The world is very weird. But so are we.

So between my immune-compromised body and the fact that the injections I take for my RA make me very susceptible to infections that means Victor, Hailey and I are now four months into very strict social distancing. We’ve learned to cut each other’s hair and we wave to the grocery delivery person through the windows. Hailey takes music lessons on zoom and attends virtual camp. The fine arts high school she auditioned for accepted her this year but she’ll be doing online learning until things are safer. We are very, very lucky to have the ability to sequester ourselves so fully but it’s still hard.

Once a week we sneak over to the bookstore after everyone else is gone (our doors still aren’t open, btw, but we are doing curbside service if you’re local and need distractions) and we work and decorate and read and bring home books to keep us company. Victor pointed out that being locked in an abandoned bookstore seems entirely my sort of heaven and he’s completely right but I explained that it’s a bit sad and bittersweet and that I wished I could transport my sister in an astronaut suit so she could be here safely and I could show her the store even though it’s still not finished. And he was like, “CHALLENGE ACCEPTED” and I assumed he was insane but then a week later Lisa showed up at the store.

IN ROBOT ARMOR.

Sort of.

Basically he contacted Technology One and they were awesome enough to mail us a robot for the day so that my family could “walk” through the store with me and we could visit and feel *almost* normal. If you can feel normal talking to your robotic sister (and niece and dog) who’ve dialed in from California to be in an abandoned bookstore that might also be haunted.

These videos are already outdated because our amazing team has done a ton of work lately but I’m still sharing it so you can see the progress. And in a week or two I’m planning on doing a non robotic livestream just for you where you can watch as I explore the store and show you some of my favorite things and you can shop live if you like. (Still working out the kinks so check back for details.)’

(Giant thanks to Technology One for letting us play with one of their robots, which was strange and wonderful and the closest thing to a family reunion I’ve had in far too long.)

109 thoughts on “The world is very weird. But so are we.

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  1. HOLY CATS!!!! THAT IS AMAZING!!!! How incredibly AWESOME!!! Technology One is AMAZING! And… hugs to you, Jenny. I’m… falling apart, physically and… sigh. I hope you and your family continue to stay safe and am so happy you now have robots to assist you. Can’t wait to visit your bookshop! Even… if I’m a head on a robot body by then.

    And… here is a funny little blog post which focuses on fish as a way to hopefully inspire laughter because shit is so fucking dire. HUGS!!

    https://epileptaste.wordpress.com/2020/07/12/mice-and-men-and-the-rest-of-us/

  2. Oh my goodness! That is wonderful! Because of my health, I haven’t left my house since Christmas. I was just planning to try to get out when the virus hit. (The universe is laughing at me right now, I just know it) But because my health is so precarious, I of course have stayed in. 7 months now. I’m past stir crazy.

  3. You are married to a wonderful, brilliant man, and he is married to a wonderful, brilliant woman. I love you guys.

  4. That is soooo COOL, the idea, the robot, and the Victor gets you so well, and actually listens and comes up with such an amazingly Victor solution! Happy to know you are all safe and well…we are too, without the cool techy gadgets. <3

  5. This is fantastic! It put the biggest smile on my face. Until I burst into tears at the insanity that is our current reality.

  6. Wow! That was fun! I realized at the end that I was smiling so hard! Can’t wait for the eventual roadtrip from Houston to see it.

  7. That’s the coolest thing ever! So glad you got a chance to “walk” your sister and family members through the store. Amazing!

  8. Very cool! My sister is in l.a. and im in Detroit. We are talking about driving to see each other. That used to be a crazy idea. But now it’s probably going to happen , hazmat suits and all.

  9. I NEEEEED this! Can I get 4 by Thanksgiving? I live on the west coast, one sister on the east coast and two in Missouri.

  10. This is just so wonderful! I went to Trinity and spent so much time on your stretch of Broadway–can’t wait til I can go back to SA to visit our friends and your beautiful space!

  11. A-MAY-ZINGGGGGGG! It makes me happy that you got share (virtually, but the future is now!) your store that way! Jealous and wish I lived closer (but yet still in Canada)… All the best in your future endeavours!

  12. It’s neat that your sissy sounds so much like you!
    Awesome robot! Maybe we could all just sit in our pods at home and send our robot selves out into the world. It would help prevent mosquito bites too!

  13. How nice! I’m glad your sister is healthy and could virtually visit your bookstore. I hope you can do it all in person soon!

