Just Like Heaven

After a particularly rough-on-my-mental stability week, the hubs suggested that if I wanted, I should take some time this past Saturday and get out of the house on my own, sans baby. After contemplating this solo venture for approximately three-tenths of a second, I said, "Can I leave now?" Unfortunately, it was only Thursday at the time we were having this conversation. But Saturday came soon enough. And so, following the little girl's afternoon nap, I headed out the door.

And I went to Starbucks. Oddly enough, the one closest to my house was completely packed. At 4pm. On a Saturday afternoon. There was not a seat to be had. Undeterred, I turned around and headed to the Starbucks in the next town over, which is newer, but with fewer comfortable chairs than the one nearest my house.

My friends, my time there was glorious. Glor-I-Ous. I drank this. And I read this, the first book not containing the words "Moro reflex," "sleep cycle" or "nipple confusion" that I've touched since Isabella was born in August. It was relaxing. It was quiet. There was no needy little person permanently attached to my hip and demanding my constant attention. I felt more like me in the hour and a half that I spent there than I've felt in the last five months.

But in my mini-break from mommyhood, I noticed some changes in Starbucks since the last time I was there.

1. The "older set" has embraced the coffeshop culture. There were at least seven "seniors" (and by "senior," I mean at least 70 years of age) sipping away at their drinks on Saturday. Now, this might not seem strange to you, but my older relatives place Starbucks on par with The Apple Store. It's just not a place they'd ever enter, or have reason to enter. Their missive on Starbucks is twofold. One, on the rare occasions they've had Starbucks coffee, they've pronounced it "too bitter." But keep in mind that the coffee they brew in their own homes is little more than brown-colored water. And two, they've deemed Starbucks coffee too expensive ("$1.50 for a small coffee??!!?? I can go to McDonald's and with my senior discount, a large is only 3 cents!!").

But apparently, my older relatives are in the minority now, because the senior set has set up shop in my Starbucks. And frankly, I think it's very cool.

2. People have begun eating muffins with a knife and fork. Is this something that's been happening for awhile, while I've been cocooned in my house all day with a baby? Someone help me out here. I mean, I know their muffins are on the large side, but I saw not one, but two people eat their muffins with utensils. I'm not suggesting they cram the whole thing into their mouth and attempt to take a bite that way, but I think I'm firmly entrenched in the "tear away a piece" method of eating muffins. Who's with me?

3. What is with the signs advertising new drinks emblazoned with employee comments underneath? Is Starbucks trying to morph itself into Barnes and Noble? I saw a sign for the new Cinnamon Dolce Latte (which looks and sounds yummy, by the way), and written in black ink at the bottom of the poster was a commentary about the drink made by an employee. Since when do I care that Daryl, the weekday morning barrista, thinks this drink starts spicy with a mild buttery finish? Odd. Very odd.

4. And finally this, and I have much to say on this topic. Children have invaded Starbucks, and I do not like it. At. All. Whatsoever. About 10 minutes before I left, two parents brought in their four kids under the age of ten. They took over enough table and chair space to cover a city block with discarded coats, hats, scarves, and mittens. The kids immediately started "exploring" the display shelves of expensive coffeemakers, cups, and dishes. And the decibel level inside rose considerable. To be fair, they were only behaving like kids do. They're not to blame here. They were just "being kids" in a place in which I believe their parents shouldn't have taken them into in the first place. Stay tuned because I intend to wax poetic on this topic later on this week.

An hour and half of pure and unadultered baby-free bliss later, I made my way home refreshed and re-energized. And I couldn't wait to grab and hug my little bean as soon as I walked through the door. I think a weekly "Starbucks Saturday" is called for here, don't you think?

16 Responses to “Just Like Heaven”

  1. # Blogger Christine

    I do indeed think a weekly Starbucks fix is in order. That is until the under 10 crowd takes it over. As much as I love kids there are some places that shouldn't be considered kid friendly.

    Also, that is so strange that they give barista commentary at your 'Bucks. They haven't stooped that low at my local one, but then again it might be because the Starbucks I usually go to is in the student center.  

  2. # Blogger kenju

    Yes, I do. But I agree with your older relatives - Starbucks coffee is way too bitter for me. I do like strong, full-bodied, Columbian coffee, and I drink it black. Starbucks coffee would be fine for me if I drank latte or with other additives, but I don't.
    Bravo to getting out by yourself! I remember that being Heaven, when my kids were little.  

  3. # Blogger jenny

    I'm glad you took rich up on the offer for a little escape. Have my offers to let you do the same been to subtle? When I get back from work/vacation trip I'll just come over and steal your little one for a while so you're forced to take another break :)

    And the muffin with utensils - they must be British!! I've been eating pizza and "chips" with a fork and knife in a vague attempt to blend in here during my trip. Don't know who I'm kidding - I'm pretty sure non-local is written all of me anyway.  

  4. # Blogger Marie

    Absolutely! I guess Rich has been reading the blog, huh? ;-)

    I sometimes use a fork with a muffin, but I often pull off pieces with my fingers -- depends on my mood and the muffin.

    Hmm. Kids at Starbucks. I do think of that as an adult hangout. But on a Saturday afternoon, it's pretty much fair game for kids anywhere... at least that's what I've noticed!  

  5. # Blogger Anne Marie

    So glad you got a mental health break from the baby! I agree it is heavenly and you should get at least one time a week to go out and do something. My husband insisted I do this and I started taking a class with a girlfriend once a week for a couple hours. I looked forward to it every week :)

    I love the pumpkin spice and the peppermint drink during the holidays at Starbucks! :) I'm surprised the seniors aren't at Timmy Ho's - that's where the seniors around here hang out a lot.  

