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Exwife New Life
by:  Amy Koko, 14117389
e-mail:  KOKOAMY2@GMAIL.COM
web:  http://www.exwifenewlife.com
twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/exwifenewlife
Getting over it and on with it
April 17, 2018

Going Old School

A few months ago, I made a monumental decision, even bigger than when I decided to subscribe to HULU, although I already have Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. Now I can watch creepy, weird detective shows on BBC from 32 years ago, if I so desire. NOTHING gets past me. Well... this decision is much bigger than that—I have decided to go back to college. Yes, AGAIN.

This time is different though, because this time I am determined to get my degree. It's going to happen. Last time I had too much going on. I was in the midst of a divorce after a 27 year marriage and was getting text messages from my lawyer during my World Religion Class: lifetime alimony a no go but you DO get to keep the wine fridge and half of the Tumi luggage. See bill for 10k below.

I was getting text messages from my 15 year old daughter during Tecninical Editing class: hi mom, just letting you know that my friend Topaz is coming over to hang out. She's bringing her new pit bull puppy! Which I learned was code for We are going to smoke pot in the garage while her puppy shits all over our pool deck.

So, it was too much. I dropped out.

And then life happened. I dabbled in real estate. I found a new love. I had a book published! I had a job that challenged me, where I excelled. And then that job went by the wayside and I thought, "Okay, perfect. Now I can do nothing all day but write my new book."

And for awhile it was perfect. I would sit amongst the quiet. My house was clean. No laundry to do. I sat on my bed with my laptop and wrote away. 20 pages. 40 pages. 60 pages. The hours passed. The days passed. Tick. Tock. I soon found myself drifting and turning more and more to Facebook for stimulation. Can I name all these sitcoms from the 70's? I must find out. (And yes I could as well as hum the theme songs) What color IS my inner creative genius? I had to know! (yellow) Can I answer these 5th grade science questions? (No) You see what was happening? My writing stopped. I was stuck and when a writer becomes stuck, it can be terrifying. I began playing more and more solitaire on my iPad. Yes, I set new records. Yes, I earned lots of tokens and free lives, and yet, I felt I needed more. I needed stimulation. I needed, you know, A LIFE. And that's when it came to me...now is the time.

So, I applied to University of Tampa and was accepted. Only 3 semesters needed to graduate. They have a fabulous writing program. It's so perfect. I am so ready to take it all in. Everything is great and then I got the email asking for my medical information. And of course this is ridiculous. So I emailed the Bursar's office and was like, "Hi! I am in my mid 50's (and by mid I mean late) and not living on campus. I assume I do not need to send my medical information." And basically got back, "Yes you do. All students are required to."

And now I am rethinking. Because first of all, I don't think they have enough free space in their computer system to hold all my medical information. I mean I am a 56 year old hypochondriac who has had 4 children. I can see it now, the 17 year old office assistant looking over my stuff: Hey does anybody know what Fosomax is? Or, What is Effexor? Is it like that Ecstasy drug? Hey, isn't osteoporosis that disease where you keep falling asleep?

Still, I think my strong desire to succeed will overpower my embarrassment that everyone in the main office knows I am on lipitor. SO WHAT? IT'S A LOW DOSE!

Yes. I want this bad. And I'm not letting anything stop me. In fact, this week I am doubling up on my Calcium and Glucosamine Chondroitin. I don't want to break a hip when I try out for cheerleading.

Rah.

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April 5, 2018

Don't Give Up Your Girls

This weekend I decided to play with kids my own age. I mean, don't get me wrong...I love the kids in my classes and many times I find our conversations fascinating. Well maybe they're not exactly "our" conversations, because conversations take two people actually speaking to each other. As someone close to me once described it, "First you talk. Then I talk. But when I talk that means you STOP talking. That's called a conversation." So I guess it's more like I find THEIR conversations fascinating. And if that makes me some kind of weird lurker, which it sort of does, too bad.

At college, I have to listen to what is going on around me, because one time I zoned out walking to my car and wondering if I should stop at Publix to get a roasted chicken. Did I have anything at home I could throw together for M and I? M really loves macaroni salad, maybe I'll get that and a chicken. Yes. And while I was considering the lemon pepper or the basic bbq, I was sideswiped by a kid on a skateboard. He came from nowhere! I did not hear him approaching. He knocked hard into my right arm and my purse when flying. I turned to him, the poor kid, about to reassure him that it's okay, it was an accident, don't beat yourself up and he looked at me and said, "Sorry but you were walking on the right! You're supposed to walk on the left." and glared at me much the way I expect the people looked at that guy who drove through the Blockbuster store window a few years ago...like DUDE! What the F is wrong with you?

Is this a new college rule? Did I miss this in orientation? So then, I hear myself apologizing to HIM! And he scoots away and I am picking up the spilled contents of my purse, hoping he didn't see my bottle of BEANO, and thinking I can't do this. I don't belong here. And I reached out to my children for sympathy, empathy, proof that there are young people in the world that actually love me. I sent them the following text:

Kids, mother was hit by a skateboard at school today. I am okay, though, just wanted you to know.

And they did reply within seconds, with the following message:???? ????????????????

So much for that.

So, this weekend with the girls was just what I needed. Admittedly, it started out rough because I valeted my car, and checked in at the front desk and got into my room anxious to look at the room service menu and found that somewhere between the desk and my room, I had lost my reading glasses. But don't worry, they have them in the little sundry shop downstairs. Of course, unlike the Stein Mart version that I buy with the plastic rhinestones, these were 90 dollars, but they come with a cleaning cloth so...totally worth it. I've been keeping a closer tab on these glasses than I did on my three year old when we went to Disney World.

