999 Pieces of Success

Last week I bought a 1000 piece puzzle and dumped all of the pieces on the table.


I got it for several reasons. First, I think it is good for relieving stress. It feels good to spot a piece and just know where it belongs. Snap it in, and it fits perfectly. Each tiny piece a success. Second, I thought it would get people to congregate at the table and talk more instead of everyone going off into their own little space to watch tv or hang out on the world wide web. Something about faces glowing in front of a screen is extremely depressing to me, and yes, I know my own eyes spend too much time bathed in that light.

It’s a good mind exercise, puzzle building. It trains the eye to be more perceptive and is helpful for spatial relationships. If the original is a painting, you can actually learn something about brush strokes.

It’s also pretty cool for slipping on a song by Tool, “Schism”, where the refrain is, “I know the pieces FIT!” and watch to see how long it takes for the others to notice the lyrics. Then sit back and listen for them to hum the song later because the song is completely lodged into their brains!

Revelations in convos such as this one:

Spanky: I’m going to name my band “Bitch Please.”

Me: Why?

Spanky: Wanna make sure my songs don’t get played on Radio Disney.

Me: Ah, Disney. AM620. I’ll never forget the day y’all got in the car and turned the station from pure FM to AM. I wanted to know who the hell told y’all AM radio existed so I could pinch their head off.

Spanky: You serious?

Me: No baby, I signed up for all that, every minute of parenting torture you kids could throw at me.

Spanky: Torture?! I had no idea.
After a couple of days of puzzling, our eyes began to play tricks on us. While driving into a beautiful sunset yesterday, Spanky said, “Ugh, puzzle sky.”

I knew exactly what she was talking about. Everything picturesque had this puzzle stamp superimposed on it. I want to take down every painting in this house because they all remind me of puzzles. Blane said it too, “Everything looks sectioned off.”

He was the main one at the table. He couldn’t even walk by it without making a stop. “Just five minutes,” he’d say. An hour later, he was still there fighting to get his corner done before I got mine finished out. It’s sort of funny how we got all territorial with our spots, unspoken, of course.


Here is the finished work. The image we’ve been staring at for almost a week.

You ever get that feeling while building a puzzle that one of the pieces is missing only to come back to the thing later and find the piece you were looking for? That kept happening to us the entire time because we knew early on one of them was missing. An edge piece with some writing on it.


It might have fallen off the table and gotten eaten by the dogs, I don’t know, we’ve combed the house on our hands and knees looking for that damn thing. We never found it.

Who the hell cares? We have 999 pieces of success and I like the way my family ganged up to solve something. Even if it was a stupid puzzle we never want to see again as long as we live. I don’t care about that one missing piece, either.

But if it ever shows up, I’m gonna frame it and hang it up on the wall and call it “Solved.”


8 thoughts on “999 Pieces of Success

  1. The elusive missing piece . . . may you never find it.

    I had a friend who used to love to do puzzles. Big ones, that were double-sided, with strange optical illusions on them. They challenged her. Now, she’s a PhD candidate.

    And, Tool? Rock on . . .

  2. We are a puzzle family too. It’s tradition to give my mom the hardest damn one we can find each Christmas.

    Alas, thanks to the introduction of kitties in our house I cannot have a puzzle corner of my own right now. Perhaps if older son ever moves out I can keep what will become the office/guest room kitty free so that I may puzzle again.

  3. I can’t remember the last time I attempted a puzzle. Well, most of the last time, at least. I remember some kid stepped on it. That was slightly depressing. And I hadn’t even finished yet.
    I think I might try that puzzle again. Might alleviate some summer boredom. I’m hoping jumping back on the S.S. WordPress does that too.

  4. I’m glad I got that puzzle. I’ve had to hang around the house a lot more than usual because of Blane’s back being out, so it has kept me sane.
    yay Tool!

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