Pardon My French (Why I Shouldn’t Try to Be Fancy)

Maybe it’s turning 40 and thinking it’s time I felt more like a grownup. Or maybe it’s skimming through the Instagram feeds of other authors — with their cozy armchair by the fire pictures (you’re killing me, Mary Kay Andrews)…


and mouth-watering food pictures that make even prepping for weekday breakfasts look artistic…

  A photo posted by Rachel Hollis (@msrachelhollis) on

Or it could be the simple need to feel like an evolved human being, since the mad rush of day-to-day so often leaves me unable to string together more than three words at a time. Whatever it is, I’ve been feeling the need for a little more fancy in my life. A little less complicated and a little more elegant.

I bought my first Mac today. A MacBook Air. I’m calling him Frenchy, but we’ll get to that in a minute. I’ve always, always been an Android/PC person — I like to be able to customize and rig things (one of my techie coworkers called me a ‘programmer’ — like it was a slur, which is weird coming from him — because I’m having trouble adapting to the locked-in-ness of my iPhone). But my fourth PC in the last six years has been so slow to boot up lately that I can’t even use the half hour a day I have to write because my Dell needs 25 minutes of that to think about it all.

Oooh - La - La!
Oooh – La – La!

So, yeah. I broke down and went with the simple, elegant solution. The one that costs a little more (three times what I usually pay for a laptop), but it’s so pretty and light and I’m hoping it will last longer and I will spend less of that time wanting to throw it out the window.

While I was on my beautiful MacBook high, and since I’m having some of my close girlfriends over for brunch tomorrow, I thought I’d keep the simple, elegant theme going by picking some petit fours from this beautiful little bakery I always pass but never go in.

I got home with both goodies this afternoon, and after carefully storing the bakery box in a cooler bag so it wouldn’t get tossed around the back of Vaneschewitz, I excitedly unloaded to take everything into the house.

Maybe this is a new era for me, I thought. I should clean out the minivan – this isn’t the right environment for bringing home such a pretty computer and $30 worth of fancy French pastries.

Maybe this is a chance to become a whole new version of myself — a more streamlined, effective version. I could be the kind of put-together, polished woman that everyone turns to for answers. Maybe I’m finally beyond being that awkward-ass redheaded girl who speaks before thinking and is always screwing up —


The perfect white pastry box hit the driveway, upside down. Y’all, I was seriously not even three feet from the back of the car. I said some very unladylike things (though to be fair it’s possible some of them were French). I’d love to say it’s that I was juggling too many things, but I don’t even think that was it. Just pure, unadulterated klutz.

I picked up the box, muttering to myself, and decided it couldn’t be that bad. I’ll just get everything into the house and assess the situ -THUD.

I am not even kidding. I dropped the box. AGAIN. On the 20 foot path from the back of Vaneschewitz to the door, I dropped the damn box TWICE. I couldn’t bear to look inside, but I could already see some of the beautiful icing dots smushed into the opening of the lid. Fuck. Does Mary Kay Andrews have to deal with this shit?

Once inside, I assessed the situation, and… it’s not pretty. Or elegant. So I figured I have a few choices:


  1. Race back to the bakery before they close in twenty minutes and buy more petit fours for another $30.
  2. Try to suddenly develop competence with an icing tube and fix the problem.
  3. Throw away the dainty little wrappers and tell my girlfriends that I made the delicious pastries myself and my children iced them. Or…
  4. Take a picture of la petit castrophe and write a blog instead.

Ahh. Thank goodness when you’re a writer everything is grist for the mill. And thank goodness I dropped the cakes and not the MacBook. But most of all thank goodness for girlfriends who love you no matter how wrinkly your face gets or smushy your petit fours are….

MJ Pullen

M.J. Pullen is a distracted writer and the mom of two boys in Roswell, Georgia, where she is absolutely late for something important right now. Her books include quirky romantic comedies and playful women's fiction. She blogs erratically with writing advice, random observations, and reflections on raising very loud kids and dogs. Join her Distracted Readers newsletter list for updates, free content, giveaways and more.

4 thoughts on “Pardon My French (Why I Shouldn’t Try to Be Fancy)”

  1. KristinKristin

    Ha! I once had to carry my grandparent’s wedding anniversary sheet cake across a restaurant in a box. I dropped it on the way of course. When I picked it up and looked through the cellophane window to check the status of the cake all I saw was a now naked yellow cake with about one inch of icing all compacted at one end of the box. I took the cake to the table and laughed so hard I couldn’t even tell anyone what happened – I just pointed at the ridiculous looking cake.

  2. ChelleChelle

    Sushi petition fours…..can’t wait to taste their yumminess!!

    • ChelleChelle

      Sushi??? Where did that come from? Smushy, the word is smushy….. silly smartphone. LOL!!!

  3. JenniferJennifer

    Heck, I’d still eat ’em! 🙂 I’ve dropped cupcakes before. Luckily it was one of my “gosh, I’m craving cupcakes…think I’ll buy a package just for me” times and not a special occasion.

    I bought a MacBook as a gift to myself when I finished my Master’s. Six years later and it still boots up faster than my newer work laptop (a Dell) has ever dreamed of starting…you’re going to enjoy it.

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