Well, thankfully Jeanne is on schedule to be back at PJP Buttonwood early tomorrow morning. This is good news because by about 3 pm on Saturday, I was OVER IT at PJP. Apparently the quickest way to push me to the brink is to order multiple pies with meringue tops and then ask me to deliver them. In case you weren’t aware, meringues are very HIGH MAINTENANCE, INDEED. One false move, one degree too warm, one word uttered too loudly and a meringue fail is completely possible. Which is precisely how I ended up driving the pies to their destination while blasting the air conditioning on high and terror sweating that something would go terribly wrong in transit. Remember that movie Speed, wherein Sandra Bullock had to drive a bus through a congested Los Angeles while keeping the speed above 55 mph? It was like that…minus the bomb and Keanu Reeves. And the Sandra Bullock. But you get my point.
And this is all to say that I left PJP in an enormous mess in my haste to deliver all the high-maintenance pies on Saturday. And I didn’t even care…until this morning when I arrived to find that if you leave whisks and bowls full of whipped egg whites out for 36 hours, it possibly makes the hardest substance on earth. While the dishes washed, I figured I would do Jeanne a solid favor and scrape the week’s worth of dough off the floors as sort of a “oh my goodness, I missed you present”.
Except as it turns out, scraping the floor requires herculean strength. 10 minutes in, my arms were exhausted and I was sweaty. I have no idea how Jeanne does this on the regular, but I’m compelled to see if we could still get her to the summer Olympics in Rio in some sort of crazy insane arm strength category.
Now that I think about it, we could totally rent a bus and I could drive her there…
When I talked to Jeanne earlier this evening, we enjoyed the better part of a conversation while she was under the impression that today is Wednesday and then I had to shatter her vacation week dreams by letting her know that today is actually Thursday. Clearly, she is disconnecting from the stress of PJP and completely relaxing, primarily by not paying attention to the day of the week. (There is no Netflix or Roku at her current location though and she did mention specifically that she missed them both. Not me or you, but Netflix and Roku exclusively. Sigh.)
In good news, Team PJP completely rallied today and finished baking AND doing the dishes by 1:15 this afternoon. I even had time to sit down and answer emails like a legit business professional…if legit business professionals responded to emails with screaming sentences like “I DON’T KNOW HOW TO DO THAT IN QUICKBOOKS.” And to back up all my shouting, I watched some YouTube videos about Quickbooks, which weren’t helpful or interesting…as you might suspect.
Before I threw my computer with the Quickbooks file out the back door, I took a break and spent some time cleaning baking trays with SOS pads…because this is apparently who I have become these days. And then I thought for a while about how someone should create a pan liner that covers the sides of the baking sheet because we can’t be the only people in America that are scrubbing harden apple pie filling off the sides of baking trays. Not only is it a least favored chore, it is hell on a good manicure…and well, PRIORITIES.
And when I gave up on that and realized it was late in the afternoon, I made the baking schedule for tomorrow and promptly realized that Quickbooks and SOS pads were the very least of my problems. Because tomorrow is Friday and there are many, many, many pies are on order.
I thought about calling Jeanne will some low-level panic over Friday’s baking schedule. But then I remembered she would only think I was worrying about Thursday. Sigh.
I almost started this post by sharing a photo that I quickly snapped at 2:30 this afternoon of our sink full of dishes, but my shame prevented me from uploading it. Instead I’ll just describe it to you as COMPLETELY TERRIBLE, as in every single bowl, whisk, spatula, and measuring cup at PJP waited to be washed as our very last tray of pies went into the oven. Even I, who am generally laid back about a sink full of dishes, was about two Xanax away from having a full anxiety attack when I really stopped to survey the damage we had created at PJP while baking this morning.
And while I was loading, unloading, and drying all those dishes (it was about 27 loads), I spent some time thinking about the perfect staffing levels at PJP. I have no clue what the magic number is (clearly), but finding out is a key piece of the puzzle when looking at long-term growth. For a good portion of today, we actually had five people working (me, Gunnar, Mac, Sydney, and Katie). But for all the things going on – jars on order for shipping, tarts on order for events, pies needed for the store, Katie only on her second day of training – we just couldn’t get ahead. Pies eventually got made, but it was stressful and felt a little out of control (at least, to my overly controlling nature). And the aftermath was a hot mess. 27 loads of hot mess, to be precise. (And let’s not even talk about the floor.)
Ironically, even if we had a few more employees, adding more bodies in our baking space means we all bump into each other and it is impossible to find a working space that isn’t already overtaken by someone else. I believe this is what is called “the law of diminishing returns” by business experts…basically meaning that adding extra help in our current space helps nothing when there is no place to work because we are already so full of people in our 1,050 square feet.
So, I’m down to thinking we need one of the following:
- A person we hire to just wash the dishes. (Sounds like a solid plan but Jeanne wouldn’t be keen on sharing her SOS pads, so I’m not sure how that would work out.)
- Disposable EVERYTHING. (Unrealistic though…right?)
- Stopping us all every 45 minutes for a dishwashing break. (Like preschool, minus the “clean up song” to go along with it.)
- Buy more bowls, whisks, and spatulas, thus we don’t run out of dishes so quickly. (Don’t judge me.)
Or maybe 1 & 4. Or 3 & 4. I have no answers. But I do have super soft hands from all the dish soap, so there is that…