When I got up this
morning at 10 minutes to 5, the weather seemed unusually mild.
I called to check, and the temperature was 34 degrees, considerably
warmer than last Tuesday at this time. It was enough to make
me miss my absent neighbor and occasional walking partner, who
was out of town again. I say occasional because since the cold
weather set in, he has walked with me exactly one time. A big
fellow and former Marine, he doesn't want to come across as
a cold-weather wimp; but the night before he left, he came over
to say goodbye, and he was wearing enough clothes to withstand
winter at the South Pole, even if he never went indoors.
My neighbor also
influences my behavior. With him away, I didn't stop for my
usual coffee and pastry. I walked one solid hour and returned
home without consuming one calorie. Now don't misunderstand
me: I'm sure when I'm not around he lives on carrots and water.
There are no extra calories on him. It's just that he makes
me walk so fast, that I just have to stop for coffee and a pastry!
One thing about walking
alone is that your mind really gets to think about all kinds
of silly things.
My wife and I spent
the weekend in Taos in our condo. On the way into town, we spotted
a toy store sign and decided to stop, to try to find a Christmas
present for one of our nephews. We didn't see anything that
we thought he would want, but while looking around I saw some
jigsaw puzzles, and ended buying one for us. Well, what a mistake
The puzzle was one
of those thousand-piece jobs. It showed a mountain man standing
in a forest. When finished it would cover an area of 20 by 27
inches. We put the pieces on the coffee table in our guest bedroom.
Even though in our entire marriage of 32 years Linda and I never
have worked on a puzzle, we knew the basic rule: Do the outside
border first. Easier said than done. For anyone who has never
tried to put a puzzle together, just finding the pieces that
make up the border is an ordeal.
Three grueling hours
later we had the border together, except for a couple of pieces
we couldn't find. We were sure they had been left out of the
box. That accomplishment called for a martini, so I put a couple
together for Linda and me. We sat make down to discuss what
to do next.
After several big
swallows of my martini, I decided my plan of attack was to start
with the mountain man's head and work down. My wife, on the
other hand, decided to try to put together the pieces to a stream
that ran through the forest. She must have been drinking her
martini faster than I.
After another two
hours I managed to put about eight pieces of the man's head
together. By then I had consumed an additional martini. My neck
was stiff, and my head was starting to ache. It might have been
the martinis, but I really think it was the puzzle! Linda, meanwhile,
had managed to assemble about 15 pieces of the stream. Somehow
the stream seemed to me to be running in the wrong direction.
I didnt know what was affecting methe martinis or
my wifes accomplishment.
We finally gave up on the puzzle up for the night, and didn't
get around to doing anything with it the next day. When we got
ready to come home Sunday, there was the puzzle on the coffee
table, in the way of any guests we might want to invite to spend
Linda decided that
I needed to get some kind of board to slip the puzzle onto when
we came back, so that all the work we had put into the darn
thing wouldn't be wasted. As if we would someday finish the
Continuing on my
walk, I wondered how could I be so stupid as to create this
nightmare for myself! What in the heck was I thinking? What
kind of insane mind does this to itself? It isn't that I don't
already have enough headaches to contend with.
I guess that deep
in my mind, I too must have thought that someday we just might
try again to put that silly puzzle together. Even as I was cussing
myself out for creating this ridiculous problem, I was wondering
where I could find the board to slide the puzzle onto when we
go back to Taos. Maybe well finish it one of these days.
Have a great day.