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Ex-Wife New Life
by:  Amy Koko
e-mail:  kokoamy2@gmail.com
twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/female50freaked
After 27 years of marriage my husband announces he is leaving me for a beautiful Swiss pastry chef. NOW WHAT?
May 9, 2015

Happy Mother's Day!

I miss you guys! I know I haven't posted in what seems like years, but the thing is I have a job now, and seriously, this is some heavy shit. First off, they expect me to be there like, every day at the same time...which is a number with AM after it. (Except weekends, they are not TOTAL barbarians.) Secondly, you are supposed to be there for eight hours. WHAT? Everyone knows, I need a little shut eye around 2pm to make it through the day. Mainly, they expect you to get stuff done, and well, frankly, this blew my mind. There apparently is something called productivity in these work places...WHO KNEW? But I'm doing well, have already been promoted once and they just got a fridge installed in the break room so...CHA CHING! Also, there is word that a microwave is coming so I am not going ANYWHERE!

Anyway, with Mother's Day coming right up, I felt I needed to do a post in the honor of my mother. Bear with me, it will seem like it's all about me, but we'll get there.

Saturday I went for my monthly haircut/color with the same guy I have been going to for years. I don't even tell him what to do anymore other than, "Hide the gray and don't make me look like a man." And he usually does all that perfectly, except for this time. In other words, call me MISTER. Koko and STOP STARING! I know, I know...Dude. W T F?

What can I say? We were talking about his six children, and he was cutting away and when I got up to leave I looked in the mirror and was stunned. How can I describe this...let's see...this hair cut makes Glenn Close in "Albert Nobbs" look like an ethereal fairy princess. Does that sort of give you an idea? I mean this was bad people. Not since the shag I got in seventh grade(Thank you mom, great suggestion,) that sealed my fate of being the last one picked for all sports teams, other than Deanna Oglethorpe who wore red corrective shoes and had a weird bald spot, has anything this heinous taken place on my head.

So I stand in my bathroom staring at the back of my head and wondering what the hell can I do? Maybe shave off the rest and grow a beard like guys who have receding hair lines do? You know kind of beating the whole bald thing to the punch?

Feeling somewhat faint and a little hungry but unable to head into the kitchen for fear of running into M, I reached out to the three people in my life who always know how to make me feel better, my two sisters and of course my mother. I took a selfie of the back of my head and one from the front. I captioned it, "OMG! HOW BAD IS IT????" of course thinking they would say it's not bad at all, quite stylish in fact. Within seconds my support system began weighing in.

Sister 1: OMG Bruce Jenner in reverse!

Sister 2: HAAAAA OMG Which blade is that? When did you start going to a barber?

Sister 1: If you can't afford a real salon why didn't you come to us? We will start a fund for you

Then my daughter walked in. I pulled her into the bathroom and showed her. "What am I going to do?" I asked her.

"Okay," she said. "It IS a little short. In 2018 when you go for your NEXT haircut, tell him not to cut it so short." And walked away laughing.

Oh I was devasated. The kids at the office would have a field day with this, as would their dogs! I already wore shoes with special insoles and had my Lactaid stored in the work fridge. This would seal the deal as the weird old lady at work.

But then...there it was, my beacon in the night, a source of hope to pull me from this despair, a text from my mother:

Sisters are teasing you. The front looks great. Love the highlights. It's nice to have a different look!

Now THAT is what being a mother is all about. And that text gave me the strength to come out of the bathroom, head into the kitchen with my head held high and make myself a tuna sandwich. While I was eating, I realized what was so special about that text...she really BELIEVES that. She BELIEVES it when I tell her I've gained a few pounds and she says, "It's nice to have a little shape!" Because she's a mother, and when she looks at her children she doesn't see bad haircuts or a few extra pounds...she sees a person that she loves more than anyone or anything on Earth. And it's knowing that that gives us the strength to get through bad haircuts, horrific breakups, problems with our OWN children and just the occasional plain old shitty day.

And it's knowing that, that let's me forgive her for the 7th grade shag that accented my big teeth and uni-brow. Not sure what she was thinking with that one...but all is forgiven. I love you mom.
Happy Mother's Day.

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March 15, 2015

Stil WORKING IT!

Last night was well...amazing. It was Saturday night and M and I were out on the town. I had outdone myself with my black boots (sort of Captain Jack Sparrow looking but on sale at Nordstrom Rack!) skinny jeans, and a long clingy top, Spanx on bottom, Spanx on top and BAM, pure magic.

