• Home

Oh no! The radiator cover is sloughing off its coat of paint, and there are spider cracks in the walls and ceiling of our bathroom. I have a sinking feeling it’s time to repaint our apartment, but I’ve barely recovered from the last job – which was 10 years ago!

That time, my husband and I ended up living in a hotel while our brilliant but temperamental contractor gutted our apartment in a couple of days, then took six months to put it back together. How, you may wonder, did a simple paint job become such an ordeal?

Well, we live in Manhattan, where such things can take twice as long and cost three times as much as anywhere west of the Hudson. Also, the man we hired fired all his helpers because they couldn’t live up to his impossibly high standards. And finally, Stan and I had no idea what we were doing, or that Benjamin Moore had 140 different shades of white paint.

But there were a couple of nice things about the experience. One, eventually it was over. Two, I wrote a story about it called “Ode to Joy,” which the literary magazine Uppagus was kind enough to publish. You can read it here in Issue 58.

As for the paint cracks in our apartment, I figure we have a couple of options: Avert our eyes, and put off any decision about what to do until next year.

Hope your 2024 is full of happier home improvements!