I spent a little time last week - shortly after dropping my father-in-law off at the airport - at a couple of Atlanta's more "upscale" shopping venues.
That was my first mistake.
Actually picking up merchandise was mistake number two.
But I did learn the important distinction between "looking" and "shopping."
Looking is picking up a pair of shoes for your wife and finding out they cost $685. Each.
Shopping is paying 59 cents for two pair of jeans thanks to a sale, a coupon and a gift card.
Looking is finding the "perfect purse" for your wife, only to find out that it has a price tag of $1,365. On sale.
Shopping is buying Christmas decorations at 50 percent off - just three days after the holiday.
The difference is this: "Shopping" infers options. "Looking" infers sticker shock, and - if you are shopping with me - a string of expletives and sarcastic comments. Not that that should surprise anyone.
After we left the Buckhead malls, Miriam and I ventured toward downtown Atlanta, where we discovered Atlantic Station.
The mixture of shops, restaurants, offices and living quarters - eventually $2 billion (with a b) worth of development - is built atop reclaimed industrial property near the intersection of Interstate 85 and 17th Street. It is truly a model of what communities can do when they allow private-public partnerships to work.
Although I'm sure the folks in Augusta could figure out a way to kill it before it even begins.
I hope everyone had a good New Year, and have not broken too many resolutions already. I'm waiting to see how long my father's first resolution lasts. He's planning to work out at HealthLink regularly and lose some weight.
It's all part of him getting back to his old self after knee surgery in November. He went back to work the week before Christmas and is finally starting to move around without the limp he walked with for years.
He says he feels like a new man. I tell him, that's just his knee talking. Trust me, he's still the same old Pete. Not that that's a bad thing.
By the way, if you get time Saturday, head to Harlem and join me for the inaugural "Mayor's Chili Challenge,"where I'll be a guest judge. I'm just thrilled someone actually picked up on one of my strongest characteristics - eating.
And, for the record, I am open to bribes. Let the bidding for my taste buds begin.