Getting right to it today:
L1: I could brief myself in various ways on this one. I could brief myself for LW1 on the grounds of H1 being a monster. Fix the children? No, no, seventy times no. I could brief myself against LW1 on the grounds of it having taken her this long to become dissatisfied with his parenting and on the grounds of her list of Ideal Husband Qualities. Additionally, she fails to recognize the Luck Factor in the bounty of his career. Granted, though, she must be a genius at baking. It may come down to a question of why he does the housecleaning. Is her method insufficient for his tastes or is she too busy?
As for the practical problem, she's left it Way Too Late. The only way Boot Camp Parenting ever gets anywhere near tolerable results is when both partners sign on to the same page. And by now C1 have let themselves harden into such extremes that the chance of a conversion on either side that would not blatantly appear to be a concession instead is far too low. Attempt counseling or parenting classes at their own risk; but it won't really help often enough to get an endorsement. Divorce now while H1 can find a partner more to his taste who will give him the family he deems worthy of his attention, so that the K1s can bond with a nicer stepdaddy.
Rule 42: "He cleans the house" and "His career lets me be a SAHM" don't mix.
L3: Well, cheer me up, give me a 5-Hour Energy and call me Jean. It occurs to me that I have been sadly remiss in failing to provide any previous tribute to the late lamented Mr Jones, who has caused me a good deal of difficulty on two occasions. The second was when I was sufficiently unguarded as to voice my truthful (and less than entirely favourable) opinion of Ms Murray's rather-lacking-in-vitality version of one of his best known vocal outings. The first, which had rather more lasting consequences, occurred during my childhood, at a party where we were responding to random questions in writing and reading the answers under the guise of anonymity. I could not think of any other famous person I'd prefer to marry. That none of the attendees happened to be of the female persuasion did not quite make the full ramifications clear to my nine-year-old mind.
Enough reminiscing. LW3 is like Archie Prosser, the new member of Chambers at Number Three (or, occasionally according to Mr Mortimer in his later years, #1 or #4), Equity Court, only worse. Mr Prosser is merely called a wit by others. LW3 calls himself a wit and fails to say anything witty in his entire letter. For that alone he deserves as quick and as painful a divorce as his spouse can inflict. I therefore advocate with all my heart that he believe in his daydream to the maximum extent.
Rule 42: Never say anything uncomplimentary about Ms Murray in the company of female bodybuilding medalists in the Gay Games unless they do so first.
L4: Why on earth do people send the Prudecutor letters having anything that have to do with Europe? Her Europhobia is so well established by now that I am rapidly concluding that her favourite cousin must have been one of the biggest promulgators of Proposition 8.
But this is a weird letter. We are either winning or losing badly, and I can't tell which. Out of all the possible causes of political differences, LW4 has to select nuclear energy? There's no more personal source of discord? It is conceivable that this could be a good thing, perhaps taking issues that target people off the table.
Really, this is all about Dealbreakers. Some people take their politics sufficiently seriously to have political dealbreakers set a good deal more generally - but how many people don't have any? What we really need is to tabulate this. What is at the top of the Unthinkable chain?
In a way, I am reminded of a recent debate I saw after the passing of Ms Rich. Amidst the praise for her poetry a dissenting note sprang up from those who considered her transphobic. After that, part of the discussion concerned what evidence there was about how seriously or deeply ingrained this flaw was in her or if she distanced herself from it in her later years. Another part devoted itself to recrimination between those who acknowledged the flaw but on the whole missed her anyway and those who declared her no loss to humanity. It left me thinking in the end that, wherever one wanted to set one's personal Dealbreakers, that was fine, and that it was insisting that other people adopt the same dealbreakers (rather than merely understand why they're dealbreakers) where things go awry.
Rule 42: Is this the hill on which you wish to die?
L2: Why on earth is this not L1?
LW2 could be worse off. She could have gotten the promotion, had the baby and then seen the business fail and been demoted or laid off. On the whole, though, L2 is quite a mixed bag. The off quality of her rant about never being able to afford children, though (reminiscent of the Lindt commercial in which Roger Federer's luggage is full of chocolate and the airport security women decide they have to strip search him), makes the points in her favour rather suspect.
Digs at the other woman: understandable, but not a huge point in her favour
Passed over for the promised promotion: How clearly promised? Presumably hardly at all.
NO KIDS - WAAAAAH!!!!!: I won't even.
File of Evidence: Now, if her evidence were not already suspect, this could be interesting. If this point stands up to cross-examiniation, then LW2 ought to take up a career as Chief Personal Assistant to Ferdinand Isaac Gerald Newton (called Fig), Private Eye Extraordinaire. But it leads one to wonder about LW2 seething in silence all this time, never discussiong the lack of promotion with her superiours... how long does it take to become suspicious of MPDG2 and gather such a conclusive block of evidence, and why would nobody be noticing? If LW2 is such a good actress, that ought to open up even further alternative career possibilities for her. But perhaps her talents really fall closer to those possessed by the formidable Marigold Featherstone or even She Who Must Be Obeyed, Herself. I also ask why the nepotism would be thrown in almost like an extra pickle on a multi-feature hamburger order instead of being the crown jewel in her case.
Options: Threats? Useless. Doesn't LW2 read? Has she never seen how many wretched blackmailers lie dead, felled by the hands of their unscrupulous victims, made desperate by the dastardly act?
It's really tough to know what to advise LW2 to do, because one could have so many possible goals in mind for the outcome. If one were advising her solely in her own perceived best interests, I'd tell her to send the file (assuming the contents meet the standard she suggests) to BW2 and MPDGF2, perhaps anonymously, and let the chips fall where they may. Or she might look into what she could bring in as a private investigator and then leave the file as a parting gift (or not) when she quits. It might be more fun to detonate the bomb but more prudent to resist.
Rule 42: "Now, that was a decent spot of blackmail - clear, concise, and, in this case, highly effective."