Starbucks Who?

Anyone and everyone and even if you barely know me, know that I am a Starbucks junkie.  I eat, breathe and smell of Starbucks.  I have earned my Gold Maximum 5 Star VIP Rewards Card.  Free coffee is to me what frequent flyer miles are to some!  I have literally spent my entire net worth and children’s college savings consuming Starbuck’s coffee.  And some may wonder why Starbucks stock is at an all time high.  You can thank me for part of that!

You know it’s bad when the Baristas know you by name, know your vehicle in the drive-thru camera or you don’t even have to place your order because they already know what you want.  They just tell you to pull up or step aside.  Recently though I have not been feeling the love at my favorite coffee establishment.  By the way, I rotate which Starbucks I visit daily so as to not appear to be an addict.  But throughout my summer visits, whether solo, with children in tow or with a client, I have noticed the friendliness vibe has been on the downgrade.  Both patrons and Baristas. 

It started to concern me recently when I walked up to the counter to give the Barista an order and three descriptions into my 15 description drink, the store’s phone rang.  Instead of the Barista being attentive to the remainder of my drink order and the warm, live body in front of him, he walked away from me and answered the phone.  Now that is not how you treat a customer already 3 stages into the ordering process.  This is Starbucks location #0.  Well, whatever I thought, he would be one gentleman I would never personally hire at my office.  Always take care of the live body first, always!

Now I frequent SBUX locale #0 at least 2-3 times per week as it is close to my office and gym.  It is a great place to arrange for a pre or post workout meeting.  Also, on Saturday mornings my children look forward to a Starbuck’s treat and the chance to hang out at the counter.  They think it is the neatest thing!  The $19.85 I spend on oatmeal, pastries and  kids hot cocoa’s is worth the smile on their faces.

Until this past Saturday when my love for Starbucks came to a screaming (literally) halt.  The kids couldn’t chill at their usual spot because the four stool counter spot was occupied by a middle-aged woman.  When I saw them climbing on the stools, I told them to find a spot at a table so as to not disturb this woman.   Nice of me huh?  Knowing what I know now, I would have had them grab the remaining three seats and go all kid on her.

Anyways, we proceeded to the table and the kids were consuming their unhealthy treats.  Everything in moderation, right? They were talking about what they wanted to be when they grow up.  As they downed every bite of apple fritter I could  see their energy levels spiking and they started to get silly.  My nine-year old wants to be a police officer when he grows up and my two-year old wants to be anything my nine-year old wants to be.  My five-year old wants to be a Firefighter.  But he also wants to pee for two hours straight when he is 37.  Okay, not appropriate and very silly.  But for goodness sake he just consumed 5,000 grams of sugar and his voice carries as he is a motivational speaker in the making AND he is five!  

I looked at him and said, “Now that is just silly.”  No harm.  Apple fritters still consuming and I was enjoying my $5.00 latte and lightly toasted bagel.  The radio in the store was blasting over the speakers and the house was packed ranging from seniors, to couples, to singles and a group of college kids comparing Facebook status updates.  Once again it was a Saturday morning.  But, I was the only patron with the children.  Three of them to be exact. 

So when the little guy made is pee pee comment you would have thought he used profanity to call someone out on something.  I know this because the Barista said to the patron at the bar, “She really should take those kids and GO!”  Now I know she said this because I read her lips and saw her hurtful stare.  But I didn’t want to assume and even though it got me fired up, I thought to myself, heck she is busy and probably just overwhelmed.  It was just herself right now and one other Barista that had a sign on the cash register next to her that said, “Patience please, Barista in training.”  So I was all about turning the other cheek and cutting the slack!

But when little miss I am here on a Saturday morning reading and taking notes at the coffee bar, turned, looked at me, lowered her glasses and shook her head with disgust at me, well then, my tune changed.  Yet, I thought perhaps while I was spreading cream cheese on my bagel or putting my keys in my bag one of my three children made like Houdini and did something to her.  So, with genuine concern, I get up and walk over to her.  To get her attention because my very presence next to her would not get her to  look my way, I took my fingertips to her back and said, “Ma’am, I am sorry, did something happen I am not aware of?  I am not understanding the Barista’s comments and your hurtful glance.”  She answers me, “GET…YOUR hands off me.”  I reply, “My gosh I am sorry I was not really touching you to offend you, just wanted to get your attention.”   She replies, “Leave me alone!”

Now I was upset that she took the time to get my attention but when I confronted her, she wanted nothing to do with me.  Did she expect me to sit there and receive hate lip talk and glances while my children were sitting, eating and sharing their thoughts on their career dreams when they grow up?  Clearly, if they were jumping around, running in circles or  shouting I would have been the first to correct the issue of their behavior. 

Also, this was  a Saturday morning, not a business day where people are conducting business appointments and on cell phones and laptops.  Even then, it is a coffee-house and children are welcome.  If not, a sign should be posted and the children’s drinks should be removed off the menu.  Oh and honestly, who really is buying those cake pops?  Mr. Wall Street in a business suit with a steamed apple juice in one hand and a cake pop and briefcase in another.  Come on!

Anyways, I was upset about everything that happened because it was actually a day that the kids were behaving, all three at once.  Well, I got the hint, time to go.  Yet, just for the record I went back up to the bar lady and said, “Ma’am I am very sorry if my presence here with my children upset you.  If they did do something, I was just trying to make it right with you not offend you.  Again, I apologize for whatever it is that caused you this grief here today.”  I expected her to sort of chill a bit and say hey I’m sorry no worries.  Oh hell no.  She wouldn’t look me in the eye but under hear breathe mumbled, “I have kids.”  I wasn’t sure what she meant by that so I replied, “Then you can appreciate how hard it is sometimes and I try my best.”  She put down her pen, leaned my way without looking at me and said in the most sarcastic hurtful tone, “Yah, mmm hmm, sure you do!”

