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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 16, 2017

Eat, Drink and Be Merry! IN CLASS?

I know, I know...you haven't heard from me in a while. I must apologize, but between rushing for the Tri Delta Zeta Phi Epsilon Thetas, my cheerleading tryouts, running the campus television station and working on my KOKO FOR STUDENT BODY PRESIDENT campaign, I have just been slammed.

Kidding.

Yes I am back in college and yes, I am totally loving it. In case it has been a while since you have been on a college campus, let me tell you things have changed. A lot. Here are some of the things that are going on:

1. Back in my day, we had to wear CLOTHES to class. This is no longer a requirement. Apparently, you are now allowed to attend class in sports bras and mini-shorts which are shorter than my I FEEL SO FAT TODAY underpants. I think the students have re-written the Campus Rule Book. It's like, You may choose to wear a loose tank over your sports bra, but of course that is totally optional. We want you to be comfortable.

Also, it is perfectly okay to wear pajamas to your class if it is before noon. Slippers are allowed as well. We do request that you leave your blankies in your dorm room so other people don't trip over them as they make their way to class.

2. Do you remember how when we were in college you would be asked to remove the gum from your mouth? Well, now you are allowed to consume entire feasts while your World Religions professor is talking about Buddhism. (Which btw I am thinking about becoming because they are so totally chill. They believe in no suffering, which is the opposite of what I have been taught as a Jew. We live for suffering and anyone who has ever had to get through eight nights of Hannukah with four children knows what I'm talking about.)

Yes, please, feel free to eat your breakfast during class. We realize you can't possibly concentrate when you are hungry. Sure, just uncover your tofu scramble and dig right in. Of course you can squeeze Sriracha all over it before slurping the mess into your mouth at a decibel that is keeping those around you from hearing about the Buddha under the fig tree which, btw, WILL be on the exam. Enjoy!

3. Remember how when we were in college there was really no talking allowed? Work at your seat quietly and keep to yourself? Well, now everything is done in groups. Please feel free to talk amongst yourselves all during class. We love how you all share your ideas, and exchange your thoughts on the required readings as well as on that girl who made an ass of herself at the party the other night. We agree, she is totally a slut.

Also, group work is fine, if you are not 32 years older than everyone else and therefore invisible when groups are being chosen. I am now that weird kid in 4th grade who always had to have the teacher as his partner.

There are other differences as well. The first time I went to college, I could basically zone in and out during class and still come away with a pretty good sense of what was said. Now, when my menopause fog kicks in it's so hard to follow what my professor is saying. "This sentence is an example of FAULTY PREDICATION" my Technical Editing professor announces, pointing to a group of words projected on the wall in front of us.

I'm like "What? What did you say? What is that? Am I supposed to know that? Is it a noun? What?" Around me all the kids nod their head in knowing agreement as if to say "Of course it's faulty predication...who doesn't know THAT?"

Naturally, when asked to get onto the school computer in front of each of us and log on to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, I get the message USER/PASSWORD incorrect. I try thirteen more times as the rest of the class is now on page two of the worksheet. Not happening. I KNOW this is the right combo. Still, I just pretend I am working and am relieved when we are told we may take this worksheet home and bring it back to the next class.

Well, I have had enough of THIS. I march myself right up to the computer help desk and announce, I CANNOT LOG ON WITH THE PASSWORD YOU GUYS GAVE ME. The young man behind the desk looks up at me questioningly and asks, "Um, sorry, but are you faculty?"

Why? Just because I am 100 years old and carry a Tumi backpack with my initials on it and have glittery readers perched on top of my head?

"What?" I screech. "Just because I'm old, doesn't mean I'm faculty. No, I'm a student."
"Sorry," he says, "I had to ask."

