Thursday, September 15, 2011

Milwaukee II

Last we heard from our intrepid reporter (me), I was venturing to Milwaukee to attend a convention of left-leaning economists. While the conference was definitely worthwhile, it was also a major downer. We spent a lot of time discussing how poverty is skyrocketing, how wealth disparities are at an all-time high, and why we seem intent on pursuing policies that exacerbate both those problems. On the other hand, the food at the conference was excellent, so that helped bolster my spirits somewhat. I recommend the cheesecake.

Baby W reads the beer
menu at a Milwaukee
I'm still nursing Baby W, so David and the kids accompanied me to Milwaukee. Some might think that since Baby W is walking and talking (a little, anyway) he's too old to nurse. But I am a big-time believer in the health benefits of long-time nursing, plus I'm a hippie. (You can tell because I buy the unbleached coffee filters.)

I plan to offer Baby W the opportunity to nurse for many months to come. While this is fairly normal behavior in a place like Madison, I think David's family is somewhat new to the concept of extended nursing. They are far too polite to express any surprise, though, and anyway they would have to get in line behind my own family who also thinks I am a weirdo and is much more upfront about telling me so.

Anyway, I headed to Milwaukee by bus a little earlier than David, who followed in the car. Beforehand, I packed up the clothes, diapers, etc, that the kids would need and left the suitcase in the middle of the dining room for him.

I repeat: I left all the necessities packed up and right in the the middle of the dining room for him.

In the middle of the dining room.

Fortunately, we have a hybrid car, so that night when David had to drive the 100 miles BACK to Madison to pick up the suitcase (the one that was left in the middle of the dining room) and then 100 miles back to Milwaukee AGAIN, only a few endangered species were snuffed out.

One evening, after the conference,
I took the kids out for dinner
and just had the nicest evening.
Look at this great smile!
While I attended the conference, David and kiddos saw the sights of Milwaukee. He did not take them on a brewery tour. Even though I suspect he really wanted to. Meanwhile, I was stretching my brain while learning about tax increment financing and state-supported venture capital funds. After a day spent discussing topics like that, I could have used a tour of a brewery too.

At the conference, I was able to connect with people from other states who work in my field, and I left full of ideas for new ways to tackle old issues at work. I also realized that if you want to see a large collection of extremely sensible shoes, just check out the footwear of a gathering of people who think that an analysis of appropriate rates of return for use in estimating pension fund liabilities represents a rockin' good time. I saw some sandals that were dangerously close to Birkenstocks.

But we're back home now, and back to our normal schedule. David is relieved because it means that he no longer has to get up out of bed at a reasonable hour of the morning the way 99.99999% of the rest of the world does. (Not that I am jealous.) Stella is happy because she gets to go back to kindergarten. Baby W is happy because is once again able to torture the cats. I guess it's only me that's missing Milwaukee -- mostly because that was some seriously excellent cheesecake.

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