Updated: Aug 20, 2019
Complete a 2,000 piece jigsaw puzzle in 24 hours.
Seemed like a doddle. I'm pretty sure I've done a 1,000 piece jigsaw in less than 12 hours, thus a 2,000 piece would be twice as long, surely. I figured that 1,440 minutes permitted me a strike rate of 1.5 pieces per minute. Besides, how difficult can it be to sort 2,000 pieces into different colours, and then organise them into small cans and arrange as per the picture?
And this is where I went wrong. I was soon to go even more wrong. I began by measuring out all surfaces in my own, I found I was deficient of a suitable 2,000 jigsaw-puzzle sized table. So the hall mat on the floor substituted. That's how I learnt I don't have knees built for this task. Nor hips. Nor lower back.
And then I went even more wrong. Common sense would dictate that one starts with the outside edges, and then progress from there. As I didn't have time for outside edges, I figured they'd take care of themselves. Instead I started with yellow.
Yellow - the most dominant colour of the bloody jigsaw puzzle. Then I subdivided into shelves and tins. I spent six hours trying to the build shelves only to finally admit defeat when I realised even though I had two complete shelves I had no way of knowing where exactly on the floor they should go. Worse, the damned things disintegrated as I tried to move them out of the way. With that I thought it best to go to sleep.
I read recently in Why We Dream that when faced with a challenge our brain tries to fix it, or overcome it, when we sleep. That's why if you play Tetris, or go rock-climbing, the brain is still trying to find routes long after you've given up. Or in my case, I dreamt it was approximately two-thirds finished, only my cat, oddly accompanied by another cat, whom I assumed was his boyfriend, had then trashed the lot and it was back in bits all over the lounge. I was mostly surprised that my cat had a boyfriend.
It did, however, mean I was grateful that my two yellow shelves were still intact when I removed my position on the floor. The cat felt the need to help by doing his 'if I fits, I sits,' in one of my sorting boxes. Thus if I wanted to change strategy, even to something radical like doing red tins, my course was set and there was no changing it.
And so to the yellow pieces. Swifter progress was made in terms of my pieces per minute rate but even if I was hitting 1.5 pieces per minute, I had totally not factored in the 'sorting into bits' phases that takes bloody ages. More time was taken moving, carefully, the fractured shelving that I had laid out, in order to position the yellow tins in the correct order. However, more time was lost when I had a sudden urge to eat pancakes, take two telephone calls, hang up some laundry, clean a dishwasher and stretch my now overstretched tendons.
And on to white it was but only because I figured it would be more motivating to do something achievable but I distracted myself half way through and started on purple. And then, I decided it was best to go to bed hoping that the cat and his imaginary boyfriend would arrange it perfectly overnight. I was disappointed he hadn't when I got up. I knew that if I was to complete this task, I'd have to get it done in six hours to meet the deadline. With red, blue, outline, green, black and all the other jeffing bits to slot in, I'd have to motor - or concede I really hadn't got a hope in hell.
With all day Sunday to finish this, I dedicated myself to just getting it done no matter what. It took a further ten hours, well passed my twenty-four hour estimate. Notwithstanding, it is in fact, a 1,997 piece jigsaw. Did I enjoy it? Yes. I've always enjoyed a jigsaw puzzle, despite many years of my ex-husband mocking me for this hobby (he was a joiner-in as long as no one was told type of guy!). If doing jigsaw puzzles supposedly means you're ready for the grave, well I've had one foot in the grave since I was a teenager. Actually, thinking about that, I probably have.
What I've learnt:
- Always use a tried and tested jigsaw strategy, e.g. start with an outside edge no matter what.
- Never deviate from a tried and tested jigsaw strategy. I really don't know better and the shortcuts are merely a short manoeuvre into mayhem.
- When I go wrong, it simply creates further chaos down the line.
- Jigsaw puzzles aren't a mindful exercise. I don't own the most powerful brain but it allows too much thinking time, or rather mulling shit over time. On the plus, it's great for keeping one engaged when watching a box-set that one has seen before, or listening idly to something that doesn't require too much concentration.
- Jigsaws are a great way of keeping me sat down for a period of time. I can't readily sit and 'just watch telly', I need something to keep me busy. Jigsaws slot that space!
- Stick with the 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzles as they fit the furniture.
- I can focus on the imperfection of three missing pieces, or I can focus on the achievement of actually completing a task imperfectly.
- Rehome the cat before doing a jigsaw puzzle
- I really need varifocal glasses and a hip replacement.