One of my friends recently mentioned that during the cold-weather months, her husband’s favorite hobby is making jigsaw puzzles…and the more pieces the better.
She made me recall a time, back before my computer became my main hobby, when I thought jigsaw puzzles might be a fun hobby my husband and I could share. So I splurged on several large, scenic puzzles.
Unfortunately, despite my initial enthusiasm, all too soon I discovered I was terrible at making puzzles. It would take me about a week to assemble just one corner of the puzzle’s border. My husband, on the other hand, could slap an entire puzzle together in about an hour. Whenever I sat struggling to make one of the puzzles, he would walk by the table, stop about three feet away and say, “See that green piece on your left over there? It will fit into that piece you’re holding.” And usually he was right.
One windy and rainy night, my husband and I began working together on a 10-milion-piece puzzle. He obviously was enjoying himself because he hummed a merry tune as he quickly pieced together an entire section…while I sat there pounding two pieces with my fist, trying to force them to fit together. That’s when we suddenly had a power failure.
“Hallelujah!” I silently cheered, figuring I had been spared from a long evening of sitting and staring blankly at puzzle pieces.
“I’ll get the oil lamp,” my husband said.
If I thought trying to make a puzzle in good light was impossible, trying to make it by the light of an old oil-lamp was about as easy as doing it blindfolded. I couldn’t tell the difference between an animal’s head and a rock.
“Find all of the pieces with straight edges and put them in this pile over here,” my husband instructed. “Then we’ll make the border.”
I was feeling my way through the puzzle pieces when our neighbor dropped by to see how we were coping with the power failure.
“Whatcha doing?” he asked, leaning over the table to get a closer look at our panoramic view-in-progress of the Swiss Alps. He reached out to point to a puzzle piece he thought might fit somewhere. When he did, his elbow accidentally knocked over the oil lamp.
To this day, I still don’t know why our kitchen didn’t go up in flames. But even though the kitchen was spared, the puzzle didn’t fare quite as well. It ended up with lamp oil all over it. The Swiss Alps looked as if the Exxon Valdez had crashed into them.
My husband lost interest in puzzles soon after that, so I decided to try a new hobby I’d read about in a magazine…eggshell mosaics. The instructions said to buy eggs with pure white shells, dye them different solid colors, then break them into small pieces and glue them together on a thin board to form a picture.
But did I begin my new hobby with a simple project like making an eggshell smiley face? Heck no. I decided to make a farmhouse with a pond, trees and mountains surrounding it…all out of tiny eggshell pieces.
So I bought eggs. Lots and lots of eggs. My husband and I ate omelets, scrambled eggs, deviled eggs, egg salad and angel-food cakes so often (because I didn’t want to waste any of the eggs’ innards), we nearly grew feathers and clucked. But slowly, my mosaic began to take shape. In fact, fitting pieces of eggshells together turned out to be less challenging for me than making jigsaw puzzles.
And two months later, when I finally finished my masterpiece, I was so proud of it, I entered it in the Deerfield Fair’s craft exhibit and actually won a blue ribbon.
And my cholesterol was over 300.
Now that I think about it, maybe the computer isn’t such a bad hobby after all.
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