Until today, I’d not had much contact with my landlord. But, after our recent rains, he dropped by to check out the damage (old house + old roof = many leaks). As I showed him the stains and the cracking and peeling, he asked me what I was studying. I told him I was in business school, and he told me to watch out for the women, they’re in charge today. But, back in the ’70s, it turns out, he was in charge.
My landlord came to the US from a Large European Country in the early ’70s, at 17, with $25 in his pocket. He had a skill in demand, and he worked his way up, finally ending up in LA where he worked Saturdays and Sundays to earn money to buy rental properties. Invest he did, and he soon discovered how much work it was to keep these buildings up. Every time an apartment turned over, he had to paint it, and, renting these apartments at $90/month, they turned over often.
But he had a racket. As an exotic European man he was attractive to the ladies, and he’d use that. Instead of budgeting to hire people to paint apartments, or doing it himself, he budgeted $50/week to go out and meet girls. That was a lot of money at the time, and he used it well: he’d invite girls out for dinner and shopping in Beverly Hills, but tell them they couldn’t go until he’d finished painting an apartment. The girls, of course, wanted to go shopping, so they’d volunteer to help, and they’d bring their friends. On a good weekend, he’d have an apartment full of women painting the walls while he brought in buckets of paint. He’d finish up quickly, take out his date, and get a painted apartment out of the deal. Oh, and because he used the women to paint the apartments, he could deduct the $50 expenditure on his taxes as a business meal.
I can learn much from this man.