Welcome to the Chubby Chatterbox Newsletter, where I’ll be posting favorites from the Chubby Chatterbox archives. In addition, my complete thriller Return of the Mary Celeste will soon be serialized here for those who have asked for something beyond a regular post.

My novel is based on a true event, arguably the greatest maritime mystery of all time. In 1872 the crew and passengers of Boston brigantine Mary Celeste abandoned their seaworthy ship and its valuable cargo, vanishing in the middle of the Atlantic. Speculation over their fate has never abated. History records that after the Mary Celeste tragedy no one from that fateful voyage was ever seen again. History is about to be rewritten…

Return of the Mary Celeste


Tragedy struck the brigantine Mary Celeste on the morning of November 25, 1872. The hourly log was later recovered from the deserted vessel; At 8 a.m. the last notation was made. By 9 a.m. no one remained aboard to chalk the next entry.

Something had terrified Captain Benjamin Briggs and his crew, prompting the seasoned skipper to make a decision certain to affect not only himself, his ship and crew, but his family as well—his wife and two year old daughter were aboard Mary Celeste. Much ink has been spilled in fanciful and scientific attempts to explain the calamity that engulfed this perfectly seaworthy ship, yet all that is known for certain is this: in a matter of minutes Captain Briggs became convinced that the only way to save their lives was by ordering everyone into a hastily launched lifeboat. By giving the order to abandon ship, he also launched the greatest of all maritime mysteries.

On December 5, 1872, a month after leaving New York Harbor, Mary Celeste was found drifting on a calm and empty sea. The ship was in fine condition, perfectly intact with valuable cargo safely stored in her hold, but the crew and passengers had vanished. None were ever seen again.

Until now….

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Lazy or Cheap?

April 8, 2015



This post is reminiscent of something my good friend Cranky might offer on his blog, The Cranky Old Man. If you don’t follow Cranky, you don’t know what you’re missing. He’s a wealth of pithy marital observations, and he’s been married enough times to be an expert at giving marital advice (?) even though a large number of his posts end with someone in his household being called a “JERK.”


The other day I tromped downstairs for my morning cup of coffee. Beside our Keurig was the plastic container of coffee creamer, with a mere dribble inside. A newly opened container was beside it.


“Why don’t you finish off the ‘opened’ creamer before starting the new?” I asked.


I’ve mentioned this more times than I can count, but this time my lovely wife of forty years surprised me with, “I did it for you.”


“You did it for me?”




“But it’s so wasteful.”           


When I was a kid, my mother told my brother and me not to be wasteful because millions of kids were starving in China—my brother got grounded for demanding the names of just two of them. Today, Chinese kids probably have more than I do.


“How is it that you did it for me?” I asked.


“You’re too lazy to pull the new creamer from the fridge, so I did it for you.”


“You think I’m too lazy to walk two steps to the fridge and pull out the new creamer?”


She spoke as if to an imaginary jury. “Let the record show this is exactly what I think.”


“I’m not lazy; you’re wasteful, and it drives me crazy.”


“It isn’t wasteful since I know you’ll use up the last of the old creamer.”


“Why don’t YOU use the last of the creamer?”


“Like I said, it’s not a question of my wastefulness, but of your laziness. For example, why do you squeeze the tube of toothpaste until it looks like it’s been run over by a steamroller? And how thin does a bar of shower soap need to be before you replace it? I’m tired of trying to shower with something as thin as a razorblade.”


“Let me ask you this; if you were out in the woods for a week and you suddenly had access to a shower with a razor thin bar of soap, would you use it?”


She ignored my question and glared at me with that famous stink-eye all wives master. “You’re lazy!”


“You’re a JERK!”


Cranky’s on to something; that felt good! But I may be needing a place to stay soon. I wonder what coffee creamer he uses, and how thick the bar of soap is in his shower.





In your household, are you good at using up the last of something before throwing it away, or does someone else replace the old with the new?




