Monthly Archives: November 2014

On Thanksgiving Eve…

You all.

YOU ALL.

Where can I even start this post?  I guess by saying that I have been up since 3:30 am on Tuesday and it is now 10:28 pm on Wednesday.  I’ve worn the same PJP t-shirt for approximately 42 hours straight and that is the very least of my woes today.

If you happened by PJP Buttonwood today, you probably noticed that we were in severe need of a traffic cop, a bouncer, an organizer, a legitimate business person that didn’t cry while baking pies,, and someone who followed us around with Xanax dust.  And the story of today isn’t a story for now…I need to be rested and have some time to reflect before I can share some thoughts about why 1700 pies was uh…AMBITIOUS.

But here is the point of my short post tonight…we had some customers today that weren’t happy with us.  I actually stood at the mixer and made French Silk while openly weeping because I wasn’t sure what else to do in the face of hour-long waits to get in our store and people who were grouchy because we didn’t have what they wanted, it wasn’t ready, we didn’t save it from yesterday, we did whip instead of meringue, or they felt we could work just a bit harder and bake a bit faster.

But here is the thing…today was one of the best days of my life.  Our customers and friends poured into the store, took a look at us covered in cocoa and butter, and returned with wine, Caribou gift cards, offers to retrieve any sort of food or drink we needed, offers to roll their sleeves up and help in any way possible, or simply whispered to us that we were doing great in the face of all the chaos.

And for someone who isn’t much for public crying, um, I cried A LOT.  Mostly because I was humbled by the kindness of others.  And mostly because I don’t think I had ever felt so supported or believed in than through the acts of others today.  And once I got all my tears packed away, a pizza delivery man showed up with pizza to feed our whole crew and it had been purchased by a family that believes in us and wanted to help.  And then another person came back at 6 pm and brought her family members and they spent three hours helping us clean our kitchen.  A STRANGER CLEANED OUR MICROWAVE.  And took out our trash.  And answered the phone when I just couldn’t do it anymore.  And celebrated with us when we flipped the lights off for the night.  And delivered a few pies so that I could go home and see my kids and take a shower.  And when I got home, my family treated me like a long traveling soldier in need of rest and care and love.

On so on Thanksgiving eve, I’m not sure I’ve ever felt more thankful for the people in my life and on the PJP journey with us.  Thank you so much for your kindness and the wonderful care you took of us this week.  We couldn’t have done it without you.  Seriously.

oprah_happy_tears

 

Wish Us Luck…

It is two pie-baking days before Thanksgiving 2014.  PJP Buttonwood was open today for order pickups and general pie shopping and several customers mentioned how serene we all seemed.  And that is because today we were merely the calm before the storm.  You know how they say that immediately before a tornado it gets eerily quiet?  Sort of like that.

Here is the scoop on Thanksgiving pies.  We have closed our ordering system yesterday at around 1,600 pies.  I KNOW, RIGHT?  And you may well be thinking “well, you said you wanted 2,000 orders!” and now is when I remind you that we are dramatic women with enormous pie domination goals and so, throwing an outrageous number like 2,000 out there seemed legit at the time.  We spent a lot of time yesterday discussing if, and when, we should stop taking orders and finally, the simple issue of logistics demanded that we take down the online ordering link.  Beyond the physical part of baking 1,600 pies…where in our 1,000 square foot space are we going to place them to cool, box, and be organized for pickup?  I still don’t know, so if you have any thoughts, you know where to find us tomorrow.  I’m almost leaning toward a bouncer at the front door.  He could radio in the orders and we could bring them to the front door and exchange cash for pies…

bouncer1

Tomorrow, we have approximately 500 pies scheduled for pickup, with the remainder by 5:30 pm on Wednesday.  And while I should be sleeping, I’m actually finding it hard to relax this evening because my brain keeps whispering “500 PIES” at me, much like the creepy lady in Poltergeist that always whispered “Carol Ann…come to the light…”  I’m basically freaking my own self out at this point in the game.