As M and I cruised restaurant row, people from the bars and restaurants had overflowed onto the street. I could not go more than a couple of feet without men gaping at me. I mean mouth open gaping. Some of them were mid-bite their cheezy piece of Fortunato's pizza and still turned all the way around to watch me walk by.

OMG, and here all this time (Well the last year or two) I had been worrying about back fat? Ridiculous! Obviously men love a little som'n som'n to grab onto. How much had I spent SO FAR, on eybrow gels, pencils and powders? Crazy! Obviously men love that look of surprise that is now permanently etched on my face!

And then, one young, handsome guy actually begins to make his way over to me. And I'm like "Dude, AWKWARD!" I mean M is standing right here! And he walks over to me and I'm thinking "Oh wow, I hope M doesn't get too worked up, I mean I will just say, "Thank you so much, but I'm actually with somebody," (Which is what the first and ONLY guy I ever approached in a bar said to me back in the day. Still smarts.)

He makes his way towards me and I inwardly lick my teeth because before leaving home I ate yogurt with Chia seeds, and here he comes and then... there he goes. And then it hits me, I totally forgot ! My 23 year old, blonde, blue eyed daughter is walking with us, instagramming on her phone, totally oblivious to the havoc she is wreaking.

He pushes past me and makes a b-line for her, where a quick conversation ensues before she sends him on his way. "I'm hanging out with my mom tonight" she says. And he sort of looked over at me and waved at me and yelled as if I was deaf, "Hi! I'm just talking with your sister for a minute!" and then I heard him say something like, "Oh aren't you nice? Call me after you get her settled in for the night and we'll go listen to some jazz."

And two totally different feelings washed over me, 1. Pride for my beautiful daughter who is oblivious to her youth and beauty and 2. Pain as my upper Spanx rolled up under my boobs and I realized, I am invisible.

And that's okay because I had my day in the sun and now I have two daughters whose time it is to shine. And I love watching them and there are times I can't believe I made them because they are turning into beautiful women, that I love with all my heart.

It's just that, this experience comes at the end of a week where I started a new job...I mean I think it's a job...it's either a job or a week long play date as all of my co-workers have to remove their retainers before they eat. One girl showed up and said, "Hope you guys don't mind, I'm working in my pajamas today," and I'm thinking AWESOME! Perhaps I will come in my "MORNING SUNSHINE" t shirt and sleep shorts tomorrow. In fact, Wednesday my editor announced it was his birthday, "I'm a quarter century old today." Okay, so I assumed we were carpooling to Chucky Cheese at lunch time.

But that didn't happen because nobody eats lunch. Apparently no one else looks at the clock every ten minutes and thinks "Okay at 10:00 I will eat my hard boiled egg, and then at 12:00 my roasted beet salad from Trader Joe's and finish the day up at 3:00 with my chocolate coconut KIND bar. That should hold me." Quarter century old bodies apparently can live on RedBull and Trail mix.

No one else heaves themselves off the communal "Pit Couch" grunting like a water buffalo while supporting their back with their hands, no one else is taking 10,000 mgs of Vitamin D with Calcium at lunchtime and no one else is receiving text messages from their daughter saying "Dropping off my laundry! Can I have it by tomorrow?" That's because no one else is OLD!

I am now officially the old lady in the room. Ugh! But in a way, I'm okay with it because, DUDE, I am holding my own. I go to work, I write my stories, I even know how to photoshop images and stuff now! I eat my egg and my salad—at the end of the day I heave myself of the pit couch and drive home. I come home to a loving partner and a cat who pretends he doesn't know we exist but crawls up on our bed as soon as we fall asleep.

Morning comes and I get ready to do it all again. Stories already filling my head, that will later take shape on the page. I pack up my egg, my salad my Kind bar. Grab my robe, shove my feet into slippers and off I go! Just another day at the office.

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February 18, 2015

5 Things NOT TO SAY in Your Second Relationship

When I went through my divorce, I thought, among other things, (like with my alimony,Really? People live on that?) that’s it—I’m done. And by done, I meant I will never laugh again, I will never love again, I will certainly never have sex again. I prepared myself to settle into middle age, debated getting a maroon velour Lazy-Boy recliner and a TV tray. Wait! Some recliners have built in cup holders? Well, things ARE looking up!