Sure, there are some indignities that come with the exhilaration of learning new amazing things every day. For instance, yesterday I tried to register for my summer class and got a message, There is a hold on your account, please check with health services. What in the name of fuck, I am thinking could health services want with me. Unless they are offering free mammograms I really don't want to deal with them. But I go in and tell the woman at the desk of my plight. She looks up my student ID number and says, "Oh yes, you never gave us your immunization form."
"Look at me," and here she nods, and says, "I know."
"Where am I supposed to find that?"
"I don't know...maybe your doctor would have it?"

No. My doctor has the results of my osteoporosis preventative bone scan and my cholesterol numbers but I don't think she has a record of my rubella shot in 1963. So, guess what? I now have to go to the health center on Wednesday and have a blood test to prove I am immune to the measles so that I can register for the summer session of Chemistry in Society which does not require a lab. It will be me standing next to a girl who woke up naked at a frat party getting herself checked for STD's.

I promised myself when I started back to school, "No regrets." Do I wish I would have done this when I was young, had 20/20 vision and my brain still had lots of room left? Sometimes, but then, I remember, had I done one thing differently, stayed in school even one extra semester, I wouldn't have my kids. I mean I'm sure I would have SOME kids, but they wouldn't be THESE kids. And so, though I feel a little envious of the youth all around me, bustling around in Adidas slides carrying their tofu scrambles and Iced Frappuccinos, I feel blessed. I will finally get my degree and my four kids will be there to see me do it.

And now, I am off to Dick's where the word is they are having a humungous sale on sports bras. These kids ain't seen NOTHING yet!

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January 9, 2017

Egg McMuffins and Life Changing Moments

New Years Day has come and gone and already I have broken my one resolution which was to actually use the new work out pants I got at SteinMart that I grabbed on impulse as I was heading for the checkout lane with my 2 for 1 Wacoal bras and a box of stemless wine glasses I was giving my sister as a Christmas gift, since I had broken hers when I added one of those giant ice cubes to my Chardonnay. As I held the brightly colored stretchy little tights in my hot little hand I told myself, I am going to do my abdominal exercises every day. I MUST STRENGTHEN MY CORE! And I did do them for like four days and then I'm not sure how my core was doing but I did notice my lower back sending me little messages like, "You're kidding right? Fuck this." I still love the pants though, I have to find some place where it is acceptable to wear them, other than a gym I mean.

Anyway, I was telling my mother as I do every year that I had such high hopes of getting my tummy tighter and all hopes were dashed because of my L4 and L5 and she looked at me and said,"So? Would having a tighter stomach change your life?"

Well I was taken aback by this question. Change my life? Probably not. Make my jeans a lot more comfortable yes, change my life? No.

I began to think back to moments in time that HAD changed my life. I mean the big moments, not the small ones like when McDonald's announced all day breakfast. I mean yes, I find an EggMcMuffin can cure just about any menopausal ailment that I may be suffering from on any given day, but that is small potatoes compared to say, dropping out of college on my way to a Spanish test because I didn't study and getting married three weeks later. That was a biggie.

Another life changing moment? I woke up one morning at the age of 24 and felt the incredible urge to have a baby. It wasn't just a "I can't wait to have a baby one day," it was a "I NEED A BABY NOW." It was like GET IN MY BELLY! today. Right now. And in some ways that moment was even bigger than the moment my first baby was born because once that little person took shape in my mind, I was devoted to her, I loved her in that moment, and I, with the help of my then husband of course, brought her into being, literally 9 months later. The timing wasn't perfect, he just finishing college and not sure what type of employment awaited him, but still, there was no stopping me. And I have found that when I want something, REALLY really want it, I usually find a way to get it. Whether it's my first little baby, a little house on the water that surrounds me with peace and contentment, or the last espresso colored leather Hobo crossbody purse on the Nordstrom Rack website, I will find a way! (To Samantha at the Nordstrom Rack call center, I'm sorry for raising my voice but I really need that last brown crossbody, which is why I had to yell at you when you offered to send the metallic silver. Who uses a metallic silver crossbody during the day? Disco is dead Samantha. You get it now, right?)

