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Ex-Wife New Life
by:  Amy Koko
After 27 years of marriage my husband announces he is leaving me for a beautiful Swiss pastry chef. NOW WHAT?
January 15, 2015

Our Divorce is Amicable...PSYCH!

Look, let's give Giada DeLaurentis a break. Since announcing her divorce to Todd Thompson, she has been accused of having affairs with everyone from Bobby Flay, to Matt Lauer and even John Mayer, whom she claims to never have even been in a room with, much less, well, you know...Sure, I'm as jealous of her as the next person. Frankly, anyone who can eat that much pasta and still have the physique of a bobble head, is not someone I could ever be friends with. I need someone who will be as guilt ridden as I am the morning after a carb load at my favorite Italian Restaurant, Grazzi. Someone who will also need to wear their "fat pants" after devouring a hunk of cheesy lasagna filled with layers of ricotta or 'ree-coh-ta" as Giada calls it. Still, though she teaches us to cook things that she apparently wouldn't eat if her life depended on it, it doesn't mean she has cheated on her knock it off.

Actually, what intrigues me most about her announcement is that she claims that theirs is an amicable divorce. I've heard these exist, but I myself have never seen one. And believe me, I have seen my share of divorces, mine included. In fact they continue to take place all around me, couples imploding left and right, going down in flames--their own personal Pearl Harbor-- taking children, family friends, relatives, and 401K's with them. I have yet to speak to anyone who says, "Oh yeah. I'm fine with it. It's amicable." "Of course I don't mind if I only see my kids two weeks out of the month. It's amicable." Nope. Not buying it.

Here's what I think may happen, I do believe that it is possible that both parties say, "Hey, you're a great person, but this just isn't doing it for me anymore." And then the other says,"OMG! I was thinking the same thing." They decide to part ways remaining close friends, they'll always love each other, etc. And then they sit down at the long wooden conference table either at their attorney's office or maybe at the round, glass, kitchen type table at their collaborative team's homey office-- round, so that everyone can see each other and share ideas. And they start sharing ideas. He has the idea that maybe he gets the kids 50% of the time and, she never really liked the boat, did she? He should probably go ahead and take that as well as the jet skis that they bought each other as anniversary gifts a few years back.

And then maybe she thinks back to that anniversary and remembers that night, the romantic dinner on the beach, the expensive wine that they drank right from the bottle, each taking a swig until they were warm inside and giggling at everything. There were promises of future anniversaries and undying love and family vacations-- they were all going to learn to ski. She realizes they are being silly, immature, looking for greener pastures. There are children at stake, he needs to grow up, big baby, worrying about who gets the jet skis. Ridiculous, here they sit, sharing ideas with their accountants and family counselor. Then she says, "I have an idea. Go F*#@ yourself." And then it begins.

The children are put on parental schedules, "If you get them for Christmas, I get them for Thanksgiving." "But my mother only comes for Thanksgiving." "Tough." The marital home is sold as are the jet skis and the boat. He is thinking "When did she turn into a greedy bitch?" and she's thinking "When did he turn into this self serving bastard?" And so, things aren't so amicable anymore.

So, it will be interesting to see how it all turns out for Giada and Todd and their beautiful daughter. Of course with the money these guys make they can each go out and buy their own jet skis, their own boats, their own gorgeous new homes. And maybe for them, it will be amicable, each walking away, still friends. My guess though? That's about as likely as Giada devouring a big plate of her infamous Fried Zucchini.

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January 7, 2015

Doing TIme

As anyone who knows me can tell you, I have an irrational fear of going to prison. I’m pretty sure it started in college when I went to see Midnight Express. Two things I remember from College: the Mexican casserole the cafeteria served on Wednesdays, (7 layers with REAL tortillas,) and Brad Davis wasting away in a Turkish prison after getting beaten for stealing a gnarly blanket. Just thinking about it can cause my IBS to flare up.

So, I feel for Teresa Giudice, as she begins her 15 month prison term, leaving her four daughters and piece of crap husband to fend for themselves, in their mansion, that by the way, is for sale if anyone is interested in purchasing a home that is over 10,000 square feet, with an onyx kitchen sink and marble stairways. I believe for the right price they will throw in their meat slicer and panini sandwich maker. I would definitely write that into the offer—never hurts to ask.

