Monthly Archives: July 2014

PJP Needs You…

It amazes me that we already find ourselves at the end of July.  And if you have read this blog for a while now, you have probably gathered that I am particularly sensitive to the fleeting nature of time.  In short, I DO NOT CARE FOR IT.  In all honesty, it will take most of the restraint within me to not cry when my son starts middle school in a few weeks (or, I should say, to not stand in front of his locker and cry…or follow him around at school all day in case he needs me…or refer to him as almost 144 months old, instead of almost 12 years old).  And as we approach this point in our summer, I feel like we are all sort of moving in slow motion, waiting for something…but dreading all the change that will come to most of our lives in some way or another in the next few weeks in some way or another.  (And for those of you in Columbia, you know how much our town will change in the next few weeks as the students return for the fall semester.  Enjoy the semi-empty Wal-Mart now and then plan to avoid for the next six weeks at any cost.)

Soon, PJP will lose the AH-MAZING, fabulous, and uber-talented Bailey.  As much as we tried to persuade her to just skip her senior year of high school to forever hang with us and bake pies and quote movies, we simply couldn’t win out.  Soon she will be an academic/culinary/volleyball star and we will just be waiting until she can hang with us for a few days during Thanksgiving week (and when I say “hang out”, I really mean “bake 2,000 pies with us”).

So all that said, PJP is in the market for someone to bake with us.  Could it be you or someone you know?  Here is what we are looking for:

  • Like to bake.  I know that makes me sound like Captain Obvious, but it needed to be said.  You just need to enjoy baking.  Our lives are entirely too short to do stuff we hate.
  • Take direction well.  Jeanne likes it one way…her way.  If you consider yourself to be the most amazing and innovative pie baker in the entire world, decide if you can be amendable to doing things the PJP way…even if it is very different from your personal preferences.  If your throat just closed up reading that sentence, you may be better suited to a different environment.
  • Be flexible.  Our schedule depends on orders, store inventory, holidays, events, etc.  On the upside, you rarely would ever have to work on Sunday or Monday (we are closed on those days).  We ideally would like someone interested in working 8 am until noon or 1 pm, Tuesday through Friday and some Saturdays…but that isn’t set in stone.
  • Be a Renaissance man…or woman.  That means, if you are hired to bake and you have completed your baking list and have some time to kill, you can always put together boxes, wash baking trays, make shipping boxes, sweep the floors, answer the phone, etc.
  • Be fun.  Listen, we talk at PJP.  A LOT.  If you need total silence to focus or to be happy, we will likely make you crazy.  True story.
  • Have no immediate plans to become a billionaire whilst working part-time at PJP.  We are a small show and our minds are always on our payroll expectations.  This is an hourly position and the pay is commiserate with experience.
  • Have some basic skills.  We would prefer someone with a baking background (but are very open to high school and college students studying culinary arts).  Also, we will ask that you sign a confidentiality agreement…because what happens in the PJP fight club stays in the PJP fight club.
  • Be able to obtain your City of Columbia Food Handler’s Permit on your own time at your own cost (which, I believe is around $15).
  • Be mindful that we stand on concrete floors all day at PJP and we do not have seating, short of going to Sonic and sitting at their outdoor ordering picnic table….it is simply a space issue at PJP.  Breaks are provided, but just know that you will be expected to stand for prolonged amounts of time.  You are totally free to complain about being tired and/or wanting to sit…we both do all the time.
  • Be excited and happy to be part of our team.  Our space is too small for negative energy.

Interested?  Email us at and tell us your thoughts about why you would be a great fit.  We will respond with an employment application and continue from there…


PJP V. 1.0

This picture…well, this picture FREAKS ME OUT…


This fine photo was taken somewhere around 1997, which means Jeanne was a scant five years older in this picture than I am right now.


And look, if I weren’t already on the hinge of the late summer, where does time go, how can another school year be here, sort of path….well, that photo of Peg and Jeanne certainly takes me around the bend.


So, in honor of all the throwback, here are a few things you might not know about PJP V. 1.0…

  1. When Peg and Jeanne first considered opening the pie shop, they conducted random surveys by calling numbers listed in the phone book and asking a series of questions like “would you buy pie if Columbia had a pie bakery?”  (Let us all be thankful for the Internet, as I don’t even know if they still make phone books and I don’t like to call random people on the phone.  Ever.)
  2. The very first PJP was attached to a car lot and a bait shop.  The rent was several hundred dollars a month and the lease was month-to-month.  (Several hundred bucks a month didn’t buy much, even in 1994 Columbia).
  3. There wasn’t a single window in PJP V. 1.0.
  4. All of the chairs in the first location came from a hotel closeout auction.  I am fairly certain one of those chairs lingered in our family well into the 2000s.  (As a side note, recovering the chairs in plaid fabric helped nothing, but it felt like a nice thing to do at the time.)
  5. The original PJP cash register was an 1800s relic that was marginally functioning, at best.  No  debit or credit at PJP in the 1990s.
  6. All pies at PJP V. 1.0 were baked in glass pans and were 12 inches.  No disposable tins and no baby pies.  The glass plates came with a $4 deposit.  To this day, we have a lot of customers who claim the majority of their pie plates in their kitchens came from PJP V. 1.0.
  7. An apple pie was $12.  With tax, it was $12.40.  I think that means taxes have inflated about 1,534,224% since 1994.
  8. Peg drove a grey Honda Accord and during the first Thanksgiving for PJP, she didn’t sleep for 36 hours.  Leaving the shop, she fell asleep and ran over a curb.  It blew out the tire and so she walked back to the shop and napped on a chair.  It was one of the few times they ever begged me to work at PJP…exhaustion makes you do crazy things.
  9. PJP V. 1.0 was outfitted with one residential oven and one residential refrigerator purchased at a garage sale.
  10. And $200 in supplies from the Conley Road Wal-Mart…because it was the only Wal-Mart in town in 1994.

