Oops, I seem to have forgotten an update
Apparently I never got around to mentioning that I have escaped Two-Bedroom Apartment Hell (which wasn't really all that hellish except every other weekend when I was sharing it with, and more importantly cooking in its tiny kitchen for, nine kids). So here's the timeline:
1. Dessie decides she wants a divorce; my irreplaceable friends Duane and Desiree offer me the guest bedroom in their three-bedroom house, in which spare bedroom I live for the next six months. Dessie signs a temporary agreement to vacate the house during my weekends so that I can be with the kids without the kids' having to have their lives unduly disturbed. I live in the Liongs' spare bedroom during the week and in the upstairs living room of the family house every other weekend.
2. Dessie moves to another house a few blocks away from her previous one, but still in the same neighborhood. At first I continue to spend my weekends at the new house with the kids, but let's just say that that ceases to be desirable and leave it at that. The Troika come to live at the Liongs' house with me while I search frantically around for an apartment.
3. I find a two-bedroom apartment and the Troika and I move out of the Liongs' house.
4. I stop spending my periods of possession at Dessie's house; we switch to having all nine kids come spend every other weekend in my two-bedroom apartment.
5. Duane and Desiree finish paying off their house (in five years!) and ask if I would be inclined to rent that house if they were to buy a new and better one. I accept with alacrity, to the great satisfaction of all concerned.
6. I move into the house right about the time the divorce is finalized (this was last November) and convert the dining room and office into fourth and fifth bedrooms. Rusty comes to live with us, and we reach the present arrangement in which each of the four kids who live with me has his or her own room, and when the other kids come to visit they sleep in the living room (which living room is about as big as that whole apartment was).
Oh, and Duane leaves his big-screen TV behind. Woo-hoo!