  14. I’m sure you’ve already decided this, but that Victor is a keeper. What a brilliant idea.

  15. omg that is SO FREAKING AWESOME!!!! what a wonderful way to get a tour of your bookstore without having to worry about the pandemic (and traveling).

  16. EVERYTHING about this video makes me happy! It’s like you created the bookstore I always wanted to create myself – and I have a feeling thousands of others feel the same as I do. Love you Jenny! And Victor, well done!

  17. The space is beautiful and I love the floors. They remind me of a aeuropean shop. Well done. You’ve made a magical place.

  18. OMG, I’ve only ever seen that robot tech on Bob’s Burgers! I didn’t know it was a real thing! Awesome!

  19. What a wonderful post! How amazing that you got to “hang out” with your sister. We’ve been doing a lot of zoom and WhatsAp video calls! You inspire me to keep being in my own bubble and not be ashamed. Everyone else seems to be hanging out, no masks and no social distancing. I think they’re insane. I’m just doing what I need to to keep my anxiety as low as possible band my body as safe as possible. For myself and my family. Again, it’s so incredible that Victor is such a strong support for you–even if he thinks you’re nuts sometimes. We all think that of our spouses sometimes.

  20. The robot is giving me such a Sheldon Cooper/Big Bang Theory vibe! Anyone else remember the episode when he holed up in his bedroom and went out into world with a Mobile Virtual Presence Device? (Yes, I’m a massive BBT geek.)

  21. That is unbelievable! I’m going to have to get down there some day (I live in MI). Being alone in a bookstore would be a dream for me! I’m so happy for you!

    And @Beth_Bartlett – I totally remember that episode and that’s what I thought of too!

  22. I am an expert on the subject of Awesome Husbands so you can believe me when I tell you this- that Victor of yours is a prince.

  23. Sometimes Victor just gets it soooooo right. This is the best thing I’ve heard all week. Two days ago my bff told me her mom who won’t take the Rona seriously has exposed the whole family to the Rona. Then today I found out the people who I rent a room from who won’t stay home have been exposed and so now I have. I’ve worked so hard at not going anywhere but to buy food and it was all for nothing because the people around me don’t care. Sorry for the rant I’m just mad. But at least there are robot sister bookstore visits. Love Bella

  24. Reading your posts always makes me feel better! Such depressing times we’re in, so anything that helps me feel better is soooooo welcome! Thank you and bless you for all you do to help in these frustrating times, Jenny – you and Victor and Hailey and your sister are wonderful, and we so appreciate your contributions to the mental health of this country – and probably many more!

  25. A few years ago, a fan attended the World Science Fiction Convention via telepresence with a robot like that. It had a badge and everything!

  26. Ok, when you said Robot Armor, I flashed to your sister arriving dressed in Armor with a robot theme/helmet — all gloved and masked! But your way was way cooler. Thanks for letting us into the day.

  27. This made my cry because it’s so amazing that you were able share this with your sister in that way. I’ve also had a long virtual day of meetings that were odd and frustrating so my emotions are all over the place haha. I’m so happy for you!

  28. I know I’m a freaking mess because this post made me cry. Y’all are amazing and Victor gets the best husband prize for, like, forever!

  29. I love this so so much. Made me smile for the first time in days. I very much hope to visit Nowhere in person someday. ❤

  30. Go Victor! Out of the box solutions to many situations truly come from a place of love and nurturing. Awesome robot.

  31. I already adore your store SO much – it takes me back to a lovely bookstore we had down in Tucson when I was in high school & college that I loved (it was in a beautiful old house and had spiral staircases and hidden nooks and all sorts of nifty things… and then they moved to a regular storefront… still a decent bookstore, but just not the same as it was!).

    I hope someday we can travel again and I can come see it in person. San Antonio was one of the places we were looking at for a Christmas trip, but it’s starting to look like Christmas may be an at-home only thing this year…

  32. I’ve also been super-quarantining and the thought of getting to virtually shop in your bookstore sounds amazing!! Make it happen! I miss wandering through bookstores and finding the book you didn’t know you needed. Can’t wait!

  33. I watched on Instagram and you’re so right about bittersweet. Maybe one day all of us (not all at once!) will be able to amble through Nowhere in the flesh…

  34. This just brightened my day! I can’t wait to visit someday in person!

    I understand missing family for sure. Mine are all in Florida so it will be a very long time before it’s safe to go see them. We are practicing pretty strict social distancing out here in Nebraska. I miss going inside places other than my house.

