A day in the life

Most of the time my days consist of stare-at-the-computer-and-doubt-myself but lately things have been a bit different because we’ve been so busy gearing up for the opening of Nowhere Bookshop (hopefully) this month.  This week two reporters asked to come film so I agreed to meet them at the store (which is currently a semi-shambles).

This is that story:

8am:  Wake up and congratulate myself for being up before 11.  Start thinking about what to say to interviewers this afternoon because if I don’t have sound bites already in my head I’ll start rambling or will say something about serial killers.

8:02 am:  Elizabeth texts me to ask when I’ll be at the bookstore since the KSAT film crew is already waiting for me.  Because apparently I fucked up the time on my calendar.

8:40am:  Arrive at the bookstore with no makeup, unshowered, and realize that someone took my brush out of my purse.  Totally fucked.  But the first news people were very kind in spite of the fact that I was a hot mess.

9:30 am:  Run to the drugstore to buy a brush.  Bought the packaged set of two brushes because it seemed a better deal.  Then realized back at the bookstore that I didn’t have scissors to cut the brush out of the plastic bands anchoring them to the packaging.  Brushed my hair with a package of brushes as several painters shook their head in confusion and I explained that I had to do that because I didn’t have scissors.  Then Victor called and I explained how I’d fucked everything up and he was like, “But the brushes are just attached to paper, right?”  Couldn’t you have just ripped the cardboard?”  *sigh*  Yes.  Yes, I could have.

9:45 am  Texted the lady from Spectrum News to ask if she wanted to come earlier.  Specifically, I text her this:

10:00am  The Spectrum lady can’t come early.  I can’t leave because a driver is delivering some furniture for the store and I’m supposed to meet the movers who will move it from the truck to the store and tell them where it’s supposed to go and no one knows exactly when everyone is arriving.

10am-1pm:  There is a weird, small space in the bookshop behind the wheelchair ramp which is perfect for hiding in while reading.  ASK ME HOW I KNOW.

1pm – The Spectrum reporter arrives.  The driver arrives at the exact same time because of course he does.  No one can get in touch with movers who seem to have bailed.  The driver says he has to be off the clock in 30 minutes and I have a small panic attack.  He says he can try to offload the two giant counters (800 lbs each) himself into the alley but only in a Maguyver kind of way that is not exactly like like tying the counters to the building and then driving away quickly, but close.  I suspect Victor would say this was not the way to handle this but I was put in charge and also that sounded like something that would be fun to see so I shrugged and he went off to find strong ropes while I did the interview.

1:20pm:  I do a portion of the interview while absent-mindedly petting the dead raccoon (Rory) I’d brought along for comfort but the reporter is very sweet and has read me enough to understand the weirdness so it’s fine.  At the end of the interview she asks if there’s anything else people should know and I mention that I’d like people to know that I’m holding the microphone in my lap because the lapel mic didn’t work and I just realized that my phone has been vibrating like crazy against the mic as Victor sent me frantic text messages and that the microphone might have picked up the loud vibrations and made it sound like I was repeatedly (and somewhat rythmically) farting.

“It’s not farts,” I say to the camera.

This day has gone off the rails entirely and It’s not even 2pm.

1:25 pm:  I go outside to check on the driver who has now managed to unload the pieces in ways I don’t want to imagine and I congratulate him just as I answer a call from Victor who is telling me that the movers are definitely not coming and the driver needs to just come back tomorrow with the counters.   I explain that that probably isn’t an option any more and as Victor starts to huff Elizabeth arrives and is like, “CALM YOUR TITS.  WE GOT THIS” because she’s been slinging books for decades and was like, “I’ve pallet-jacked 1,000 lbs of books at a time.  We can totally drag 2 counters through an alley.”


Well, sort of.  The first counter was easy but the other one was really long so it hung off the end of the dolly and the only way to lift it up was to have more weight on one side so I jumped on that end and Elizabeth pulled as we sort of reenacted the Laurel and Hardy piano mover scene…

jenny and elizabeth pulling cabinets

…and then somehow managed to wedge it against the slope of the alley.

