Monthly Archives: March 2014

Inquiring Minds…

I’ve had a few inquiring minds email about the fate of the German Chocolate pie that went to NYC last week on two-day FedEx delivery to Charlotte, the PJP Director of PR & Something-Else-I–Can’t-Remember.

Let me start the story by telling you that when I was at the FedEx drop off place and was talking to the FedEx guy, he was “Oh, you have a pie in here?  That’s cool!” and then proceeded to turn the box completely upside down to tape the bottom of the box (even though it was already taped).  And before you ask what I said to him while he inverted a freshly baked pie in the name of reinforced packing tape, I’ll tell you – I said NOTHING.  I was actually stunned speechless and that rarely ever happens.

I’m pretty certain the pie inversion was the most benign thing that happened to our package en route via truck and plane to the second floor of a walk-up Manhattan apartment building.  I would guess the process ended like this…

Suffice it to say, prettier pies have arrived on doorsteps.  So we are back to the drawing table on the shipping options.  We are pretty certain that the box inside the shipping container needs to be smaller.  And perhaps have an insert that stabilizes the pie.  We will keep you posted.  (Get it?  Posted? Pies in the mail?  No?  I probably shouldn’t write this blog late at night).

In other news, I tackled the to-do list in earnest today and here is how it looks as of 10:19 pm tonight:

  • Internet Access
  • Cash Register
  • Hours and Days Open
  • Sign for the door
  • Paint.  Sigh.
  • Install FRP board
  • Stock and stage retail area
  • Baby pie boxes
  • PJP iPad
  • Liquor License

I have scoured the Internet and potentially located 5 inch and 12 inch pie boxes that don’t require assembly.  They weren’t cheap but they also don’t require a degree in origami to assemble them, so we all win.  Now all that is left is for them to get here and actually be the right size and we will totally be good to go (nothing like some last minute pressure).

You’ll notice that the “Paint” bullet is partially marked off.  I think I’m on the lead of someone and we plan to meet tomorrow.  I told him not to even bothering scoping out the space if he couldn’t do it under a certain dollar amount and get it done this week.  He didn’t laugh or hang up on me, so I’m encouraged (plus, he comes recommended from a PJP Inner Circle member).  He should be able to say yes or no by tomorrow afternoon.  Let us all will him to say yes and then actually do it as promised.  I reserve crossing of the “sigh” until he is confirmed.

You’ll also notice that the “cash register” and “iPad” are both marked off.  That is a post for tomorrow, but let’s just say that Christmas came early for Behind-The-Scenes-Tech-Guru Jason as he opened those Square Reader boxes tonight.  And that PJP has an iPad now.  And if you ever wonder if one of us is playing Candy Crush on it instead of making a fancy report of some sort, you are probably dead-on correct with the Candy Crush theory…



Off The Grid…


Does this blog still work?

I’ve been off the grid for the last few days.  You know how the hipster thing to do now is to take a “babymoon” before welcoming a baby, enjoying one last romantic and child-free idyllic escape??  It was sort of like that, except that I didn’t have to bake and Behind-The-Scenes-Tech-Guru Jason and I spent a small fortune herding our children to all the Chicago sights for them to be most pleased by the free snacks and drinks offered to them as part of Sheraton’s Club Service.  Sounds about right.

That said, it was a nice respite before we roll into the planned PJP Buttonwood Grand Opening on April 10th.  Jeanne held down the fort (read:  she baked a lot of pie by herself) while I tried to disconnect – though I quickly found that is not really easy to do in an era of iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks.  Jeanne is off this week for her new business “babymoon”, so that means I’m driving the PJP bus.  I basically spent the 6 and 23 minute drive home brainstorming a to-do list with Behind-The-Scenes-Tech-Guru Jason and besides baking for Lucky’s, I’m going to accomplish these tasks (or throw an epic fit trying):

1)  Internet Access – the quotes for service have been all over the place cost-wise.  We need Internet like we need mixing bowls.  I get stabby without 20 Mb.

