Beware Writer

I’m sort of fried this morning — I will be entertaining guest posts, if any of you dreams of starring at ATH (your name in lights.  Or at least in WordPress!) — because we’re trying to get house ready for sale by my surgery date on March 16th.  (It’s not that there is anything major wrong with the house, but there are myriad little unsightly things.  My younger son said “Can’t we wait to paint till we have an offer?  If the buyer wants it painted, then we paint!” I had to explain the process of attracting a buyer.  Forgive him Lord, he’s an engineer.)

So…  Here I am packing and putting away excess books, and moving furniture to clean behind, and somewhere in the middle of this, the writer brain complains.  And starts making up carp.

See, we’re cheap (As I’ve said before — right? — writer and mathematician money only goes so far, even if the mathematician’s money is steadier) so instead of buying moving boxes to store books, etc, for … well, probably a year? — we’re watching craigslist ads and rushing out to grab boxes.

Unfortunately these boxes come with names and notations (actually as a side note, I found out why they are so expensive.  These boxes have notations of three moves, and some of the boxes that are recycled — Amazon, sharper image, etc, are from as far away as IL.)

There is a set of boxes that’s labelled Stormie.  Her brother has a perfectly normal name, Ethan, and I kept wondering why name a girl Stormie.  No, look, I understand creative naming and what have you, but teen girls?  Stormy enough, don’t encourage it.

So …

I was thinking about it, and suddenly, there she was.  You know, Stormie.

There she was, in the coffee shop, dressed head to toe in black leather.  It couldn’t be anyone else.  A beautiful face, the kind that could have posed for an angel in a renaissance painting, but it was framed in wild, black hair.

She wore too much makeup but not in a way that said “hey baby, baby.”  More in a way that said “My mascara warns you I have a knife collection.  And I don’t mean for cooking.”

I siddled into the seat opposite hers, feeling sheepish. She barely looked up from her double espresso extra grande.  There was a tear tattoo at the corner of her right eye.

“Stormie?” I asked.  “Stormie Jones?”

She nodded.

“That job?”

“Yeah.  You tell me what to rub out, I rub it out.”

I clear my throat “Er… are you sure?  It’s a difficult job.”

“Look, Mister, my parents named me Stormie.  My brothers are Ethan and Alan, and my sister is Lilly, but I’m Stormie.  You grow up with an eighties song being sang at you, you grow tough.  No job too difficult.  I want to rub things out, see?”  Suddenly I realized she was smoking, as she stubbed her cigarette on the table.  I looked around nervously.  I didn’t think you could smoke at starbucks, much less burn their tables.”

I really needed the job done.  “Er…” I said.  “Then, well, on Wednesday.”  I pass the address card to her.  “Here at three pm, for the price agreed.”

She looks at the card and sneers.  “I will be there.”  She pockets the card and swaggers out.

I watch her walk away and think, “Surely this is too big a production for hiring a cleaning lady.  But I really need that dirt scrubbed out.”

— and now you know that if you put up a craigslist ad for free moving boxes, you should add “Not to writers.  Not under any circumstances!”


81 responses to “Beware Writer

  1. That was awesome! =o)

    Good luck with your move and selling your house. Have you tried begging boxes from your local grocery store? Milk boxes are the best – especially for moving books. Very sturdy and they have handles.

    • Liquor stores are also a gold mine, if they don’t use them for check-out.

      • And as long as you are not going to have to mail anything. Ah, the USPS, bless their hearts . . .

      • That was going to be my suggestion, as well. Good, strong boxes of useful size, and absolutely free.

      • liquor store are best. strong enough that they don’t fall apart when filled with books (not something that can said for all boxes) and just small enough that box full of books can be lifted. Also the boxes are of mostly uniform size so they stack well.

  2. Does Dan’s job have an on-premises IT dept? He can go beg boxes of them.

  3. Good luck with the move. Keep your local grocery store in in mind for boxes. I used to save egg boxes for customers when I worked in one. They’re big and sturdy and easy to stack.

  4. Bwahahaha! I was expecting Stormie to whip out a huge eraser.

  5. somewhere around here (DFW metro southwest quadrant) there is a Box maker that sells the misprints for cheap. My (now former) neighbors used them for their move to Houston
    Then you’d be stuck with writing ads for whatever products (~_^)

  6. Liquor stores usually love it when someone comes in to take boxes off their hands.

    And I knew a Stormie once, and she seemed almost exactly like that (blonde, though).

  7. Stormie was named for her aunt, Windy, who never forgave the Association.

    As for boxes — there you have the real reason the American South sells liquor through state-operated stores: ensuring a regular supply of boxes (with partitions) for the moving public.

    • BTW: “You grow up with an eighties song being sang at you …


      Classics IV, 1968:

      Scope the skins, babe. Those guys were groovy with a capital GRU. Leather jacket with fringed sleeves? Bobby Sherman, eat your heart out!

      • LOL! I was checking to see if I would be the first oldster to point out the Classics IV. I would not have been able to provide the Garoooovy comentary, though.

  8. A cleaning lady like that, she’ll make Mr. Clean her b*tch — have him cleaning tile, scrubbing stone and detailing the mantlepiece in a leather thong.

  9. Yep – Stormie is a cleaning lady – but she kills some real bad fungus that can turn you into a zombie… or she kills intergalactic bugs that can ride you like a pony. Ummm… I just finished reading RAH’s Puppetmaster. *sigh

  10. Please tell me the family name isn’t Weatherby.

  11. Josh Kruschke

    Good riddance that just means more fish for us.

