About a month ago, we were having some really blustery weather. Streets were treacherous and people were being warned to stay at home if at all possible. So, Hubby and I stayed in, and I got out a jigsaw puzzle to give us something extra to do (Hubby gets cabin fever easily).
We both worked on the puzzle, but probably Hubby a little more than me, because he said it was a little like having a bowl of popcorn setting out — every time you walk past you have to “taste” a few pieces.
So, when we were done with that puzzle, I got another one out (because we had enjoyed that one so much, right?). Hubby did some mild grumbling about another puzzle, but I was sure he would enjoy it once we got into it.
Unfortunately, because of several things going on right now, including the start of my writing class, I haven’t had much time to work on the puzzle this time. But, usually a couple times a day I would see Hubby sitting at the table in the sun room where we have the puzzle spread out, working on it. Seemed like he was enjoying it to me.
Today Hubby has a head cold, so he’s staying in, and right after eating his breakfast, he went out to work on the last of the puzzle. This particular puzzle is a hard one. There is lots of desert in the picture and those desert pieces (a hundred or so) all look exactly alike, except for small variations in their shape.
So, he’s sitting there looking at all these look-alike pieces and I innocently walk out and make a little conversation with him. I commisserate about the sameness of the pieces and tell him that it would make my eyes cross to have to study each of those similar pieces and try to find where they go (You see how I have segued from co-assembler to sympathetic by-stander? Yeah, I think Hubby’s noticed that shift too.) So, I just suggest that “we” not bother to put those pieces in. We could just put that puzzle away and be done with it. AND, I tell him that I have just bought another puzzle (because “we” are enjoying the puzzles, right?) that is actually four small “companion” puzzles. Kind of a large puzzle made up of four segments. Meaning, they could be assembled one at a time, as smaller, less time-consuming projects.
You know how sickly and grumpy kind of go together? Well, Hubby said in his best raspy, sickly, grumpy voice, “Nooo, I’m (notice he’s not even pretending I’m helping him anymore) not quitting on this puzzle until it’s done. And, noooo, I don’t want to put another puzzle out. I’m just trying to get this one put together so we can finally get it out of the way!”
You know, we’ve been married a lonnnnng time, and there are lots of ways that we have grown to be more alike, but this emphasized one of our core differences.
There are lots of things in life that I must complete, and I try to do them to the best of my ability and to always complete those things. But, if I am doing something for enjoyment I have absolutely no problem with saying, “This isn’t fun any more. I’m going to stop.” (Notable Exception: When I am playing games with our grandchildren, the rule is — if you start the game you must complete it. Yes, games are for fun, but I think that, with children, it is a good life lesson to have to complete a game after you’ve started it, even if, say, you’re losing. It’s called being a good sport!)
Anyway, there aren’t any children around right now and if he isn’t enjoying this puzzle, which apparently he isn’t and maybe hasn’t for a while now, I see no reason for that puzzle to have to be completed. I could easily mentally wash my hands of it, and move on to another.
But, not my salt-of-the-earth, task-oriented, stoic, we-must-trudge-on-to-the-end Hubby. By god, that puzzle will be completed even if he goes blind from looking at all those sand-colored pieces doing it! And enjoying or not enjoying it has nothing to do with it!
So, I think this is the end of “our” puzzle-assembling days for a while. In fact, the puzzles, especially this “sandy” one, may have just become fodder for my next garage sale.
Do you think this is a bad time to ask him if he’ll take ballroom dancing lessons with me?