Half a “P”

I read that jigsaw puzzles are more popular than ever now that people are stuck at home with nothing else to do.

In my opinion, there is always something else to do. In fact, I made a list of things that I would rather do than assemble puzzles:

  1. Anything.
  2. See #1.

One time, Tara and I took a weekend getaway to the Oregon coast. We rented a beach house and our only goal was to relax. There was a collection of board games there, and for some strange reason we decided to attempt a jigsaw puzzle. Hours of monotonous tedium ensued. I realized I just wasn’t a puzzle person when I started wishing there was some paint I could watch dry instead.

I’m a guy who believes the whole is better than the sum of the parts. Why on earth would I want to expend mental energy piecing together a picture of a mountain or a waterfall when I can go to Instagram and pull up a picture of a mountain or a waterfall instead? It’s the same thing with “deconstructed” food. I’ve always thought that was a copout—the sign of a lazy cook. You can’t serve me a bowl of ground beef, lettuce, tomato, cheese, and tortilla strips and tell me it’s a “deconstructed taco.” That’s a taco salad, amigo.

Nope. Not a taco.

I will always choose constructed things over deconstructed. Hell, I cringe whenever I buy an item, open the box, and find the dreaded “some assembly required” notice. I might buy a jigsaw puzzle if it came pre-assembled…maybe frame it and hang it on the wall or something. Just don’t make me put the damn thing together myself.

No offense to puzzle aficionados out there. If you like ’em, good for you. By all means, assemble away! Just don’t invite me over to help, or you’ll force me to trot out some lame excuse, like I have an early meeting, early haircut, or a squash game, or I have to clean my andirons…and I don’t even have a fireplace!*

*Name that movie…

(I actually do have a fireplace. A rather nice one, at that.)


That fireplace is coming in handy, by the way, because we are in the midst of a record cold snap out here. As predicted, it started snowing Saturday afternoon, and continued throughout the night.

How much snow? Well, we have a funny way of measuring that. Last year, we stopped by an antique store and bought a blue metal “P” (for our last name) that we set out in the backyard. Whenever it snows, we glance outside and see how deep the snow has piled up in relation to the P.

“Looks like we got half a P overnight!” Tara said yesterday.

This weekend’s snowfall? About half a P.

By my rough estimation, half a P is about six inches. It’s hard to tell for sure, with all the blowing and drifting snow we had, but that sounds about right.

During our Thanksgiving weekend blizzard, our P was buried for days. Rapid City’s official snowfall was 17″, so again, that checks out.

Half a P is kind of on the borderline for breaking out the snowblower. We could have used it today—one of our neighbors had his going—but I was so bored, I longed for something to do, even if that meant manual labor. So I shoveled instead. And then I shoveled the neighbor’s driveway and front porch. I might have gone on to shovel the whole freakin’ block if most other people hadn’t already taken care of their snow.

wp-1586729944181.jpgAnyone else catch Saturday Night Live over the weekend? They aired an unprecedented “remote from home” episode that was the epitome of adapting to challenging times. I’ve really got to hand it to SNL for braving uncharted territory in order to try something new. And it was great to see Tom Hanks again (and from the comfort of his own home, no less).

SNL is one of those hallowed institutions whose very presence makes the world seem like a better place. I once blogged that writing for SNL would be a dream job, and while that ship has probably sailed at this point, I never miss an episode.

Like meatloaf and cozy sweats, Saturday Night Live never fails to comfort.

25 thoughts on “Half a “P”

  1. Half a P… Lol. Brilliant!

    Ok so you’re saying you’re not an Ikea guy… 😂

    Whatever cold snap happened in your location it’s not here. There’s rain but the temps are actually climbing…wonder if this means all the spring flowers are bursting now. Maybe I’ll go check it out. That could be my “movement” for the day…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Don’t get me wrong, I love IKEA. We bought all the shelves for our record collection there. And yes, we had to assemble them all…ugh. But actually, those weren’t too bad. Shelves aren’t nearly as complex as, say, an office chair.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I never really cared for puzzles, either. Not when there are walks to take or books to read. And the big ones that take days to do? Clearly the province of the rich, or at least folks with big houses and lots of room. There’s no place for a dedicated puzzle table in our little house.

    If there was, the cat would sit on it anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I HATE puzzles! Hate, hate, hate!!!!!

    And my kid won a puzzle themed basket one year at school. I let him invite his friend over, assemble all the puzzles, then they went to Goodwill. Awful.

    I also remember my first day being an aide for Special Education, my boss handed me a box filled with puzzle pieces and asked my to assemble it, problem was there were 4 or 5 puzzles the kids had mixed together! I thought I was being punked!!!!! I’m still friends with that teacher and we laugh about it now.

    Did I mention I hate puzzles?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If I’m reading between the lines here, Wendy, I’m going to venture a guess and say that you might dislike puzzles a little…?

      Honestly, I’m glad I’m not the only one! Pretty sure I have a family member or two who loves puzzles and will probably rain wrath upon me for posting this.


  4. Mark, it’s so freaking ironic that you mentioned SNL because to be honest, I haven’t watched that show in like a MILLION years because, well, I just don’t watch TV. However, since being indoors these past many weeks, I reacquainted myself with the show via You Tube. I’m watching episodes over the past several years and OMG…it’s HILARIOUS! And since you also mentioned your dream job would be writing for SNL, I have to tell you that an acting friend of my from Florida landed a job writing for them for 18 years. Her name is Paula Pell. Such a talented lady, not only in writing, but also acting. She’s a Tracey Ullman-type, she can do multi-characterizations. And brilliantly. Google her.

    I feel the same about puzzles. Partly because my hateful grandmother used to make me and my brother put them together whenever she sat for us.

    Gorgeous photo of the fireplace! And I love that retro clock above your TV screen!

    Have a super week, my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s awesome, Ron! I bet Paula has some amazing stories to tell. SNL, for me, has been pretty remarkably consistent over the years. It seems like every time a beloved actor leaves and I’m heartbroken, a new one comes along who is every bit as funny. Can’t beat a track record like that!


  5. Wow, we love to do puzzles here, the bigger the better. I also like crossword puzzles; how do you feel about those?

    For the second time in less than a week, we have tornadic (I made that up) winds blowing through. Now worried about power outage with a full basement freezer of quarantine food. 2020 just keeps giving.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like crossword puzzles! But those appear to my love of words, so they’re kind of a natural fit for me. 🙂

      Also, tornadic is totally a word. I think? In any case: yikes! As if you weren’t already hunkering down…


  6. I agree that writing for SNL would be a dream job, especially back in the Tina Fey days. *le sigh*

    We almost always have a puzzle going around here. My husband enjoys them. I sit down with him, glass of wine in hand, and pretend to help. With some music on, it is soothing and as nothing is really being asked of me other than to sip wine, I like puzzles.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I love puzzles and “bowls” of deconstructed food. I prefer to assemble and pick, pick, pick with my fork, it seems.
    My husband does not enjoy puzzles and he also mixes his deconstructed food up, which I suppose reconstructs it.
    Now I am pausing to hmm over whether the world is made of these two types of people.
    I did see SNL and I liked it 😀 Continuity is comforting.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. How funny–I was just working on a jigsaw puzzle before reading this!

    They’re certainly not for everyone. I like them as a way to decorate the house when done (assuming the board stays together…)

    That’s an amusing way to keep track of snow depth. I hope your neighbor appreciated the help.

    Liked by 2 people

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