Other life changing moments? The day my ex told me he was "Bringing somebody" to a party we had both been invited to. I mean sure we were separated, and sure I knew that he had been seeing someone for a while, but I mean we're still a couple, right? We're still "us" right? We are still going to go to parties as a married couple and sit together on the couch and share a plate piled high with the deviled eggs you love and the cheddar cheese squares I love and make fun of people right? Nope. It was then I saw it. We were no longer a we. They were a THEM. And that was the moment I called my attorney and told her it was time to file for the divorce I had been fighting against for over 2 years. That was a game changer for sure.

Another life changing moment? When I changed the height criteria on my Match.com profile from 6'2" to "ANY." I mean the two men I had met that "reached" that requirement had left something to be desired. One asked me over our initial coffee if I like to be dominated. The other told me he was taking some time off from work, (insurance fraud investigator) because he had shot his wife but she shot first so what was he supposed to do? Sit there like an idiot? So.

I opened up the playing field and I met M. And THAT was a life changing moment because I didn't realize that someone could actually sit across the table from you and listen to what you were saying without looking at their phone. I didn't realize that someone's dark brown eyes could make you feel safe and sexy at the same time. I didn't realize that someone could offer you love, respect, a safe haven and a freedom to discover the person you are now, and love that new person too. That was 7 years ago and, well, now I know.

I am 56 now and I realize with life there is good news and bad news. The good news is life is going to change. The bad news is life is going to change. Sometimes change is good. Other times you want to hold on to each precious moment knowing that once you lose your grasp on them, you will never have them back. I wonder now, how many more life changing moments will I have in my life? And when they appear, will I recognize them and choose the right path?

Right now I am putting on my work out pants and taking the path to McDonalds where they are offering 2 Egg McMuffins for 1.00 all day. I KNEW I'd find the perfect place to wear them!

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November 14, 2016

Election Exhaustion and Women I Love

I know, I know. We didn't think he could do it. But he did it. And the country is in an uproar. And more importantly, I am very tired. Are you guys tired? I woke up Wednesday in such an emotionally exhausted state. I was in a foggy haze worse than when I woke up in my hospital room after I had had my first child and saw her in that little baby thing on wheels next to my bed, and I was like "Who the hell is this now, I'm trying to sleep" until it hit me, "Oh yeah, I had a baby a few hours ago." I mean I was totally wiped.

Yup, we are pretty beat. And you people who are really into the whole political thing must be really tired. I love my country and I care about who runs it, of course I vote, but beyond that, I stay out of it. I figure, you know, those guys have it covered. They probably don't need my help. As a matter of fact the closest I ever got to being involved in politics is when I ran for Junior Class Secretary in high school. The only reason I did THAT was because my dad said if I didn't get involved in some kind of school activity he wouldn't let me go out with my boyfriend on the weekend AND my mother said I could get a new jean skirt. Also, no one ran against me, so I felt I had a very good shot at it.

Now, where am I going with this you are probably asking yourself because you have shit to do and this is starting to drag on. Well I am NOT talking about the election, believe it or not. I am not telling you who I voted for, or how I feel about the person who was elected. For all you know I may have written in my choice. Maybe I voted for Don Draper. He would make an awesome president, just look what he did with that smoking campaign. And he really carries himself well. So cool.

What— too soon?

Okay, what I want to talk about is women I admire, and this came to me after watching Hillary's concession speech. No tears. No recriminations. Wearing PURPLE for God's sake. And even in defeat, leaving us with a message of hope. How classy is that? Forget about the whole email thing. Frankly, I screw up my emails all the time. One time my friend sent me an email about her boss screwing her over on a promotion, and I wrote back HE IS A MOTHER FU---R and then accidentally sent it to MY boss. So, you know, I can see how it could happen.

