Jigsaw Puzzles

I hate jigsaw puzzles. They are quite possibly the cruelest torture devices on this planet. Whatever part of my brain is used to complete these awful things fled into the dark recesses of my soul many years ago. I just don’t get them.

My wife, on the other hand, loves jigsaw puzzles. For those of you that aren’t married, this means that I also love jigsaw puzzles. She used to have a war with her parents to see who could find the most impossible puzzle, complete it, and then send it to the other. Guess how much I enjoyed that game.

Now, I fully realize that most people out there buy a puzzle at the store. At some point shortly after that, they open the box and put it together. That’s not how it works in our house. There are at least 5 steps that have to take place before we can actually complete a puzzle after getting it home.

Step 1: The kids open the puzzle and then alternate between throwing pieces under the piano and feeding them to the dogs in an attempt to see which color they find the tastiest.

Step 2: We manage to lose the box and all pictures that show what is actually being depicted by the puzzle.

Step 3: We make up for the lost box by placing all the pieces into an unlabeled ziploc bag and then placing it in a drawer with all the other unlabeled ziploc bags full of puzzles.

Step 4: In an attempt to make my head explode, the kids open all of the ziploc bags and dump them into a single pile.

Step 5: We sort the pieces back into the bags. At first, we do this based upon size, shape, and color of pieces. However, once we get halfway through the pile, I get frustrated and just stuff the remaining pieces into the same bag. I snarl while doing this.

Now that all these steps are complete, we are officially ready to put the puzzle together. This also takes place in a pretty consistent pattern. For the case of this example, let’s say that we put the kids down for a nap at noon. Here’s how the torture follows from there.

12:00: Kids start nap.

12:01: The following conversation takes place.

Me: “I think I’m going to play my video game for awhile.”

Wife: “I was sort of hoping we could do something together.” (Guilt trip implied)

Me: “Like what?” (Dreading the answer)

Wife: “I thought a puzzle would be fun.”

Me: “Awesome!” (Vein in forehead starts to throb)

12:05: I claim the edge because that’s even easy enough for me.

12:08: The bottom edge that I had been putting together very successfully turns out to be missing a piece. My right eye starts to twitch.

12:15: The following conversation takes place.

Me: “Do we know what this puzzle is a picture of?”

Wife: “It’s either the Lincoln Memorial or Monsters Inc.”

12:30: I complete the edge with the exception of the 4 missing pieces. My wife has put together about 50% of the center.

12:31: I see a collection of about 20 pieces that are all the same color, so I decided to tackle those. They’re all the same color, and there are only 20, how hard could they be?

12:33: My left eye starts to twitch. My right eye physically bleeds.

12:55: I start pushing the pieces around like a kid that is trying to hide the fact that he isn’t actually eating his mashed potatoes.

1:05: I miraculously locate a piece that my wife had been trying to find for 20 minutes. I place it in the puzzle and start talking trash.

1:06: I shut up.

1:30: I get excited because it sounds like the kids are waking up.

1:31: I discover it was a false alarm. My soul dies.

1:40: I cry.

1:50: I cry.

1:55: I cry.

2:00: The kids wake up. I guess I didn’t realize that I was kicking the wall that loudly. I weep with joy.

2:01: My wife says that it’s ok because she can just slide it onto a cutting board, and we can finish after the kids go to bed.

2:02: I cry.

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