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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?
November 21, 2014

Decoratively Challenged

As I mentioned in my last post, Thanksgiving is around the corner and I cannot wait. I have made my shopping list and already purchased a 25 pound turkey at Publix where I had a run in with the check out girl because she insisted I put it on the treadmill after I asked her to come scan it in the cart. I tried to explain to her that I had a bad back and she remained adamant so the bag boy finally came over and hoisted the thing up there. I did however get a free reusable shopping bag with Pilgrims on it which is in the top of the pantry with all the other free reusable bags that I never use, let alone REUSE.

Anyway, tomorrow M and I will do the big shopping, dividing the day between Publix and Costco. I really love that we do this. When I was married, it was always just me running around like a crazy person, and when I finally put my beautiful dinner on the table my ex would look at me and say, "What, no eggnog?" The only thing that scares me about M and I shopping together is that I am afraid we are turning into that old couple that has one car, you know where the man drives the woman everywhere and waits for her while reading the paper? I totally see it coming.

Anyway, I feel good about everything, except for one aspect...decor. I can cook up a mean turkey dinner but my holiday decor leaves much to be desired. Every year I buy more stuff to help make my home and table welcoming and real Thanksgivingy. I probably have like 15 little wooden turkeys and Pilgrim guys along with my kids artwork from preschool. I lay everything out on the table in what I think is an esthetically appealing arrangement, yet it looks more like the arts and crafts table in a kindergarten class. I admit it, it's not my strong suit.

This year, as every year I turn to Ina Garten the Barefoot Contessa for tips. I just want to go live in her house and eat dinner with her and Jeffrey (are they still married?) every night while we share amusing stories about my kids and stuff. I picture Jeffrey refilling my glass with a deep red Merlot while I ramble on, "And then you would not believe what happened in third grade!" as he and Ina chuckle at my tale. Then I retire into one of Ina's unbelievable guest rooms which probably all smell like cinnamon cookies and fall blissfully asleep dreaming of breakfast.

I always look through her books and am amazed at what she does. Her turkey is beautifully sliced into perfect pieces whereas mine looks as if it has been ripped apart by wolves. Also, who decorates with dried cranberries? I want my centerpiece to be a beautiful arrangement of fresh herbs and cranberries too! And what's more unbelievable, everyone has a MATCHING wine glass. I always use my extra big ST.PETE PIER one with the big pelican on it and the rest are various shapes, sizes and colors— every man for himself.

Oh well, this year I bought some new Rachel Ray plates with acorns on them and bright orange napkins which now I'm afraid will give off a Halloweeney vibe. I also bought two new turkeys that sit on the table with their legs hanging off which should really take it up a notch. M and I are starting a new family tradition this year that entails a tequila shot before dinner. And really who needs dried cranberries when you have Turkey, tequila and togetherness.

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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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April 20, 2014

Alot on my PLATE

Buy a lottery ticket, say yes to an opportunity, explore an idea - do something to capitalize on the luck that is flowing your way now, Leo. Can you feel the vibe? Can you sense that something has shifted, and that your luck is growing increasingly fabulous? You need to be ready, willing, and able to take on any positive chance that comes your way. You need to be aware of the power you now have to change your life for the better. Your intuition is astoundingly accurate - something has shifted. Your luck is on the upswing!

This morning I read my horoscope and immediately went back to bed with my computer waiting for the good news to come my way. I checked my email for job offers, publishers reaching out with a 10k advance, or an Ellen DeGeneres' staff member wanting to book me for her show. Nothing. Refresh. Refresh. Refresh.

Wait a minute! I just got a text! At this point I will settle for a message from ALDO SHOES saying they CAN get the black gladiator sandals in a 9 AAA. Yes, that would be increasingly, fabulous luck, as my old black gladiator sandals now resemble the shoes Charlton Heston wore in Ben Hur.

Alas, it is not from ALDO, but from my ex husband's new wife. Could it be she is reaching out to make amends? I agree, it's time to bury the hatchet and co-exist peacefully. Perhaps she wants to meet for lunch or coffee. We can have a girl's day out, shooting the breeze and then doing a little shopping. (I am not sharing a dressing room, that is where I draw the line.) Better yet, perhaps a nice dinner out, where we sit like two grown up ladies drinking martinis. I'm definitely feeling the let's be friends vibe.

WTF? The text reads as follows, "Amy, it is ___ We want to hang a TV on the lanai and the metal plate is missing? Do you have the metal plate? We need the metal plate."

I'm starting to feel the "Dude. Seriously?" vibe. I lived in that house for 7 years with 4 teenagers. I spent months packing it up, and trying to figure out how to discard cracked bongs found beneath beds without alerting the drug squad. I could have paid my taxes had I taken all the empty Red Bull cans found in closets and cabinets to the recycling center. I packed up 27 years of kitchen knick knacks, family China, and saved t -ball uniforms. I emptied closets, bathroom cabinets, (still having PTSD from what I found under there,) and sat on the floor days at a time crying over boxes of photos.

Yes, when the day came and I walked out of that house for the last time leaving memories and beautiful Persian Pearl granite behind, I suddenly thought, "Wait! She can have my husband and my beautiful home but she is NOT getting the metal plate on the lanai wall!"

So, what do I text back? How about, "I'm so sorry, I was awarded the metal plate in the divorce settlement. Speak to my attorney."

But no, I can afford to be generous and magnanimous. My luck is on the upswing! I answered, "I did not take that TV so I do not have the metal plate. Sorry. Hope all is well."
She texted back, "Thank you, same to you," which I think means "I know you have the metal plate you evil bitch."

Yes. Something tells me she doesn't quite buy my story and we all know my intuition is astoundingly accurate.

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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.