A collection of distilled sarcastic wisdom, numerous photographs, discussions of books and stuff to learn and more stuff to think about from a retired economics professor turned blogger and photographer.
Whenever my wife starts a new puzzle, she usually says something like "I don't know how I can put this one together. Too many pieces of the same color. How can I do it?" She then proceeds to put it together a piece at a time, one after the other, usually discovering a few impossible pieces near the very end of the puzzle. Is there some kind of a lesson here?
When my wife was a bit more than half finished with this jigsaw puzzle, I took her pill over to her. As I handed her the pill, I knocked over her glass of water which spilled all over the puzzle, all over the puzzle pieces. I actually shed a few tears because I knew how much effort she puts into completing the puzzles. Many of the pieces remaining to be put in the puzzle were soaked and the backings came off, leaving only a thin paper printing of the piece. The puzzle itself swelled up all across the middle from water damage. I had done such a careless thing that damaged so much effort on completing a beautiful puzzle. I was depressed for hours. I told my wife I would replace the puzzle or she could start one of the others I had just bought for her. She calmly told me everything was all right, and that she was sorry I felt so bad about what I had done. And then over the next few days she set to work. She dried out the wet pieces, removed the soggy backs from hundreds of wet and soaked pieces, let the puzzle dry out, and began to finish putting it together. I learned one more time that I should never underestimate my wife's persistence. I watched her patient progress and then, one day, she told me across the room, "It's finished!" I would never have believed it possible that she could have taken that soggy mass and completed the puzzle. Seven pieces out of all of the one thousand pieces ended up missing, and many pieces in the finished puzzle are mere tiny pieces of paper without backing. But she stayed with it and finished it. I wish that I could have the same calm feeling of self assurance that would help me over some of my difficult challenges that my wife demonstrates consistently despite the health challenges that she faces without complaint. Was I ever smart and inspired when I took her on our first blind date in early January of 1950.
I can't even imagine wanting to sort 1000 pieces of a puzzle and then proceed, piece by piece, to put it together. But isn't there a life lesson learned here, also? We make changes, little by little, a small change here, another foregone habit there, and the first thing we know we have a better life and another completed jigsaw puzzle.
How my wife manages to persevere and have the patience to put these 1000 piece puzzles together, I don't know. At least it gives her some diversion and some variation in the day's activities. She uses her patented pie pan method where she uses a half dozen aluminum pie pans to sort different colors. She usually says something like "I don't know if I can do this one" at the start of a puzzle, but then the next thing I know, she is half through. She never gives up. And then she fits the last piece and then hates to take the puzzle apart. So I take a photo or two of it so she can remember what she spent a few dozen hours on and then she is off to the next one. Which I made sure I had available for her, so we'll see how this next one turns out. I think it is a seasonal spring scene.
My wife had intended to have this puzzle finished by Christmas, but the previous one she worked on was one of the most difficult puzzles she had ever tried to put together. So here are the Twelve Days of Christmas in late January.
My wife finally completed another 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle. She thinks this one is one of the two most difficult puzzles she has ever completed and she almost gave up when she started it. The colors are rather drab and similar but the final picture is quite amazing. My wife wonders if she is accomplishing anything by working on these puzzles and I tell her she is exemplifying perseverance and that puzzling takes her mind away from her various chronic pains and aches. In fact, I was reading in a WebMD piece on pain management today that working on crossword puzzles and, I assume jigsaw puzzles, can help alleviate pain. At any rate, I am extremely proud of her for finishing this difficult puzzle. The hard part is to take it apart after spending a couple of months off and on working on it. But at least she has this photo to remind her of it and she has a nice puzzle of the Twelve Days of Christmas that she intended to do before Christmas but which I assume she will work on next.
Step 2: Sort the pieces into 4 or 5 pie pans and then put the outside together. Every time my wife starts a new puzzle she says something like "I'll never be able to put this together. The pieces are all the same shape or color." and then the next thing I know, she finishes it.
I started buying my wife stuffed critters when she was so sick several years ago because they brought a smile to her face. So I have contined adding to her collection. These fierce critters guard the puzzle and keep my wife safe from harm.