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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?
April 9, 2014

Okay, I Have Really Accepted 50

The other day I came face to face with fifty. By that I mean I came to terms with it, accepted it, conceded, and dealt with the fact that I am no longer “around fifty” I am 53 and overdue for a bone density test. During Pilates my knees sound like Fourth of July fireworks. Also, whereas I used to be obsessed with commercials for sexy new perfumes and face creams, I am now way more interested in the ads for Fosamax and Cymbalta. What? Possible dry mouth, and diarrhea? But I won’t wake up counting the hours until I can go back to bed? Okay, I’ll take that sweet deal.

Anyway, the way it happened was this: I was on my way home from spin class wearing the bike shorts my ex wore when he competed in an IronMan triathalon fifteen years ago and a Nike sports bra from the bygone era of Aerobics class routines set to “Let’s Get Physical” by Olivia Newton John. I mean the swish is long gone on this thing. WIthout getting too graphic here, the word BRA is being used loosely as I pretty much have to jam my boobs up into it and then hope I don’t see them later peeking out around my lap as I pedal away to TIMBER.

Suddenly I needed frozen yogurt, from the self serve place where I like to get a small cup, fill it half way with NATURALLY TART and then add like four cupfuls of chocolate sprinkles and a quart of hot caramel sauce. I knew that if I first went home and showered I would end up eating half a box of Cheezits and a Skinny Cow ice cream sandwich and most likely after washing that down with a diet Dr. Pepper I would never make it to Menchies, and my body was really craving it. Therefore, there was a huge decision to be made. Do I actually go into a food establishment with sweat rings around my nipples or do I miss out on one of the few things besides Chardonnay and Mad Men that help me keep my mind off the fact that I only get six more years of alimony. It dawned on me right then, I don’t care what people think of me or my sagging bike shorts or sweaty boobs. I WANT YOGURT! I went in and loaded up. So, that is one way I know that I have come to terms with fifty. Ice cream over vanity. Here are a few other ways I think prove I have accepted the fact that I am definitely well into my fifth decade:

I now stand at the Publix checkout after I have paid the bill going over my receipt like a radiologist viewing a bone scan. The line builds behind me but I don’t care, I have to make sure I got the BOGO on my Oreos.

I will virtually try on any type of underwear that promises to hide back fat. Even if I see that it is constructed with what appears to be toilet paper and Elmers glue I never lose hope. This could be the one.

When I go out to dinner, instead of laying my purse on an empty chair or on the floor next to me I clutch it close to me on my lap and realize now it’s only a matter of time before I start sneaking sugar packets into it.

I now say, “Will you share something with me?” when I am out to dinner as if later, I am not going to go home and eat a bowl of Honeycomb cereal while watching Millionaire Matchmaker.

I invariably will tell my sister during one of our long distance cell phone conversations that “I’ll call you right back, I can’t find my phone.”

Believe it or not, I find there is a freedom in admitting to yourself that you are pretty much middle aged now, and it is more than eating yogurt in sweaty gym clothes. You can do what you want when you feel like doing it, (within reason, you don’t want to end up on Dateline or anything,) with the knowledge that those who love you will love you just as much with a little caramel sauce on your chin and even a tiny bit of back fat.

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March 24, 2014

PRESSING MATTERS

I am sitting in my office where I am supposed to be writing 1. a book 2. an article on the most over the top wedding items ever and 3. an interview I did with Frank a ten year old dachsund. I am just about ready to get to work but first things first. I have already checked Facebook, done some creepstalking on an old boss, and liked 3 funny pet videos. I checked my Twitter though not sure why as still not really sure what it's supposed to be doing. I googled Season 7 of Mad Men to see when I need to set my DVR as well as season 3 of VEEP. I am debating going to TJ Maxx for sports bras at some point today. I am the only one wearing collared GAP t-shirts at Pilates.

I am ready to buckle down and get on with my business, but there are still some nagging thoughts keeping me from penning my masterpiece and researching swan ice sculptures.

