That is exactly what I am doing. I have remained civil and respectful to Mrs. Hold. I tell her how great she looks and how proud she should be of her consistent effort and improved fitness. I compliment her on her attention to detail on D12's party. I tell her she is a supportive friend.

I do my best at the Dad part. Yesterday D12 had a meltdown about her party. She went into her room. I followed her. She said "Stay away. You are going to say something smart and funny and then I won't be so mad." And then she giggled.

On Monday I am camping out at Gamestop with S14 so that he can get the new Call of Duty game when it goes on sale at 12:01 am. And I promised to open my own account at Xbox Live so my feeble efforts will not affect his score / rankings / reputation / etc. We talk fairly openly so I think things are going well there also.

I am also trying to get a life. I go to services more often. Attend all the temple board meetings. I went to a meeting Monday night to help plan a costume ball in February. Last Wednesday I had lunch with an old college friend and dinner with an old high school friend. So I am trying not to withdraw into my shell and stay isolated from the rest of the world, even if I am quite isolated from Mrs. Hold.

As for finances, our credit card balances after the party will be as high as they have been in 8 years. But mostly a joint decision reflecting the parties for S14 and D12. Since there are no raises available at my level and I am unlikely to ever qualify for a bonus based on my hours worked, I have asked for a % of the business I bring in. That will be small compared to my salary, but it will help pay off the credit cards faster. We should have them paid off by the time S14 gets to college.

So we can hope to make a "clean break" when D12 leaves home. As clean as can be when there is not enough money for either of us to keep the house. She can take her 401(k). I'll take mine. Worth about the same. Sell the house and split whatever equity, if any, there is. She will get whatever alimony the judge decides she deserves.

And then we move on. I do not look forward to that "freedom". All I ever wanted was to be in love with the mother of my children. But everyone has disappointments in life. If this should be the worst thing that happens to me, I am fortunate. Plenty of people survive divorce.

When you can see it coming, duck!