Top 20 Tips for Choosing and Maintaining a Divorce Shack

OK, so you’ve been handed your walking papers by the Love of Your Life (LOYL), created a Dealbreaker (You Screwed Up), or stormed out the Den of the Shrew (DOS). On to new adventures for you, except…

You have kids, Thing 1 and Thing 2, who have not reached their majority. You love the crap out of them. You are not planning on leaving BFE or wherever the hell you live and deserting them. And so…

You have decided to focus on the health and well-being of your children instead of burning down everything you once held dear.Snails

What is a Divorced Dad to do? Here is the Divorced Dad’s Top 20:

  1. Choose a new home that will not shock Thing 1 and Thing 2. If you lived in a McMansion on three acres, do not move into a loft in Hipsterville. If you lived in center city, do not move to Green Acres. If Thing 1 or Thing 2 are of an age where they voice their opinions, you might ask them for their opinion. Remember, though, you are not bound by their thoughts.
  2. Put some distance between you and your former spouse. No matter the state of the relationship with your ex, you need space to breathe and so do Thing 1 and Thing 2. Comfortable biking distance from the Divorce Shack to the Old Homestead with perhaps one major geological barrier is good. You should not be able to use a telescope to spy on your former life (or wife).
  3. Move to a different school district and make sure it’s a good one. People get squirrely or worse around issues of divorce, post-marital power, and money. You may need to have a Plan B for schooling if your ex or her mother goes off the deep end and start demanding that you pay half the tuition for private school. If you are still rich after the divorce, good for you and go ahead and pay the tuition. Maybe the rest of us shlubs want to retire at some point in our lives.
  4. Find a neighborhood that is safe and has some appeal. Leave the adventure and danger for when Thing 1 and Thing 2 are grownups on their own. As children, they should feel safe at the Divorce Shack. Close-by public parks are good. Close-by amenities are good. A close-by, good coffeehouse where teenaged Thing 1 and Thing 2 can meet their friends is good.
  5. Find a residence that will not embarrass Thing 1 and Thing 2 in front of their friends. Don’t look away from me! You know what I mean! You have been to the Loser Dad’s house or apartment. Oh god, was it disgusting and depressing. Don’t be that dad. You may be hosting sleepovers, birthday parties, band practice (garage or basement), Thanksgiving brunch, Halloween, game night, or…surprise! You should not compete with Martha Stewart or even our ex. You will lose that competition. However, the Divorce Shack must be clean. The utilities must work. Nothing should be falling down. The parents of the other kids will look and judge, obviously, but they will note when the effort on your part is made and grant you extra points on the rating scale. Yes, there is a rating scale for Divorced Dads.
  6. Find a residence that will not crimp your dating style. OK, you are still depressed and pissed off and generally pathetic. Women or men who might interest you run away as if you have a Roman Candle stuck up your ass. I promise you those days will pass. Some day you will want to invite another person to the Divorce Shack with the hope of doing the Mystery Dance. See # 5 and make sure the Divorce Shack in clean.
  7. Go ahead and display some character. You no longer have to compromise your manly manliness with the feminine patina. You have a bust of Elvis Presley that Thing 2 painted for you? Display it! You have paintings and photos that you have hidden away for years? Hang them! You want to bring all your books out of storage and display them in bookcases? Build them! You have a drum set? Spank those skins! Not in your bedroom. You want to paint your bedroom black? Whoa, dude! That’s just too freaky.
  8. Keep the place clean. Even if it kills you, make sure the Divorce Shack is clean.
  9. Keep the place clean.
  10. Keep the place clean.
  11. Keep the place clean.
  12. Keep the place clean.
  13. Keep the place clean.
  14. Keep the place clean.
  15. Keep the place clean.
  16. Keep the place clean.
  17. Keep the place clean.
  18. Keep the place clean.
  19. Keep the place clean.
  20. Keep the place clean.

About Stephen Dedalus, Jr.

I am trying to awaken from the history of my ancestor's nightmare to comment on my Holy Trinity of Interests: art, literature, and music. Oh, and thoughts on dysfunctional families, which is to say families.
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