Puzzles, puzzles and more puzzles
I love puzzles. We love puzzles at Rediscovered Books. In fact, we have a number of avid puzzlers on staff, and we are only too happy to chat with you about puzzle quality, which ones we like best, or even what to do if you end up with a puzzle that is missing pieces (and, yes, occasionally that happens). We sell a lot of puzzles, which is why we have so many. In fact, we have an entire vault in our Caldwell store dedicated in part to puzzles. So, what is the charm of puzzles?
I don't know about other people, but for me I love having a puzzle going during the colder months of the year. I set on up on my dining room table and puzzle while staring out the window drinking coffee in the morning and putting in a few pieces before starting my day or enjoying a glass of wine at night puzzling away the evening. Whenever we host a family gathering, there is always a puzzle involved. And it is not really about the puzzle itself, whether it is a 1000-piece puzzle or if is hard or easy. A puzzle provides a tech free zone to just exist and chat. Sometimes the puzzle is an active conversation around who found what piece or if anyone has found that one missing edge piece, sometimes it is a companionable silence with each person spending a little Zen moment sorting pieces by colour or section, and sometimes it is a place where more challenging conversation opportunities present themselves in an innocuous way.
When I was younger and my grandparents would visit from England, one of the first things that my grandfather did was commandeer the dining room table by dumping an entire box of puzzle pieces out and then hiding the box before anyone could see what the puzzle was of. WHAT? Yes, we puzzled an anonymous puzzle sight unseen, and it took us the entire 6 weeks that they visited to complete it. Granted, once the image was figured out (close to the end of their visit, mind you) we were in puzzle overdrive because it had to be done before they left.
Now I, as the puzzle director of our family, have the responsibility of providing a puzzle for family gatherings. I do much the same commandeering of space and dumping out the pieces in a big pile, but I will not hide the box. No way, not ever. That was simply too traumatic for me as a child. But that same fervor imbues our family puzzling efforts, it has to be completed by the end of our family gathering no matter how long. This often has involved late nights, lots of snacks, and more than one bottle of wine. But it has also involved a multi-generational opportunity to spend quality time together with the puzzlers and the sorters punctuated with cheers when a stubborn piece has been found, or when 2 separate sections actually fit together (and this involves much high fiving), and the ultimate decision of who gets to place the final piece in our collaborative work.
Even now as I plan a cross country trip to visit family, I am selecting the perfect puzzle to pack in my luggage--500 for a short visit or an ambitious 1,000 piece? Do they have puzzles where I am headed? I am certain they will, but what if it is not the perfect one? What if the weather is bad when I arrive (after all it is March) and I cannot get out to get one? That would be a disaster. So, I had better just play it safe and take one with me.