When enough is enough

. ‘He reminded us that the ambitions for Starbucks were focused on large and global company growth.”


– from Barista to Boardroom recounting Howard Schultz announcing Starbuck’s IPO




I look down the now quiet tree lined street and wonder why it wasn’t enough? Why wasn’t a record breaking weekend at store #204 enough?’


– from my historical fiction novel, Tripio

When is enough enough?

Because, Jay, it is the easy way out.  I am working on this blog in the living room of my house. It is over 100 years old and on this November morning the house is already inviting fall inside with a little too much enthusiasm for my taste. And it is not event that cold yet. I can turn up the heat but that costs money. On balance this old place has survived over a century in good shape. I have hot and cold running water in two bathrooms. Plus all the electric appliances still work and continue to make my life easy. I don’t do laundry, my washer and dryer do. Nor do I make my coffee, my coffee makers do. Don’t boil water for my paste noodles, my stovetop burners from my oven do. Hey, I got it made.

Then why the hell to I refer to this place as a “hell hole?” I mean I make it a point to offer what I call “brick and mortar” gratitudes for my house, car and employment. Maybe I need to do this more often. Or maybe I can move to a newer place. Perhaps I should move somewhere warmer. Maybe have replace these seasonally receptive windows replaced. But that ain’t cheap.

Or maybe I can put on a sweater and be happy with what I have.

The quotes above

The quotes above are from two different books which partly address the early days of Starbucks. The top one is from Christine McHugh’s memoir and the bottom one from my historical fiction work. I am just getting started with reading Barista to Boardroom. I am not going to post something as useless as a “review” of the book when I’m done. That ain’t my style. In fact, I spent a bit of time just now searching for a post I thought I had drafted in which I compared reading a book to a rain drop hitting a leaf.

Two completely different forms of energy, the reader’s mind at that moment and the book at that moment, meeting for that period of time. That’s what reading a book can be. Now you see why I am not going to bother with a review as such. What are the chances of your rain drop hitting that leaf during the same storm over the same forest as the same time as mine?  You don’t’ need to answer. In fact, you  are probably breathing a sigh of relief that I didn’t find that post after all.

Back to the post

And that also goes to the conundrum found in the title of this post. When is enough enough? In Tripio, Jay felt that if he could have enough Starbucks stock money, he would move to Costa Rica, write and be happy.  The brass at Starbucks wanted global growth. When I say I said it was the easy way out to start this post I think I meant that “global growth” is way more easily definable. Isn’t it always easier to tell someone where you are going, planning to go or hope to be at one point?

It is easier to look over to the stranger next to you at the wedding reception nd say “I am going to downsize to a smaller, newer house in a warmer climate.” Than, “I am grateful for what I have?” The first response engagers a nice conversation, the second will lead to person next to excusing themselves and head for the complimentary bar.

Which is easier to aspire to be -Billionaire Howard Schultz or Jay Altonstreet acclimating to his draughty house?

Recognizing enough is the hard part

The recognitions is the hard part baked into the answer. For my money, if I had it, I think to this day the Howard Schulz believed that success is better when shared by everyone. By extension, I think the sharing  of that windfalls of that growth was enough for him. (I know its easy to demonize Howard but I was in the same room with him on multiple occasions, shook hands with him, spoke with him and that’s he vibe I got.)

As for Jay from Tripio, he is little harder to define to recognize with one word. If you are playing along at home, don’t try “billionaire” or even ‘millionaire”. Don’t get me wrong, I am still the Jay wondering why enough isn’t’ always enough. Especially when it is reinforcing constantly  that I don’t have enough of it, need more of it and must have the latest version of whatever it is.

Yet, this morning I sit in my house with no “for sale sign” out front and I recognize this house as good as it’s going to get for me. This living space is enough for me. I also recognize that I have a world of blessings out there, some of who grew up this drafty hell hole. So I believe if Howard and I were reunited in my living room right now having coffee and he asked, “Jay, do want me to turn up the heat?” that Jay would reply, “No, Howard, I’ll just put on a sweater.


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This apron is pretty warm.
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