Other women who have left a permanent mark on me? Princess Diana. Can't even write about her because I will cry and I have a dentist appointment shortly. Jackie Kennedy Onassis. Can anyone ever really see a pink suit and a pillbox hat and not get the chills? I can picture her standing at JFK's funeral with her children, she all draped in black, back straight, elegant yet so obviously deeply mourning. I had snot running down my face for 3 days after my dog died, so, I am in awe.

The list is endless, Eleanor Roosevelt, Ellen DeGeneres, Michelle Obama, Meryl Streep, Gloria Steinem, Nora Ephron, Erma Bombeck, Rosa Parks, J K Rowling, All the women astronauts, my mother, okay fine, Oprah. These are just a few who come to mind in this minute. This doesn't even begin to sum up the list of women who I admire, who I feel have contributed to this world of ours where women are now finally beginning not only to sit in the front seat, but to actually drive.

Would it have been great to see a woman president? Of course, but I have no doubt the time is coming. I will see that in my lifetime, of that I am sure. Think of what we have seen, in the last few generations. Look at the daughters that we have produced. You think ANYTHING will stop them from getting what they want out of life? No way. The glass ceiling Clinton spoke of will soon be just wide open blue sky.

Ellen repeated a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt the other day in trying to cheer up those who felt devastated by the election results. She said, "It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness."I love that. Because I know that even as women take their rightful place in the world, and accomplish more than generations before ever thought possible, it will always be us, the women, who carry the matches and keep the candle burning. And the dripping wax will burn the hell out of us and leave some scars. Still it is us who will be keepers of the flame and who will continue to illuminate the road ahead. And make no mistake; we are unstoppable as we head strongly and confidently towards the light.

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October 24, 2016

Labor and Delivery, Then The Hard Part Begins

HEY! New mothers! Stop showing us pictures of your "Before Kids" and "After Kids" body. It's bad enough that I get on Facebook and see my friends going to GooGoo Dolls concerts, wandering the streets of Amsterdam and scuba diving in the Galapagos after I just got done googling "When will season 6 of Veep be out?" During my morning Facebook session I take an "ARE YOU A CHILD OF THE 70's QUIZ" and pass with flying colors, then continue scrolling down to the Free People ads and then— there you are! And I'm not sure what you are trying to accomplish? Should we feel sorry for you because you have a little stretch mark on your otherwise unblemished tummy? Yes, that is sad, but look on the bright side, YOU HAVE A BABY! A GORGEOUS TINY LIVING BREATHING PERSON! in your life now. So, you know, there's that.

I know, I know. You want to show us your "battle" scars. The thing is I am now in my mid 50's and I have raised four kids and I need to tell you this... YOU HAVE NOT YET BEGUN TO BATTLE. Right now, you're like a kid in high school, standing in front of a recruiting station, thinking maybe he will join the Army and see the world for a few years instead of enrolling in ITT Tech. That's how far away you are from REAL battle right now.

Perhaps an example of a real battle is a 3 hour plane ride with an infant who's GI track just realized "You know what? I don't think organic creamed spinach agrees with us." On my first plane ride with my adorable six month old baby enroute to Orlando to introduce her to Aunt Judy and Uncle Irwin, this fact became abundantly clear to me and my two well dressed seatmates. The three of us were covered in green sludge, spewing from her diaper with such force that I got slightly hysterical. "There's something wrong with my baby!" I shouted to the flight attendant, holding her out arms length in the aisle, like, "Here! Take this!"

"I'm sorry maam, you have to remain seated until the pilot turns off the seatbelt signs," she said and looked disdainfully at my crying daughter and then disgustingly at my white blouse that I was so excited about wearing, literally the first shirt I had worn in 6 months that wasn't made for popping out a boob when someone got hungry. Now it was stuck to my chest with green colored goo. Yes, that was some battle. But we both lived through it. Battle won.

