After the wedding, Pam and Jerry rented a little white brick house in Westover, a former dairy farm in the rolling hills of North Arlington, Virginia. Westover is one of the close-in Virginia suburbs of Washington, DC and not too far from Jerry's home place over on North Woodrow Street. The place is monumentally convenient to the good-paying jobs with the federal government in America's seat of power, where Pam worked as a legal secretary at the Department of Justice. She hated that job, claiming the work culture was competitive and cut-throat. Welcome to Washington, my dear.

Pam set to work on a real estate license. As a choice of occupation, real estate was perfect for her. She had "the look"--careful make-up, perfect coiffeur, engaging smile, immaculate wardrobe, and the ability to remain upright in high heels. She formed an ambitious plan that seemed perfect for the couple. Jerry was a handy sort of guy. He had construction experience. He was resourceful. He wanted to be his own boss and was currently unemployed. They maxed out Pam's credit to purchase an apartment building in southeast D.C. The idea was that Jerry would take care of maintenance and Pam would take care of the business.

A dubious enterprise at bestThe neighborhood had other plans for the naive honky slumlords, starting with the front door to the building, which was broken when Pam and Jerry took over. Jerry fixed it. The next day it was broken. Jerry fixed it. Next day, broken again. Similar things were going on inside as well. When a tenant complained, Jerry made repairs as quickly as he could, but nothing stayed fixed and the tenants complained again, then began to withhold rent because, they claimed, maintenance wasn't being performed. D.C. law made it perfectly legal to do that. Pam and Jerry were losing their shirts.

It wasn't long before Jerry started to lose his emotional shirt as well. He stopped making daily trips to D.C. to work on the building.