  35. So many things!!! 💙💙😀😀
    WHICH ESHAKTI DRESS IS THAT I NEED IT
    I am desperate to get lost in Nowhere!! I am SO MAD at the stupid Rona right now because the world needs to go to Nowhere!!
    I need robot tours of everything.
    Victor wins all the prizes.

  36. I started crying within 5 seconds. Now I can’t see through the tears. This has to be one of the most incredible, loving, imaginative acts I’ve seen. Well done, Victor (sound of applause).
    We, too, have been self-isolating to the extreme after husband experienced a serious health crisis on Valentine’s Day.

  37. Aww, s#@t now you’ve made me cry. What a blessing Victor is for you. And of course, you for him!

  38. My best friend is having two grandchildren in the fall and has already ordered a type of hazmat suit they have for flying. I’m not kidding.

  39. <3 That's so awesome. And by giving your sister that tour, you've given us one too!
    We're also in super-quaratine since I'm high risk. Fun times.
    BTW, where in the world did you get the card catalog cabinet??? O_O

  40. omg hahaha that is freaking amazing! (phil did that on an episode of modern family, and it went about as well as you can imagine) I have been in my house since March and it’s…stressful watching the world go nuts around you. Actually, I feel like I’ve been practicing for this pandemic for quite a while now, because with my health issues I didn’t really go out or do much anyway. So I’ve been practicing quarantine for years!

  41. I fully credit Lisa’s past as a mascot for her skill in being a robot driver.

    Glad you got to “see” her, even if it was in robot form!

  42. How do I participate in the live stream? I’d LOVE to be able to see that. Will it be on Facebook or twitter or something? Please let me know 🙂

  43. I know all about missing family. That Victor would arrange that for you made me cry with 2nd hand happiness! One day (or, Once upon a time…) the perfect bookstore will be filled with happy shoppers, friends, family and fans. Hopefully, I’ll be one of them!

  44. This may be the best thing ever. Triumph extracted from the tragedy of this mess. Victor is a genius and candidate for best husband ever. The videos are a wonderful tour and it’s wonderful to watch you and your sister and family interact. The robot is ingenious. It looks like they finally came up with a useful application for the balancing tech behind the Segway. One big question — you said that when YOU drove a robot, you ran into the ramp wall. When were you driving a robot, around your store or anywhere else? Did you try this robot out yourself before you connected your sister to it, to make sure it worked? If so, that’s genius too.

  45. This seems very Calvin and Hobbs-ish and I wholeheartedly approve.
    Thank you, Victor for this genius idea.

  46. This gave me all the feels! So happy you have Victor who thinks to do these amazing things for you AND has the ability to actually pull it off! I’m sad for you being so sequestered during this insanity but happy you have such an amazing husband and daughter to be sequestered with. I’m also feeling my own horrible loneliness and envy boil over because I’m old but have never come anywhere close to being in love and certainly haven’t been fortunate enough to even be friends with people as wonderful as you and your family. I’m very happy to know that there is joy and love in the world, even though I’ll never be able to experience it for myself.

  47. The pig is there! So happy to see him(?) in action. Oh, and the robot visit is cool, too, hehe. Strange times we are living in. Thanks for the bit of delight! 🙂

  48. Oh I SO want to come and spend 8-10…years just wallowing in the store…I don’t call it your store because you have been so kind to make us feel like it truly is OUR store…my bucket list has another drop, it is called The Nowhere Bookstore! or as I call it, Jenny’s f*#!ing awesome palace! Virtual hugs to all Strangelings near and far and as I am gravel traveling my little corner of Iowa with my camera taking in the beauty I am blessed to find in front of the lens, I think of all yawl and shout it out to the stars…Hey!!!! YOU ARE NOT ALONE, YOU ARE AWESOME, HERE HAVE SOME ICED MOCHACHOCOLATTAYAYA AND WAVE AT THE DEER!! Someone called me the deer whisperer lately because I shot about 30 seconds of a fawn nursing by the side of the road in one of my favourite jaunts and I had NEVER imagined I would see that in the wild. It was so very cool!! and then, when Mama and Bambi crossed the road and began to fade into the timber, it was like…let’s give her one more lifetime shot…and they stopped, turned toward the road and just stared into the lens…squeeeeeee! and dappled in the morning light, I was humbled to take their portrait! Life seemed so far less tragic and stupid for those moments, I am gonna have a mask made with that photo so I can wear it to work at my hospital and have their pure beauty power to fight this crazy shit, Jane! Thanks for being part of my tribe and thanks especially to Jenny for giving us all a family to be part of!