1. I ate two Eggo waffles less than 30 minutes ago. Why am I still hungry? I want cheese.

2. In today's world would Don Draper be an advertising exec? Do we still have those? Would he be in AA? Would he be in rehab for sex addiction? How can I meet Jon Hamm?

3. Why didn't Mick Jagger's girlfriend L'wren Scott just ask Mick if she could possibly borrow the money to bail out her business and pay him back later?

4. What exactly is Obamacare and do I need it and if so where do I get it?

5. How do I get off the GILT website...I can't afford anything on there and I have already unsubscribed twice?

6. What is the fake crab in the Publix sushi made of? Should I get some for lunch or eat left over spaghetti?

7. What time does TJ Maxx open?

Okay. Now I'm ready.

Meet Frank, a 10 year old dachsund with a mind of his own!...

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March 17, 2014

Musings from a Golden Retriever Mom

Unconditional love. Sure, we say we love our partner/spouse unconditionally, and we mean it. We love you unconditionally, unless....you get too fat, contract halitosis,start telling knock knock jokes at dinner parties, suddenly decide it’s fun to push the cat in a stroller, take up rock collecting, get a Smart car,...well, you get the idea. There may be stipulations to the unconditional love thing, or in other words, unconditional love may come with a few conditions.

And yet, true unconditional love is possible. I know this because I have experienced it every day for the last 28 years. How? you may be asking. How does a person like me who considers bad breath grounds for couples therapy, find love that can endure through the years with no questions asked? The answer is both simple and heart breaking, at times bringing such tremendous joy it’s all I can do to not run down the street shouting it at passersby, while other times causing a pain so deep it can bring me to my knees. It’s simple. I am a mother.

I am the very proud mother of four. As a Jewish cancer-phobe I wake up every day and immediately do a quick role call. Yes, everyone is okay, they are all healthy, thank G-d. There was that one terrible scare we had when my son J, then two years old, had swollen lymph nodes going up and down his neck. What I knew was a deadly case of childhood leukemia, turned out to be a raging case of Impetigo, contracted when he was playing in our koi pond and then ate this Pizza Lunchable without washing his hands. As my pediatrician Dr. Yusk explained, eyeing me accusingly, “It is an infection from dirt. From being dirty. From not washing.” I felt like the mother in Coal Miner’s Daughter.

“But Dang it Doc,” I wanted to say. “I do the best I can with these four younguns. Raising em all by my lonesome self, “ which wasn’t really true. I had a husband at the time, but he did travel now and then on business. In any case, other than the usual childhood illnesses, we have been lucky.

I have been reading little snippets here and there, (being a blog writer has made it impossible for me to read anything over 500 words in one sitting,) about Tiger Mom, Amy Chua. She makes some very good points and her children certainly have proved her success as a mother. In fact it made me look at myself and ask did I over-love? Did I want their road to be so smooth, so flat and effortless that I ran ahead filling in the pot holes before they hit them? Am I in fact, Golden Retriever Mom? I want to run and play and lick you when you cry and growl at anyone who dares to cross you, whether you get an A+ or a C-, or worse.

From the time they were born my basic instinct has been to protect. Protect from harm, protect from pain, protect from second grade teachers who send your son to the office for saying “vagina” on the playground. Really Ms. Kettering? Yes it was seventeen years ago but I haven’t forgotten, plus he was just explaining that he doesn’t have one. Is it my fault he was brilliant beyond his years? Nor have I forgotten the coach who didn’t put him in the game when we went to the baseball championships at Disney World, nor have I forgotten my eleven year old daughter falling to the ground in tears on the lacrosse field when she missed the goal that would have sent her team to the state championship. My kids have long forgotten these moments and have gone on with their lives, I however, just can’t seem to get past them. When it comes to my children, I hold a big freaking grudge and every painful experience they suffer seems to leave a gaping wound on my heart.