But then the driver and all the guys who were working inside came out to laugh at (slash) help us.

And it was ridiculous.

And honestly fantastic.

(Special thanks to Nanako Pastol -one of the talented muralists working in the alley- who managed to capture these precious moments.)

2:00pm  Headed home to celebrate a semi-victorious day with a cocktail.  Heard a terrible breaking sound as I stopped short for a yellow light and remembered I’d left a chandelier I had restrung in the backseat.  Added “Restring chandelier…again” to my mental list of things to do.

3:00 pm:  Decided to do some crafts to unwind.  Spent an hour super-glueing hair clips and brooch backs to these Peruvian paste food sculptures I bought at the flea market.

jenny with leek barrette
I’m not sure if that’s a leek or a bunch of celery but I think it makes a great barrette.

Somehow manage to super glue my own hair.


5pm:  Fell asleep on the couch.

6pm:  Woke up.  Hair glued to couch.  Sighed so loud I scared the dog.

7pm:  Curled up in bed with a warm cat, a good book, and my child who wants me to watch her play electric guitar.  Victor reluctantly admits that Elizabeth and I did well today.  I decide not to tell him about the farts, the chandelier or the hair glued to the couch.  Instead I celebrate the victories.  I left the house.  I talked to people.  I laughed in impossible situation.  I made strange barrettes.  I gave myself a haircut.  These are not little things.


137 thoughts on “A day in the life

Read comments below or add one.

  1. Aw, that sounds like an amazingly you sort of day! And I laughed a lot, sorry!

  2. Wonderful. So happy for all of and wishing you every success in the world. You are ripples on the pond touching so many others. The world needs more of this.

  3. You have christened the shop. None of us Stangelings will feel awkward when we show up and inevitable act like weirdos. So….THANKS!

  4. Yeah… That sounds like an absolutely AMAZING day. I’m so glad for you. Not about the glued hair and all, but, you know. Victories. Yay!

  5. You are one of my favorite people – laughing in impossible situations is hard sometimes but it’s the only way to go so GO YOU!!!

  6. Damn woman, that’s a hella full day for the most ambitious of folks. Keep congratulating yourself!

  7. It sounds to be like you did amazing with all the chaos. All that going wrong and you got through it. I can’t quite figure out what you deserve but it is something awesome and amazing!

  8. I can’t guarantee that you still won’t glue your hair to the couch (because I’ve met you), but as a crafter and costumer I suggest E-6000 for things like barrettes etc. It’s more flexible than super-glue and since it’s a gel you have a chance to fiddle with it before it sets.

  9. Well, you lived the crap out of that day! Can I just say that your hair on fire flying out the house look is my pulled together- so you’re doing well. I love the Laverne and Shirley style picture on the trolly- it makes me feel like you desperately need a theme song- With Rory at the microphone, naturally.

  10. I am proud of you. I am proud of your accomplishments. I am proud of all of us. Here’s hoping I have at least 1 accomplishment I can be proud of today. Love, Me

  11. Listen lady. You are my spirit animal. You face your fears every day and get things done, and you keep your sense of humor in the process. You keep it real. <3 <3 <3

  12. Doing not one but TWO interviews on TV would have had done me in. The movers not showing, I could handle. LOVE the paste veggie barrette and that you took one of your support critters, Rory, to the interview. GO YOU!

  13. Jenny– every time I feel like my world is on the verge of collapse, you remind me it’s not that terrible. Life DOES go on, and it doesn’t have to be perfect. (Thank you)

  14. I just love you so much. This is the REAL REAL. I can’t wait to come to your bookstore, just so it feels like I’m hanging out with your brain.

  15. Every time I think I could not love you more…you make me up the ante!

  16. Let’s list more victories: You look fabulous in your dress. Hiring Elizabeth was the world’s best decision. Dealing with unexpected obstacles is challenging for everyone and having a positive outcome like yours is never guaranteed. Smiling through these setbacks makes everyone happier. A good day all around!

