As I have hinted at before, I come from a family of gamers, at least in the more traditional sense of the word. I grew up playing Clue with my parents’ old original game, with some of the weapons listed on Post-It notes since the actual metal figures were long gone. My mother and I used to play mean hands of Rummy 500, and she also took a good-size chunk out of my finger during one intense game of Egyptian Ratscrew. We’ve played Uno, Phase Ten, and a number of other card games, as well as classic board games like Mouse Trap and Upwords.
But nothing can compare to my family’s love of puzzles. We’ve been known to put the protective pads on our dining room table over the puzzle itself so we wouldn’t have to move it, and my grandmother has several Tupperware containers that she only uses to sort puzzle pieces. Each year, at least one puzzle is given as a gift at Christmas – though this year, I think there were three!
While I always did puzzles with other people, I was hit with a strong puzzle craving when I was living alone and thought, “It could still be fun to do one on my own.” Since I was working at Barnes&Noble at the time, I regularly checked out the puzzle display to see if anything caught my eye. Usually nothing did, as it was typically filled with pictures of animals, cityscapes, and Thomas Kincaid paintings, but when I saw Ravensburger’s Sanctuary of Knowledge, I knew I had found my puzzle.
I promptly purchased it, along with a Stow n’ Go mat as I had no table to work on, but the puzzle languished for months in a stack of things behind my couch. As usual, I didn’t think I had the time to really get started on it. But shortly after the Mysterious Mr. C and I started dating, I was hit with the puzzle bug again and luckily, he was willing to play along!
When we moved in together, the puzzle – which was a work in progress – came with us, rolled up on the mat. Every now and then we would work on it for a little bit, but this January we made a concerted effort to finish it because really, nearly two years to complete a 1,000-piece puzzle is a little embarrassing. It was a bit of a tricky endeavor, with the bookcases frequently bedeviling us (they all looked the same!), but eventually we found a rhythm and voila, the puzzle was finally done!
But while putting the puzzle together was fun, I really enjoyed the time it gave me with C. For when we worked on the puzzle, the television was off and phones were forgotten. It was just us, being nerdy and puzzling. And that I can’t wait to do again.