We Haz All the Cars


Mr. G’s Jaguar lease is about to end and we need to get him a new car. Before the Jag he had a bunch of BMWs all in a row, one after the other. They’re wonderful cars, one kept him safe in a major accident and they hold their value well. The problem is that they are boring. The city is littered with 5 Series BMWs and after 4 years of a Jaguar he has come to enjoy having a car that’s a little bit different. I have loved the 6 series Gran Coupe since I laid eyes on it.

2013 bmw gran coupe

Unfortunately I’m the only one who loves it. It doesn’t appeal to Mr. G. The 7 series is just too big and he doesn’t like Audi or Mercedes. I can’t even begin to talk to him about a Japanese car. They’re much too reasonable and reliable for our tastes I suppose.

When Mother’s Day rolled around Mr. G asked me what I wanted and I told him nothing and I meant it too. I’ve bought myself everything I need and most of what I want. I wanted to get my mom something a little more expensive and I wanted to have a day where I didn’t wash any dishes (that did not happen). I wanted the kids to start studying for final exams and I wanted Mr. G to pick a car so I could buy one for him in the coming weeks.

After lunch with my family we headed out to find a car for Mr. G. We both yawned at the 5 series, knowing that it’s the car we’d likely end up with, I dragged him to the Mercedes Dealership where he refused to drive anything as he didn’t like the look of a single one and then we landed in Dante’s Fourth Circle of Hell, the Maserati Dealership.

We looked at the Quattroporte as there are quite a few that are preowned with very low miles but it’s an absolute boat. The interior styling is unquestionably luxe but at a gazillion dollars the car we saw didn’t even have a backup camera. The salesman mocked me for caring so that might be why I decided that I hated the Ghibli, or it might have been because in between the Quattroporte and the Ghibli we drove a Panamera S and it appealed to us more than either of the Maseratis.

So we left the dealership knowing that we’d be calling my friend Jay at Beverly Hills Porsche. Mr. G likes the Panamera but I secretly thought I’d steer him to 911. Now that we have three cars they don’t all need to have back seats.

Then I considered something I’d previously ignored. We can buy the Jag. My husband loves that car, there’s nothing wrong it with (now) and the Mercedes will be going back in less than a year. Today I went ahead and purchased the Jaguar (for $10,000 under Kelly Blue Book, that was NOT a good lease) and Mr. G will continue driving it until my lease ends. At that point in time we’ll be knocking at Jay’s door for something obnoxiously fast and I’ll drive the Jag until the engine gives out and the wheels fall off (which could be soon).

So basically today I sold myself a used car.


A New Kind of Car Shopping: Mazda CX-5


I am not a trailblazer. I’m a listener. I remember what people say and in what context. I listened intently when I visited the Mercedes Benz Driving School and a few weeks ago Jane began lessons with them. I like their philosophy and I’ve loved what I’ve seen put into practice.

Some years ago my neighbor, who happens to be a veteran firefighter, was over and we were in car buying mode. When we asked him about buying a car he told us that in 25 years he’d never cut a dead body out of a Mercedes or a BMW. The following month we bought two new BMW’s. We’ve always looked for safety in our vehicles.

The interesting (and sad) thing is that shortly after obtaining said BMWs Mr G was T Boned by a car traveling at approximately 45 MPH who never even slowed down. The car was totaled and he was shaken and a bit sore but otherwise completely uninjured. Our insurance company was spectacular (I cannot foresee a scenario where we would leave GEICO) and a few weeks later we bought the same car all over again.

The Jaguar has been an interesting experience. I call her the cheerleader. She’s fast, she’s sexy, she’s unquestionably beautiful and sounds spectacular. She is also an idiot. Driving a Jaguar is a never-ending test of one’s patience. There are engine lights and odd sounds. It’s impossible to fill with gasoline anywhere but Costco. If the gas comes out too slowly the nozzle simply clicks off as if it’s full and when a vehicle gets 14 MPG on average you need more than 6 gallons of gas to get through a week. The navigation system often tells you that you’re in a completely different city and don’t get me started on seat belts that stick. I must confess that I love the blind spot indicators but they’re a feature left over from when Ford controlled Jaguar and everyone who knows me knows that I have a complete and utter love affair with the C-Max Energi. I don’t need the headache of a Jaguar for a little extra safety.

I am so wildly off topic right now I can’t even help myself.