  17. This makes my freaking day. It makes me feel like I’m not so weird after all. I love you to bits.

    Not to actual bits. That would be creepy and weird. Good bits. You know, loving bits.

  18. If I didn’t already love you, I would so rush to the bookshop of a lady who farted through an interview and apologized for it! I think you get an A+++++ for the day ❤️

  19. I have the sense of humor of a middle-school boy, so you had me at buzzing phone farts.

  20. You are amazing, Jenny. Even when you’re sure you’re not.

    Hot messes for the motherfcking win, y’all!

  21. I was in San Antonio last weekend with my sister and brother. We drove by your bookstore, passed it twice because my GPS kept telling me to pass the UPS store. Focusing on that made us totally miss your store. Finally gave up on the GPS and just looked for the street number. Bingo! Anyway, I got a picture of myself in front of your storefront and a picture of your fabulous mural. Really hope to make it back when you’re actually open!

  22. Those are my favorite types of days. Nothing goes according to plan, but everything turns out fine.

  23. O! I love you. The shop looks amazing. Makes me wish I lived in Texas!

  24. There aren’t words to explain how badly I needed to read this today. Life is sucky right now: stage-4 cancer (Mom almost 88), dementia (Dad almost 89) — they’re fighting all attempts to help them with hospice and other at-home-care, which is mentally exhausting, the kind of tired that sleep doesn’t help. And the worst: my cat is dying. Your life adventures brightened my day. Love you so much.💕

  25. I love you in the most un-creepy of desperate ways. You’re just the best, Jenny. I envy your adventures, even when they are second-hand cringe-worthy!

  26. “… if I don’t have sound bites already in my head I’ll start rambling or will say something about serial killers.” I have never related to anything more.

    Thank you for letting me know I’m not alone!

  27. Hopefully the store is open by March 18 or 19. We are in town from MN and would LOVE to be there!!

  28. I think I may make “These are not little things.” my mantra from now on. Thank you!

  29. You make me feel so not alone, and you are re-inspiring me towards bravery. See, I’ve quit doing so many things, because I inevitably glue my hair to the couch (or the equivalent). But you’re like… “Oh, WTF ever!! SOMEONE BRING ME MY BRUSH PACK!!”

    Inspiring. Yeppers.

  30. Shaved 1/3 of my head the other day because it was a better choice than razor blades.

  31. I so desperately wish I lived there. I would come work for you and the staff would all have amazingly ridiculous adventures that were made up of nothing but getting through single days, trying to do normal stuff. And when the shop was closed, we would all hide in corners and read books until we could laugh and then we would go home to start all over the next day.

    Luckily, I truly love my life here, but just so you know, you’re my Plan B. :D.

  32. I know this is dumb, but is it No-where or Now-here? It’s kind of fun to watch the logo flip back and forth between them.

  33. This sounds like the kind of day you’ll feature in the book you’ll write about the store for the 10th anniversary of its opening. Well done. 💜

  34. This made me smile SO big! Can’t wait for Nowhere to be open, but am loving your adventures in making it magical. Keep doing you, lady!!

  35. I knew Ana and I should have stopped by. We were just down the street. Can’t wait for the opening!!

  36. The power of WOMEN never ceases to amaze me. I have a cat,named Jackson. Jackson is no ordinary cat. Thanks to this 12lb cat/ dog/ toddler/ raccoon /sometimes devil, I had to within the span of two days install a toddler toilet seat lock ( because, yes, he figured out not only how to OPEN the closed toilet seat,but to put my clothes into the toilet as well)and hes obsessed with the toilet paper and after trying all the suggestions I read about online( I’m still cleaning up the bits of tin foil cats” dont ” like off my bathroom floor) and had to install a cat proof toilet paper holder. I do not have any children that are human but to look at my bathroom,it appears that I do

  37. You are so victorious- you managed all the craziness without having a major come apart like I would have had. I’m planning my vacation just so I can come to your store. I can’t wait!

  38. Beautiful! I am coming to San Antonio for a conference in a couple of weeks and plan to drive by the store JUST SO I CAN SAY I’VE SEEN IT so I hope to spy you guys pulling some shenanigans in the alley that day. Fingers crossed!!!

