Piece by Piece

Here’s a first – out of ninety challenges since I started this blog, this is the first time my husband has said, “You really have never done this? Really?” So I guess if even he can’t believe it, I should be embarrassed to admit that until today, I had never bothered to do a jigsaw puzzle.

I’m not counting kid puzzles – I’ve done many,many, MANY 24- and 48-piece puzzles. My second son went through a puzzle obsession phase when he was a toddler, and since he has always been an early riser, we spent many pre-dawn hours putting together puzzle after puzzle. But since he outgrew that phase long ago and none of my other children were interested, I’ve never had reason to do any more.

I had plenty of opportunities to join my grandparents or my father-in-law with their puzzles, but for some reason I could never be bothered. Now that they are gone, I wish I had taken the time to sit down with them when I had the chance. So this week, with a completely blank calendar, I decided I finally had enough time to invest in a 1000-piece puzzle. I guess I didn’t feel like investing any money, though, because I just grabbed one we had received as a hand-me-down from who-knows-where and jumped right in.

Doing a puzzle without something to listen to is really boring and reading about someone doing a puzzle is even more boring, so I’ll share some of what I listened to as my family and I worked on “Raspberries and Goldfish”.

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For our first round, mostly sorting pieces and getting the border all set up, my third son requested we catch up on some episodes of Fresh off the Boat.

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Putting together the words and the border was deceptively simple and didn’t prepare me for the next step – that stupid bowl of raspberries. Luckily, our neighbors brought dinner over and stayed to help me with my puzzle. They fed us smoked ribs and put together the goldfish and we fed them birthday cake and forced them to listen to our new favorite songs from Hamilton the Musical. Did I mention we have really good neighbors?

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There was one funny moment–well, I thought it was funny– when, after several minutes of frustration over seemingly missing pieces, I found a whole bunch of pieces that someone had sorted into a box and set aside. Whoops. They didn’t stay angry for long.

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After the neighbors left, my husband and I obsessively worked on the puzzle until 1 a.m. because I tend to be obsessive and because he didn’t want to finish his grading. I worked on the annoying black pieces that all look the same while he finished the plate. We listened to Kings of Convenience and Phosphorescence.

Early this morning, my youngest son woke me up to ask if he could play his new video game and I thought, “What an addict….oh, wait…I’ve got to go do my puzzle!” So without eating breakfast or brushing my teeth, I went straight to work on those dumb flowers and listened to some of our favorites from Dolly Parton and Josh Ritter.

My puzzle-loving son joined me on the curtain section while we listened to Fleet Foxes and I complained once again about how nobody gives them credit for White Winter Hymnal since Pentatonix covered it. Such a shame.

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And then with one final burst of frantic inspiration, we finished it! Well, all except three truly missing pieces, but close enough! And you know, I think there’s enough time before school starts again to do another puzzle or two. Just nobody ask me to do anything or be anywhere or shower because I can’t be bothered with anything else. Actually, I’m thinking maybe it’s a good thing I never tried this sooner.

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