  6. # Anonymous Anonymous

    You most definitely should get out by yourself every weekend. Heck, when you said you were only out for an hour and a half, my reaction was... ONLY 1 1/2 hours?? That's IT???

    Kids in Starbucks? Maybe older kids, but.. little ones, no. Things have changed alot since my boys were younger, and then again there were no Starbucks...

    Their coffee is too bitter for me, as I only get their decaf..nothing with mocha, latte, frappa-rappa, just plain old straight up decaf.

    And make sure you get out again this weekend! It's vital to your well being and sanity!

  7. # Blogger The Princess

    I do bring Camille to Starbucks, it's actually a Mommy get away for my friend and I. However, Camille and her little friend sit quietly in their strollers playing. Typically after 45 min they are over it and at that first protest, we're out of there.

    You'd like her there, I promise!!  

  8. # Blogger sher

    Yes--go to Starbucks! I have a weekly coffee date and it's wonderful! We have a lot of seniors here at Starbucks and other coffee houses, but not the kids. Occasionally, they are there. The thing that bothers me is when parents here just ignore their young children and the kids (who are bored) wind up running around and bumping into tables. It scares me because I'm afraid hot coffee will spill on the little ones.

    As for eating with the fork and knife, that's new to me, but some of the muffins sold today are sort of gooey and covered with all kinds of toppings, so maybe that's a reason? Reminds me of Seinfeld when Elaine's boss inadvertently started a craze of eating candy bars with a knife and fork.  

  9. # Blogger sunShine

    Yes indeed, go for it. We all need a break from our wonderful children every now and then. It makes us better mothers.  

  10. # Blogger Shannon

    can't help ya with starbucks... I don't drink coffee and never been in one let alone ever had anything from one lol... but that is awesome you got out of the house for a bit!  

  11. # Blogger ellie

    Yes the crowd has changed and it is becoming family friendly-- not a good thing if you are trying to get alittle quiet time. But definately the time without baby is a good thing for you-- sounds like alittle time to yourself leaves you feeling refreshed.  

  12. # Blogger Dee Dee

    Whenever you want to get away and be kid-free, just let me know - I am ALWAYS game.

    As for kids being in Starbucks, I am one of those parents that brings her kids to Starbucks (3 year old and 20 month old). People are probably cringing reading this, but I never considered Starbucks a kid-free zone. I consider bars and restuarants - after say 9 pm - to be kid-free zones. Why should it be kid-free on a Saturday afternoon? I am interested to read more about your reasoning behind this! And, haven't you brought your daughter to Starbucks with you before?  

  13. # Blogger Beagle

    A weekly escape is not too much to ask and your hubby sounds like the kind of guy who would be that kind of sweet!

    I'm not a Starbucks girl anyway but where I live the mommies with strollers took over long ago. As to eating a muffin with a fork and knife? Hmmm . . . I'll have to pay attention, have not noticed that so much.  

  14. # Anonymous Anonymous

    Dee Dee, I'm with you. Was Starbucks ever a kid-free zone? Not where I live or where I've visited. I bring my kids with me all the time, and I can guarantee you they're quieter than Mr. Corporate over in the corner who talks on his cell phone headset the entire time or the group of college students in the corner working on a class paper.

    What are coffeehouses but places where you can drink coffee and have good conversations? They're kind of known for that. Especially in Europe, where they come from--coffehouses there are anything but quiet. Why wouldn't families be welcome in places meant to foster neighborliness and conversation?

    I don't take my kids to bars, fancy restaurants or other "adult" places, but coffeehouses by their very nature are family-friendly. Not to be rude, but if you want it to be quiet enough to read a book, that's what libraries are for.

    I do, however, make sure my kids behave. Running around is not at all acceptable.  

  15. # Blogger Damselfly

    Sounds just like heaven, for sure.

    I'm guilty of eating a muffin with a fork, and also of bringing my baby to Starbucks sometimes. Some of those baked goods are messy and crumbly, and I'm a messy eater to begin with. And because my friend who also has a baby can't stay away from Starbucks, sometimes we meet there with the babies.

    BTW, the cinnamon dolce latte rocks!  

  16. # Blogger Kristi

    Christine-Yup, me too. Kids don't drink coffee, so I wouldn't consider coffee houses a place for them.

    Kenju-You're definitely not alone in thinking their coffee is too bitter. I've heard that from lots of people.

    Jenny-Steal away, my friend, steal away! I eat my pizza with a knife and fork!

    Marie-Yup, he's been reading. And listening!

    Anne Marie-That's such a cool thing that you're taking a class with a friend. I'd love to do this too. And yes, I am so looking forward to hitting Starbucks by myself again. It's funny that you mention Tim Horton's. My older relatives love it there, and actually go there every morning.

    Annie-Exactly. Older, well-behaved kids, yes. Little ones, no way. Unless they're very well-behaved, and I think that's too much to ask of little ones anyway.

    Princess-I'm going to give it a try with Isabella. But, like you, one peep out of her, and we're outta there. Not a place for little bambinos. But definitely a place for their mommies.

    Sher-My point exactly. It's not the kids' fault. It's the parents who see a visit to Starbucks as their "escape" and then forget to watch their kids while enjoying their lattes. That's my beef with kids and coffee spots.

    Sunshine-Amen to that!

    Shannon-Never been to a Starbucks? Blasphemy! ;)

    Ellie-It definitely did. And thanks for stopping by my blog.

    Dianne-I'm game too, anytime you are. We need to get together soon. And believe it or not, I've never taken Ella to a Starbucks, as much as I've been tempted to do it.

    Beagle-Yup, he's a sweet guy when he wants to be. ;)

    Damselfly-It looks delicious. I can't wait to try it.  

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