In The Zone

People,  the new Starbucks opened today.  The district manager stopped by introduce himself and he also brought a few gift cards for Jeanne and I (which we plan to promptly use).  And when he said this Starbucks will open at 5 am, I am fairly certain I heard a chorus of angels sing.  Our days of desperation coffee from McDonald’s in the wee hours before sun up are now over.



In other good news,

  • Our 12-inch boxes arrived today, several days ahead of schedule.  Our UPS guy is completely used to us attacking him and hugging him when he carries in a box of boxes.  He wasn’t really used to tears, but he is now.
  • Our 9-inch boxes are on target for delivery tomorrow.  Bless you, Amazon, and all the fine people who packed that box full of pie boxes, taped it up, and figured out how to get it from wherever they come from to PJP Buttonwood.  YOU ARE APPRECIATED, INDEED.
  • Our food truck even came a day early.  This means that as we were baking this afternoon, we had plenty of everything.  Mark that down, people…it never happens.  And if you need to borrow a cup – or 273 – of sugar, we are all stocked up.
  • We really didn’t mess up anything today.  (Unless it is something that we are yet unaware of…).  Orders were on time, we had pies to sell, we didn’t yell at each other (more than the norm) and we saw plenty of our customers and friends.  You might say that we were in the zone today.  And maybe you don’t care, but I’ll be happy to remind myself of it when we have a day where everything is late, we have no pies to sell, and we yell at each other a lot.  Because it will happen.
  • Several people called today and asked about picking up pie on Saturday and we reminded them that we will be closed for the holiday.  I totally felt guilty about it until I remembered that not setting an alarm for a dark o’thirty wakeup time on a Saturday morning is a beautiful – and rare – opportunity for Team PJP.  So I got over the guilt.

Last year, July 3rd was one of our busiest days.  I don’t know what to expect tomorrow, but you better believe that we’ll be starting early with gift card Starbucks coffee and a heavy baking schedule.  I’m totally hoping for In The Zone, The Sequel.

From The Front Lines…

We were exceptionally busy today with a large number of orders and for that, we couldn’t be more appreciative.  Here are a few thoughts from the front lines of pie baking:

  1. One year ago today, an order of 47 nine-inch pies for a single customer would have sent us all into a tailspin.  Today, we approached it with the dead calm reserved for operating rooms.  Except with a sound track of Justin Timberlake.
  2. Mac and I spent a solid seven minutes making peach praline topping and discussing all the solid points we have for enjoying Justin Timberlake as much as we do.  Points one, two, and three are simply that Justin brought the sexy back.
  3. Jeanne spent most of the afternoon on a quest to find a source for 12-inch and nine-inch boxes locally.  Because running out of the baby pie box isn’t enough fun for us all, we felt it only fair if we ran out of the 12-inch and nine-inch boxes as well.  I swear to you, if I had a billion dollars, I would simply buy a billion pie boxes.  Or 99,999,990 boxes and ten Xanax.
  4. Since Jeanne was about town basically handing over fistfuls of dollars for boxes, I was in charge at PJP Buttonwood.  And while she would have cut production late this afternoon on an order that is to be picked up at 6 am tomorrow and preferred to come at 2 am to finish it, I basically worked double-time because I hate 2 am and will lattice until my fingers fall off to avoid it at all costs.
  5. We ended up working until well after 7 and then I went home and did what any prudent business owner does…laid on the living room floor with our dog and had baseless opinions about who should be voted of Big Brother 17.  Classy.
  6. When Jeanne was there, we did get into a smallish skirmish about ribbons.  We had 144 tarts on order and each tart needed to be bagged and tied with a cute ribbon.  Just so you know, Jeanne follows the Martha Stewart 43-step process to bow tying and I don’t.  I’ll let you sort out how that all went down.
  7. We keep a year-long planner at the front counter and we write down appointments, reminders, events, and whatnot in it.  June 30th was the last day in the book and so now I have a whole year of PJP that I’m tucking away for posterity…FullSizeRender-54
  8. We rolled out our new Strawberry Lemonade pie today.  If you are a regular reader, you’ll recognize this pie as the source of Jeanne’s “Get that pie out of here!” dance.  That said, about 40 other people sampled the Strawberry Lemonade pie that day and all loved it.  You probably will too…because just look at it…IMG_4427
  9. Now that I look at it more closely, I wonder if we could swirl PJP or #WPD into that pie…because that would be sort of awesome.
  10. We had a charming group of new visitors stop by today.  They are vacationing here from Ohio and I kid you not, one was an amazing tattoo artist and the other had PIE TATTOOS.  If she lived here, I would insist that she work with us.  Anyone with a rolling pin on their arm is clearly on the road to #WorldPieDomination.IMG_4428



So, considering the expanse of our goal of WORLD PIE DOMINATION, you would think that the route to take to get there would be pretty easy to identify…except lately the whole plan of “bake a lot of pies, sell a lot of pies” seems to be lost in all the noise that comes with the day-to-day operations of PJP Buttonwood.  I think the guy that developed the “work on your business, not in your business” mantra really should have named it “sometimes you are going to feel overwhelmed and lost and everyone will want something from you and so sometimes you need to step back from the mixing bowl for some introspective time of thought” mantra.  (And this is exactly why I haven’t written a best-selling book on business practices…brevity has never been my strong suit, and that is the least of it.)

I have at least 15 people currently waiting on some sort of decision from Jeanne and I about something.  Should we do another round of radio ads?  Do we want to continue video work for our website?  Can we make a donation to four different charities that have put in a request?  Do we want to order a logo stamp?  Should we make a banner for our front window?  Should we meet with a broker from a competitor food broker company?  Is Amazon Prime Pantry really as good as it sounds?  Should we expand our Saturday hours?  Are we interested in doing another magazine ad?  And on and on and on.  I would like to say here that I need a personal assistant, but I’ve actually received some unsolicited resumes from people who want to be my assistant…and to those people, I say a) we can’t afford it, and b) even if we could, we would likely drive you crazy (but that said, if you are willing to work for free, fetch coffee, remind me not to leave my sunglasses everywhere, and whisper “serenity now” to me on the regular, definitely email me).

And look, these problems we have at PJP are some very First World Problems indeed.  I’m just saying to you – to the person who desperately dreams of starting a business of your own – that this nagging feeling of overwhelmed rarely seems to dissipate.  I keep waiting for it to subside, especially as I get better at saying no to things we don’t need, want, or have the budget for.  But even so, the line of people who have a service to offer or a need to meet seems infinitely longer than the time and money we have available.  And for someone who could write an entire self-help trilogy on being a people pleaser, IT IS SO VERY HARD.  I’m fairly certain that today I ignored someone, disappointed someone, or upset someone and I’ll basically obsess about it for oh, ever.  I’m really good at that part.

I would suppose that the prudent business person hires someone to make decisions about banners and food brokers and ad space.  And then said prudent business person has extra time to plot how to grow the business (and finish Season Three of Orange Is The New Black).  But the thought of outsourcing our decision-making process makes my throat close up a little.  Because let’s face it, Jeanne and I only excel when we have too much to do, too much to worry about, and too much to second-guess.  What the heck would we do with all of our time if we weren’t doing those things?

Apparently, obsessive is the new prudent at PJP.  Sounds about right.