Lately we’ve been a bit of a roll at PJP, at least by our standards. We’ve been baking (and selling) a lot of pies and the crying has been kept to a minimum. And so I think that when one hits a good streak, the universe needs to serve up a day where the wheels all just fall off…just to remind us that we are never in control. That was today…and here is why.
- We started the morning by failing our annual fire inspection. I guess that every year, you must have your fire extinguisher tested/reset/replaced/resomethinged. WHO KNEW. And as it turns out, ours hadn’t been looked at since April 17, 2014…which would make sense, because I didn’t even know testing fire extinguishers was a thing. (In my defense, I feel like if testing fire extinguishers was your thing, you might just show up every year to remind the owner of the extinguisher that it was time to test it. Or at least send a reminder postcard.)
- Jeanne was gone today and it would have been okay, but my children needed to be 8,315ish places today for various practices and appointments. I went to my house no less than seven times to pick up or deliver someone and it is ridiculously difficult to accomplish anything when you are constantly driving somewhere. And that has nothing to do with pies, but I bet if you’ve ever parented anyone, you just whispered “amen, sister…”
- At one point when I wasn’t taking someone somewhere, I pulled Katie’s tray of Key Lime pies out of the oven and they looked odd. She had followed the recipe exactly, yet they just weren’t right. She had noticed that the condensed milk consistency from the can was different…chunky on the top of the can lid and runny underneath. The cans don’t expire until July 2017, but I threw every single Key Lime pie in the trash and texted our food broker that our condensed milk was “weird, gooey, and chunky.” He offered me a credit, because I believe that is the industry standard response to a complaint of weird, gooey, and chunky.
- I absolutely had to go to our accountant’s office to sign some paperwork. She’s been threatening me nicely for a month or so and I knew I was pushing the limit. They are located on the Business Loop across from Cosmo Park. So basically, a 30 minute drive in 4 pm traffic from PJP. Except when I got to the Business Loop, I realized that they had rerouted the entire interstate to build another roundabout, meaning the road was closed. (And hey, if you are reading this and you have any influence, STOP WITH THE ROUNDABOUTS ALREADY).
- So I ended up in that diamond interchange at Stadium and 70 and I got confused and ended up back on the interstate. And stuff like that never happens to me because I’m great with directions, so basically diamond interchanges are dead to me. All of that for three minutes actually in the accountant’s office to sign some forms to pay some money to the government. So they can use it to likely build some more roundabouts. Gah.
I’m so not leaving PJP Buttonwood tomorrow.
The holiday season at PJP Buttonwood is notoriously rough on Team PJP. For the past two years, we’ve tried to plan time for a legitimate Team PJP holiday party…and it has never happened. The date is inevitably chosen and then plans aborted after we all work a 14 hour day and face a 2 am start time the next day. You know what Team PJP likes for Christmas? Bengay in bulk.
Over the last month, we’ve added a lot of staff who have no clue what they face in the coming fall months. More than a few of you have stopped by and noticed our baking space packed with new faces. There was one day last week where I actually broke into hives thinking about the amount of payroll accumulating by the minute in our 1,050 square foot space…but then when a massive baking schedule was finished by noon, I decided to get over being itchy. (Remind me of this when it is time to pay the quarterly payroll taxes.)
So with all sorts of new people and all sorts of people in transition (Mac headed to Ireland for the summer and Mitch headed to Denver FOREVER), we decided to finally have the long overdue holiday party. In June. Which could be the most Jeanne and I thing ever. (And as it turns out, Jeanne couldn’t even be there…making it definitely the most Jeanne and I thing ever.)
In short, I cooked an absolute ton of food (but not pie) and most of Team PJP showed up at my house. We ate a lot and had conversations that weren’t interrupted by oven timers. We also watched a lot of Naked and Afraid together, which I believe signifies the fact that we are all comfortable with each other because eating ribs together while criticizing the decisions naked people make in the Cambodian jungle requires a special level of chill.
In other news completely unrelated (yet important) news, we’ve decided to close for the day on Tuesday, July 5th on the theory that everyone will be tired and bloated from a full day of holiday fun on the 4th. Ourselves included. I’ll second guess myself the entire day, but would you expect any less?
Jeanne and I were long past due in making some solid decisions about several fall events that have quickly approaching application deadlines. (Even though it is 100 degrees out and having a legit conversation about whether it will be chilly by late September requires a fair stretch of imagination.)
First up, we’ve been thinking a bit about participating in Taste of St. Louis in mid-September. Held in Chesterfield, this event promises to be a haven for every foodie in a 500 mile radius. And honestly, I was more intrigued by the event than Jeanne ever was…but probably because I thought more about how much fun it could be, while she sobered me up by reminding me that somehow we would have to get a lot of pies from PJP Buttonwood to PJP Chesterfield over the course of three days and that probably wouldn’t be easy. Also, the participation fee is $2,000, so the stakes are high to succeed at an event that we’ve never been to before. Great event, but not for us this year. But next year…
Just a few weeks later in September is the Roots N Blues festival in Stephens Park. Deciding to participate wasn’t even a question because we had great success (and so much fun). But the festival organizers ask for a drawing of our proposed booth and also a proposed menu, so Jeanne and I had to put a little early thought into our plan for this year. (Knowing a little more about what to expect this year because it is our second time to participate is a huge help.) Now I only have to figure out a) how to woo Jason Isbell to the PJP booth that weekend, and b) how to not massively fangirl if it happens.
And finally, in the most difficult decision to make…Holiday Festival (formerly known as King’s Daughters). We’ve participated in this annual shopping event at the Holiday Inn Expo Center for the past two years and well, we sorta love it. We sell a lot of pies, make a lot of new friends, and get to shop for ourselves (because, priorities). So imagine my dismay when the application hits my inbox and it is scheduled for THE WEEKEND IMMEDIATELY PRECEDING THANKSGIVING. Gah. Could we make hundreds of tarts and jars and baby pies and sell them over the weekend AND do all the prep work to make over a thousand pies on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday? And not be dead by Thursday? The old us would say yes (and in fact, the old us actually did because that was the exact schedule our first Thanksgiving). But the more wise versions of us are quick to recognize that agreeing to do that is crazy…even beyond our realm of crazy. And so it pained me to respond and say that we couldn’t participate this year because of the scheduling, but I did it. Let’s all have a cheer for burgeoning entrepreneurial maturity.
But if Jason Isbell was performing at Holiday Festival…well…