Anyway, being the Real Housewives of Everywhere junkie that I am, I have been reading up on her final days at home and her entrance into prison life which began this week, and really I am actually starting to feel better about this whole prison thing. Frankly, it doesn’t sound that bad.

First off, the commissary sounds awesome. Apparently you come with cash and start an account that you use to pay for stuff, sort of like a jail house PayPal. According to my sources, you can purchase tweezers, hair dye, lip gloss and toothbrushes, hard or soft, for a fraction of the price I pay in CVS even on double coupon days. $4.20 for a four pack of Charmin, as opposed to the sand paper I buy in bulk at Costco? I'll take that deal! So, I don’t know where the women from Cellblock 6-Female LockUp are shopping, but come on ladies, let’s at least try and make an effort! A little lip gloss can brighten up the whole face!

Guess what! You also get to have snacks, and I don't mean raisins and a juice box. You can choose from Dove Bars, Hummus, Oreos and what's this? Cilantro Cubes? What the hell is that? They don't even have those at Fresh Market! Only a woman's prison carries these epicurean delicacies. Keep in mind this is above and beyond the three squares you get each day. This really puts a whole new spin on the prison thing for me. It's enough to keep me from sharting next time I get pulled over for rolling through a stop sign.

Since Teresa has written several cook books, she has requested that her work detail be in the kitchen. I mean, I like to make an occasional chili in the crock pot, but I don't know that I want to work in a kitchen for 15 months. Maybe I could be in charge of the media room, you know keeping the Tivo programmed and the Pandora on the right stations. I became an expert on handing out bottled waters when I worked at the spa, not to mention my deft ability at folding the fitted sheet now, so I will be totally marketable in prison. Finally, a place where my talents will be appreciated.

So here's how I picture my typical day in prison. I wake up where I will immediately be served a carb laden breakfast. From there I will head to my work detail, where me and the girls will dish about that weird girl in cellblock 2. Around 10:30 or so, I will go to the commissary and get my snack, maybe a sleeve of Oreos, or a wild berry yogurt. Back to work until lunch when I WILL BE SERVED a satisfying meal. After lunch I will get some exercise, or maybe do some yoga in the yard, and then hit the commissary again for a light snack, I think Hummus, as dinner is just a few hours away.

After dinner, I will hit the media room with the gals, where we will all sit around watching The Bachelor and eating our Dove bars. Then just when I feel myself beginning to tire, it's lights out!
You know what? It sounds just like home, except I don't have to cook and the toilet paper is better.

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November 7, 2014

Thanksgiving, Book and Ebola

This morning, as every morning, I turned on my computer and immediately logged on to Facebook to see 1. If Ellen DeGeneres friended me yet and 2. What Kim Kardashian and baby North are wearing. My eyes were immediately drawn to the message across the top, that said, AMY! WE CAN STOP EBOLA!

Now I don't know who sent this, but I have to say, I am totally flattered. To think that someone out there believes, that I, a woman who gets lost if I take the back way home from the grocery store and still hasn't figured out the whole stupid hashtag thing, has the knowledge and fortitude to wipe out Ebola, well, what can I say? I mean, I am not taking this lightly.

The thing is I realize the world is counting on me to wipe out this deadly disease/virus (What is it??), but it will have to wait till after the new year. I mean I am totally at my limit right now with things I need to do. For one thing, as many of you know, ( and many of you do as I have a tendency to begin every conversation with, "Oh did I tell you I sold my book?" and now when I open the door to my FedEx guy before I even open my mouth he says, "Yes you told me,") I did sell my book and I have a deadline of January first to turn in my final manuscript.

It's funny, but before the sale, I would sit down and write for hours and the words just flowed. When I reread my words, they all sounded great, and I just knew I had a bestseller on my hands and began planning book tours in my head, starting in NYC and ending in Beverly Hills. Now I have days when I sit at the computer and stare at an empty page for hours telling myself, WRITE SOMETHING! IDIOT! HURRY!

