Friday, December 30, 2005

Wow! How could I forget this?

I forgot one of the best gifts I got at Christmas. What’s wrong with me? (Of course, I mean that in a purely rhetorical sense. I’m not really looking for a long list of faults. I can provide that on my own.)

I got a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle. The picture is a Charles Wysocki painting. Wysocki is known for his Americana style. Usually late 1800’s to early 1900’s. He usually has at least one American flag in his pictures, often more. We buy the Wysocki calendar every year. It’s the one that hangs in our bathroom and has all the events listed on it. That way you can see where you need to be when you’re getting ready in the mornings. If it’s not on the calendar, it’s bound to be forgotten.

Anyway, this puzzle will fit nicely with the 50+ (could be significantly more…I’m afraid to count) other Wysocki puzzles that have taken over the top of the garage closet and the top of my closet. Every so often, I’ll run across one that hasn’t even been opened ‘cause I didn’t have time to work it right then and it just got stuck in the closet with the rest of them. When that happens, it’s like Christmas all over again.

Most of the time I share the puzzle working fun with whoever else wants to help. Most of the time. Sometimes, when I’m feeling particularly stingy, I’ll “Ehhh! Ehhh!” away anybody who tries to help. “I’m working this one by myself” I say. The sweet people I live with understand. Mostly.

It takes between 3 and 4 hours to work a 1000 piece puzzle by myself. A good 30 minutes of that is turning all the pieces right-side up and sorting out the edge pieces. Once that’s done, things usually move a little faster. The Wysocki puzzles are cut the standard way, four-sided with either a knob or a hole for a knob on each side. No funky shapes or smooth sides. If you have a particularly difficult puzzle, with say mostly one color or very little differentiation in the picture, I usually sort the pieces by their shapes. All three-knob, one-hole pieces here (lined up with the hole facing the same way), all two-knob, two-hole pieces where the knobs are adjacent over there. The two-knob, two-hole pieces where the knobs are opposite (and therefore the holes are opposite too) are the most common, so they need to go wherever you have the most room. Etc. Then, as you use pieces, every so often you have to go back and rearrange the groups so as to consolidate and fill in the gaps. The order of it all just makes me happy.

Can you say OCD?

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