V got this puzzle for Christmas from our friend Nancy. This is the third time we've done it: we discuss the Addams family while we work, and it's really fun.
And it brings up memories I had long forgotten. When I was a girl, my family LOVED puzzles. Every holiday, all winter, and just about any time was a good time for a puzzle. I have few memories of my grandfather, who died when I was 6, but many of them involve him hovering around a dining room table, working on a puzzle. We had three or four puzzles we did every Christmas, and it helped us bide our time while we waited to open presents.
But it wasn't enough to just do puzzles, for some reason. My dad had all kinds of elaborate rules for puzzles, and puzzle doing was serious business. These rules were non-negotiable, and though I didn't enforce them with V(except for #1), I felt bad for breaking each rule.
Dewey's rules for puzzles:
1. No food or drink on the puzzle table. At all. Ever. If you need coffee or a snack, get a TV tray and put it up next to the puzzle table. Then consume it over the TV tray, not the puzzle. Also, you'll have to listen to the story about when Grandpa Art spilled coffee on a brand new puzzle one year.
2. When we open a puzzle, and dump out the pieces, we have to flip over all of them before we put anything together. Every piece. When I was too little to really do much else with puzzles, this was often my job, and my family was all about the 1000 piece ones. It took for freaking ever.
3. If any of the pieces were left together from the last time this puzzle was done (my aunt Barbie was notorious for just folding a puzzle up to put it away) everything must be taken apart and spread out. Just two pieces together? One on each end of the table. More than that, and we had to mix them in.
4. Everyone gets to look at the cover of the box once. Just once. When someone new comes to start work on the puzzle, they get to look at, but the rest of us who've already seen it are expected to avert our eyes. And then we talk about those crazy people who use the box to place individual pieces, and don't follow the other rules, either. Heathens.
5. If, when the puzzle is finished, there are pieces missing, we look around carefully to see if there're any on the floor. If not, we take a slip of scrap paper, slide it under the puzzle, and trace the missing piece. Then we write on the slip a description of what's missing (i.e. blue hippo eye, or Santa's left elbow). This precious slip goes into the puzzle box so we know what's gone for next time.
I sure wish he was here to teach these to V, though. I'm a pushover when it comes to made up rules, it turns out. Somewhere he's hollering at us everytime we look at the box, I just know it. I hope he understands.