Stubborn. I have been called this since the moment of my birth. By the Dr who delivered me. I didn’t make delivery easy, and every time he tried to flip me over I flipped back at the last moment, thwarting his efforts. ‘You have the most stubborn baby I have ever delivered.’ he told my Mom. How do I know this? Because my parents told me this story every time I demonstrated stubborn behavior when I was growing up. So, pretty much every day. Apparently, my siblings slid out like they were coated with butter. No trouble at all. But this was back when doctors smoked cigarettes while delivering babies, so there you go. My parents were not wealthy, and had a chicken ranch in Southern California when I was born. Ten thousand chickens. So they paid the doctor in eggs. It would turn out I am very allergic to chicken eggs. The irony of this isn’t lost upon me. For the record, my brother, Todd, is similar in temperament to me, so it wasn’t the birthing origin story that determined stubbornness. Perhaps they didn’t mind it in him so much since he’s a boy.
However, while others saw this trait as a negative I wore it like a badge of honor. I do not give up. EVER. Sometimes I can be waylaid. Sometimes I will have to find a different route to meet my goal. But if I can see a dot on the horizon I will get there. Come hell or high water. And nothing anyone does or says will stop me. My Dad would just shake his head, even when I was an adult. ‘Stubborn as hell.’ he’d mutter, under his breath.
My Mother used to say ‘If you want something done, ask a busy person.’ But I thought ‘No. If you want something done, ask a person who won’t take ‘No’ for an answer.’ I don’t enjoy the word ‘No.’ Or ‘Impossible.’ For me, those words are like a red cape in a bullring. I’ll raise an eyebrow. You’ll want to get out of the way unless you like getting tossed to the side. My answer will always be ‘Watch me.’ To avoid being told No or Impossible, I prefer the ‘It’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission’ approach. More so because I don’t really want to hear all the reasons something can’t be done. I figure that’s just someone else’s lack of imagination. Because, if I can dream it up it must be possible, somehow.
This did not endear me to my parents as a child. And, surprise! It didn’t always endear me to my employers. But I was a necessary evil. I was good at what I did. Inventing stuff. Problem solving the toughest problems. I had an exec who once told me ‘You’re too smart for your own good.’ Yet that was right after he gave me a bunch of money to solve a really big problem. So I didn’t care. I decided to take it as a compliment.
When we moved to Spain, we went for it. It didn’t seem that difficult to gather the requisite documents, make a bunch of plane reservations and appointments. To liquidate everything we owned. Jeff just stood back and let me do my thing. He knows me better than anyone. It wasn’t until after we moved here that we read on many forums about how hard it is and ‘nearly impossible’ to move to Spain from the US. And that some people had been trying for 5 years. I couldn’t imagine what trying meant. I believe Yoda, of Star Wars fame, was correct. ‘There is no try. There is only do, or do not.’
So now we are in Galicia and ready to get this show on the road for setting ourselves up for welcoming Pilgrims next year. Time is awasting. And I need to kick it up a notch. As per usual, I have consulted no forums or Googled How hard is it to open a business on the Camino Frances? I just went into town and started doing some research with locals. And our accountant in Melide has been a big help. If not a bit surprised at how I like to drive deadlines and all my never ending questions. But I notice he has learned to manage me over time. Normally, I do not enjoy being managed, but he is the expert on all things financial in Galicia and Spain. So I acquiesce, mostly, to his advice and expertise. Although, there are times I still push him a bit. When I think I didn’t get the answer I want due to a language barrier.
And it’s all paying off. Drumroll, por favor! We are proud owners of a newly minted Spanish company. It’s got an American name so I was guaranteed that I would get my first choice. I am so excited! Suddenly, all my sketches for how we are going to lay this thing out can begin to come to fruition. I’ll admit, our contractor is a little afraid of me. Not because I am rude or mean to him. But because I reach out to him every day and ask when this thing can get going. Or when that drawing will be completed. ‘Where are we at?’ WhatsApp isn’t his friend because he can’t really say he was too busy to take my call. I just message him and wait for the blue check marks.
Jeff and I are doing the demo ourselves on some of the out buildings. We had some Pilgrims friends to stay over the last few days and we put them to work pulling out old cabinets for the new Pilgrim laundry room and kitchenette. During this activity I saw an official looking truck marked with Concello de Palas de Rei picking up some old cabinets my neighbor, Marie Carmen, had put outside her gate. I had seen them on the way to the trash the night before. Hmmm. I hurried out the gates and flagged them down as they were driving away. I asked what they were doing and it seems that Palas has a free service to pick up your old stuff. Who knew? We had to pay someone to come get things in the US. Or to recycle old washers, and the like. So I invited them in to our gate to look at all our stuff in the barn. They looked at each other like ‘Who is this lunatic?’ but they marched after me. I have no shame. We have a bunch of stuff. Several trucks worth, all piled in the barn. From all our demoing. Along with a ton of things from the previous owners. It was becoming a problem and we have searched for a way to solve it, but to no avail. I don’t know where a landfill might be around here. Yet, we had the solution very nearly dropped on our doorstep. During the survey we muddled through with our español and the men came back with larger vehicles and took it all away! Like magic.
So we are just that much further along on our road to our Happiness Cafe and complimentary Pilgrim campground in 2022. Not too bad for one week. We are new business owners, and the juggernaut that was blocking some of our projects in the barn has been solved. I just need to figure out how I can expedite the building of the new showers and bathrooms with a new septic system. Our Contractor is not going to like me. But things work out. I guess stubbornness isn’t such a bad thing, after all. 😉