Once I got that all settled, it was great. We met in the lobby and headed to the hotel restaurant. At a table by the water we ate and we drank. We had dessert! The next morning we sat by the pool and when the server came up to us and said, "Just wanted to let you ladies know, we are expecting a crowd of big drinkers. You know, it's going to get loud." as if to say you gals may want to play cards in your room for awhile til the party dies down—we didn't even care. We sat at the pool under an umbrella. We talked about everything under the sun, literally because someone had dropped a coverup right by our chair and we were trying to figure out who it belonged to. We laughed and commiserated and had a ball.

A while back someone asked me the advice I had for women and relationships. I had to think about it. Where to start? Finally it came to me—don't give up your girlfriends. I know new relationships can be intoxicating. Haven't we all given up a dinner in with the girls, for a night out with that new hot guy? Sure. But don't make a habit of it. Your relationship with your partner is a priority of course. But don't let yourself drift away. It is these women who are going to be there for you, when the uber driver calls you "sir" after you get the Robyn Wright haircut you have been obsessing over. Unlike men, when you say, "I just can't seem to lose these five pounds around my middle," your girlfriend won't answer glibly, "Have you tried not eating?" More importantly when you think you can't go on, when there is no way you are going to be able to get up in the morning and put one foot in front of the other, they will arrive at your house, help you get dressed and show you that you absolutely can.

Also, let's say, you get hit by a douchebag on a skateboard, and you need somebody to tell, someone who will understand your pain. You can turn to them. I promise you, they will listen, and trust me, once the tears stop streaming and they get done laughing, they will ask you if you are okay and really want to know that you are.

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March 31, 2018

Rolling With The Tide

Three times a week, I enter my college classrooms and look around at young, really really young, shining faces. These kids are smart. They have read the classics. The know about past participles. They can diagram sentences in seconds while I'm still looking for the "action words." They smell nice—like oranges, like youth. I look at them, envious of the time they still have, their whole lives ahead of them and think, "Okay which of you idiots are eating Tide pods?"

And why? Apparently it is some kind of challenge, and I hate challenges. I turned off my computer and didn't leave my house for a week during the whole ice bucket challenge, petrified someone would tag me and I would have to dump a bucket of water on my head and video it. Do I need all 52 of my Facebook friends knowing I look like a wet ferret without my root lifter? Isn't life hard enough?

Obviously this ridiculous new challenge led me to do some deep contemplation. I have never eaten a Tide pod, but I started thinking about weird things I have eaten. It took me an entire lecture on alliteration but when class was over, I had a pretty good list. Here it is:

Weird Things I Have Eaten:

1. Dried Elmer's glue from fingers

2. Coffee grounds off someone's plate that I mistook for chocolate crispies from Carvel cake

3. An elk burger at the 2002 Kentucky State Fair which I am still burping from

4. A Volcano Roll in a Miami strip plaza that should have been called the Colon Blow

5. Chewed an Advil I mistook for orange M and M found on floor

6. Something at a temple dinner called kishka. I thought it was a roll of stuffing but it was actually beef intestines in a tube. Good with gravy though.

7. Stuffed cabbage from a take-out Chinese restaurant. Haunts me to this day.

8. Fennel. It's not weird...I just hate it.

9. Avocado. See fennel.

10. Fat Free Half and Half. Someone's idea of a cruel joke.

As I said, I have never eaten a Tide pod and I can't figure out why the kids are doing it. Is it the new cleanse? I know it can really clean out the stomach according to all the Emergency Room reports. Are we not doing lemon water with cayenne pepper anymore? I mean, I think it is a good thing to clean out your system, empty out all the old food fragments and start clean and fresh but there are certainly much more safe and better tasting ways of doing it. One time in a New England seafood restaurant I had a bowl of creamy clam chowder, followed by a blue cheese wedge salad and a bowl of cheesy shrimp alfredo. That did the trick. For days.

Sure, my generation did some weird things, including inhaling the heady smell of ink when teachers passed out mimeographed papers hot off the printing press or whatever they used back then. We ate Zots, a candy that exploded with some kind of toxic acid when you bit into it.

Is anyone besides me worried about all the orange dye we ingested with our pitchers full of Tang?

Wasn't it my generation who started the rumor if you emptied out a Contac cold capsule and ate all the red pieces you could get high? And then did it and pretended we were?

I guess all generations have their things. There will always be challenges to face, no matter where you are in life. One day you're emptying out Contacs the next day your trying to find a Spanx camisole that doesn't role up and settle under your boobs when you're out to dinner. Talk about a challenge. Tide pods? Stupid, dangerous, but a challenge? Kids...you ain't seen nothing yet.

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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 humorous memoir, There’s Been A Change of Plans, A Memoir About Divorce, Dating and Delinquents in Midlife, published in October, 2015 as well as the creator of the blog, Exwifenewlife.com, which deals with life after divorce and how great it can be! She is also a contributor to Huffington Post, Bravo Personal Space and SheSavvy. Currently she is finishing her bachelor’s degree at the University of Tampa, and is planning to pursue an MFA in Creative Writing in the fall of 2018. Amy lives in St. Petersburg, Florida and is the mother of four, mostly well-adjusted kids and is currently working on her first fiction novel.