Listening: friends with kids older than mine all bought cars for their kids when they got their permits. Like us they drive fast or luxurious cars (the Mercedes is not fast but it’s totally inappropriate for a teen) that are unlikely to withstand the cruel treatment of a new driver. These parents as a group suggested getting Jane her car along with her permit and having her drive as much as possible for the six months leading up to her 16th birthday. They said that every time I was in a car with her it should be her car and I should be the passenger. It makes sense if you subscribe to the 10,000 hour theory (I’ve got issues with it… but… ).

In any event Jane loves driving (apple… tree…) and she mentioned to me that if she had a choice of cars she’d like an SUV. Rather than asking my firefighter neighbor which SUVs he’s never pulled a corpse from, I (much more reasonably) checked the IIHS website for the least expensive SUV with five star crash ratings. Tossing your kid in a car makes you want to buy a zillion airbags, four tires, some accident avoidance technology and whatever vehicle happens to come with it. The Mazda CX-5 popped up and since I had absolutely loved driving the CX-7 and the CX-9 in the past and rightly assumed that the CX5 would be a pleasing vehicle. I called my friends at Mazda and asked for a loan.

mazda cx5 window sticker monroney

mazda cx5

To be perfectly fair the CX-5 they sent has the Grand Touring package so it’s easy to enjoy. Being that we live in a congested city and Jane will be set loose in no time I’d like her to have a back up camera and a good navigation system in any vehicle we get her. That means that Mazda is better than Jaguar already. The base model is $20,000 and the vehicle I drove is $30,000. Jane would be served well by having the amenities of the higher trim line but in a vehicle that’s a year or two old. There are limits to what we are able to spend, but more so there are limits to what we are willing to spend on a 15 and a half year old child (who is admittedly wonderful). Also I remember having some issues with parking when I was a kid and think that a few bumps and scrapes are to be expected.

In any event I hadn’t planned on reviewing the 2014 CX-5. This was a loan based solely on personal need. But we loved it. We loved everything about it except the 4 star rollover rating. The back seat is spacious, the dash is intuitive, the technology is stellar. I have to hand it to Mazda, my iPhone music integrated perfectly (I won’t bother taking another swipe at Jaguar… you can just imagine) as did Waze (in case we can’t find an appropriately priced vehicle with navigation).

This little SUV gets great mileage, is plenty peppy and feels large inside but is still compact enough to parallel park with ease. If we get an SUV for Jane in the next few months I’d really like for it to be a CX5. There’s a lot of convenience in an SUV and I prefer sedans. If we get this one for Jane I win. I have an SUV on hold for when I want to haul lumber (unlikely) or a pallet of shoes(more likely). Again, not much of a review, more about shopping. I’m getting excited because this summer we’ll get rid of the Jaguar too. Two cars. So much better than two sick kids. 

I Spent the Day Shopping


I spent the entire day shopping because my Dad is turning 70 this weekend. I found the most fabulous gift ever and I can’t even blog about it because he’ll probably just read this and buh-bye surprise.

I promise a video on Monday because it’s impossible to buy a gift for a man who has spent 70 years buying himself the things he wants. I can tell you only that it is not from Hermes because they’re in the middle of remodel and when I popped into the store this afternoon their attitudes were even shittier than usual. And usually they are vile.

The weekend is jam packed with kid stuff and I’m lugging wine around like a bar-back because I need to distribute bottles evenly around the school campus. I figure I’ve given them enough tsuris that I owe everyone a little good booze…

Oh, also, I got the Jag back. Ummm… they didn’t fix anything but they did take a video of themselves not fixing anything. BMW here we come.

Luxury Problems


Jane has final exams today. She was supposed to take two tests in the morning and leave school just at lunchtime. The kids could stay for lunch and study time if they wanted but few choose to do so. Jane wanted sushi for lunch and since SugarFish is just around the corner from school she really wanted to be there.

After dropping kids off at school I stopped home just long enough to make some beds and check in on Airtime. Day two is different than day one. I spoke to three start up guys, one waitress, a retiree in the deep south, a woman at an ad agency and a poultry farmer in Pakistan.

I played a little tennis with Christina in the late morning. It’s the first time we’d played together and we’re a great fit. Lots of deuces and when we got to 6-6 we just quit. Neither of us has a killer instinct although she hits like a man (and I say that with reverence).

Since I had to pick Jane up at 12.45 there wasn’t much for me to do at noon except kill time. I popped over to my PO Box and threw out all the junk mail. That’s always good for 10 minutes. I wound around town, got Jane, took her to SugarFish and nodded in all the right places while she talked and talked and then talked some more. She’s the most excitable child I’ve known and the world delights her. Halibut fin sashimi also delights her. She’s an expensive child.