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Thrifty? Nope. Lazy. You betcha. I think I've had this same conversation with Mrs. Penwasser.
By: Al Penwasser on April 8, 2015
Thrifty! It's thrifty! I agree with you. :)
By: Rita McGregor on April 8, 2015
I'm lazy. Our pantry would be full of mostly empty peanut butter jars if I had my way.
By: Alex J. Cavanaugh on April 8, 2015
We are pretty good on using stuff up although Hubby is blind about seeing things in the fridge and sometimes take the new one before finishing the old. So he is not lazy, just lacks powers of observation.
By: Tabor on April 8, 2015
I'm not cheap; I'm "fiscally responsible." And I'm not lazy. I just try to make "efficient" use of my time.
By: Tom Sightings on April 8, 2015
I hate to do this, but I'm inclined to side with your wife. I've posted about that thin bar of soap thing. In the cranky house I get the best of both worlds in the coffee creamer war. We have a small container of the powdered stuff by the Kurig. When it gets low, Mrs. C pulls out a larger container from the pantry and refills the small container. And she does not even use it! That might be why I don't mind when she calls me a jerk. Good stuff from another Mrs. C! Thanks for the shout out!
By: cranky on April 8, 2015
i'm totally frugal. my family was poor and i learned from my mother. i don't wash bread bags and turn them inside out to dry, but i DO reuse my french bread baggies. :)
By: TexWisGirl on April 8, 2015
Oh hahahahah I almost fell off my chair...both of us are CHEAP and will squeeze the life out of the tube, water down the dish soap to get the last drop, cut the lotion dispenser in half the be able scrape out the last little bits of guaranteed soft skin lotion and yes we have slivers of soap awaiting their demise. I use and reuse plastic bags....etc. However we do buy the most expensive TP.....but it has to be on sale......
By: Kathe W. on April 8, 2015
By: Uncle Skip on April 8, 2015
In this house, i use the last drop or ounce or whatever, and Sweetie and the kids pull out the new before the old is barely gone.
By: mimi on April 8, 2015
Perhaps you should switch to milk in your coffee - it sounds safer! :)
By: Jenny on April 8, 2015
File me under "l" for LAZY!!
By: fishducky on April 8, 2015
My wife comes from a line of penny pinchers and I'm Scots heritage, so we are both good at squeezing the last of the toothpaste, or working the container for the last drop of half and half. We even cut the sun screen tubes so we can spent a few days eking out the last of the product. We are both good with leftovers until we get to the battle line of "you ate the last of the Chili with out me?"
By: Tom Cochrun on April 8, 2015
Card board boxes in the back alley are fairly comfortable! Yes , I use things up but not even remotely like the Micro Manager. You never have to wash the Micro Manager's plate.
By: red on April 8, 2015
I'm not only good at using the last bit of everything, it's just about a religion with me. I ooze frugal (then I scrape it up and re-cycle it).
By: Cherdo on April 8, 2015
I believe it's just a case of how one was raised (i.e Baby Boomers). Then again, there some folks pulling at either end of extreme. Many men are guilty of threadbare undies. On the topic of soap.... some gather all the slivers of soap and place them in a piece of an old nylon hosiery... seriously! I'm not cheap, I'm frugal. :)
By: Daniel LaFrance on April 8, 2015
With my husband and me, it's almost a contest about who can get one more squeeze of toothpaste out of the tube. Well, that and the fact that the person who uses that last atom of toothpaste has to go to the cupboard to get the new one, get it out of the box, flatten the box, and go take the flattened box to the recycling bin. All this work!
By: Pixel Peeper on April 8, 2015
You're dancin' with the devil my friend :)
By: Rick Watson on April 8, 2015
I always have to replace what is almost gone. We have that razor blade of soap in our shower, too.
By: Val on April 8, 2015
Even after 40 years... Please forgive me for piling on, but you might add "slow learner" to the list of your outstanding qualities. By the way, would you care to guess the name of one of the sites to be included in Sites To See #430 on Friday?
By: Jerry E. Beuterbaugh on April 8, 2015
It must be a man thing.................... I am with you Stever!
By: John on April 9, 2015
I'm with you on this, Steve. Although I don't think of it as being lazy OR cheap, just not being wasteful. My toothpaste tube looks like it was attacked by a steamroller when I get through with it. And when I can't squeeze any more out, I just put it to my mouth and suck out the last .01 ounce. OK, maybe I am cheap. :)
By: Scott Park on April 9, 2015
I totally get this----I use everything down to the last drop. It drives my Hubs crazy, especially when it comes to leftover food, Sometimes I go on a cooking strike until everyone finishes the last of the leftovers. They HATE IT when I do that!
By: Marcia @ Menopausal Mother on April 9, 2015
I totally use something up until it's gone - squeeze the toothpaste flat, turn my lotion & shampoo upside down... But we've solved the soap issue by leaving the sliver in there to glom onto the new bar :)
By: The Bug on April 11, 2015

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