'm feeling a little better that I've at least saved 20€ in electricity charges for the day and I crack open my latest kindle book, "These is my Words" (sic) by Nancy Turner, and enter into my latest escapist world of American pioneers in their wagon trains headed west in the 1880's. The hope here is to stave off our monetary woes until my insomnia passes and I am able to fall back to sleep. Reading this book reminds me of a comment that our friend, June made about four years ago when we first purchased Petit Clos. "You're like real pioneers; only in reverse," she had said about our 6-thousand mile move east back to the Old Country.  It kind of stuck as I've often felt like we were breaking new ground with all of the challenges we faced over the past four years. New ground and new language maybe, but many of the same old challenges we had before and most that we share with our non-going-back-to-the-old-world-friends from back home.

Take stress for example. According to the American Psychological Association's "Stress in America" survey recently, it found that 72 percent of adults report feeling stressed about money at least some of the time. Further, "women shoulder much of the burden. Far more than men say they have lain awake at night in the past month due to stress - 51 percent, compared with 32 percent of men." You don't say? as he sleeps ever so peacefully.

Anyway, so right now in the wee hours of the morning, I'm somewhat jealous and imagining that those original pioneers had it so much easier than we do right now, living a much simpler life with fewer worries and definitely no stress over money matters. Well, that was until I got to the parts in the book about the rapes, Indian villages being burned to the ground and Comanches retaliating by burning the wagon trains and scalping the pioneers. Don't even get me started on the amputations administered without drugs and babies being born on the trail (I have always said that I never would have survived my 48-hr back labor if not for Cedars-Sinai). But, hell, how will I ever to get to sleep now?!

Okay, so deep down, I kind of knew about all of that, but what about the families portrayed in one of my favorite childhood shows, "Little House on the Prairie?" Surely, they had a simpler, easier, no stress life? Well, not so, according to Miss Laura Ingalls Wilder whose more accurate and authentic autobiography came out last year, "Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography."Apparently, her family was practically running from the law over unpaid bills and mortgages so they obviously had some serious stress over money, not to mention disease and basic healthcare that we thankfully have now. In fact, it wasn't until her popular stories were sold that some of those monetary debts could be paid.

So, as I'm thinking about this all,  I begin to ask myself, what would my Westward-Ho pioneer great-grandma, Ora Ball Carlyle do if she was in my position and awoke at 3 o'clock in the morning worrying? A position that is quite literally uber comfy and warm in my big, beautiful french country house, lying next to my best friend and husband, Hank (who is soundly asleep of course), with our wonderful and thankfully, healthy, college-bound daughter sleeping upstairs, not to mention all the critters cuddling and crowding me out of my side of the bed. Would she let her mind wander and worry about things that were out of her control? I think not. Would she have done the laundry at 3am? Maybe so if she knew how much money she could save. But, I'd like to think that she was the type of woman who would have pulled up her boot straps, probably pulled out her Colt 45 from one of them and then went hunting for some dinner if she couldn't make it to the market. That's it though. She'd then leave her weapon safely at home, out of reach from her children (otherwise, I probably wouldn't be here). Yeah, that's what Ora would do.

So that's what I'm going to do. Hunt for dinner. Just kidding, I'm too city girl for that. But, I'm going to start working on what I do have control over - making sure we have the best Bed & Breakfast ever and that starts with a new and improved bilingual website, making our farm work for us by selling hay and grapes and then start sewing like a maniac making beautiful gifts to sell in the Spring and Summer marches and maybe online as well. And maybe, just maybe, once I stop worrying so much, those freelance gigs will return again. And with them, hopefully sleep. Beautiful, often underrated, REM sleep.