Puzzling Anticipation

Now that the autumnal equinox has past, I have really been looking forward to getting back to puzzling—assembling puzzles that is. Earlier this year, I wrote about how I had taken this up as a wintertime hobby and had thoroughly enjoyed it. What I didn’t write about was that no sooner had I finished my last puzzle in January that I already wanted to purchase my puzzles for next winter. I even wondered if maybe was there was such a thing as a puzzle club or a puzzle exchange where avid puzzlers shared puzzles with each other.

Within days of completing my last puzzle last winter, I was perusing my favorite online retailer, Amazon looking for puzzles I would want. I focused predominately on my favorite topics—cars and beer. But then I ran across a puzzle of  Keukenhof gardens, a beautiful park just outside of Amsterdam.

I had visited this large, beautiful garden numerous times on my teaching trips to Amsterdam whenever the scheduling of my course coincided with the brief two-month period of it being open. If you are a fan of tulips, hyacinths or flowers in general, this is an incredible place to explore with an estimated 7 million bulbs in bloom over their season.

When I saw this puzzle online, I knew it had to be one of mine to work. What better way to end the cold winter break than assembling a beautiful prelude to spring?

For my second puzzle, I explored more car and beer puzzles and selected this one of beer labels.

I thought this was would be a fun one to work on while actually enjoying a delicous beer on a cold winter night.

I finalized my purchase and waited for the package to arrive.

As Amazon does so well after making a purchase by suggesting additional items of potential interest, I was “notified” of this puzzle.

It was a Christmas version of a Midcentury Modern puzzle that I also enjoyed assembling last winter.

For this puzzle I had not only enjoyed the scenes depicted, but it was like assembling multiple puzzles within a puzzle with the many individual frames, giving me a sense of accomplishment each time I completed one section.

Colorfully bedecked with Christmas décor, I thought this would be a festive one to kick off my puzzling season in December, not long before Christmas.

Then for my birthday, my sister surprised me with a puzzle gift, one that I had actually debated getting myself when I was exploring potential puzzles in January.

She knows me well; naturally it was of cars.

I stashed my “war chest” of puzzles in our upstairs playroom closet to await cold weather. Never before have I wished for winter since I do not like cold weather but every time I went in that closet for something, there the puzzles sat as if taunting me to break down and open one up. But each time, I suppressed the urge and left them for another time.

Then as if calling for reinforcements to let them out of their caged boxes, my wife bought a used puzzle for me.

Amazingly, this was a puzzle design similar to another puzzle I almost bought. My only concern about working a used puzzle is what if one of the pieces is missing? I hate investing all the time into a puzzle if I can never see it completed. So before I work this one, I will likely take on the tedious task of counting to make sure it has all 1,000 pieces.

These five puzzles are still tucked away in that closet awaiting the day when they can come out and play. Since I will be retired at the time of the winter solstice, the official beginning of winter, I know I will have more time available to work on them. I suspect with the extra time, I may not have enough puzzles with these five to keep me puzzling throughout January, the national puzzle month. In that case due to the “puzzle addiction” I am willing to admit I am afflicted, I will just have to go in search for another “fix.”

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