I know Peg would be pretty awed by PJP V. 2.0.  She would want to know why we don’t sell coffee though…


Perception. And Reality.

The Life of a Business Owner…


  • 6 am – Awaken refreshed and ready to tackle a busy day of baking;
  • 6:15 am – Drink cup of organic, fair-trade coffee with turbinado sugar and a splash of half-and-half;
  • 6:45 am – Review sales reports and checking account, plot trends for growth, move excess cash from checking to savings;
  • 7 am – eat breakfast of power protein smoothie and fresh fruit;
  • 7:30 am – do hair and makeup, dress in adorable (and clean) PJP t-shirt;
  • 8 am – arrive at shop, thoughtfully complete baking schedule for the day to stock shop with customer favorites and introduce new pies;
  • 8:30 am – 12:30 pm – bake consistently and burn nothing; great customers with a smile, and sell a lot of pie…never losing focus on the baking schedule or sales target;
  • 1 pm – eat lunch of organic green salad, free-range grilled chicken, raw almonds, and olive oil with squeeze of lemon.  Drink 32 ounces of water;
  • 1:30 pm – 4:30 pm – work on developing new pies, new events for the store, and explore new advertising opportunities;
  • 4:30 – 5:30 pm – clean store, prepare space for the next business day, balance drawer, realize we have exceeded sales goals;
  • 6 pm – arrive home to sparkling clean house;
  • 6:30 pm – serve dinner of grilled pork chops, baby new potatoes with garlic butter, and steamed asparagus.  Plate everything on grandmother’s china and serve with Peg’s sterling silver. Offer a chilled glass of Riesling to Behind-The-Scenes-Tech-Guru Jason when he gets home from work;
  • 7 pm – Clean up dinner, supervise a harmonious hour of homework for the children, and participate in family read-along for 45 minutes;
  • 8 pm – Shower and bed without complaint for the kids;
  • 8:30 pm – 10 pm – Chat with Behind-The-Scenes-Tech-Guru Jason about his day.  Share a lovely dessert while discussing how we can’t believe our garden has taken off so tremendously and our rose bushes on the deck are simply UNBELIEVABLE!
  • 10 pm – Fall lusciously into a deep slumber.


  • 4 am – Alarm goes off, be completely unsure what day it is, shove glasses on face, pull on yoga pants and flip-flops, back out of garage before both eyes are fully open;
  • 4:15 am – tell Jeanne I’m not a morning person; wish for good coffee place to be open at 4:15;
  • 4:30 – 7 am – bake steadily; say very little while Jeanne talks about how much she loves the morning; be unable to agree on any tunes and figure out that when Jeanne keeps insisting on “those brothers”, she means “The Avett Brothers”;
  • 7 am – return home to shower; mistakenly lay down on bed for 2 minutes while water heats and lay there for 15 minutes in a stupor; have Behind-The-Scenes-Tech-Guru Jason tell you repeatedly to get up.
  • 8 am – go for morning coffee run, spend $8.44 on a large vanilla iced coffee and a large dark chocolate mocha; charge it to the business because no coffee equals no pie;
  • 8:15 am – 1:45 pm – bake, bake, bake; finally finish the daily baking schedule about the time we should be thinking about the schedule for the next day;
  • 2 pm – realize we haven’t eaten anything all day or drank anything other than coffee…decide between chocolate milk or sharing an order of tater tots from Sonic…choose neither;
  • 2:10 pm – answer emails, wonder how in the &@# *the email address you’ve only had since last fall is getting spam, also wonder how in the &@#* Staples thinks it is a good idea to send 10 emails a day;
  • 2:30 pm – pay bills; consider writing “REALLY?” in the memo line of the check for the utilities; briefly consider running for office on the platform of “Yeah, not so much on the taxes” and then remember that you are entirely too cynical to have your face on a poster in a major intersection;
  • 3:30 – 5:30 pm – chat with all of your favorite customers and accomplish nothing else;
  • 6 pm – arrive home, kids alert you that someone needs to go to the grocery store;
  • 6:15 pm – try to convince the family that French Toast is indeed a great dinner;
  • 6:30 pm – eat French Toast and drink wine; have no shame about having them together;
  • 7 pm – do four loads of laundry, watch last week’s Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, walk the dog, supervise the showers, load and unload the dishwasher;
  • 9 pm – supervise bedtime for the kids, though both claim they are not tired.  At all.
  • 10 pm – start writing the blog, tell Behind-The-Scenes-Tech-Guru Jason that you aren’t sure what to write about, but he is watching television and ignores your anxiety;
  • 10:20 pm – text, read Buzzfeed, spend a lot of time on Pinterest in order to find creativity;
  • 10:40 pm – 11:15 pm – work on the blog, be happy with nothing you write, publish it;
  • 11:15 pm – 12 am – watch Orange Is The New Black, Season 2 on Netflix.  Be super happy you aren’t in prison.  Fall asleep during episode and wake up with iPad on face.
  • 12:01 am – tell self to go to sleep because 4 am is only four hours away.
  • 4 am – Alarm goes off, be completely unsure what day it is, shove glasses on face, pull on yoga pants and flip flops, back out of garage before both eyes are fully open.