As any good mama knows, Starbucks drive-thrus are an oasis of sanity in an otherwise hectic world. Whenever I'm going somewhere unfamiliar, I open my Starbucks app, press "Stores," then "filter," then "drive-thru," and see if one is remotely nearby (like within 5 miles.) And, if the pin appears navigable, and the babe is willing, then HOT DAMN! Mama gets a latte.
Today, when we returned home from Storytime, the unthinkable had happened: Munchkin had fallen asleep. Deeply, deeply asleep in the carseat. And Mama thought quickly, "Well, I've been wanting to go to that thrift store that's 45 minutes away..." and we were off.
Yay, thrifting awesomeness! He slept until about halfway through our first shop, then woke and was really pleasant through the second shop, which was great because it was all stuff for him. Then we loaded up the booty and headed back, but not before Mama consulted her trusty Starbucks app - SCORE! There was a drive-thru 6.2 miles down the road, more-or-less on our way home, about 20 minutes away! I was already salivating.
Munchkin nursed and then got in the carseat, seemingly content. But about 10 minutes later, the screaming began. The, "OH MY GOD MOMMY I CAN'T SEE YOU WHERE ARE YOU MOMMY WHY, GOD, WHY???????" screaming. There's only one remedy for this screaming: Mahna-Mahna. Me singing Mahna-Mahna, a capella, over and over and over again. Keep in mind that we are still 10 minutes from Starbucks and a 1/2 hour from home, more or less. This works. Phew. "Mahna-Mahna, do dooooo do-do-do..." over and over and over again.
We reach the blessed Starbucks. In between Mahna-Mahnas, I order my drink. Once I stopped to acknowledge the man at the window and give him money for my overpriced-but-I-don't-care-because-I-feel-like-a-normal-person-for-a-few-minutes beverage, and the screaming began again, so I sheepishly began singing Mahna-Mahna once more, while looking this stranger in the eye and shrugging as I grabbed the white cup of liquid gold and drove away.
It was about five minutes later, at a stop light, when I got to take my first sip. Took out the squiggly dark-green plug and slurped off the foam (still singing, mind you), and took a long, sweet draught. Aaaaah. Three or four more sips before the light changed. Wheee! And then, at the next red light, I saw the markings on the cup.
Now, I'm one of those really annoying Starbucks customers that has about 7 qualifiers on their order: Venti, Breve, No-foam, Sugar-free, Vanilla, Latte. But with my brain focusing somewhere between my 38th and 39th chorus of "Mahna-Mahna," I had forgotten to add the word, "Decaf." Oops.
You see, I gave up caffeine when I was trying to get pregnant with the Munchkin, 2 years ago. The amount of caffeine I was holding in my hands was enough to keep not only me up until next Thursday, but as I am nursing, keep the Munchkin up as well. No naps, no bedtime. Caffeine can stay in the nursing baby's body for up to 24 hours. And that is no bueno. I was holding (sipping from!) a caffeine A-bomb.
I had three choices: 1) drive back the several miles to the drive-thru to correct the mistake, but as the native in the back seat was growing ever-more restless, that was a no. 2) Drink it as is, since it was my fault anyway, and suffer the consequences - also a no. Or 3) throw it out. That pissed me off more than anything. I finally got to go to a drive-thru Starbucks and I don't even get to enjoy it???? Oh, HELL no. So I came up with a fourth option.
Around the seemingly 100th chorus of Mahna-Mahna, I heard no movement from the back seat - Munchkin was back to sleep. Hallelujah. I kept singing anyway, just in case. As I pulled off the highway at our exit, instead of heading for home, I turned toward our *local* Starbucks. Worth a shot. Parked, *gingerly* lifted Munchkin's carseat out of the back and clicked it into the stroller, then praying to the gods of sleeping babies that he wouldn't wake up, I went inside, cup in hand, and explained my situation.
I told the guy behind the counter I had a "Starbucks with a heart of gold" favor to ask him, and he accommodated me right away. With a smile and nod to the baby carriage, he remade my drink for free without a second thought. I didn't get his name, but I should have. He totally made my day. I got Munchkin back in the car with nary a stir, and he slept all the way home. And I got my big-girl coffee beverage, just the way I wanted it, thanks to the friendly folks at my local Starbucks. The angels sang!
And of course, when we got home, Munchkin woke up crying, and I soothed him, and changed his diaper, and got him something to eat, and brought in all our thrifting goodies, and cleaned them off, and we played together, and I did some laundry, and I forgot all about that damned Starbucks cup until it was ice cold. But I still drank the whole thing. I had earned it.