Sometime around the middle of July, I was shopping — at all places — at Ace Hardware. I think that Bill had sent me to the hardware store with specific instructions — maybe even a note — with exactly what he wanted me to buy. At any rate, in the course of looking for whatever it was I was looking for, I realized that ACE HARDWARE SOLD SPRINGBOK PUZZLES.
I dare say that most any puzzler will tell you that Springbok puzzles are the best. (By the way, I have no idea if people who put together puzzles are called puzzlers, but that’s what I’m calling us because it sounds really cool, sort of like a spy.) They are mostly available at Hallmark stores, their own website, or Amazon. I have never seen them sold at a hardware store. But heck, if True Value Hardware in Estes Park can sell women’s underwear, then Ace Hardware in southeast Denver can sell Springbok puzzles.
I had been thinking that I needed to begin doing things that kept my mind sharp, but instead, found myself binge watching Downton Abbey. But Jen gave me a puzzle that she had worked on with her grands during their recent visit in July, and I had enjoyed putting it together. So, I made the quick decision right there in the Ace Hardware store that putting together puzzles was a brain challenge. The thing is, Bill and I had gone through a period a couple of years ago where we were working on lots of puzzles. But the puzzles went from providing hours of fun to making me want to sweep all of the pieces onto the floor in frustration.
As I pondered the situation (undoubtedly blocking the aisle for people desperately needing the necessary equipment to stop a toilet from overflowing), I realized that the frustration came from the number of pieces in the puzzle. Our earlier puzzles had all been 1,000 pieces — apparently the most popular puzzle size. Quite frankly, 1,000-piece puzzles make me want to kill myself. There is no place to go with the 950 pieces not being worked on at the time. The answer was simple: 500 pieces!
As I perused the 500-piece puzzles, I quickly realized that all of the really cool puzzles were 1,000 pieces. Most of the 500-piece puzzles were of trains. That’s when I realized another thing about myself: I need to have a reasonable connection to the picture in the puzzle in order to enjoy it. Food: yes. Trains: no.
So, I dug around amongst the train puzzles and finally found a puzzle featuring a variety of birds. While not my first choice, I connect with birds in a way that I don’t with trains. They, after all, are pretty and chirp in a most agreeable manner.
Thus, my puzzling summer began.
While I pride myself on not having an addictive personality, I have realized that addictions come in many forms. Here are the puzzles I have purchased since July 19, 2019…..
That, my friends, is somewhere in the neighborhood of $200 worth of puzzles. Think of the number of bowls of soup for homeless men and women that would finance. By the way, you might notice that the top box is only 300 pieces. It turns out that one of the very few things Kaiya and Mylee inherited from me is a love for puzzles. Mylee in particular has spent a lot of time helping me with my 500-piece puzzles, so I bought her an even simpler one, which she and Kaiya and Bill and I put together in a few hours one Saturday…..
The unfortunate truth is that the best puzzles come with 1,000 pieces. It is more difficult to find interesting 500-piece puzzles, but I’ll keep my eye open until such time as I am without fear and ready to face 1,000 pieces…..
My name is Kris, and I’m a puzzle addict.