After our lunch Jane went back to school to take one of the exams she’d missed when she was ill. I wondered what it would be like to send the kids to a school where I could arbitrarily pick them up and take them out to lunch. I suppose I could now….

Again after dropping Jane back to school at nearly two I needed to be back to school by three to fetch Alexander and then I’d have to wait with him until Jane was done with her third exam. I dropped her off and ran to the mall and picked up some facewash for myself. It was going to be a $20 trip to Sephora but then I thought of how hard Jane worked for her grades and grabbed her a lip stain (which she LOVES and I have to live through her because lipstain on anyone over 25 is just red seeping into wrinkles). When I was checking out a new mascara caught my eye and then of course my favorite products were available in travel size for just 500 points.

Who has 500 points at Sephora? Ugh… women with limited self control. In other words, I do.

I grabbed Alexander a snack at the mall, one of those gross bags of pretzels. He’s always ravenous and I like to pick him up with food. Of course when I arrived at 3 I’d expected that Alexander and I would hang out and wait for Jane to finish her exam. I was wrong, Jane finished a few minutes early and Alexander refused to leave school. He wanted to stay and play Pokemon with his friends. I let him. If you’re going to make four trips to school in one day what’s the difference with a fifth?

His teacher noted that I always have food with me. I explained to her that I’m a Jewish Mother. It’s what we do. She giggled and said something about Italian Mothers… we might be one and the same.

Jane and I rode home together. She talked a mile a minute about the 243 question English exam and how she knows her teacher likes her because he used her name in a question (to break up the monotony). I showed her the benetint and she squealed. It was an actual squeal, I’m always surprised that she’s my child. I’m pretty sure I never squealed though I do recall spinning a lot at her age.

I came home and the Jaguar dealer called. The car is wonderful in that it’s fast and it’s beautiful. Unfortunately it does some quirky things. You can’t put gasoline in it. I mean you can put some gas in the car, you just can’t fill up the tank. When it’s about halfway full the nozzle just clicks that it’s done. This happens at every filling station at every angle so long at the tank is below about a quarter of the way full.

I brought in the car with the tank about halfway full. I explained to them that some of the gas would need to come out of the tank. Since this is the dealership that put a mechanic in the trunk of the car I figured they’d be able to siphon some gas out pretty easily. I got a loaner car. It’s a nice but stripped down Jag that smells of old man cologne. I can’t fault them for the bad taste of their clientele.

The lady who calls with bad news called me 24 hours after I’d dropped the car off to ask permission to put gas in the car and add it to my bill. I was nice when I said yes. I didn’t mention anything about the fact that it had taken them a full day before getting to my problem and that my hands smelled like Drakkar.

Today’s phone call was triumphant. The Jaguar lady told me that they’d filled the car up with gas so they’d be able to return it, no problem. I reminded her that the tank was rather full when I dropped it off and her solution was to send the store manager home with our car so he could run it out of gas and try again.

Which is when I yelled at her. A lot. And I might have cussed.

Now I’m back to googling for BMWs because as much as our BMWs were uninteresting, dull even, they ran and they seldom needed service. The bluetooth worked on the BMW for more than just the first 200 contacts in an address book. The park assist didn’t last for thirty minutes and ding at you like you’re an old man in need of dinging.

The problem with BMW is that even the valet knows they’re ordinary.

Jaguar Puts a Mechanic in the Trunk


I brought the Jaguar in for service earlier this week. I’m shocked and delighted to report to you that the Cube is a perfectly lovely vehicle that drives nicely and has a crazy amount of room for everyone inside. Still, I was looking forward to being back in the snooty-mobile.

Humberto called to tell me that the car was finished yesterday in the afternoon. He explained that the sunroof was loose and there was a nail in the right rear tire. The routine maintenance was also complete. I told him that there was a good rattle coming from the back of the car and if he wouldn’t mind I’d like him to drive the car a little and confirm that there was no longer a rattle.

This morning Humberto called to explain that there had been something loose in the wheel well and that it had been fixed. He went on to explain that it had been difficult to locate the exact source of the sound so one mechanic drove around the neighborhood while another rode in the trunk. The mechanic in the trunk was able to find the loose parts and repair them right away.

I wonder if there’s a minimum price to get a skilled tradesman into the trunk of a moving vehicle? I’m thinking that Honda and Toyota might let it rattle or perhaps find another diagnostic tool.

Maybe the new ad slogan could be something to the effect of “We put a mechanic in each automobile… but don’t tell your insurance company”.