Lee Rotbart

Posts Tagged ‘learning’

Here we go again

In Second time lucky on September 3, 2010 at 3:13 pm

There’s the niggly fear that if we see a property we like next weekend the whole thing will start again. We’ll put in an offer, we’ll get it accepted, and then we’re back in mortgage saga country.

Someone once said (and don’t ask me who) that ‘success is available to those who don’t realise that failure is inevitable’; a slightly depressing take on the whole affair yet probably quite fair. Contemplating, and allowing for, failure means you give up quicker, that you accept the situation, and (while we can’t change everything) don’t try to change anything. Throughout this process I have been at my most happy and most positive when I have just not considered failure an option; and it’s a little frustrating now that the idea of failure is sneaking back into my thought process.

Next Friday we are seeing viewing 3 properties all of which are really exciting for different reasons, and while I am dying to get down there I cannot shake the feeling that we are just starting the whole, painful process all over again. “Of course we’re not” the optimistic part of my head scolds, “it’s different this time – we now know what we’re doing”, “But what…” says the other part, “if we’re just never going to get the money”. It’s actually harder than it initially seems to juggle a job, a social life, a relationship AND two people in my head.

Having talked a lot about the waiting game, and moaned about not being able to do anything to affect the outcome of where we’re at, I now really am a bit stuck as to what to do for the next week or so. Danny and I have searched every site we can find in an attempt to identify more relevant properties, we’ve emailed commercial estate agents and residential ones, we’ve driven (one of) our long suffering mortgage brokers mad, we’ve discussed breakfast menus (again), we’ve listed the pros and cons of the properties we’re going to see, and now I’m trying to update this blog to keep readers interested and engaged when there’s actually nothing to say.

I feel impotent and it’s boringly familiar. Maybe I’m being taught a lesson. Patience.? Tolerance? Determination in the face of adversity? Maybe knowing that we can fail and just doing it anyway is the answer. Maybe, just maybe, there’s no such thing as failure; merely circumstances which we find ourselves in, and then it stands to reason that if there’s an ‘in’ there must be an ‘out’. All this speculation, all this to-ing and fro-ing, friends have described this to me as the ‘paralysis of analysis’.

I guess that my conclusion is “so what if we have to go through it all again?”… after all, no experience is a wasted experience, it informs who we become in the future and what action we take the next time round. All I can hope is that it’s ‘second time lucky’ and not ‘third or fourth time lucky’. Fran├žois Duc de La Rochefoucauld said…

‘Hope, deceitful as it is, serves at least to lead us to the end of our lives by an agreeable route.’

… and fear is not an agreeable route, the dread, the worry – it’s just not fun and it certainly doesn’t help. So Fran├žois, we’ll do it your way. I HOPE that this time it will be different.

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Learnings so far…

In The beginning on August 2, 2010 at 1:57 pm

Bored of moaning about the mortgage, and unable to update you on anything as there is no news as yet, I thought I’d take this time to reflect on how things have gone so far.

We arrived back from our holiday in Cornwall 6 weeks ago and in that time we’ve managed to get an offer accepted on our dream guesthouse, sell my flat, appoint a solicitor, write a business plan and gather all manner of statistics and research about the Cornwall Tourist Industry.

Not bad going when you consider that we left for our holiday with absolutely no intention to do anything bar have a lovely relaxing time, and partake in a bit of walking. Also in this time, I’ve learned a helluva lot about mortgages, about juggling a job while trying to fulfill a dream, about estate agents, and about myself.

To summarise:

  1. Not all estate agents are bad people; yes they’re a bit pushy and a bit insensitive, and it did annoy me the way they addressed all correspondence to ‘Mr’ Lee Rotbart when I am quite clearly female. However, they have been pleasant, efficient and did a very good job at alleviating the guilt I felt when I couldn’t sell to the first guy that saw the flat – apparently house buying should not work on a ‘first come first served’ basis no matter how nice the person seems.
  2. The headlines about banks not lending are NOT fabricated or exaggerated. They really are not lending.
  3. Getting annoyed about #2 does not do anyone any good. Ranting and raving about cause and effect, focusing on articles in the newspaper about giant bonuses paid out to banks when they not only caused this crisis, but are exacerbating it, does not make it any more likely that we will get our mortgage.
  4. I am not very good at juggling two jobs, and the more I focus on the guesthouse the less motivated I am at work. In my defense I haven’t had a pay rise or decent appraisal in over 2 years so there are few reasons for me to pull out all the stops at work. However, things still need to get done and I am finding myself working late and checking emails at weekends to compensate for day time shenanigans.
  5. Everybody, and I mean EVERYBODY, thinks they will be able to identify the solution to our mortgage problem. “Have you tried ‘x’?”, and “Did you think about ‘y’?”; this isn’t really a problem as we do need all brains on board for this, however my ego is bristling at the intimation that people don’t think we are exploring every single avenue available to us.
  6. I have an ego. A big one. A giant one, with a whole heap of pride on top.
  7. I don’t like cleaning. This is something I suspect that I knew about myself already, but with my cleaner having been away for over a month, I am struggling to dust, sweep and wash floors in an efficient manner. This does not bode well for when the live-in maid takes her leave of Porthminster View.
  8. I understand more about business than I think I do. Even though I have an MBA (Masters in Business Administration), I’ve always suspected that I have very little business acumen, yet I’m discovering it’s not actually that bad. Both Danny and I have written business plans and cash flow reports, and I’m amazed at how much I understand about pulling this together.
  9. I really do want to leave London. This might seem like an obvious thing to anyone reading this blog, but I have to admit that at the beginning I had my reservations. Do I really want to leave the convenience of 24 hour corner shops? Friends on every street? Family down the road? Will I miss the choice of 30 cinemas in a 3 mile radius? Late night coffee places? My favourite bars? Ultimately, I probably will miss all those things, but not so much that it would stop me leaving. As the mortgage gets further and further out of reach I know that the desire to move away is not only real, it’s obviously and painfully apparent.
  10. I struggle to delegate tasks. While I moaned for the first 4 weeks about how I was dealing with all the mortgage calls, now that Danny is doing it all I want to do is get involved. I feel powerless when someone else is doing the work, and I suspect that the control freak in me secretly thinks that things will be forgotten if I don’t do them. However, this is a business partnership, and I have to admit that Danny is doing just fine without me, maybe even better.

I suspect that if this project continues, this is just the beginning. I suspect that there’s plenty more to learn. I also know that, for the first time in 6 weeks, I am 110% sure I want to learn it.

Freak Out #1 and #2

In The beginning on July 13, 2010 at 3:05 pm

As those of you who know me well can testify, I have been prone to the odd ‘freak out’ in the past.

As a rule, I’m good with the big stuff – divorce, death, break-ups, etc. it’s the little things that make me insane. Things like fuses blowing when I walk in the door, the internet not working, the aerial falling off the TV; and bureaucratic nonsense and their associated call centres are always a killer.

With all that in mind I think I’ve been relatively good over the last few weeks. Not as good – I might add – as my, virtually horizontal, other half but, for me, not too bad. It’s all gone to pot now however as I suffered two quite ridiculous freak-outs in the last 3 days.

#1 occurred at 12.30am Friday night / Saturday morning. Arriving home at 10pm full of the joys of the forthcoming weekend I, in a devil-may-care mood, insisted that we watch an episode of Fawlty Towers, ‘to relax and have a laugh’, before embarking on our pre-arranged paperwork party. While I did this with the best of intentions, I did not envisage the amount of forms I had to fill in to sell my flat (the deeds – where the hell are the deeds?).

After spending 90 minutes filling in 4 very thick forms I encountered an unexpected fifth which, while it sounds ridiculous, sent me over the edge “I can’t fill in another form” I wailed as I sat at my desk…. “There are just so many, it’s ridiculous”. Tiredness turned to self-pity, turned to a full-on strop as I railed against the legal processes that meant that I couldn’t sell my flat in 10 minutes or less.

Learning #1: when filling in paperwork start early, be prepared for it to take a while, and try not to drown in self-pity, after all, I’m not the first person to sell a flat and I won’t be the last.

#2 took place about 4 hours ago when my long-suffering estate agent phoned up with the good news that someone had made an offer on my flat. Not just any offer either, they offered what I was hoping for. Add to that they’re not in a chain, not bound to a long-term rental agreement, and have their mortgage offer, I should have been over the moon.

Ha. Not likely. Instead I used it as an excuse to berate my estate agent for being too pushy, phone up my long-suffering partner to rant about said estate agent; and generally not only look the gift horse in the mouth but count its teeth and fillings while I was there.

Learning #2: Employ a brain to mouth filter when speaking to estate agents, and check levels of insanity before picking up the phone to anyone else.

I’m hoping we’re done for a while, I’m hoping that I’ve taken those learnings on board. After all, it’s not going to get any easier over the next few months and I can’t be freaking out every time I have to fill in a form, or every time I feel the fear.

It’s at times like this that I’m very glad there’s two of us in this, and one of them isn’t prone to behaving either like a child in a sweet shop or Gordon Ramsay in a dirty kitchen.