m wood pen

illustrator of books, cocktails, travel + more

m wood flexi’ve just begun playing francoise hardy on my iphone to distract my piqued brain from the drip drip drip of the kitchen faucet, a sound totally distracting and yet i’m cozied up for work next to my ailing dog and don’t feel like disturbing him enough by walking over to shut off the sink!

call it winter, but the need to snuggle more often than not calls me constantly and the wool hudson bay blanket and thick socks are high on my list of comfort goods as i work in my laid back world.

yesterday found us in a wacky adventure, however, thanks to a car snafu which left us to rent a replacement to ferry us to a super fun rendezvous in milwaukee.

arriving at the budget or avis rental car joint (i was confused and confounded by the website, the place seemed to be operating under both monikers), we were greeted by an amiable elvis fan and jukebox restorer car agent.  my teen and i both greedily eyed the jazzy white mid-sized suv (snow was in the forecast and ever-vigilant, i wanted safety on the truck-bloated highway).

while our new friend chattered on about adam sandler’s restored jukebox now listed on ebay for 9,000, he pointed to the vehicle that we would call our own for the next few days.

mom-radar-mode kicked in as i watched my daughters face fall into a maligned look of suffering and shame and shock: behold the gargantuan ford flex that our fellow was escorting us towards! i could already read the lines of horror as this high school senior went through the possible scenarios where people she knew would see her in this monster car!

really, i wondered if there was going to be a scene: instead, she kept her total disgust at a safe distance as the nice fellow demonstrated the fancy keyless start button (hey, i was born in the 50s and am heretofore yet unspoiled by fancy cars) and other out of this world features boasted by the deep red behemoth.

i was sold!

off she cantered to the ‘vintage’ volvo (taking an alternate route to not be seen, even in a separate vehicle, anywhere near this carton on wheels) to meet me back at home as i reveled in the space-ship quality of my own drive back.  listening to some loud rap song, i recalled the three kids playing the ‘instant party starter’ tune to me over christmas break. i wasn’t sure i wanted to have the disturbing melody escort me home, but i had zero clue how to either change the station or turn down the volume!

the morning came, the college girl returned, and our little drive to milwaukee was upon us. once settled into the reality of this being our mode of transportation, teen daughter approached the car with trepid doom. never one to play second fiddle, high school gal chose the front seat, in either a show of control or defiance: she was going to own this beast one way or another and show it who was boss.

hitting the road, i was instantly surrounded in an able-handed co-pilot who not only mastered the radio controls (hello, are you serious, sirius?), but handled important things such as heat, mirrors, seat warmers, navigation and snack distribution.  (this last was provided by us, not ford!).

nicknamed ‘the box’, she spent the day decrying the flex, but college gal and i were sold: hook, line and sinker…even posing for a ‘kookie’ photo in front of it after a sublime nashville-infused lunch at the smoke-shack in milwaukee’s historic 3rd district. (remind me to go back there this summer: major cool little ‘hood too sweet to not savor when the weather was more welcoming!).

zooming now straight down to chicago, we tore through the edens in our leather-wrapped universe. owning the road, parking with ease, tearing past taxicabs and city drivers, we deposited college girl at her apartment and then swung over to deliver some packages to college boy.  as he walked out of his apartment and over to us, he uttered only one phrase, “god, what an ugly car.”

i’m not in the market for a new car…at the moment, two of my three children are college students, and the third is already packing for her fall freshman year in a bit over half a year.  for now, i’ll make due with the wheels that are firmly positioned in our world: the kinds that use keys, buttons and more hands-on participation by the driver and passengers.

but, just for fun, before bedtime, we did zip online to the ford website and built our own flex.  yes, the high school gal and i, the one who could earlier be found nearly spitting on this hellish ride.  mastering the site easily, we built what looked like the love child of a range rover and a mini-cooper, with some sweet accessories and best of all, a cherry red body and a pearl white top.

what’s not to love about that?

and even better still? this morning, a pre-dawn trip to deliver gal to the high school, a bell-ringing proud arrival, ferried in front of her people, in, yes, the ford flex! savoring every moment in this surprisingly adored chariot, our infatuation has blossomed big time into a full-blown flex fever.

so, one day, one day, one day ahead, cue the custom colors of course, the horizontal carton, the behemoth box of horror will be ours to have and to hold forever and a day.

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