Yesterday, I briefly mentioned that we experienced a significant oven malfunction in the early part of our Thanksgiving week. And to be brutally honest, that experience just about BROKE ME DOWN as an entrepreneur. This is a harrowing tale to share, but I forever vow to use this public forum as a space to discuss all the good AND bad of owning a business. This oven story - and my reaction to it - is a notable low point in PJP history. Gulp.)
So, on Sunday, we all convened at 9 am at PJP to begin significant prep work for the week. We also began baking for a very large order that we due relatively early the next morning. After a few round of pies had gone through our top oven (remember, we only have two ovens - a top one and a bottom one), we noticed that the baking seemed uneven. And when we were double checking the temperature dial, a simple pull on the dial resulted in a loud pop and the entire oven to go dark. We double checked the breaker box and every thing looked good…just nothing working in the top oven, while the bottom oven functioned completely fine.
And this may surprise you, but I’m overly dramatic about most things. My other super power includes jumping to the single worst conclusion in the shortest amount of time possible. So within 15 minutes of this happening, all I can think about is baking almost 2,000 pies in our ONE SINGLE FUNCTIONING OVEN…which was a mathematical impossibility on our holiday deadline. Someone please cue the hyperventilation.
Sensing an onslaught of panic, Behind-The-Scenes Jason came to dismantle oven parts while watching YouTube videos about commercial oven repair. And then Jeanne remembered seeing a van that advertised emergency appliance repair on the weekends. (Sidenote: She straight up forgets 90% of what I tell her, but a random van with a phone number? Burned into her brain.) 30 minutes later, Oven Repair Guy shows up and begins to dismantle the oven further.
At this point, I’m feeling significantly better. I had cried some already because of anxiety, but his progress put me in check. And then he had the oven turned back on and all looked promising. BUT THEN. Then, Oven Repair Guy says the oven is working however the thermostat is blown and perhaps the closest thermostat is in Texas and so he would have to call Monday morning to see if they had it and if so, could it be FedEx’ed by Tuesday for repair Tuesday afternoon. HOLY CRAP. I unhinged a little. I ’m embarrassed to tell you that I CRIED ON OVEN REPAIR MAN. Oven Repair Man hugged me because he felt badly for me. So he promised to call the next morning and I spent the next 11 hours obsessing and crying and designing an exit strategy for PJP. As in, I’m over it and I’ll just get a regular job and never think about a commercial oven again. (Also, I will say Jeanne cried twice but was decidedly less fatalistic about it all.) (Extra also, Behind the Scenes Jason deserves a “Sorry I Was A Psycho” cake because I basically fell apart when I got home.)
The next morning, Oven Repair Guy calls to say that he actually had the thermostat in Columbia and he was on his way to fix it. And by 11 am and $1,000 dollars later, we were back in business with two ovens. And then I cried on him again because I was so relieved. (Sidenote: He seriously must tell everyone that he went to PJP and one of the owners is a big mess.) But I’ll never consider what happened that morning - the finding the thermostat, the quick install - to be less than an appliance related miracle. And perhaps a universal sign that PJP and I are meant to be. Sorry, PJP, for trying to figure out a valuation to sell you - I was under duress.
And so then we did Thanksgiving. And then I said something to Behind-The-Scenes Jason about working on a larger space and he reminded me that not less a week ago, I was making an exit plan. Ah, yes…funny how quickly I forgot that PJP almost broke me.
And if you ever want to know what entrepreneurship is like, then there you go.