A 1000 piece puzzle may be the most revealing of family activities, exposing individual traits that shape the function (& dysfunction) of the dynamic of shared lives…
a. A few years back I bought a Will Moses “Thanksgiving Snows” puzzle as a charming kick off to the thanksgiving break
b. (even though we have never finished a puzzle in a decade)
c. my youngest and i started the puzzle; while my husband repeatedly asked if we were ready to pack it up.
d. i finally gave in (gave up) and sorted the edges and the finished bits into ziplocks to give us a better start in the following year
e. a year later i put the puzzle out again
f. my husband taped cardboard together so that the puzzle could be easily relocated
g. our oldest, home from college, never approached the puzzle. (in 2015 or 2016)
h. our youngest and i began the outer edges
i. he complained that no one was returning to the puzzle
j. he then devised a flow chart to assemble the ample sky pieces which he sorted–by cut
k. i showed our oldest his brother’s flow chart of sky pieces as a point of amusement; he was only slightly interested. maybe.
l. i ignored the flow chart and sky pieces and began with the recognizable barns, houses & people
m. i insisted that my husband join me
n. he claimed that he was too overwhelmed to participate so I suggested he begin with the large yellow house, and I set him up with a pile of yellow pieces
o. He insisted he needed all the pieces to the yellow house in order to continue and proceeded to handle every piece in the box in search of more yellow house pieces.
p. From time to time I looked over at his work, and annoyed, ran my hand randomly through the box, and found more yellow house pieces instantaneously than he did with his methodical sorting
q. looking up, he accused me of “taking all the glory,” because I put together the pieces of a man he had apparently found. (He told me to stick to the barn i was building.)
r. i told him that i didn’t realize that the man was his and also that i was working on three barns, two wagons, a few turkeys, a bunch of people, and other unidentifiable items
s. he continued sorting pieces one by one, while i suggested he return to the house with what he already had;
t. i left the puzzle. puzzles are fun for me for a moment, and then maddening.
u. an hour later, i insisted my husband step away from the puzzle
v. we are both afraid of what our youngest will say when he comes down and finds his system ignored
xyz… (to be continued)
post script: in 2017 we finished the puzzle! (in 2018, my husband claimed that he couldn’t find the puzzle in the attic.)