  39. Laughing with you in the sincerest possible sense and proud of you for getting through it all like the Wonder Woman you are! Thank you for encouraging the rest of us with your stories and strength.

  40. I did not think it was remotely possible for me to love you more, but you just proved me wrong.
    Jenny, you’re a Rockstar Super Hero, and I worship you. <3

  41. This made me so happy…not in a ‘HA on you’, but in a ‘It’s not just me way!’ way. Been a crazy day/week and I’m glad I’m not alone. :D.

  42. Jenny, you are my hero!!! Truly! The things you get done when you have to… It’s amazing. I can’t wait for your next book, as I’ve read the other ones already and they were so wonderful. I want to go to San Antonio just so I can go to this wonderful bookstore! Please never change, because you are so awesome, even if you feel awkward, you make me feel less awkward (I’m the Reese’s Penises woman), and you are my hero for sharing it for everyone to read. Thank you!!!

  43. Somehow this makes me feel a little better over totally failing to remember to bring food to people I said I would provide a damn dinner to. They were very nice after the fact and told me not to worry and that they had plenty of food and declined my offer to bring my casserole up that day instead. Downside, I have a fantastic casserole my husband won’t eat because it involves broccoli and cheese (and also potatoes and chicken). I’m pretty sure everyone else alive thinks cheese is beneficial to everything, right?!

    Also, it’s lactose and gluten free.

    I truly want to go to your bookshop one day. Please put a pile of cushions in the hidey hole by the wheelchair ramp.

    Also, I would totally love to see you. I won’t talk to you. I’ll just creepily stare from afar. Just assume it’s a friendly hello.

    P.s. book store looking great.

  44. Sounds like a fabulous day! Nowhere is looking amazing -can wait to see the finished photos…so, how did you find the hiding spot behind the wheelchair ramp?

  45. You not only survived the day but you thrived and made it your own – so congrats! Thrilled to see the changes in the bookstore, it is going to be a great place.

  46. I came here to say that I think your barrette is bok choy, but I see someone beat me to it. Whatever it is, it’s snazzy!

  47. I love this post so much “it’snot farts” This just sounds like an amazing day of happy little accidents! 🙂

  48. My God, dear Jenny, I do love and cherish you! I wish there had been blogging decades ago, only so that I might have given as much laughter to you as you have given to me💕! Oh, yes, I’ve had these days, so my delight in yours, retold, is deep and great!!!

  49. Jenny, have you ever seen the Nevermore book store in Beaufort, South Carolina? I was there last weekend, you would totally LOVE it. I bet the owner could give you some ideas that would make your book shop rock even harder!

  50. I think just having someone follow you around with a video camera would be MUCH more popular than the actual bookstore. And then you could deduct all expenses of the bookstore against your tv-series profits.

  51. Yesterday I was in the library with my 6 year old daughter who was excitedly showing me an entire shelf of books she didn’t know existed when something caught my eye at the end of the shelf. I saw a girl carefully back into a girl sized space between a dividing wall & a pillar, carefully place her bag down in front, and pull out a book. She noticed me looking….with an expression that told me all at once that yes, I look like an adult on the outside (I forget sometimes) and that she expected an adult to tell her not to squeeze into hidey holes. I smiled and said ‘that is the most awesome place for reading books that I’ve ever seen’. Her worry turned Into the biggest smile. Walking back to the car, I had to lead my daughter like a guide dog as she was already reading while walking. These things make me happy. But mostly I want to say please keep the little nooks and crannies and alcoves and spaces under the ramp, for these are the domain of bookworms and their lairs must not be disturbed.

  52. Don’t you love it when angels come at just the right moment in the form of workers from a nearby job to help solve a big problem. I’m just out of the hospital a few days after spine surgery and I’m so grateful to the angels who are showing up to help solve problems.

  53. Jenny, you are so fricking awesome and incredible!! How daring you are to manage that ridiculous day. You are such an inspiration to me. Thank you for sharing it all.