  12. RealityObserver

    From some of the responses, I see an anthology shaping up…

    “Stormie and the Spray-Painted Elves”

  13. Printer paper boxes are our favorite: they don’t fall apart when full of books and I can’t put so many in that they can’t be lifted easily. Wrapped china is lighter than books, so they work for all the heavy stuff. Check with your local IT departments and your copy centers.

  14. In college, I knew to women who only went by their nicknames. One was Stormy, whose first name I never knew, and the other was Lethal (who got that nickname because of being clumsy. her real name was Lisa). Lethal eventually took that as her real first name.

    So perhaps Stormie is not necessarily the name she was born with. Still, the story was fun.

  15. Copier paper boxes. When I used to publish my ‘zine, I’d get it in the paper boxes, loose, and I’d have to bind it. (If anyone’s curious about my little home bindery, I have a web page for it). So I have LOTS of boxes. You can sometimes get them at the office store, but you have to be quick, since they all have Bailers in the back room to compress and bind up cardboard boxes. But the local Kinko’s or other copy shop Hmmm, do they still exist?) should have them too.

    A former friend of mine has two daughters, Stormy and Rainy. I’m not sure how they spell them.

    There was a Revolutionary war figure named Ethan Allen. And a furniture line named after him.

  16. “Ah’m Stormee with two Es”

    “I’m appalled, with two Ps”

    • 😀 I think of that strip when I see really wildly spelled names (and by wildly I mean standard phonetics in six different languages have nothing to do with how the family pronounces it.)

    • There’s a big difference between self-selected names, or ones granted by peers due to observed behavior. Those are usually consonant with observations made of the people they’re given to, and tend to serve as reasonably decent markers for what to expect. Proper names? The ones Mom and Dad put on the birth certificate? Usually not quite the same, but there is some element there of self-fulfilling prophecy…

      If naming your daughter Stormie doesn’t put her on a life-path to something involving a brass pole and the removal of clothing, it’s a miracle. Spelling it Stormee is pretty much going to cause her guardian angel to throw up their hands and say “Screw this… The girl is doomed, doomed, I tell you…”.

      I did know a Stormy, once. Not at all what you’d expect with a name like that, either–Very conventional. You were told her name, and expected this exotic wild woman, and what you got was this completely staid, calm, and very, very plain-wrapper woman in pastel power pantsuits and glasses. She was a forensic CPA/Actuary, and starting a conversation with her was likely to lead to a game of actuarial Trivial Pursuit, not a session of hot and steamy sexual flirtation.

      Interestingly, she got her name about the same way the only other woman I know with a “stripper name” on her birth certificate did–Her parents got suckered into letting an older sibling do the naming. In Stormy’s case, it was an elder sister who was pining for a horse, and Stormy was the name she’d always dreamed of giving it, and Bambi was named by her two older brothers who were given the task of naming the unexpected twin that came. Ironically, her slightly older sister, who’d gotten the planned-for conventional name, tragically passed on before they were out of toddlerhood.

      From this, I have taken the lesson that letting the older kids name the youngest additions to the family might possibly be a practice likely to result in less-than-optimal naming conventions cropping up in your family tree…

    • And I am dismayed by the Marxist tone of your rejoinder. Oh, well, at least it’s Groucho Marxist…

    • Professor Badness

      Bloom County, right?

  17. Boxes…your sweetie is on good terms with the office staff, right? Copier paper boxes! They hold cases of 500-ct reams of regular paper. They’ll hold books, too.
    And my best wishes for all your ongoing and upcoming events and projects. (Waiting for Through Fire)

  18. Eamon J. Cole

    Ah, Stormie’s a cleaner, rare breed, those.

    The things they can get to go down the drain, with just a couple bottles of mysterious stuff…

  19. I mostly used Ikea’s moving boxes in my last move. They are relatively cheap, if a bit too big for books, fill one up and it’s too heavy. But I live right next to one of their stores (last move was only a couple of kilometers).

  20. Well, I for one, am changing my plans for 3PM on Wednesday … Yep, that particular meeting sounded pretty sketchy in the first place ….

  21. I have a friend named Mary* Ann Smith, who was marrying a guy with the last name Jones. She was pondering whether to keep her maiden name, her middle name, or both — and so she asked her sister:

    “So after the wedding, should I be Mary Ann Jones, Mary Smith Jones, Mary Ann Smith Jones, or Stormaggeddon Dark Lord of All?”

    * All names in this post, except for the last one, have been changed to protect the innocent.

  22. I had a supervisor named Stormy, both of us were hired at the same time, he was promoted and kept going up the ladder for ten years after I retired. Don’t know what his title was when he retired. But, it isn’t just a name for women.

  23. Christopher M. Chupik

    It’s a good week for moving, if Colorado is getting the Actual Global Warming we’re getting in Alberta right now. Hope you’re all finished by the time Winter remembers to show up again.

  24. *Just hides in her corner and crochets*

  25. Worst kid’s name I’ve personally known was a girl named Daiquiri. I mean, doomed to pole dancing. That the sort of thing I wouldn’t even name a poodle.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      My Mom knew a little girl named Tarantula. Oh, her mother was Black and a Widow. [Smile]

    • Professor Badness

      I knew a little girl named Disney. She was a souvenir from their trip to Disney World, *smile*

  26. Professor Badness

    You know, I just go down to the local cardboard recycling bin to get boxes.
    But I don’t remember ever seeing a single recycling bin in the four years I lived in the Colorado Springs area.
    Isn’t recycling supposed to be progressive?

  27. Reblogged this on Lost in La-La-Land and commented:
    I found is very humorous, and a good example of what goes on in a writer’s mind!