Thursday, March 4, 2021

SOL21 Slice 4: Connecting pieces


I am participating in the
All participants are sharing stories about moments in their lives, writing 
 every day for the month of March 2021.
Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for nurturing teacher-writers!

I figured out how to make a 1000 piece puzzle even more challenging! Spill a cup of tea on it. This lifts the whole picture right up, off of the individual pieces; in fact, it immediately separates each piece into 4-5 layers of super thin cardboard. (If you are game, you are now free to make multiple puzzles.)

Our picture puzzles give us a chance to 'travel' to new places during the pandemic, and we typically have one in process, sprawled out on one end of the dining room table. This one is/was a National Geographic image of Ushguli, Georgia. I received it as a gift at Christmas. When I dropped my tea cup all over it, I was instantaneously moved from serene, calm puzzle-maker into crisis mode: quick, stand up the cup! grab a towel! where are the towels?! quick! wipe the table! save the table! dry the wood! blot the puzzle! oh that doesn't work! it's seeped under! hmm. get out your blow dryer! - oh my goodness! 
are those puzzle 
all about? 

I am not a good first responder for a puzzle disaster. 

Throw away the puzzle. 

Pause and reflect. 

Dropping my cup of tea mid-process was the most unexpected, surreal, bizarre thing to happen to me - physically - in quite some time. I was holding the cup in my left hand, steady, I believed; using my dominant hand to connect the pieces I had discovered. I have combined tea and puzzles for years, with nary a problem. Both my hands are pretty dang strong. I've never had any issues with wrists giving way, or one hand feeling a little feeble. I wasn't tired, I wasn't rushing about. What the heck?

These things happen.

Hey, I am human - I've caused plenty of spills. Knocked things over. Slipped while holding something. Fallen. However, I've noticed that the older I get, these simple 'accident moments' have layers of extra weight and meaning when they happen. 

I immediately wonder: is this an aging issue? 
Will I one day look back on this moment and say, oh - that was when [.......] began? 


Think I'll sit with a cup of tea, and write for a bit . . . .

Tea! Bless ordinary afternoon tea!
- Agatha Christie


  1. I am so sorry this accident happened. It’s a fluke. Believe that. As an accident-prone person, I totally see myself spilling tea on a puzzle. Have you thought about tossing the tea-soaked one and ordering a new one. You could put the new pieces in the old box. I worry your table will suffer more if you don’t get the puzzle pieces off it.

    1. Oh, you are sweet to worry! Yes, table is dry, puzzle is trashed, just my reflections live on. I hope it is a fluke!! (Yes, I'll probably order a new one...)

  2. This is a great entry! The older I get the more I question certain moves my body makes, so I understand your position. I hope you find a new puzzle soon. I find them so soothing and you can listen to books at the same time! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks for commenting! Yes, puzzles are very soothing.

  3. I love puzzles, and they have been a lifesaver during COVID. I understand what you mean about the changes in the body or new happenings. It is disconcerting. I think events like this take on a new meaning or more scrutiny because of age. Keep puzzling!

    1. Thanks, Heather! I also think I the pandemic itself has me focused on every little change in my body!

  4. Maureen, what a great retelling of the tea disaster. The Georgia picture is beautiful. What a disappointment. It was interesting to see the effect on each puzzle piece, and when explained, it made sense that each piece would fall apart because there are so many edges to absorb the tea. I wouldn't have thought a cup of tea could do so much damage, but it is amazing how far a little spreads when its out of the cup. Your post reminds me of something that happened to me yesterday. Perhaps that will be my post today! Thanks for sharing. All the best on your next puzzle!

    1. I never imagined a cup of tea could do so much damage, either! Of course, I never imagined the cup of tea spilling!

  5. I love the puzzle, with tea and losing its finish, being a metaphor for the puzzle of aging. Its genius