  54. I think we must be related. If not I wish we were. You had an amazing day full of adventure and mayhem. I wish you were selling those hair clips at the bookstore I love them with super glued hair and all

  55. So glad Rory was there for morale support!! Your construction crew must enjoy it when you show up!

  56. That sounds like a hell of a day. I’m thinking it’s a good thing it wasn’t reversed, though – giving an interview with hair that’s been double-brushed is probably slightly better than giving and interview with hair that’s been superglued. The store looks great!

  57. I am so glad you made victories today, I think life is made up of small victories during out day. I made it out of bed before noon, had my shot ate food and did my homework so all in all a good day to be had by all!! Awesome job on your victories too!!!

  58. This was an epically fantastic day with hard stuff that you just surfed through and MAN I WISH I HAD BEEN THERE.
    Also, how much to rent the space under the ramp because DIBS and MINES and WANT.
    naturally of course you’re welcome to be there because it is, after all, your store.
    But a Bookstore Cat and I would love to wear food hair barrettes and read under the ramp and all we need is a cushion and a lantern.
    and this paddle game.
    And not one other thing – I NEED THIS. 😀

  59. Not to pile on, but about the hairbrushes — you were surrounded by construction workers. At least one of them had a knife, scissors, or other cutting implement (probably all of them did — manly men carry pocket knives). It’s sweet that you didn’t want to bother one of them for a personal favor, but I bet they’d have been glad to help. As soon as they stopped giggling. (Manly men giggle, but only on special occasions.)

    The shop is looking great.

    I once missed a first-thing-in-the-morning appointment at work — very embarrassing. (In my case it was symptomatic of not wanting that job.) Nothing important should happen before 1:00 pm.

    It’s a heck of a thing to have to hire movers just to move something from inside a truck to inside the store. I understand the problem — it’s not the truck driver’s job and apparently it’s not the contractor’s job, or maybe there’s a separate interiors contractor and he didn’t have any personnel there that day — but still, a crew has to come to the store to move something 100 feet? Yikes. I hope you remembered to call the movers off, since you already did their job for them.

  60. I do so totally and completely adore you. You make life better. Thanks!

  61. Well, I snorted for the first time today! So I declare your day successful for me as well!

  62. these are all the reasons why you are so awesome and beloved. you screwed up and it was ok. things went wonky and it was ok. things went even more wonky and it still worked out. i need reminders of this. that all those ‘end of the world’ moments, we get thru them. we all get thru them. maybe a bit embarrassed or mortified or panicking and freaking the fuck out. but we get thru them. and its ok. we’re not alone in this. and thank you for reminding us all of this as often as we need to hear it (which is ALWAY).

  63. YOU ARE AMAZING! No one else could survive that and still look as good as you did in that last photo! Had to laugh a few times though.

  64. The only other person I can think of who had as many ‘strange’ things happen to her was my mother-in-law. She was from Texas too.

  65. That sounds like a gloriously victorious day, to me! Good on ya, sister!

  66. Wow! You are not just functioning out there in the real world–You are NAILING it!

  67. Wonder Woman and Super Woman are alive and well in San Antonio. Who knew the two of you could move that mountain, laugh despite your perfectly screwy day, and still get creative with arts and crafts at the end of it. I would have been under the covers staring at the tv in bed, hoping to fall asleep so the day would be over. You’re awesome!!!

  68. When you said you were opening a book store, this is exactly the kind of day I had imagined you’d have during the setup phase. Thank you for not disappointing! : )

  69. This might be the best thing I’ve ever read. Reminds me of every cluster day I’ve managed to live through and laugh at the end of. There have been many. Congratulations on kicking that day’s ass!

  70. Don’t forget to add “Made people laugh out loud” to your list of accomplishments for the day! I love your determination!

  71. So Jenny, HOW DO YOU KNOW about the weird, small space in the bookshop behind the wheelchair ramp which is perfect for hiding in while reading???? Inquiring minds want to know.

