Know When To Fold ’em

January 3, 2016

I am not a quitter. But more than that, I have puzzle OCD, so even if I wanted to quit a puzzle, I cannot. Impossible.

I’ve been wanting to do a jigsaw puzzle for weeks… couldn’t wait to be done with all of our holiday obligations and activities and just sit by the fire drinking tea and zoning out on a jigsaw. In the worst way.

Today was the day.

Went through the twenty or so that we have and picked a never-opened, 750-piece puzzle–a picture of a garden workbench, baskets of flowers, the front porch of a clapboard house… the usual. It was to be the first of many–my warm up–and I picked it because it had what seemed like discreet sections, distinct colors and enough variation to keep me engaged. I don’t like puzzles that have repeating designs or large swatches of the same color, or other gimmicks designed to make it sillily challenging. I just wanna sort colors and go. I like the satisfaction of making progress.

Here what I picked:


It started out fine, I thought:


It took two hours to 1) get all the pieces flush and upright and set aside the edges; and then 2) complete the perimeter. Maybe it always takes me that long, maybe I’m rusty… but two hours surprised me.


And then it took another FIVE hours to get this far:


That’s it, after seven hours. A pretty nice seven hours–fire, tea, quiet, the glow of Christmas lights–but SEVEN hours.

Then I looked at all the pieces, somewhat strategically grouped, and couldn’t even begin to find blippin dried corn on the cob. And, as I decided instead to do the flower baskets (but found they were too fuzzy), and then realized those gorgeous fall leaves were indistinguishably blended and nearly the same color as the shadows and the town in the distance, I thought… sh*t… I don’t like this puzzle anymore.

So here’s the new thing I did that I’ve never done before: I decided to quit. Just say NO to this stupid puzzle and find a better one!

I’ve NEVER done that. It’s more like me to be a prisoner of my puzzle OCD, to feel like I can’t not solve the puzzle, to feel I MUST slog it out to the bitter end.

But hey, not this time. I’m breaking that puzzle down and starting another one. Easy peasy.

I think this a good sign… a very good sign. Let’s call it the first healthy decision of 2016. The simple result of a pure and uncomplicated cost-benefit analysis. A nod to self-respect. The first step down the path of puzzle liberty. Freedom and liberty in ALL THINGS! The flip of a middle finger to the neurotic patterns of 2015 and every year before it.

Heh. No promises. No eager and optimistic resolution even. But I’ll take my victory over the jigsaw puzzle.



4 Responses to “Know When To Fold ’em”

  1. Michael Ann Says:

    Puzzle OCD.. NOW I know what I have! 🙂 I did THREE 1,000 piece Christmas puzzles this season 🙂 I tell you what though. Some puzzles are definitely better than others. Some puzzle companies do not make good puzzles. I quit a Noah’s Ark one once that was terrible… the pieces were way too small and had weird shapes and it just wasn’t FUN. Overall it has to be fun!

  2. Elliot Margolies Says:

    Hi. I’m Kari and I’m a Puzzle-holic.

    • Kari Says:

      It is true. I realized there’s a common thread between my many neurotic habits, playing spider and jigsaw puzzles. It’s all about organizing and sorting, creating order. Yup. Dat’s me.

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