Jigsaw Puzzles Are Great, But Not For Obsessive Old Me!


My daughter bought her family a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle, and somehow it has ended up at my house. I know she thought the grandchildren and I would sit serenely around the coffee table putting this thing together and engaging in meaningful conversation while we did so… but the kids are five and seven!

The seven-year-old is frantic to get it done “Tonight!” because he’s only spending the one night this week. The five-year-old is dancing around the edge of the thing, swooping pieces onto the floor with her skirt and unwittingly carting them off in her doll stroller.

Between finding obvious matches to hand to the boy, and grooming the girl as she rattles and squeaks by, I’m a nervous wreck. To make matters worse, the puzzle has a football theme because, as I’ve said before, the Chiefs won the Super Bowl, and you can’t buy anything anywhere in Kansas City that has not been emblazoned with a Chiefs logo. So, I don’t even know what I’m looking at. I can’t tell a kneepad from a sticky glove. Still, it is a quality puzzle. The colors are true to the ones on the lid of the box, the pieces snap together with a satisfying “click” and the pattern is interesting enough to keep me going.

And going.

And going.

The kids have been gone for two days, and I’m still fussing with it. It’s addictive. It’s the Nintendo Switch of the 1900s. That said, I can’t wait to be rid of this puzzle! It sits there, taunting me day and night. (“Sure, you have a deadline but what about me?” “Sure, you have a doctor’s appointment but what about me?” “Sure, the house is on fire but what about me?”)

Over the past 72 hours (hours!), here’s what I’ve managed to put together — the border, two players and an X. The X is made up of pastel colors that do not match the background (thank goodness) and divides the puzzle into one quadrant for each player. The vast disconnected interior is filled with random pieces that I think may go somewhere in the general area of where I’ve slapped them down, but who knows?

Because I am an organized person, I also have a cookie sheet full of polka-dotted pieces which will eventually spell out “Chiefs” and a 13-inch-by-9-inch pan full of random helmet pieces, player numbers, uniform stripes and binkies. Oh, I suppose they don’t call them binkies in the NFL, but you know what I mean — those pacifiers the players chew on so their teeth don’t fall out when hit by the enemy… I mean, tackled by the defense.

I looked all over for that pan last night because I was going to make a lasagna. But when I remembered where it was, I got distracted because I saw where the other half of a binkie could go and, before I knew it, it was midnight. (“Sure, you have to work in the morning but what about me?”) I had a Twizzler for dinner.

My point is, jigsaw puzzles are engaging and fun, if you have lots of free time and a modicum of self-control. Which I do not. Because, now, ummm, I gotta go.