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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?
August 19, 2015

This Was Not In The "Script"

So today was my yearly visit with my psychiatrist and yes I have one and please stop judging. OMG, like YOU don't lie awake at night and worry that the email you sent to your sister about how upset you are that Bethenny is back on Real Housewives, accidentally went to your client in LA who has never met you but thinks you're cool because you use the words "In retrospect" a lot and pretend to know what a meme is. Like YOU don't get up to check your computer and once you see that the email did indeed go to your sister, you feel a lot better, but then you see a story about how women who gain weight during menopause should have their thyroid checked and then you have to go to the mirror to drink a glass of water and look for lumps like the article says. Please, like YOU don't go back to bed two hours later bloated from all the water and sure you have a goiter, and finally, FINALLY give in and take your Ambien, which, by the way, you need a prescription for.

Anyway, today I was looking forward to my visit because, A. I get to leave work for an hour and was planning on getting a Chic Filet sandwich with extra pickles, and B. because I notice lately I have been really focusing on health issues, and probably more than normal people do. In my mind every ache or pain is most likely malignant, at the very least will require some type of surgery and recovery period and I'm not really sure how much time off I have accrued in my six months of employment. So it causes me great stress.

So I was all set to delve into it with Dr. today and have her tell me, "Oh you're being silly, you look healthy as a horse," and give me my script and send me on my way. She called me back to her office, as she always does, and I headed for my usual spot, took a seat on the couch where I have lost my shit more than once and looked at the doctor and noticed she was bald. And she was skinny. And she was wrapped in a shawl and it's August in Florida. "Fuck" I thought, "She's sick."

And I wanted to cry. I wanted to lay down on that couch like I did years ago when I went to her because my husband had left me and I wasn't sure I could move, and just cry. And she said, "So how are you?" and I said, "Fine, I have a job now, and I have a book coming out, I'm really fine." And even while I was saying it I was thinking, I don't think I will go into the whole "What if I need surgery" thing.

She began writing out the script and saying how exciting it was about my job and how she couldn't wait to read the book and finally I interrupted her and said, "Doc, what's going on with you?" and she said, "I have cancer, which isn't so bad, but the chemo and radiation are killing me."

"Crap," I answered because what could I say?

Could I say that I know the words coming out of my mouth sound selfish and inane? That she and her colorful long skirts and birkenstocks make several appearances in my next book? That I want her to look at me with that squint she always does and then throw that long frizzy hair of hers behind her neck while she writes out my script? That I love her for caring that I have a stupid job as she pulls the shawl tighter around her shoulders?

We ended the session, eight minutes maybe, and she walked me to the check out desk and handed me my prescriptions. "Look at you," she said, "A book and a job? It's glorious, isn't it?" and I said "Doc, I want you to be well," and she said, "I know, but just in case," and she handed me a list of psychiatrists in the area.

And I left. And I cried all the way to Chic Filet. And then I went back to work, where I wanted to yell at my co-workers who are all under 30, "It won't last forever! You better enjoy every minute! And WTF is a meme!!?"

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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 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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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.