Sunday, June 28, 2020

Pandemic Puzzlin'


Has anyone else been doing a lot of puzzles lately? I always like puzzles, but I tend to go through phases where I do ALL THE PUZZLES and then go months without doing one. Hopefully I don't enter a fallow state when the puzzle is actually spread out on a table. Because that would be terrible.

Which brings me to a funny puzzle story. You know how everyone is doing puzzles because they're trapped at home? My sister's wife decided to go full Dining Room Makeover: Extreme Puzzle Edition. She bought my sister a NINE THOUSAND PIECE PUZZLE.

That puzzle is so big that you can really only do half of it at a time and even then it takes up your whole goddamn house.

Photo of a partially done puzzle covering an entire dining room table
This is, like, four months of work.
They're never going to eat on that table again. Also, that is only 4,500 of the pieces.

I spent about an hour thinking that doing a 9,000 piece puzzle would be SO fun and then I actually thought about it and made sure to tell Alex that I'd kill him in his sleep if he got such a thing for me. Fortunately for my sister-in-law, my sister is nicer than me.

I tend to think that 1,000 pieces is the sweet spot, although every once in a while I throw in a 500-piecer for a quick, fun puzzle adventure.

Really any blog post about puzzles being done in a family that has five cats should be called Cats vs. Puzzles.

Spoiler alert: The cats win.

There's a lot of walking on the puzzle, sitting on the puzzle, dropping pieces of the puzzle. One of my cats, Starfire, has constantly sweaty paws, so she will walk across the pieces, which will stick to her feet, causing her to shake them, which flings the pieces across the room. It's maximum entropy.

Photo of a black cat sitting on a partially completed puzzle. She looks to have quite an attitude.
This is Ruby. Do you see that fucking attitude?
I don't actually have all that many photos of cats lounging on my puzzles because after the first one it ceased to be fucking cute and became fucking infuriating. Especially considering that every puzzle I've completed during this pandemic has had at least one piece missing. Until, that is, Quinn or Alex crawls around on the ground under the table to find it.

Photo of Alex on all fours on a carpet looking for a puzzle piece. His shirt has tiny lobsters on it.
He found the one he was looking for, by the way.
We haven't vacuumed that room since March because we don't want to accidentally suck up an essential piece. Even so, we haven't always found them. They vanish into thin air or a cat tucks it carefully under some furniture; one of those things.

I thought that puzzle doing would be a fun family activity when I busted out the first one, a map of Yellowstone that Quinn had long ago agreed to do with me.

Photo of a black and white cat being held in a lap next to a table with some pieces on it. You can't see the person's face.
You're going to have to trust me that Quinn is holding that cat. He's not a fan of sharing his photo.
He watched me sort out some edges, decided it didn't look fun and permanently bailed. Katie came to the rescue for that one though. She helped me put the Yellowstone puzzle together, even after we ran into some trouble early on.
Photo of five corner pieces. Puzzles only have four corners.
This was the only time I ended up with MORE pieces than I needed.
Either this puzzle taught her that she hated puzzles, hated me, or that she was only interested in piecing together places she'd actually been, but this was the last I saw her at the puzzle table.

Photo of me and Katie giving thumbs ups near a finished puzzle.
We were victorious though.
Every once in a while Jack will pop by and help me out.

Photo of Jack studying a puzzle box and a puzzle.
We look at the box. We're not purists.

Jack is really good at puzzles. I have strict rules that no one is allowed to work on the puzzle when I'm not there because I need to see every piece go in. (I know.) I made an exception for one puzzle that I couldn't finish the edge of because all the pieces were exactly the same color. I told Jack he could do that part. I had to go into the office that day and when I got home, he'd finished the border! He's my favorite.

He's also condemned himself to doing the worst part of every puzzle.

Jack might have to help finish the border on my current puzzle, because a big chunk of it is all black.

Photo of a puzzle box that has a picture of a band from the back of a stage. It says "My Morning Jacket."
Alex bought this puzzle for me.
This is significant, because Alex looooooooves this band and I constantly make fun of them. (To be fair, they've grown on me a little, but I will never in a million years admit that to Alex. The party line is that I hate them.)

Alex got really excited one day because he had ordered "something we could do together," and wouldn't tell me anymore until the day he ran into the room where I was working out while shaking this box and telling me how it was the perfect activity for us.

It wasn't like, "I love My Morning Jacket and you love puzzles, so we can both be happy doing this!" It was a lot more like, "You hate MMJ and I hate doing puzzles, so we're both going to be miserable." We were meant for each other.

Puzzle pieces spread out on a table with a partially completed puzzle in the middle. There is a frame mat wrapped in plastic on the edge of the table.
I have an uneasy feeling that I've finished the easy part.
You may wonder about the frame mat on the end of the table. Originally, Alex ordered some frames that came with an extra mat and because it didn't affect his life, he just left it on the table. However, because cats like to sit on things, sometimes they will sit on that instead of the puzzle pieces, so I left it there as a cat lure. It's only partially effective.

So that's what I've been doing with my time, lest you think I've been doing anything productive. I will leave you with this post that I found on the internet. I have never in my life identified with something more.

Screenshot of an Instagram post. It is a photo of a puzzle piece on concrete. The caption says, "Somewhere a couple in quaranting is having a fucking meltdown."

1 comment:

  1. Puzzles make me crazy. I thought 1000 piece puzzles were as maddening as they come. And with FIVE cats! 🤯

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