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Live And Learn

Jeff Lewis dishes on the infamous Zoila portrait!

By Jeff Lewis

In this episode, I closed the door on Courtney and the Hancock Park project and was immediately introduced to and subsequently hired by the Lassners. It was a different world working with the Lassners compared with Courtney, whose intense fear of making a mistake had paralyzed her. Courtney just couldn't make a decision, which ironically turned out to be the worst mistake of all. When she asked me to hire a sewer contractor and then dumped her anger on me concerning his estimate, I realized she was simply unable to get out of her own way or to get her unrealistic expectations under control. I refused to continue being treated badly or becoming her fall guy, so I quit and moved on -- a great decision on my part.

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While I began a satisfying remodel for the Lassners, it was time to let go of the Ben Lomond house. I listed the pros and cons of holding the property as I grappled with my disappointment at having passed up two very good offers. I realized that I'd missed the window for making a profit on that house, so I decided to sell it at a loss and use the equity to invest in another income property. There are times when cutting your losses and making them up on the next home is a scary but logical decision.

On the domestic scene, it was my housekeeper, Zoila's, birthday, and instead of giving her the day off (like she requested), I commissioned a painting of her from a local artist. I wanted her birthday to be special and I thought I'd come up with an idea for the perfect gift. In usual Jeff Lewis fashion, I meant well, but what I'd hoped would be a reasonable rendition of Zoila, turned out to be a disaster. Everyone thought that in the painting, she looked disgruntled, old, and out of sorts. Zoila called it "ugly!" Needless to say, she was unhappy and so I had it retouched. When I added up the cost of the original painting and the redo, it would have been cheaper to give her what she wanted in the first place -- the day off. Live and learn -- which is exactly what I'll be doing in Episode Three as I use some pretty unorthodox methods to find out what's really going on when I'm not around.

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