I check airfares on a weekly basis, hoping to find some sort of incredible deal for September. I've tried all hours of the day and night and every day of the week and I can make no sense of any of it.
When push comes to shove, we have our strategy and it is simple: As few plane changes as possible, damn the cost. I'd rather pay more than lose a suitcase, even for a day or two.
So far, this strategy has paid off, even though it has meant that we take the same flights to the same hubs at the same times and days of the week. That means a pleasant hour-long flight from Green Bay to Detroit, supper in the Motor City, and a 9 p.m. flight to the City of Light.
So far we have been very pleased, even though the layover in Detroit drags a bit. We have a cyber cafe that we like, and we scope out a new restaurant to try on the way home.
We get to Paris mid morning the next day: Just in time for a mid-afternoon nap before we hit the cobblestone streets looking for sustenance and scenery.
One pre-flight custom is a drink in the bar at Green Bay's Austin-Straubel Airport. There is nothing special about this, except that it feels decadent to drink before noon on a weekday.
I love Green Bay, and what's not to love (in my book): It's a city, although a small one and I like cities a lot. I like the way they evolve, the way they grew in no particular order, and I appreciate their role in history. I like the ebb and flow of neighborhoods, and the dynamics of downtown. I have seen Green Bay morph from a sleepy little town with a storied football team and smoke stacks to a fairly sophisticated small city. For some of that, I was in the heart of the action and part of my job involved selling the city.
How could I not love a city that played such a pivotal role in my parents' courtship and in more ancient family history? You could say I came of age in that city, longer before the more exotic and esoteric pleasures of Madison beckoned me.
So I was excited three months ago when I stumbled upon Packerland Annals, a thoughtful blog written by a man who is unabashedly in love with his adopted city. Calling himself Bruised Orange, the blogger tackles everything from downtown development to historic neighborhoods to standout architecture to (of course) the Green Bay Packers. What shines through is his unbridled interest and sincere affection for Green Bay. Every city should have its own Bruised Orange, someone to uncover legends and capture neighborhoods and ask questions the mainstream press does not ask.
Most large cities have bloggers who concentrate on politics. This guy focuses on bricks and mortar and downtowns and the many, many characteristics - some hard to define - that contribute to a community's sense of place. All things I consider as important as food and drink.
The flu is finally running its course and I hope to be back in the food business at least part time very soon.