“You expect me to do a 1,000 piece puzzle ALL BY MYSELF?” I ask Katie in confusion. “1,000 pieces is a heck of a lot of pieces for 1 person to do. And it’s a Christmas puzzle! You’ll be lucky if I finish it by my birthday! But thank you for thinking of me while I’m stuck in my house!”

But the next day, I can’t help it, I pour open the contents of the box and get to work. As the pieces spread out over my kitchen table I notice there are letters on the back of each piece. I’ve never seen a puzzle like this before. Is it cheating to use the letters?

I take a deep breath and dive in. “Alexa, turn on some Christmas music,” I say as I start to get in the groove. I separate the edges from the rest of the group and start to put them together. I puzzle for hours. One by one until the whole perimeter is done…well mostly. I can’t find any more pieces for the outside BUT the top just won’t connect. Oh well! I’m done for today! I’ll figure that out tomorrow!

While the teapot is boiling… I add a few pieces.

While I’m talking to a friend on the phone… I add a few pieces.

I work on the puzzle for several days. First figuring out the “Merry Christmas” section. Then the snowman and Santa. The tree and reindeer are next. By then about one third of the tree is finished… but the top still won’t connect. What the heck?!?! What am I missing. I look at each piece one at a time. Maybe I messed up on something up there. The more I look the more frustrated I become.

The one morning I wake up saying to myself, “I’m just going to check the back. Forget it if that’s cheating. The perimeter needs to finally be put together!” I flip it over section by section and of course quickly find the 2 pieces out of place. Once moved, the perimeter is complete and I can continue puzzling.

While dinner is in the stove… I add a few pieces.

When I’m waiting for a friend to call… I add a few pieces.

Now I’m slightly hooked though on checking out the letters. If I put all the A’s together in a pile, and all the D’s in their own pile, etc it’ll be easier, I think to myself. But is that cheating?! After this eternal debate though I come to the conclusion… If I’m ever going to finish this puzzle (especially for Christmas) I’m going to need those letters.

And sure enough. 9 days later I shoot off a text message (with picture)… “It’s a Christmas Miracle! The puzzle is complete!” What an accomplishment!

If you’ve never done a puzzle this way… I highly recommend it!

11 thoughts on “Puzzled

  1. “I add a few pieces” makes a lovely, lyrical refrain for this post. which reminds me of life. Daily we add a few pieces to our unfolding story, in all that we do. Also… I don’t think there’s really any cheating when it comes to putting puzzles together! You do it any way you can! It is beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for letting me live through the frustrations and joys of a 1,0000-piece puzzle. It truly is a process with some strategy involved. I was part of an educational training (Project CRISS) where the presenter had puzzles in the classroom because it offered the students to think metacognitively.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for taking me on your puzzling journey. “I add a few pieces” was a soothing soundboard assuring me as the reader that you were gaining confidence in your own ability to complete the puzzle. Thanks for the tip on the the letters, too! It may come in handy someday!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Congratulations on finishing the puzzle! I loved reading this – especially the “I add a few pieces” repeat. I’m trying to get good at puzzles… I need more patience! (and maybe some lettered backs!)

    Liked by 1 person

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