Anyways, I could see I couldn’t make this right and it made my heart sink because I felt so defenseless.  Yet, what was going on with me that I felt I needed to prove to this women that I was a good mom and had great, loving children.  Well, with a two-year old on my right hip, a coffee and five-year old in my left hand and a nine-year old on my tail, I walked out, with my head down.  She crushed my mom spirit and I felt so awful.

As we walk out a patron is walking in and leaves his beautiful St. Bernard at the door entrance.  I look over at the boys and say, “Isn’t that a beautiful dog?”  Somewhere between my mom spirit being crushed and that comment, my five-year old took his foot to the dog to pet it when another Starbucks patron screams out and I mean screams out, “That boy just kicked that dog!  I saw him, he kicked that dog!”  Now, I agree 100% that my five-year old a) should have not touched the dog without the owner’s permission or b) used his foot to “pet” the dog.  But I also know my children love pets and would never intentionally harm an animal. 

Just as I was beginning to process that the boy this man was screaming about was my son, he said to me “Do something, aren’t you going to do something?”  One excruciating blow after another.  I still had a two-year old on my hip and a hot latte in my other hand.  I said, “Sir!  Please give me a chance to process everything and I will address this with my child!”  Because having three of them by my side and him screaming at me with my mom spirit left at a table inside the joint wasn’t enough.  I clearly had my hands full and I said to him, “Again Sir, I will handle the matter!”  He says to me, “Sure you will!”  And not in the reassuring sure you will tone.  As in yep right you pathetic piece of a mom being.  All of a sudden, my heart sank and I lost my shit in front of my children.  I started crying and said, “How dare you sir judge me or the kind of mother I am.  I work hard as a mom and do the best for my children!”  He didn’t let down on me.  This was clearly not becoming an issue that my child potentially appeared to have kicked an animal but more about the kind of mother I may be.

So my friends, I ask, is it me?  Am I doing something wrong as a mother?  Perhaps I think I am entitled to some break because I have the little guys.  Or is it that as soon as people see a mother with three young boys they clearly form an opinion that chaos will begin?  If so, this is so not fair!  Yes, I have my hands full.  Most parents of young children do.  Everyday is a juggling and balancing act.  Some days will fair better than others and there are good parenting moments and not.  We take each day at a time and learn from our mistakes and recharge on our accomplishments.

Anyways, I think I have been given a hint that it is time I break my addiction to Starbucks.  That perhaps if I would have packed some healthy snacks, grabbed some waters and headed to the park pre workout I would not have had the ambush I received last Saturday morning.  Maybe it was just a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Or maybe John Quiñones will call and say I was his subject for ABC’s What Would You Do that will air next month.  Yet, all I know is that if I saw a mother or father with their hands full and strangers ambushing them, I would step in and say, “Give ’em a break!”  Sometimes, just sometimes, we need a saving grace!  As for you Starbucks, our relationship has ended and it is only for the better!


The Game of Life Minus The Luck of The Spin

Remember the Game of LIFE that was big back in the 1980’s?  Millionaire Estates and Countryside Acres were the final outcomes.  You chose “your character” based upon your favorite color and you gave it your best spin.  Then you all giggled and laughed or sometimes even cried, when the luck of the spin would determine who failed and who ended up with the fortune.  Well, news flash, life doesn’t run on luck or a spin of a wheel.

If you think about games in general, surely there is one Hasbro or Milton Bradley Game that comes to mind in terms of your life.  Honestly, some days I feel like I am running from Donkey Kong, while inside a pin ball contraption in a Twister pose wanting to break the tangle to spin the wheel for a chance to get out of jail free or even pass Go and collect my measly 200 bucks.  But life doesn’t run on an iron or thimble and my character isn’t shaped by my favorite color.  Life runs on what I fuel it with.

If I focus on the negative, my car putters and I end up on Baltic Avenue hoping to avoid an income tax penalty and wishing to get a positive Chance card.  But if I put my energies into the positive and have the ability to adapt, be a smart risk taker and a persistent go getter, I might actual have a Clue at The Game of Life.  So, when facing a Chute or a Ladder, do we decide to climb or settle for the fall?

I think most people would prefer the climb.  Yet, how often do they avoid the climb because of the journey up? Recently, I was faced with a big life changing decision.  I so wanted to make like a Battleship and sink but then I think about my life’s biggest motto and the whole reason I started this blog. 

“You can’t get anywhere doing the back float, you have to turn around and swim!”

Since I started this blog, many people have asked me why I blog?  Before I get a chance to answer, they answer for me with another question.  The question answers range all over the place but what blogging is to me is meditative. My creative expression in print as I journey through life.  And if I was handed a choice to spin, to win, lose or draw again, I would decline all of the above. 

Life doesn’t run on a toss of the dice, it runs on what I put into it.  Of course, it is not always fair or goes the way I planned.  Sometimes I may even lose a turn.  Yet, where I am at today is because my character and the path I chose  brought me here.  I am the only one in charge of my destiny.  So if my Memory serves me correct, my Cranium is in charge and although I love with my heart, I lead with my head.  So Hi Ho! Cherry-O, one wooden plank at a time, I climb!