That lasted about six months, while I watched every Real Housewives episode from every city, (Still love you Countess LuAnn!) gained about five pounds from Top Chef marathons and actually went through my ex’s whole collection of expensive Italian wines. I’m not afraid to admit: I missed having a man in my life damn it! So, I bought myself a pair of skinny jeans, a red shawl from Anthropologie (during the brief shawl resurgence before we all realized we looked like that weird librarian in junior high) a pair of Steve Madden wedges and off I went. I dived into that crazy, weird, please don’t be a serial killer, world of online dating.

Man, I had some doozies. And, I met some very nice men too. Some actually were single! But I had fun. I flirted. I dated. I felt pretty. And then I got lucky. Very lucky. I met a wonderful man. We have been together for almost six years now. We are not married, may never be, but we are committed, we are soul mates, we have a cat together, so...I mean I’M not going anywhere.

There is a huge, growing population of us middle aged folks entering into and living in, second relationships. I have found it to be much different than my first marriage. The two big stressers children and finances are no longer factors. You each have your children, who most likely are on their way to being grown adults. You each have your own finances, however measly they may be, but they’re yours and you are in charge of your own financial future.

This time you focus on the love, the companionship and the intimacy of being with another person. It’s lovely.

Yet, in my six years of being in this wonderful relationship I have found there are still certain things one can say that do not go over well. They didn’t in the first marriage, and they still are not working. So here are my top five things NOT TO SAY in your new, happy, so glad I found you, relationship.

Is THAT what you’re wearing? Now, I’m not sure what you mean by that, but you can see we are walking out the door, I have my purse over my shoulder, and I am not naked. So YES, this is what I’m wearing.

Hey, do you want to join a gym with me? I don’t know...would you like to join a scrap booking club with me? What are you trying to say?

Seriously? You just ate! Um...have you not heard of dessert? Take it from me, if your significant other climbs into bed with a bowl of fruit, cereal or ice cream after dinner, leave it alone. No comments necessary.

Are you going to leave that there? What? Oh no. I’m just placing it there FOR NOW. You know, until one day the feeling comes over me and I walk over to it, pick it up, and decide to move it to another place that you’ll like even better.

Isn’t today garbage day? Now typically, this will be in the morning as you are lying there spooning. And take it from me it’s a mood killer. Because I take it to mean, “Hey, can you get your big lazy butt out there and drag the can to the curb? Can you? Or, do I have to do EVERYTHING?” So, yeah...not good.

Anyway, I think if you watch out for these pitfalls, you have a good chance at a happy second, long lasting relationship. Plus you will save a whole lot of money on recliners, especially the ones with the cup holders. They are apparently pretty proud of those things.

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February 11, 2015

TAKING A SICK DAY

The other morning I was in spin class and half way through the first rendition of TIMBER, I began to feel a bit tired. I was sort of disappointed in myself. I told myself “Dude. You spin like three times a week, unless A. It’s raining B. Someone-ANYONE invites you out for an early cocktail or C. You forgot to put your purple Rain Gatorade in the outdoor fridge. So, you should really be able to make it at least half way through the class before you start pretending you are turning that little tension knob to the right and make a great show of pedaling real slow as if you really ARE doing a seated climb."

From there I proceeded to my daily errands and found some little naggy pains in my stomach becoming more and more ominous. As I drove home, I found my hands seizing up, my legs beginning to ache, my back clinching up and realized OMG. I have Ebola. There could be no other explanation for the stabbing pain in my head and neck. Just when things were going so well, and I finally filled up all the little punch holes in my buy ten get one free hand massage at my nail place—and NO, I didn’t work today, lady.

Ugh. I was hot-I was cold. I made my way from the car to my closet and put on a pair of wool tights, socks and a Spanx camisole. (I don’t want my fat sticking out when the coroner comes to take me to the morgue.) I then fell into bed, and as that fitful sleep that comes with illness began to overtake me I thought, “Wait! What do I have to do before I give in? Is everyone fed, is the dog walked, is the cat litter clean, are the backpacks ready for the morning?” and then even in my near delirium I realized, I don’t have to do a thing. For the first time in thirty years, I could just be sick and enjoy it.

I am finally getting to take a sick day. When the kids were little, there were no such things. Running from room to room, cleaning up bodily fluids during a stomach flu marathon, it never occurred to me to give in to the horrendous nausea that overtook me as I went into my two year old son’s room after he yelled “Hey Mommy! I’m burping!” and found rivers of vomit on his bed.
It never occurred to me I might need an antibiotic for Strep when every swallow burned like fire. Not when there was a little league team waiting on their juice boxes. I’m sorry, lay down with two Excedrin with a raging sinus headache that felt like a knife in my eye? Um, not today, when I am lunch mom and the second graders need someone to line them up in the hallway. No. Not today.