Wish us luck tomorrow.  Luck that we finish baking all the pies.  Luck that we finish before customers show up.  Luck that we don’t get overly tired, and thus terribly grouchy with each other.  Luck that the PJP pies that grace the 1,600 or more Thanksgiving tables over the next few days are delicious and show all of our love and hard work…

Thank you…

 

 

 

 

My Feet.

We’ve officially survived our first PJP On The Road experience this weekend.  The King’s Daughters Holiday Extravaganza was our official foray into the festival experience.  Here are my thoughts from 18 hours of talking about PJP to 3,000 to 5,000 shoppers…

  1. I’m putting ten thoughts here, but honestly, the main thought I had was “I would like to sit down for 3,204,125 hours when this festival is over.”  Frame everything else I say here with the reminder that there exists no cute shoe in this world that is comfortable for nine hours IN A ROW.
  2. Festivals are actually sort of fun.  You know what isn’t fun?  Hauling all the stuff in to create a cute booth and then hauling all of your cute booth stuff out to the car when it is over.  And then unpacking your car and taking it all back into your store and figuring out what to do with it all.  You know what someone should sell at a booth at the festival?  That service.
  3. People who come to these events to sell their product are hardcore.  For the most part, the venue was crowded and hot, bathroom breaks were sparse, and the food for purchase from the Holiday Inn bordered on sketchy.  The snack bar offered a “vegeterian” option.  It took everything in my soul not to whip out a Sharpie and correct the spelling error.
  4. If you can staff your booth just right, you can take turns shopping and spend 1/3 of your booth revenue on Jamberry nails, Pink Zebra candles, and Origami Owl necklaces.  Working while taking breaks to shop is my niche market.
  5. Because the store was open and busy with a lot of orders and because she is a natural introvert, Jeanne stayed at PJP Buttonwood while I stayed at PJP King’s Daughters.  I had delightful help from Lindsey and Kayla, the girlfriends of our two male bakers, Mitch and Mac.  So basically, we have sucked them into the PJP vortex and while we sold pie, we drank some white wine and discussed the Kardashians.  These girls get me, I’m telling you.
  6. It is great that I had extra help at the booth because I had the opportunity to chat with tons of people I hadn’t seen in ages.  I took Latin from 8th grade through 12th grade from the same teacher and I saw her yesterday after many years and just like always, she is a TRUE DELIGHT.  I also saw the doctor that delivered both my babies.  And a lot of people who remembered Peg and stopped by to chat.  It was basically like an odd version of “This Is Your Life”, minus host Ralph Edwards.this_is_your_life__icon1_
  7. Because I am a control freak, I spent every minute that I wasn’t talking to customers or shopping for myself (ahem), calling Jeanne to check on PJP Buttonwood.  You know what isn’t reassuring?  Her answering her phone “OMG, so busy, can’t talk, gotta go” and hanging up on me.  And then not calling me back for three hours.
  8. People tend to think Jelly Jar pies are jelly.  Or jam.  Or candles.  Or potpourri.  Or if they accept they are pie, they think they must be unbaked pies.  Once they accept that they are fully baked pies in 4 ounce canning jars, they buy one or two or six and promptly pop open the lid and eat it in our booth while talking to us.
  9. We teamed up with Lizzie and Rocco’s to do a Puppy Pie.  We provided the dough and Jessica at Lizzie and Rocco’s made the turkey and sweet potato filling so that when you are picking up your pies, your dog can have a Thanksgiving treat as well.  We took 49 and sold 49, so clearly people don’t want their pets to feel left out on Thursday.  And Puppy Pies aside, I’m fairly certain that Jessica is my sister-from-another-mister.  If I’ve said it once, I’ll say it a hundred times…making new friends is the most unanticipated and most fun parts of the PJP story.
  10. In total, we sold about 600 Jelly Jar pies, 50 baby pies, 49 puppy pies, 8 tea towels, and a partridge in a pear tree.

We will be back next year.  12 months should be ample time for my tired feet and legs to recover, right?