On top of this, we are coming into the holidays and as I do every year, I am hosting Thanksgiving. This year we will have a houseful, M and I, with all of our children, seven between us, their spouses or significant others, family, and friends. I am so looking forward to it, and not just because I love stuffing. There is something about preparing a beautiful meal and watching people enjoy it that makes me feel good. And yes, I do make an extra tin of stuffing and hide it in the garage fridge to be eaten later in the privacy of my bedroom, as I enjoy the whole season of Project Runway on my DVR. SO?

Of course, with holidays comes memories. For a few years after my divorce, they were painful ones. I continued to put out the little paper cups turned into turkeys that my daughter and I made one afternoon when she was five. I remember sitting with her, looking at her little fingers working the little brown puff balls she glued onto the cup and thinking, "remember this perfect moment," taking comfort in a hot cup of coffee as I watched the leaves blow around outside. There was also the pine cone turkey that my son made in preschool, the little nooks and crannies of the pine cone filled with red and yellow pipe cleaners. The centerpiece in fact, was a big brown paper bag turkey, the tail fanned out into the shape of my older daughter's hand, another kindergarten masterpiece. These reminders of years gone by, warmed my heart but broke it at the same time. They served as a reminder, Thanksgiving will never be the same.

This year, as I begin to bring together all the makings of the big day, I am embracing the change. I can picture all the happy faces that will be around the table, the people that are here because M and I have found each other and have made a life together. The best part for us is watching our children enjoy each other, share what is happening in their lives and sometimes make jokes at our expense, which is fine, (and yes you are all getting Nutri-Bullets for Christmas due to M's kale smoothie obsession), and even see them make plans with each other that don't include us. For us, the kid's table has a whole new meaning.

So yes, it's true Thanksgiving will never be the same but there will be new memories, stories that will be told again and again as years go by, and more chairs added as new family members make their appearance. In fact, it will be gloriously different—I can't wait.

As far as the Ebola thing, don't worry...I'll get to it.

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October 24, 2014

Second Love Yes! Second Marriage - Maybe?

So, two girlfriends and I were sitting at lunch yesterday at one of those places that my friend loves because she says the organic salads are so good and I pretend to love too because I don't want her to know that I am that unhealthy fatty that is thinking "Please God, let them at least have a decent burger on the menu." Of course, dating after divorce topped our conversation. Two of us have been through divorce and one is in the midst. We sat there eating our organic, gluten-free, lactose-free, bowls of lettuce, while I wistfully stared at the Irish Pub across the street and salivated for a Scotch Egg.

Anyway, we talked about dating, how to date, who to date, when to date, and shared some experiences that we have already beaten to death but decided to revisit. These gals are somewhat new to the game and I of course am an old, though very well-maintained, pro. I regaled them with tales of my various dates, the one who took me to Cheesecake Factory and changed tables every time I went to the bathroom, the one who was an insurance fraud investigator, but was on leave because he had fired a gunshot at his wife -- (In his defense, she fired first, so, I mean seriously, what was he supposed to do?) and even the one who stood me up and left me standing at a tiki bar, like an idiot, totally overdressed in my new Anthropologie shawl. (Remember when they had that brief resurgence before we all realized we looked like that weird librarian in junior high?)

I can tell those stories now, without cringing and even enjoy them because those dates, and those stories led me to the relationship I am in now, with a man whom I plan to share the rest of my life with. And as always when I tell these stories and get to the good part about how I finally found this man I am asked the same question, "Do you think you will ever get married again?"

Now, years ago, right after my divorce if someone would have asked me that I immediately would have answered, "YES! Do you know anyone?" because I could not imagine NOT being married. Being divorced after 27 years of marriage made me feel, alone, lost, adrift and in need. I thought perhaps I could slide another man right into that vacant husband position and my life could continue on much as before, Saturday night dinners with other couples, my occasional infamous themed dinner parties with colorful napkins, and the Sunday night dinners at my parent's house. Yes, I was definitely taking applications.