But today, Yes. I gave in. In and out of a sweaty slumber, I tried to remember how many people had succumbed to the horrendous Ebola and who had survived. If that nurse could make it so could I, I mean she went to work every day and then was like, “Hey, I don’t feel so good,” and her friends took great care of her and then she was better, running around the hospital infecting God knows who else. And I had M, who insisted on bringing me won ton soup even though I said there was no way I could possibly eat it. (Turns out I did with a few fried noodles as well.)

Through the afternoon I received worried messages from my daughter:
Want to go to lunch?

can’t sick. really sick.

ok. what’s your debit card number i order pizza

I slept fitfully during the night remembering that my most current will is from 1993 and wondering how my sister will feel about four adults coming to live with her. (She is the sole provider for my children upon my early demise and Yes I consider this early.) I dreamed of my funeral, and hoped M would remember to give the funeral guy my closed toe shoes because I haven’t had a pedicure since the nail tech held my foot up and said, “Oh poor lady. Wah happened lady?”

Then morning came and I was better. Still a little weak, a little achy, but certainly not Ebola ridden. I realized I was in a new phase of life, a peaceful phase, a quieter phase, an it’s okay to be sick every once in a while phase. A STAY IN BED AND WATCH TWO FULL SEASONS OF DOWNTON ABBEY phase. And I was okay with it, because like all you moms out there, I earned it and I am cashing in.

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January 29, 2015

What's Ahead for Mommy Bloggers

Here’s what I would like to say to all the mommy bloggers who are good writers, and pretty funny and offer good advice about how to deal with a toddler who will only wear ballerina tutu’s—you ain’t seen nothin' yet. And you moms out there who have kids over five, know what I mean.

They say you are only as happy as your unhappiest child, and there are no truer words.
How can you simply go about your day, enjoying your morning coffee, your Weight Watcher’s vegetable teriyaki rice at lunch time, a dirty martini with 3 blue cheese olives (hence the Weight Watcher’s) when that clock strikes five, if your child is suffering? And by suffering I don’t mean an injury, or God forbid an illness, I mean, you know, like, if someone made fun of their shoes, or they didn’t get into their chosen sorority. (You bitches, I haven’t forgotten.) Perhaps they didn’t get put into the baseball game that time you flew your whole family out to Orlando when the team made the little league play offs, and to this day, Uncle Irwin still asks why little Johnny had to sit the bench when he and Aunt Judy drove up all the way up from Longwood. Whatever it is, it affects us in a big way. BIG.

And so it is today, that I sit here feeling sad, weighted down, helpless, after receiving a call from my daughter. Things were going so well too, so far, I mean, it’s only 9:04 am. I was sipping my morning coffee, and saw her name come up as my phone buzzed away.

Could it be she is simply calling to say “Hi Mom! Have a great day!?” Yes I know, that is funny. Basically when my kids call this early in the morning I answer the phone with “WHAT! WHAT HAPPENED!!??” And just as I feared, there was something wrong. And this time it is big, worse than when she called me and said “Get over here. A kid on a bike just ran into my car.” Worse than when she called me and said, “Hey there are a bunch of cops outside. Did you ever take care of that citation?” (I hadn’t and bad things ensued. Don’t remind me.)

You see, it seems that daughter's iPhone is outdated and will not sync with her computer. On top of this horrendous news, she also shared with me that her television is not a smart TV and she is having trouble watching Netflix on her small lap top. Hulu is also an issue. Well, needless to say, MY day is ruined.

The hard part, I guess is that I am powerless to help her. Due to my eeensy weensy alimony (which btw-runs out in a few years, just in time for me to break a hip and be TOTALLY unemployable) and my desire to keep the IRS happy this year, I have no way of fixing this for her. I can only sit by, devastated, watching her struggle and suffer. Yet I know she is strong, capable, will somehow find a way to overcome these trying times. She will survive and one day, who knows, maybe by some miracle we will have an upgrade on our Sprint account and she will enter the kiosk, strong, self assured and leave, victorious, new iPhone 6, 7, 8 whatever, in her sweet little hands.

And so, I guess the only thing I can offer her is advice, and that is “THEN GO READ A BOOK and start saving your money!” Do not call me before noon! Remember you have TWO parents! Buckle down. Work hard.

Mommy loves you.

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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.