So it could have been infuriating.
On Wednesday night Dean and I left Cumbria for the 223-mile journey down to Peterborough.
We were due on the Joint Venture course at Progressive Property*. Two whole days of learning how to work with investors – which agreements to use, how to ensure we stay well within the law and within agreements that will work for us, any potential investors and everyone else.
Wednesday was a crazy day. Hey, every day is crazy for us!
My parents have come to stay for a month (I enrolled them in Sam-and-dog-sitting some weeks ago), and just before they arrived Dean decided to take down a wall and the old ceiling in their en suite. Then he found the existing shower was faulty. Then, both jobs we had ongoing developed unexpected issues. So, everything fell behind schedule and when my parents arrived, wearily stepping into the house after a long, long drive, the room was still filthy and full of tools and Dean was flustered and busy with hours ahead.
Naturally, one of our neighbours/friends who has been incredibly supportive then called to say her bath was leaking into the floor below.
It was also enrolment night for Sam at his new college course.
We had an appointment booked with potential bathroom clients which I had provisionally aimed at approximately 5.30pm.
So the plan was to casually swan off, all ready and prepared at 4.30pm, pop into college with Sam, then leave him settling in with all his new friends and with money to take the train home while we headed south, via the potential clients.
Of course that didn’t happen!
At 4pm, with Dean still hard at work, I took my mum and the dogs up to the field so she could see what to do when it came to walking them.
At 4.50pm I took Sam into college, he enrolled, but of course we couldn’t leave him, they needed to speak to me. Apparently adults are still responsible for young people, even once they have reached the dizzy age of 16!
Dean and I finally left at 6.30pm, got to the friend/neighbour’s who had by then gone out, we made it to the client’s house at 7pm – they want to go ahead, which is good news – and eventually set off on the long road south at 8 pm.
And then came the final disaster. As we neared the final 90 minutes of the journey, the A1 was closed with a diversion in place. It took us on a wide tour of central England, a long line of diverted traffic crawling through sleeping villages and past dark farms, as we argued over whether we should stick to the diversion or follow a different route using our phones. It was well past midnight by the time we got to the hotel and entered our stale smoke-filled room. The mattress was pretty lumpy and uncomfortable – a little like a water bed, wobbling every time one of us moved.
We arrived at Progressive Property towers just before 9;30am on Thursday feeling absolutely shattered. Even through my exhaustion I sensed something was wrong when I saw the small group of peple gathered there, with trainers I recognised from a different course – I’ve done plenty of courses at Progressive, I usually can’t recommend them highly enough.
My sinking feeling turned out to be right. The course had been cancelled some weeks earlier and for some reason I was never notified. It was pretty mortifying after the long drive and the cost of the fuel, hotel and, most importantly, our TIME.
But, it was my own fault for not checking and, with the benefit of hindsight, it seems extremely stupid to have set off for such a long way without double checking the event was still on. (In my defense, all the courses I’ve attended previously at Progressive Property have all run as planned, in fact they’ve all without fail been absolutely superb learning.)
We returned to the hotel in a disappointed daze, gutted to have wasted so much time, but determined to make the best of it that we could. We popped to the shopping centre next to the hotel and bought some new shirts for Dean (he was a man in desperate need of a few shirts!) Then we set off for home feeling shattered and resentful and dreaming of the wonderful sleep we would have had that night if we were at home. As Dean drove, I leaned against my pillow and tried – failed – to sleep.
And then, something miraculous happpened. From somewhere came a second burst of energy, and we started talking about the property we’re living in, the one we’ve been considering turning into a house of multiple occupancy – an HMO.
We priced up pretty much the entire work needed, something we’ve been planning to do for ages. If the sums don’t work, we won’t do the work needed to create the HMO, so this was crucial.
We also stopped at a few kitchen places on our way back up north.
It meant that once we arrived back at home, to two delighted dogs and three bemused humans, we could begin a serious discussion about what to do with the property. And so the decision was reached. There will be no HMO. Instead we will renovate to a high standard, ready for a family home, and either let it or sell it as such.
The work needed to make this old, slightly awkward property into a 5-bed, 5-en suite HMO is just too much and too expensive. It would take every penny that we have, and it would take forever. And right now we need to keep hold of some money, and we need as soon as possible to be able to concentrate 100% on the business.
And although I’d been looking forward to putting an HMO together, it is a relief to have finally made a decision. Now we can move forward, get it done, and get back to business.
I would have preferred not to spend hours in the van, traipsing for miles through the dark, not really sleeping on a dodgy mattress, and losing a day’s work.
But by deciding not to let the day be a waste, we turned something that could have been really negative into a positive, and that was definitey worth doing.
(Oh, and Progressive have offered to reimburse what we’ve spent and they’ve given us a choice of dates to attend the next course, so we will be back – although we might change hotel.)
*Progressive Property is probably the UK’s biggest and best property success story, started by two friends and colleagues, Rob Moore and Mark Homer, and offering fantastic training into how to make money from property. Their courses are awesome (we’ve been on loads of them) and it all starts at their Multiple Streams of Property Income course (MSOPI) which is a 3-day course all about property. Tickets usually cost a few hundred pounds but they are free if you get referred from someone else – if you would like free tickets email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will make sure you get yours!