Sep 3, 2013

A Very Haiku Labor Day Weekend in Milwaukee

I don't know how it came to me, but as I gazed from my middle seat up at Bruce Buffer while he waited in line for the airplane bathroom I was inspired. Do you know who Bruce Buffer is? I'm sure you know who his brother is, even if you don't recognize the name Michael Buffer. He's a ring announcer for boxing and his world famous line kinda rhymes with shmets shmet shmeddy shmoo shmumble. Brother Bruce, a ring announcer for UFC, boasts the less catchy "It's time!" but pairs it with a dramatic gesture to change the focus from one fighter to the next.

Jamie pointed out that Buffer, who dressed casually in a slightly douchily-decorated graphic tee for his flight to Milwaukee, reigned supreme in his exit row aisle seat. (We flew Southwest, so getting said seat is even more impressive.) My brain churned as my fingers counted syllables...

Aisle seat, exit row
You can't get any better
Than that, Bruce Buffer

Wheels down-- Bruce Buffer
Milwaukee, we are in you
"It's tiiiime!" to find beer

And so it was said,
Labor Day weekend
Haiku statuses only
Challenge accepted

I followed these three haikus with sixteen social media posts throughout the weekend, all only 5-7-5, but my haiku challenge was an annoying-to-everyone-else supplement to our Milwaukee weekend.

This trip was made possibly by our friends John and Lisl who wanted some travel buddies and also happened to have a couple Southwest vouchers and a free place to stay. We had no reason to refuse, so we didn't. The trip to Milkwaukee where they're both from was rooted in the fact that Harley Fest was going on all weekend. None of us ride motorcycles, but hey, why not?

Green hose in the dirt
With beer and Armorall plus
Free margaritas
Lisl, our eager guide, never ran short of fun-fact bits of Milwaukee history and anecdotes from when she and John were dating. With holy-crap-that-had-to-have-been-rehearsed timing, we turned a corner at the perfect point in her story for her to gesture toward the house where they lived that one time someone knocked on their door to tell them their upstairs was on fire. We bar-hopped and listened to stories about each one as we went along, even frequenting one special place throughout the weekend and twice on Saturday. 

Jamie bought the beer
At John and Lisl's Mecca
Many more to come

Since we've known John and Lisl, Wolski's Tavern has probably been mentioned on nearly every occasion spent with them and with unquestionable fondness. Reminiscent of many bars I've visited before near my own Midwestern hometown in Ohio, Wolski's is a typical dive. It's decorated in dusty flags and old framed photos; it's dark and a little musty. More importantly, it's where John and Lisl fell in love and they wanted to share that place with us.

Jamie didn't get the "act natural" memo.
Being with locals meant knowing where to go. We skipped the actual Harley Davidson Festival in favor of the nightly block party both Friday and Saturday nights. Lined with bikes and bars, Brady Street was closed to automobile traffic. We went bar to bar, weaving through the crowd stopping every once in a while to watch some of the bikes drive by. It was loud from music blasting from various points of interest and the constant rumble of Harleys.

Friday night involved joining in on a dance party in the street, eating Jimmy John's well past midnight (with the possibility of my having stolen two sandwiches), and meeting a man with a lizard whom jokingly requested to be paid a dollar for me to take a photo. John paid him five.

Adopted a child
It's scaly and not human
My life is complete

Bikers and hipsters
A little bit louder now
Block party dancing

On Saturday we took a tour of Lakefront Brewery which involved drinking beer, listening to our hilariously loud and inappropriate tour guide, drinking more beer, singing the Laverne & Shirley theme song, then drinking more beer, and then going outside to drink more beer.

(Not my video, not our tour guide, but you get it.)

After the tour, we went to a barbecue (well, after a quick trip to Wolski's) where I tapped into my Midwestern roots with a game of Cornhole, checked another item off my Milwaukee Bucket List by eating brats (unfortunately my TCM diet prevented me from enjoying the cheese curds), and met a few of John and Lisl's friends.

Saturday night meant it was time for Lisl and I to make sure we fit in better with some cool outfits. She in her Three Wolf Moon shirt that I tore the sleeves off of in the street using a pair of nail clippers (please read the reviews if you happen to somehow not be aware of this "intrinsically sweet" item of clothing) and I in my screeching eagles with mini skirt and boots, we were able to thoroughly enjoy our evening.

Fuzzy late nights and
So-awful-that-they're-great shirts
Klassy skirt with boots

We made yet another post-midnight stop at Jimmy John's (we paid for all of the sandwiches this time) then headed, once again, to Wolski's with the intention of earning our first I Closed Wolski's sticker by staying until last call. Bernie, one of the owners, however, had a different plan and we found ourselves stumbling a few houses down to "party" at his place. This "party" was basically a tour of his nicer-than-expected home, a couple drinks, fresh tomatoes, and Bernie nearly cutting off Lisl's thumb with a sword (we're only kind of exaggerating). We didn't get a chance to earn our sticker, but I'm told this is a one-up.

I have to admit that Sunday morning was more than rough for me. The 3am bedtime, the day 2 hangover, and the mental and physical shittiness I was feeling from the arrival of yet another period made it a little difficult to get my day started. It took a couple drinks and a lot of mental focus, but after chicken and waffles at Hollander Cafe and a bit of a nap followed by, what else, a trip to Wolski's, I was good to go.

We had dinner with previously mentioned friends at Pizza Man, which was delicious, even though I had to eat salmon rather than the oh-my-God-it-has-cream-cheese-on-it pizzas that everyone else ordered. Then we capped off our final night in Milwaukee with Kopp's Frozen Custard (I got a root beer. Whomp whomp.) and hanging out around a fire, chatting, laughing, and listening to the cicadas.

And because why not, I'll cap this off with a photodump.

We loved Milwaukee.

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