2) Cash Register – we ordered the Square Reader system (then is it technically a cash register?)  In all honestly, this was all Behind-The-Scenes-Tech-Guru Jason’s gig and three boxes are sitting our dining room and it will take all of his inner strength to go to work tomorrow instead of playing with whatever is in those boxes.  My hopes and dreams for 2014 are just to be able to figure out how to use it.

3) We really need to figure out the days and hours we will be open.  You think?

4)  And then we need a sign to announce that information on our door.

5) I need to paint the back 80.  Sigh.  Let us never speak of this topic again.

6) We are supposed to put up FRP board all around the sink areas.  FRP is Latin for “super ugly health department required wall covering” (Just kidding – I have no idea what FRP stands for, but it is legitimately ugly).

7) Stock, stage, and make the retail section look awesome.  So.  Yeah.  There’s that.

8) Find a baby pie box that doesn’t make me want to gouge out my eyeballs with all the “Insert Tab A into Slot B” instructions.  We live in a global economy and there has to be a pre-folded 6 inch baby pie box somewhere.  I’m going to find it if I have to Google to the very ends of our earth.

9) Do we need a PJP iPad?  Or do I just want a good reason to buy a new iPad?  Discuss.

10)  Finish up the liquor license application.  Because accomplishing items 1-9 will make me need legal access to booze on Buttonwood.

On a semi-related note, Party Planner Goddess Adonica Coleman has a created an invite to our grand opening party on April 12th.  Our philosophy is that wine and pie are meant to be shared, so considered yourself invited:  Please RSVP if you plan to come so we are sure to have enough of everything for everyone!

Gift With Purchase…

We are slated to open two weeks from tomorrow (insert terror sweat here) and our to-be decorated wall and our to-be painted food prep area walls are still mocking us.  If you recall, the front entry wall needs 100 yards of burlap to be latticed and adhesived (if that is a word) and furniture nailed to the wall.  The area that we’ve lovingly come to call the “Back 80” needs to be primed and painted.  (This is the 80×20 on both sides of the food prep area that can only have white paint because the health department likes paint in “white” – not “eggshell”, not “cream puff’, not “ecru”…just white).  We don’t know if we are overwhelmed by burlap or underwhelmed by white paint but we keep forgetting that we are only 1/4 finished with the walls and you know what is welcoming in a new business?  Some finished walls.

We threw a desperation plea out on Facebook and think we might have some options, but if you are a painter or know a painter that likes to work cheap, fast, and on weekends, we need to talk.

All the more important for finishing the walls asap is that our Directors of Procurement came through for us in a big way today.  After a day of negotiating, we now own a convection oven, a reach-in commercial freezer, a reach-in commercial refrigerator, a 32 quart mixer, and three stainless steel work tables.  And a partridge in a pear tree.  (Only kidding, but for what those items cost, they should really give you a gift with purchase…like an iPod or a trip to Cancun).

I found the whole process stressful and I wasn’t anywhere near the haggling and negotiation process.  My in-laws spent the day in Camdenton at the restaurant supply store and worked out a deal to get the new equipment we needed and to have it delivered to PJP Buttonwood on April 4th.  They did an amazing job, had 100 times the patience either of Jeanne or I, and took us from a maybe-sorta operation to a full-on legitimate “yeah, we have a 32 quart mixer” establishment.  Or we will on April 4th, anyway.  So, to our Directors of Procurement…


It occurred to me after hearing the news of our impending April 4th delivery…what if all that stuff is too big to fit through the front door?  The shop only has a single entry door that is 48 inches wide.  I don’t know anything about commercial refrigeration but that it is expensive.  I have visions of a semi-truck pulling up with all the goods and when it doesn’t fit in the front door, they leave it on the front sidewalk and take their 18 wheeler into the sunset.  I’m pretty sure the health department isn’t down with baking on the sidewalk.  And I’m pretty sure Silent Stan isn’t down with removing plate glass windows to shove equipment through.  And I bet that somewhere right now, someone is crying with laughter because I’m missing some obvious solution to this possible issue, BUT I DON’T KNOW WHAT THAT COULD BE.

There has to be a way, right?  As long as our one-wall burlap lattice work isn’t injured in the process…