Rent a Hotel Room While You Redecorate

That’s what I did. My husband Mac, now ex-husband, and I were breaking up after 14 awful years of non-stop arguing. We owned a two-bedroom apartment in a pre-war building on West End Avenue in Manhattan. It had a doorman, very fancy. The divorce was, shall we say, messy. I was given full custody of our daughter, Perci, which was fine with Mac, as he was as lousy a father as he was a husband. Mac has the attention span of an earthworm, and can’t cope with children in any way. (I’m sorry, I’m still working out anger issues).

The settlement called for selling the apartment and dividing the proceeds. We received $1.2 million, which was actually a loss, no doubt due to the lousy real estate market at the time. So I had $600K in the bank and a court order for alimony and child support of $10,000 a month. I’m a psychiatrist, and Mac runs a dry-cleaning store, so I was pretty lucky to get a good settlement from the judge – she was very understanding. I got most of the furniture, mostly Arts & Crafts antiques. I was very proud of myself for handling the logistics pretty much on my own: getting moving quotes, arranging the relocation to Chicago, and reserving hotel accommodations for the six weeks it would take to finish interior home decorating in our new apartment.

I chose the Four Seasons, which as any Chicagoan will tell you is top quality all the way. The restaurant is world-class, and the Sunday brunch is to die for. Really, the six weeks we stayed in the hotel were very therapeutic. Perci was quickly enrolled in the Latin School, and she fit right in. We had a limo drop her off and pick her up every day, so she didn’t have to rely on public transportation. We went on a shopping spree along Michigan Avenue and got ourselves whole new wardrobes. I enrolled in the East Bank Club, dropped 30 pounds, and caught the eye of a personal trainer. Let’s just say that he’s taught me a lot.

Our new apartment on North Dearborn was finally ready, but I hated to leave the hotel. We go back often, and I’ve rented private reception rooms there for dinner parties. The furniture was moved without incident, though I needed to buy a few more pieces to fill up the space. Now, my private practice is flourishing, and Perci and I are happier than ever. My final word: if you visit Chicago, stay in a four-star hotel – they are worth every penny, especially if your ex-husband is paying.