When the husband said he wanted to buy an investment property and get into the family landlording biz, I didn’t exactly encourage it. He saw it as a path to early retirement, I saw it as further complicating our life and tying us down.

I hated to crush his aspirations, but I wanted nothing to do with it. If he was going to do this, he was on his own. I insisted he form an LLC.., open separate business accounts, and leave my name off all of it. His business, his hassle, his profits.

It’s not that I didn’t want to be his partner, but that I cannot possibly take on any more things to worry about, stress over, manage, figure out…. I just cannot. Not one more thing. Not right now. My plate is overflowing. So if he wanted to do it…fine, but I was not going to be involved in any way.

I didn’t set foot in the place he bought until last Wednesday, nearly a year after the purchase and a month or so after two evictions that cost precious time (court dates, meeting sheriffs, etc.) and, of course, money. I resisted saying “I told you so,” and bit my tongue. Family & friends in the landlord biz tell us that’s just how it is at first. Until you get good tenants, you’ll have this.

I was good at keeping my mouth shut until the money ran out of the business account and started trickling out of our joint checking and savings accounts.

“You have to spend money to make money,” he told me.

As you might imagine, that went over with me like a lead balloon. I seethed, but stayed out. Until the girls and I stopped by to check on his progress cleaning/repairing and prepping the place for new tenants.

I could not imagine how he could get it all done in time to get renters in there by the first of the month. And we need someone in there to start paying the bills so that I don’t have to.

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So, despite all my talk of having “nothing to do with this,” I felt sorry for him (and our bank account) and volunteered to help paint one night last week, something I would actually never do at our own home. I leave that stuff up to Dan, but…desperate times…..

As soon as we pull up out front and park, an old guy from the garage across the street comes over to shoot the shit with Dan for a few minutes. Then, a young guy walking down the road, waves and yells, “Hey, Dan!”

I look at him quizzically.

“He lives a few houses down,” he said. “I pay him $20 to mow the lawn every other week.”

***

He pours some paint from a 5-gallon bucket into a paint tray and hands me a roller.

Three hours later, I had painted the hallway and ceiling, the dining room, and trimmed half the kitchen.  And I felt so accomplished. There’s something to be said for manual labor and the satisfaction of seeing immediate results.

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Most of the work I get paid to do is cerebral and ephemeral and long-term. It takes months to finish a publication and see my work in print and, by then, I usually don’t even want to see it because I’m sick of looking at it.

But in just three hours, I could turn around and see how I’d changed the environment around me and how Dan had already changed the environment around this house in a few months.

It was sort of cool to be a part of that and I felt an internal shift about the whole deal. It might be alright, after all, this side gig.

By the time we left, I was all in.

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The next day, I designed a logo, ordered business cards, contemplated ordering logo wear (but decided to wait until there are, hopefully, profits).

Now I want to order some welcome mats & plant some perennials out front, which he tells me I shouldn’t do because they will not be taken care of.

I think we all know how I feel about being told I shouldn’t do things: These are already in my Amazon cart.

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About Just Write: Just Write is my adaptation of free writing, a technique in which a person writes continuously and quickly without little regard for spelling, grammar, or topic. It helps writers overcome blocks of apathy and explore everything from meaningful topics to mundane observations with the same effort and without the pressure of crafting perfect prose. I just start writing.