The battles get more intense as the child ages. You may be asked by your child's Kindergarten teacher, as I was, to "Come in for a quick chat." I was not sure what to expect. Perhaps my five year old has shown himself to be THAT special child? The one who goes to college at age 11 and becomes a world reknown oncologist and then wins a Nobel Peace Prize for developing a tiny pill that can cure Ebola, Zika virus and male pattern baldness? Of course it was apparent to me from the very beginning that the child was a genius, but am I ready to release him into the world? And yet, can I really keep him to myself knowing that he may hold the ticket to the end of disease and suffering? A quandry for sure.

I entered the field of battle hopeful, calm, knowing something great was about to befall me. I squeezed myself into a bright red Little Tykes chair, which quite frankly, was a battle in itself. I made the first advance, "So, tell me! What is happening with my son?

Expecting her to say "We think he needs to move up to a middle school level," you can imagine my surprise when she said, "We think J may need to go down to the fours. He's having trouble using his scissors."

Of course I panicked. What do do? Get him tested! Get him examined! Is there something going on at home? Is he perhaps anxious about something? Did he get some weird scissor gene that has to be passed from both parents and is seen in one in a million kids? Maybe he needs medication? Therapy? Does he need some kind of therapy? Help us! Please help our child!

I went home hysterical and told my then husband what I had learned. "What a bunch of horseshit" he said. And this time he was right. That son graduated college last Spring and has a great job writing code and making up apps and doing shit I have no idea what he's talking about. Now yes, I do have to help him wrap gifts at Christmas time, but other than that, he seems to be able to function okay in society. So, I'm saying, battle won.

Eventually, battles will lead to all out wars. A war begins with a phone call at 2 am when you have been pacing around like a caged cheetah and the sound of that ring nearly brings you to your knees. A war will start with, "Mrs. Koko? This is Sergeant Smith of the St. Pete Police Department..." and before he can say another word you will begin screaming, "Is he okay? Is he okay? Please! Please! Tell me he's okay!"And IF you're lucky that phone call will lead to a little weed in his pocket and the loss of driving priviledges until he leaves for college. And if you're not lucky, well..I can't event think about it. It is too hard to even write it.

Then there is the war you wage against yourself. One day you will realize that you are a grown adult who literally hates an 11 year old child. For instance, one Friday when my daughter was in 6th grade, I pulled up to school at pick up time and saw a gaggle of girls standing in a circle, Lisa Frank backpacks at their feet bulging with Limited Too pajamas, fuzzy pink pillows, slippers with bunny ears. I saw my daughter standing at the edge of that circle, half in, half out, trying to be part of the group. A red Volvo pulled up, the group leader, Veronica's mom of course, and they all piled in heading to her Friday night sleep over, leaving my daughter standing there alone as they drove off waving. I will never forget seeing her little skinny legs all alone on that pavement, as she looked down the carpool line for my car. And you know what? I hated Veronica then. HATED. And you know what? I saw her a few years back in the mall with a little baby of her own and you know what? I STILL HATED HER. So, yes, I deal with that, I don't really see that changing, I mean therapy can only do so much.

So, as I said, compared to actually raising your child, pushing him/her into the world is a walk in the park. The one thing I don't need to tell you is that as soon as you heard that first cry, your world is changed forever, no matter how old you get to be. One day you will be 65 and your child will be 40 and you will wake up in the morning like you do everyday and the first thing you will think is WHERE IS MY CHILD? HOW IS MY CHILD? IS MY CHILD HAPPY? IS MY CHILD SUFFERING? And basically if your child is in a bad place or is unhappy in any way, well..your day is shot to hell.

So get ready because as we all know, "War is hell," yet, of course in this case so worth it. So utterly, completely, life alteringly worth it.