And then, I began to enjoy the freedom that being divorced can bring. I saw that sure, I did enjoy the company of a man, and yes I did want a partner to go through life with, but marriage? Now, not so sure.
Of course, I believe in marriage for all and I do think it is the foundation of our society. Still, at this stage of the game, both of us in middle age, I don't know. We have seven grown children between us, we have past lives, alimony, life insurance policies, ex-spouses that are still going to be part of our lives. Why now? Why not now? What is the answer?

I am not going to be so glib as to say "I don't see how a piece of paper can make us love each other any more than we do." A marriage license is not just a piece of paper, it says "I love this person above all others." In fact, I came across mine not too long ago, in an envelope with my divorce decree. I held them up side by side, one a beginning and one an ending, more than just pieces of paper for sure. But, is it one we need now at this point in our lives?

So. What? I don't know. We are getting older, and down the road, there will be challenges, possible sickness, surgeries, etc. Would marriage make those events any easier? In fact my man had some routine tests a while back and while asleep in his hospital bed, a nurse came in with a clip board of questions that needed answering. "Are you his wife?"she asked.

"No,um, I'm just his girlfriend." I answered.

I am JUST a girlfriend and he is JUST a boyfriend, and we love and cherish each other every day. Perhaps that is enough.
*Originally published in Huffington Post Divorce, October 2014

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May 1, 2014


Every day it becomes increasingly clear that aging involves more than taking a Glucosamine Chondroitin pill with my lunch. (The creaking of my knees can be heard three reformers down in Pilates class, and every session my instructor says, “Ew. Amy is that your knees?”) Still, I forge ahead and fight the daily fight of trying to eat only protein and perfecting the art of drawing on my disappearing eyebrows, making me look like Witchipoo from H R Puffenstuff.

This is how my day starts: I wake up and immediately tell myself, “I will not eat toast for breakfast.” I go to the refrigerator and take out two hard boiled eggs. I peel them carefully, and slice them into perfect little rounds. I salt and pepper them. I sit at the table and chew each slice. I tell myself “Good for you eating protein for breakfast! Now this will hold you over until lunch when you will eat lettuce with tuna.You go girl!”

I then head into my office and turn on my lap top anxious to get a full day of writing in. I pull up a fresh screen and stare at it for about three minutes. I then log onto Facebook where I take an IQ test, and a quiz to see what type of tree I am. From there I go to Craigslist looking for a job that pays a lot of money but where you work from home like one day a week. This whole process takes roughly thirty minutes. I then realize I am starving. I go to the kitchen and make two pieces of rye toast. I think from here we can guess that the lettuce with tuna is not happening either.

Clothes shopping has also produced new challenges. First of all, why do I continue going into Anthropologie? What is actually happening to me in that dressing room as I try on see through peasant blouses and billowy long skirts that look adorable on young girls but make me look as though I should be outside hanging laundry in a shtetl? Is there some kind of weird gas or something they release making me tell myself that “OMG this is SO me” only to get home and realize there is no way I can leave the house in these garments? Also I have stock piled wall sized letter A’s wrapped in bright fabric and a million little bowls with painted peacocks on them. I have to stop going in there. Seriously.

On the upside, life is pretty good right now. I love my little waterfront house, and I love M even though he insists on making the bed every morning (Meaning I have to get out of it,) and refuses to watch any of the Housewives, which I totally do not get. My kids are doing pretty well, still finding their way but, finally those pesky legal issues seem to have subsided. At times I worry about my financial future but then remind myself that of course eventually my book will sell, it will become a blockbuster movie and I will meet Meryl Streep, so that usually calms me down.

So perhaps this is the part of life where I decide I am content yet hopeful of good things that may come my way, mainly becoming a published author, a close friend of Jon Hamm, and at some way later future date, a grandma, or at least a mother in law. I will certainly contemplate this today, over coffee in my peacock mug and two pieces of sourdough toast.

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A B O U T   T H E   A U T H O R

Amy Koko is the author of the popular blog Ex-Wife New Life and a blogger for Huffington Post in the Divorce, Women and Comedy sections. Amazon Publishing will be releasing her memoir in September, 2015.