  72. You know what you do well, how you make us laugh at the odd/crazy making little (and big) situations in life, and we love you for it. But today I would like to tell you that I am in awe of your stories, not just because you breathe happiness into the situations, but because you are capable of remembering all the details! I envy that. I would have to have something videotaping my every minute in order to pull together anything close to how you write (just in level of detail, I would never fain to think that I could write as well as you).

    So thank you for holding onto life by capturing all those details.

  73. I love you & am so proud/ happy for you! And I Jacknow exactly how you know that here is a weird, small space behind the wheelchair ramp because I would’ve found it that way as well. <3

  74. Jenny can I just say how much I appreciate you lol. I am so excited for your bookstore that I will find a way from the midwest to Texas just to visit it! Also you are such an inspiration to the clients that I work with (I am a therapist). I am always encouraging folks who are struggling to read one of your books (they sit on a shelf in my office!) or to connect with your blog. The way you write about your struggles with such humor and honesty it is so encouraging not just to me but other folks who are struggling. Thank you for doing what you do!

  75. ah Jenny. You see the funny parts in the midst of the awful parts, you can smile, you can wear broccoli, or glue yourself to the couch, and you survive. Damn you are amazing.

  76. Of course you can call the day a success. You accomplished important things, nobody got hurt, nobody died: VICTORY!

  77. I want it to be celery, because then I’d be prepared for rescuing a Gallafreyan from being run over by a bookshelf on wheels. But to me it looks like bok choy. Possibly because I’m hungry.
    (looks at clock…goes for breakfast.)

  78. Glad someone was there to take pictures for all of us readers. It made me laugh at work on a day that I woke up grumpy….thank you for that!!

  79. I agree with Robyn Volker. I believe it’s bok choy.
    All in all, sounds like a very good day; especially when bok choy plays a part.

  80. I saw the KSAT interview on their website and you looked FABULOUS! I’m going to be in San Antonio next month and can’t wait to visit the bookshop!!

  81. Thank you for posting this. I’ve been going through a bad round of agoraphobia where everything fees like its falling apart every time I try to leave the house. But if you can do it and survive, makes me believe I can do it and survive.

  82. I love this post. I live nowhere near the bookshop (nowhere near Nowhere), but am definitely going to plan a trip just to go there.

  83. I just realized I hadn’t checked to see if you’d posted in a couple days because I’m lazy..er..a bad fan, Jenny. Also because I kind of had a massive implosion/meltdown at work yesterday due to anxiety and a stupid injury that I TOTALLY (probably) did to myself trying new stuff at the gym (which I was incredibly afraid I’d do but I was like, screw it. I want to try this and of course, I end up hurt because I had NO idea what I was doing whatsoever).

    I thought I knew what pain was, because for half my life I had undiagnosed RA (actual previous ‘diagnoses’ included ‘ Be less fat.”, “Find a different line of work that doesn’t require standing about all day on concrete and/or tile floors.” “Wear different shoes.” and “Have you tried being less fat?”. I wish I were kidding.). The pain I’ve been in for the last 3 mos or so has taken the words “Chronic Pain” to a whole new, very un-fun and definitely shitty level.

    You made me laugh out loud today, Jenny. The pain I’ve been dealing with from this injury and my RA (which is like, “OOh can I flare now? I CAN? TIME TO PAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARTAY!”) has stolen pretty much any joy I’ve ever had. The things I used to love to do (like going hiking ) have been ripped away from me in a pretty unexpected and particularly brutal manner which has left me scared and ugly crying on the floor.
    And the bed.
    And in the car.
    And pretty much every where, almost all the damn time.

    I’ve been trying to be #FuriouslyHappy, despite this and it’s been HARD.

    So thank you for making my life a teensy weensy ant-sized bit better today by making me laugh. 🙂 I appreciate it SO so so much.

  84. Oh my my! Best Worst Day Ever! I totally get how you would brush your hair with a pack of brushed instead of ripping off the cardboard. I am a girl who misses the shortcuts too.

  85. I was so fortunate to see your KSAT interview that morning and was so excited for Nowhere Bookshop. You did look fine to me BTW.

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