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September 9, 2016

FACE IT. Times Are Changing

Last week, tropical storm Hermine swept through Florida and devastated the homes and lives of thousands. The two people running for the highest political office in the world, were fighting about who is more corrupt, you know, who has lied, cheated and hid the most stuff from the American people. (One of these people is going to be the leader of the free world folks!) The world lost a great comedic talent in Gene Wilder, the best Willy Wonka ever, not to mention a very nice human being. And front page news: Alicia Keys did not wear makeup to the VMA's. Now THAT is something we really need to get to the bottom of.

Okay yes, this is what I want to expand on in this post and I know it is vapid and small of me. But if you want world news, political commentary and sober sends offs, you're in the wrong place. Those things are beyond my understanding, I cannot make sense of what happens in the world. I cannot bear to think of the human suffering. I cannot believe that a few months ago I turned on the news to see there had been another mass shooting and when learning there were two victims dead, said to myself, "Phew! Only two this time." So, if I think too much, delve too deep or try to make sense of today's news, it may result in me doing something weird like binge watching Rugrats for days, trying to remember happy times when my kids were little, or drinking wine and eating cookie dough, and not the ice cream, I mean just plain cookie dough. So please, please, let's just focus on Alicia Keys for now.

Why the big to-do? Some people felt it was disrespectful to the industry. Isn't the industry Kim and Kanye? Is it even possible to disrespect Kanye? And how is not wearing make up disrespectful? Come on, I doubt she was lying in her bed playing Solitaire on her iPad, and looked at the time and said, "Oh shit! I'm supposed to be at the VMA's!" and raced over changing into her dress in the car, arriving just in time to hit the stage. No. She also made sure to tweet that though she doesn't like to wear it, she is NOT anti-makeup. As Alicia says, "DO YOU." To each their own.

In her defense, her face is unlined, glowing, screams health and youth. Why cover it up? And frankly, if she is starting a #nomakeuprevolution, SIGN ME UP. I too am thinking of of joining the cause. I have just now arrived at the point where I will take my sunglasses off in Publix when I am makeup free. Sure, it's because I am trying to see the calorie count on the Skinny Cows but still...it takes bravery. I'm SO getting there!

I remember one day when I was 30. I had just had a baby and my mother and I were taking her to the pediatrician for a check up. I combed my hair, stuck two breast pads to my boobs and headed towards the car. Looking at me my mother said, "I guess that's the difference between 30 and 50. You don't have to wear make up when you go out." Yeah mom. THAT'S the difference. Good one. But now, I see her point.

I want to tell my daughters, FLAUNT YOUR YOUTH! Revel in it. Bask it in. Because, here is Victoria's real secret: what she is screaming to us from the halls of shopping malls all over the world, 'Wear it now! Don't put it off until we run the 3 for 1 thong panties sale. Don't wait for the lacy push up bras to be BOGO." By the time that happens you may be needing the giant bras that hang on the back wall of Macy's lingerie department, with the extra wide panel for back fat. Now is the time!

I admit, I invested in several pairs of thong panties years ago when I was trying to woo back my then husband from the arms of another. Not only did it not work, but for all I know I may still be wearing them. You know, like that tampon you forgot you inserted, JUST IN CASE? I pulled a pair out the other day and thought, "What the hell? Let's give it a try." So, I put them on and ask M, "How do these panties look?" He looks confused as he asks, "What panties?"

So, okay, not a good look.

Anyway, back to Alicia and the whole no make up thing. I think she killed it. I respect her decision. Maybe the hours we spend drawing on eyebrows, lining lips, layering foundation, applying fake eyelashes, contouring, plumping, and air brushing are coming to an end with this next generation? Maybe they will use the time for writing amazing songs, breaking the glass ceiling in the STEM arena, coming up with new cures, medicines, treatment plans to combat dreaded disease, designing amazing homes with green technology to save our planet, running for president. You know, stuff like that.

Yes, Alicia Keys is ON FIRE and I hope she ignites a whole generation.

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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. Her memoir "There's Been A Change Of Plans" is available on Amazon.