Of course as kids get older, saying vagina on the playground can turn into more serious trouble. How can I forget the night, when, just as I had fallen asleep, there was a knock on the door. Standing there were two police officers. First thought? This cannot be good. Second thought? I hope my boobs are not hanging out from under my tshirt. They were simply inquiring if my son had made it home safely, and would I mind checking. I thought, now this is why I live in a gated community, everyone keeping an eye out for each other. I peeked in and saw my 18 year old darling boy, fast asleep, safe and sound. I reported back to the officers, "Yes he's here, sound asleep! Thanks for checking. Goodnight!" They then asked if I would mind stepping outside to inspect his vehicle. Whenever a cop uses the word VEHICLE you know you are screwed.

"We think your son may have been involved in an accident involving property damage." I started to argue that there is no way that sleeping boy in there could have done anything like that, when I noticed black tire tracks coming from the gate leading into my driveway, where my sons' car sat with 2 flat front tires and a piece of concrete stuck to his bumper. Case closed, but in his defense....SEE? This is where I struggle!

In any case, they are grown now and what’s done is done. I am totally guilty of not making them toe the absolute line and of trying to right their wrongs so they could just go about their merry way. Did I do them any favors? No, probably not. If I could go back and do it again would I have been a stronger parent? I like to think so. Could I possibly love them any more than I do at this very moment? Not a chance. I may not roar, but just thinking about them sure gets my tail wagging.

(reprint from Huffington Post Women's section March 15, 2014)

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March 6, 2014

Coffee, Tea, or Vulva Cancer

This week I had the fabulous experience of flying from Tampa to NYC, and I have one thing to say...W T F? If anyone looked more hung over and disheveled then myself, (I ended up boarding while holding my belt and still trying to cram my laptop into my carry on,) it was the flight attendants. They stood in the doorway as we came aboard with a look on their face that said, “Ugh. What are YOU doing here?”

Remember back in the day when flight attendants were stewardesses and super pretty? Those days they couldn’t do enough for you, chatting you up as they offered magazines, pillows, blankets and anything else your heart desired. I believe it now costs something like five bucks to rent a magazine for the duration of the trip unless you just want to read the stupid magazine their airline puts out that is in the seat back pocket. Typically the back pages will be stuck together with some type of substance that could be soda, snot or semen and the crossword puzzle is already done. The Soduku puzzle is usually just half done, due to another human being realizing that this hideous game is just a huge mind fuck unless you happen to be the person that discovered the theory of relativity, in which case I’m sure it’s a breeze.

I located my seat which was on the aisle. I prefer a window seat so that I can smash my head up against it and stare out, hopefully keeping my seat mate from speaking to me. I didn’t used to be this way. I used to be open to meeting new people and learning about how other people live in different parts of the world. This however, has never happened. The final straw was during a flight from Atlanta to Tampa. What typically is a 90 minute flight felt like an trans-Atlantic crossing, as my seat mate regaled me with details of her recovery from vulva cancer. Hence my new outlook on seat mates.

I began feeling hopeful as the seat next to me was still empty with only a few stragglers left to board. Maybe this would be my lucky day, and I would be able to travel in peace as I had already given the young girl in the window seat a look that said, “Don’t even think about it.” Then I saw him and immediately I knew, he was to be mine. The pink crocs, polyester Hawaiian shirt with stomach protruding and greasy blonde comb over gave it away.

Sure enough, he wedges himself into the seat next to me, slips off his shoes and removes a bag of Fritos from his backpack. I pulled out my Ipad and started playing Candy Crush which is my way of saying, DON’T EVEN.

After take off, during which time the flight attendants did their presentations, ending with, “Please take a look at the food items we have for sale listed on the back of your Delta Magazine, but we’re pretty much out of everything, so....whatever,” my seat mates began talking.

I heard a lot of “Blah Blah Blah,” and then I heard the words Los Angeles and actor. Hold on. It seems my neighbor lives in L A and is an actor! He must be traveling to New York for work. Well, suddenly I see him in a whole new light. Perhaps the Universe put him next to me so that I could tell him about my book and he could introduce me to influential people who will make it into a movie and I will get to walk a red carpet at the Oscars and meet Meryl Streep. Finally.

