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Tuesday, Jul. 22, 2014 — RUSSELL SPRINGS & JAMESTOWN, KENTUCKY — russellcounty.net
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Thoughts from the Lower 40: Puzzling Behavior
In May 1 Issue
Russell County News

We all have those little “guilty pleasures,” right?

Every once in a while, when I’m stressed out, and in need of some relaxation, I don’t reach for a bottle, or sneak a smoke.

I put together a puzzle.

(I used to color, but stopped doing that when I kept losing crayons.)

Anyway, I like simple puzzles, and the lower the number of pieces, the better.

A 500 or 1,000 piece puzzle is WAY beyond my ability, but a 100, 50, or even a 25 piece puzzle is more my speed.

With my self-imposed limitations, I’m often stuck with puzzle subjects such as “Fairy Princess,” “Happy Frog,” or “Dinosaur Romp.”

You can have all those monster “Venice Landscape” and “Fall Foilage” puzzles.

Still, I find it relaxing to sit quietly and mull over a cardboard challenge.

The other day, I was working on a rather testy SpongeBob  puzzle when my three, youngest children seemed to appear out of nowhere-almost as if they fell from the sky.

I felt like I was being attacked by a small, somewhat non-threatening, pubescent street gang.

“Watch ya doin’, dad?”, six year old Drake asked.

“Yeah, watch yer doin’?” Kate, who is four, followed.

Two year old Izabella grunted and nodded her head toward the puzzle.

“I’m putting together a puzzle,” I told them.

“Why?” Drake asked.

“Well,” I replied, “it’s relaxing and fun.”

“What’s fun about it?’ Kate asked.

Izabella grunted.

“I just think it’s fun to sit and see if I can get all the pieces to fit together,” I said.

“Why?” Drake asked.

“That not sound like fun,” Kate said.

Izabella grunted.

“It IS fun,” I told them. “Don’t you like to do puzzles?”

“Izzy loses all the pieces,” Drake said, “or Kate gets mad and throws them.”

“Yeah, I could see that happening,” I said.

I was trying to find where to put one of SpongeBob’s eyeballs when Drake pointed out the proper location.

“That’s a hard puzzle,” Drake said. “You need help?”

“Sure!” I said. “It will be fun for all of us.”

There were now three little sets of hands all over the puzzle.

Drake would place a piece, Kate would pick it up, Izzy would take the piece and put it in her mouth.

“STOP!” Drake yelled. “You girls don’t know how to put together a puzzle!”

“Yes we do!” Kate screamed.

Izabella grunted.

“Now, hey,” I said, “we’ve all got to work together.”

“Kate doesn’t know how to cop-er-rate (that’s how it was said),”  Drake said.

“I do, too!” Kate said. “Drake not get right pieces.”

Izabella grunted.

“OK, OK!” I stressed. “We just all need to be patient, and work together. This SHOULD be fun.”

“Dad?” Kate asked. “Can God put together puzzles?”

“Uh…yeah, sure, I guess he can,” I answered.

“Hey, dad,” Drake said, “Who would be better at putting together puzzles? God, Mario, or Dark Vader”

“Well, I assume God would be the best,” I responded.

“DUH, Drake!” Kate said. “God made everything!”

Izabella grunted.

We were just about to finish the puzzle when we noticed we couldn’t find one of SpongeBob’s hands.

“Did you throw it, Kate?” Drake asked.

“NO!” she said.

We looked under and around the puzzle, but couldn’t find it.

The search became frantic.

I established a 10-12 foot “search perimeter.”

We were all on our hands and knees, looking for the missing piece.

Kate kept picking up pieces that were already put together asking, “Is this it?”

Drake was yelling at Kate, Kate would get mad and push Drake, Kate would cry, Drake would cry, Izabella grunted.

Then I started crying…out of frustration.

“I thought you said this was fun, daddy,” Drake said.

“It should be,” I told him.

“Kate, you made this ‘not-fun,’ ” Drake said.

“I DID NOT!” Kate yelled.

Izabella grunted.

“Just put the puzzle back in the box, dad,” Drake exhaled.

“But where’s the missing piece?” I asked. “I KNOW I had them all here!”

Izabella grunted…and spit a soggy, chewed-up puzzle piece out of her mouth.

“Are we done now, dad?” Drake asked.

“Yes, I said. “We’re done.”

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Russell County News is a weekly newspaper issued on Saturdays, and is mailed free to every address in Russell County, Ky. It was first published on February 1, 1913.
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