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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 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You see, it seems that daughter's iPhone is outdated and will not sync with her computer.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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January 21, 2015

Dating After Divorce: ARE YOU READY?

Back in the days when I was happily married, friends and I would sit around over our Wine Spritzers, (this was before the day I switched over to hard core dirty martinis) and talk about our marriages, which was easy to do because we were so IN them. So secure in our relationships, so blinded to the perilous bends in the road that we were driving towards. We would say things like, “Well if anything, GOD FORBID, ever happened to Paul, I don’t think I would ever remarry.” And by anything, we meant, a fatal accident or insidious illness snatching them out of our happy little lives. At this point we could not see any other way that they would leave us. Certainly not of their own volition, walking out the front door on their two strong healthy legs, their arms full of clothing and items they felt mattered enough to take with them. Certainly not driving away in their car towards something or someone who promised excitement, newness, MORE than meatloaf Wednesdays, Saturday night movies and frozen yogurt, and Sunday dinners at the parents.

Anyway we would continue, “I mean why would I ever remarry? I’ve had the love of my life, I’ve had my children. I could be happy alone, I think.” “Yes,” we all would agree as the spritzer bubbled up a little bit in our throats, causing us to hiccup and giggle, as we divided up the check and headed home to watch Seinfeld with our hubbies. Yes, I could be happy alone.

During my divorce years, I had a slightly different view. I wanted to be alone because I could never imagine being with another man— not because I still loved my ex-husband or even because I didn’t want strange feet in my bed, ( I have a thing about feet, trying to work through it...) but because I hated men. I might be standing behind you in line at the grocery and say, “I hate men don’t you?” and then you would say, “Whew boy! I hear ya, can’t wait for football season to end!” and then I would say, tears streaming down my face, “No, I mean don’t you really hate them?” at which point you would say “OH! They have bogo on fire roasted tomatoes!” and slowly back away with your cart in search of a line with normal people in it.

And then. I was out to dinner with some friends and I heard the deep laugh of a man make its way across the room. I felt a little chill go across my shoulders, a little tingle in my nethers. I would be talking to the sales guy at Bed Bath and Beyond about the Keurig (Should I or shouldn’t I? I didn’t. I still have to fresh grind) and get a whiff of his after shave. Similar result. As these feelings began to overtake me more and more, I realized I was no longer living alone— I was living lonely. I was ready to date. Here are some ways that you will know the time has come!?

1. “Divorced” is no longer how you describe yourself: For awhile after my divorce when I met new people who asked me, “So what do you do?” I would answer “I’m divorced.” Then, as time and healing went on I would answer,”I’m a writer.” Then they would say, “Oh what have you written?” Ugh. Noseys. Then I went into real estate so I could answer, “I’m a realtor,” but then they would say “Oh how many listings do you have?” so, that wasn’t really working either, but you get my point.

2. You are no longer angry at your ex: This is a big one. For a very long time the only way I would communicate with my ex was through email, with, I am very ashamed to admit the words M-----F------in the subject line. Horrible. Then one day we had a reason to meet for coffee, you know with four kids, things come up that cannot be dealt with on the internet. So we met for coffee, and we laughed and reminisced and when I left there I was like, “OMG! I really want him to be happy!” I felt ten pounds lighter and happier myself.

3. You CAN live alone: Here’s the thing, now you know you can live alone. You’re doing it! You are strong and independent, and can take care of yourself. You know when you decide to date it won’t be to find a caretaker, it will be to find a loving partner and companion.

4. You miss the sex, companionship, intimacy of a relationship: Isn’t that what it boils down to? What woman eventually does not miss strong arms around her from time to time, help with her zipper, a man sitting beside her making fun of the Real Housewives, but SITTING THERE because she likes it. Is it wrong to miss having a car door opened, a dinner reservation made, a cup of morning coffee brought? Is there anything better than bed talk— sharing your thoughts on the dinner party you just attended, your new job prospect, your daughter’s boyfriend? No. And if you’re ready, you can have it all on your terms, in your way.

If this applies to you, if you feel you are ready, go for it—get out there. Have a friend introduce you to someone or try online dating. I have found once you are ready and open to it, opportunities will come your way. Don’t be scared, just be smart. You’re ready.

*First printed Huffington Post Divorce January 21, 2015

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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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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.