  49. The bookstore looks wonderful, brava. How great that your sister, niece, and “nephew or niece” dog can visit. Bravo to Victor. Congratulations to Hailey for fine arts school admission. The pig looks perfect where he/she is.

  50. My Christmas gift from my daughter to me was to visit your bookstore for a long weekend in San Antonio – sigh – we all know how well that’s been. However, she and I are both ready, willing and able the minute all of this madness goes away. Love seeing you and the bookstore and how enamored you are of the way it’s coming together. Sister love – nothing better!

  51. Your bookshop looks amazing! It’s nice to have any kind of distraction during isolation and bookstores are my favorite. I actually teared up when I went to The Boulder Bookstore for the first time after lockdown.

  52. That is AWESOME! It totally reminds me of that Big Bang episode where Sheldon goes out as a a mobile virtual presence and meets Steve Wozniak, except meeting with you would be way cooler (and easier, since I could do it without actually being there turn myself off the moment I do something stupid/embarrassing). If you sell tickets for virtual visits in the future, please keep me in mind!

  53. Oh please do the live! If you do it on Instagram make sure to save it for 24 hours in case we miss it at the moment! 🙂
    Also I burst into tears reading this. I watched your reunion on Instagram last night and thought it was so neat, but I didn’t realize Victor did it for you when you said “I wish . . ” That is so romantic!!!! <3

  54. Victor is a keeper! So nice of him to have your virtual sister and family checking out the store. I love the stairs and differently-abled ramp for those of us for whom the stairs are no longer an option. We used to have two ramps at my childhood neighborhood library and the kids would run up and down them all day. My first thought on seeing the video was The Big Bang Theory and my second thought was “Oh goody, there’s the piggy!” (There’s just something about him.) I wish I was physically able to travel when it becomes safe to do so, but I’m SO looking forward to seeing your virtual store tours!
    Virtual hugs to everyone like us who can’t risk going out into the virus rampant world with all the people in denial. I miss hugging my mom and seeing my siblings and their kids. My mother in law is furious that we won’t go over to sit in her yard and eat take out, but she’s been out and about and doesn’t feel she should have to stay 6 feet away or wear a mask whenever she’s around people, and doesn’t understand why we are making such a big deal about the virus. Sigh…. it’s really hard to convince elderly people and young people who think they’re invulnerable that they are being very, very foolish and risking other people’s lives as well as their own.
    Jenny, sometimes your posts and your fans are the only people I feel make any sense in this world. So thank you all for making me feel less weird and alone.

  55. We too are aggressively social distancing, and it sure is getting old. I hate that people who don’t wear masks are stretching out this time.

  56. So, I knew I’ve been super emotional lately because *waves hands around* all of this but I just burst into tears watching these videos because I can tell how much you miss your family and I’m far away from my family with, likely, no hope of seeing them outside of video chats this year and then there you go. Sobbing Andrea.

    The store looks GREAT!!!

  57. This was just the most amazing thing! I loved that random space that I thought was a bookshelf filled with books that turned out to be a door to another room. How awesome! Congratulations. Going to your bookstore will be on my wishlist if we are ever allowed to leave our homes again. LOL

  58. I’ve been out three times for medical reasons since February but am quite happy to just be at home. The robot sister was amazing and I’m glad you got to experience that. Victor is a keeper!

  59. Victor is such a thoughtful husband. My husband is trying to drive me crazy. Or at least that is my take on the situation. LOL

  60. This is amazing! You husband is so kind to do that for you all. Reminds me I should facetime/videochat with my folks soon. Virtual technology is truly a life saver right now.

  61. I love this! I’m on serious lockdown, as well, so I feel you .Hang in there! : )

  62. I wonder if they can do a 3-way. That sounds wrong and I’ll leave it for the laugh. We have family in 3 places, one has a new home, and 2 are immune-compromised. A different subset of 2 are techies.
    If we do it, I’ll tell them to sponsor your page. 🙂

  63. So excited that we will be able to tour the store via robot! You have an amazin*husband!

  64. That was amazing! Kudos to Victor and thanks for letting us elbow in on your sister’s tour of the store <3

    I too want to know which eShakti dress you are wearing – it's lovely!

  65. Stalker warning: since you are less than a days drive, when this pandemic is settled, I am dragging my booky friends to Nowhere!

  66. It takes great effort for such a long social distancing. I could not stay one complete week at home without going out for some sort of shopping. 🙂

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