Never one to ignore a golden opportunity I turn to him and say, “Oh, did I hear you are from Los Angeles?”

“Yes, where are you from?”
Okay, enough about me let’s cut to the chase.

“So, what do you do in L A?”
“I’m an actor.”
“Oh Gosh, how exciting! What have you been in lately?”
“Well, actually, nothing lately. Basically I had a short stint a while back as a clown in the circus.”

Because I had opened my big mouth, the rest of the flight was filled with looking at pictures of him in a variety of clown get ups, and photos of his cat Mr. Wiggins.

Up, up and away.

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February 10, 2014

Just Bag It

I’m cranky today. So I have decided to take this time to write a letter to the checkout people at my Publix. I just want to clear the air so that from now on, I don’t have to make conversation, I can just hand them a copy of this letter and be done with it. Let me preface this by saying I hate grocery shopping. I would rather be doing just about anything other than reading Kim Kardashian tweets or getting a mammogram, but a girl’s gotta eat so...(A girl’s gotta drink too but the folks at ABC liquor GET IT. They keep their head down and don’t judge me when I come running in with a martini shaker on a Friday night, screaming out “Hurry! Where are the olives?” and then, grab a jar of jalapeno olives off the shelf, and immediately dump a bunch in as soon as they ring me up. THAT’S how you do business!)

So anyway, here is a list of answers to questions the Publix folks like to throw at me. Let’s hope this takes care of that making friendly conversation problem.

Yes this is a mop. Yes it DOES look like a really good mop. What? You’ve been needing to buy a mop too? Fascinating. Haa haa,yes...it does look like the mop head is washable. You’re kidding. Your mother still only uses sponge mops? Wow. I have an idea, shut up and put it in the cart.

Yes I did notice that if I buy five cartons of Publix soda the fifth one is free. However, I’ve been thinking lately that I really want to hold on to the teeth in my mouth, so I think I will just take this six pack of diet Coke for today. What? Your kids drink that stuff like it’s going out of style? I would have never guessed. What say we just go ahead and load that into the cart for now, before the top of my head explodes or I end up stabbing you with my car key?

Yup, this is a dog bone. Haa haa haa, yes he IS one spoiled dog. What? He is an English mastiff. Oh, about 140 pounds I guess. Yes, I know. You already said that is one giant dog bone. Oh wow, how interesting. You have a dog that weighs only 10 pounds? You’re right it probably would take years for him to finish chewing this bone. How bout loading it in the car before my 13 year old mastiff succumbs to old age and I return to find him fossilized on the floor waiting for his rawhide?

Yes, SOMEBODY IS making spaghetti sauce. Yes these are the best tomatoes to use which is why I am buying them. Yes you will have to try them. Nope. Not putting any meat in this one. Yep, I agree. Any sauce can taste great with browned up beef in it. No that’s okay. I don’t want you to send the bagger to get me a hunk. What I do want is for you to load these tomatoes into double bags, and let me get the hell out of here before I start to cry.

Please, NO! I DO NOT WANT HELP OUT TO MY CAR. Not that I would not enjoy you accompanying me to the parking lot where I will no doubt wander for a few minutes looking for my car while you regale me with your Superbowl party plans and the chili dip your sister in law will be bringing, and even though you hate her new boyfriend because he drinks all the beer and doesn’t bring any, you DO love her chili dip. Thanks anyway. I can get it.

Finally, yes I have coupons. On my counter right next to my sunglasses that I also forgot. We all know that’s not going to help me at this point. So please, just ring me up, let me pay, and let’s both move on with the rest of our day. I can tell the woman behind me is dying to tell you about her Swiffer.

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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. She is also an anchor for Allvoices.com. She is currently seeking representation for her book "My Husband Left Me For a Swiss Pastry Chef - For Newbies."