Waste Not, Want Not, Win Some


Maggie’s winners from her Waste Not, Want Not, Win Some post: Jane Babbitt, Karen M, and kms01906. Please contact her at maggie@maggierobinson.net to pick your book and tell her where to send it. Happy holidays!

My two-year-old desktop computer is glitchy. I already had to restore it to “factory settings” within two months of buying it, which does not bode well for its future, or mine. Somewhere I have the software to do it again, if only I could remember how. But wiped clean, I’d lose stuff I don’t even remember having. So, I’d better live with the balkiness as long as possible.

I can’t remember a lot of things. Like how many desktop computers I’ve gone through since I began writing for real. I have witnessed the Black Screen of Death, the Bouncing Beachball of Doom, the Twirling Blue Circle of Despair. There have been viruses, hijackings, and multiple malware attacks. I once picked up something nasty logging onto the New York Times on a Sunday morning. So if you think bad things only happen on porn sites, you are incorrect and casting aspersions upon my virtue.

I’ve had a lot of laptops too, scaling size and weight down for travel every couple of years. When we moved, I discovered a treasure trove of abandoned devices. It’s too depressing thinking how much money I’ve spent on technology. There’s always something new and shiny ahead, but nothing helps me write any faster.

Which makes me consider planned obsolescence, and how accustomed we are to simply throw things away. My Depression-era parents would be rolling in their graves if they weren’t cremated. My father saved mildewed shower curtains “just in case,” and my mother collected the shiny silver paper from cigarette packs. Hot water was added to jam and ketchup bottles to get to the last goo. We had a button box filled to the brim, and a rag bag of cut-up old clothes. Like Scarlett O’Hara, my mother once made us dresses from my dead Great-Aunt Helen’s drapes, luckily without the curtain rods a la Carol Burnett.

A few weeks ago, our toaster didn’t work, and it didn’t take me a minute to unplug it, toss it in the garage with the rest of the trash, and order a new one from Amazon. The next morning, my husband tried to turn on the coffee maker. That too didn’t work. Duh. The circuit breaker had tripped. The toaster was retrieved from the garage and the order cancelled. I am ashamed it didn’t even occur to me to check the electric panel—I expected the toaster to conk out.

Which brings me to the holidays and all the unnecessary presents on Santa’s list. Some years back, we decided to do a Yankee Swap. Our family has grown exponentially, and it became prohibitively expensive to buy individual presents. The grandchildren still get some loot, but the adults get one or two presents each. There is much talk of supply chain issues this year, but I am steadfastly ignoring that. Can’t get the latest gadget? Too bad. That gadget won’t change your life and it will join my wonky old computers in the landfill soon enough.

(We’ve never gone too crazy at Christmas anyway. When the four kids were little, we told them they could ask for three presents, the same number given to baby Jesus. You can’t go wrong with that.)

I have the usual amount of guilt about my full bookshelves and full closets and full refrigerator and full freezer when there is so much need in the world throughout the year. Donations to libraries, thrift stores, and checks to the Good Shepherd Food Bank help some. And looking ahead to 2022, I’m going to think twice about one-clicking on Amazon. That’s my Christmas gift to my husband, and it won’t cost a thing.

Until the computer finally crashes.

Even if it’s not Win a Book Wednesday, I’m in the mood to give some books away to get the season started. Check my Amazon page (don’t mind the half-naked people on some of the covers) and tell me what you’d like (mystery or romance), and I’ll pick 3 winners. Merry! Happy!

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13 Responses to Waste Not, Want Not, Win Some

  1. John Clark says:

    A couple of suggestions to alleviate computer woes.
    1-buy an external SSD drive and keep all your documents on it. They’re cheap and hold tons of stuff.
    2-If you have a gmail account, email updated work in progress to yourself so you have an extra copy in case of the worst case scenario.
    I agree that the whole gotta get folks stuff or else mindset is unhealthy.

    • Deb Noone says:

      I’m with John on external hard drive and emailing things to myself. Nothing worse than that black screen staring at you, when you just poured your heart out on the best prose you ever wrote (well, best prose it in the eye of the beholder – me – and truthfully whatever I wrote can probably be rewritten better.) But the angst of losing work – AHHHHH! Fun post, Maggie! And your sense of humor shines, even when talking about dead toasters and computers.

  2. Mary Fitzgerald says:

    A scandalous deception ; Mistress by Mistake;
    Lord Gray’s list
    Thank you

  3. Jane Babbitt says:


  4. judyalter says:

    Love the memories of your Depression-era parents. My folks did many of the same things. A counter spill was wiped with a paper towel, and then the paper towel saved to use again on a floor spill. My mom refused to throw-out leftovers but put them all together about once a week and made soup of them. Like you, I carry some guilt about my lifestyle these days.

  5. kaitcarson says:

    Visions of mom hanging paper towels over all the cabinet drawers! I dread thinking about the computer thing. Especially now that Windows 11 is on the way.

  6. KarenM says:

    I’m ready for Just Make Believe, loved books one and two. I put my reviews on Goodreads.

  7. I really enjoyed this post and feel the same way about the quality of goods these days and how we all have so much stuff. Thanks for brightening my morning with your wit and wisdom.

  8. Pat Dupuy says:

    Lord Gray’s LIst looks like fun! My mom saved very little, including our school papers and so forth. Probably in retaliation to her mom saving everything in the Depression. I think Grandma had quite a collection of jars.

  9. judy says:

    I have Farewell Blues in my Wishlist. I have read all the others in the series and really, really enjoyed them! My parents were opposites: Mother saved everything; Dad would throw it all out! My husband and I save plastic and glass jars, but we find uses for them. Everything else we recycle. Best of luck with your computer and Happy Writing!

  10. Jane Nelson says:

    I don’t need any of your books, Maggie, though I have enjoyed reading them. Prompted by not being able to get together to celebrate last year, my family has pretty much decided to concentrate the gift giving on the youngest generation, which at the moment consists of my great-niece — but she will be joined by a great-nephew in April. They will be second cousins, not sibling.

  11. kms01906 says:

    would love to have Who’s Sorry Now!

  12. Kay Garrett says:

    We changed Christmas giving some years back when we decided that Christmas was becoming more about getting gifts from those we gifted to instead of the joy of giving or the true reason for the season. It started a chain reaction among the family making the holidays not only less stressful trying to find that perfect gift, but also brought back the true joy of both giving and getting a gift.

    LOVED “Farewell Blues”, so I would love the opportunity to read some of the other books in that series. Thank you for the chance! Shared and hoping to be one of the fortunate ones selected.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

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