When the Pieces Fit Together

G and I spent this weekend as one being, locked in a torrid frenzy of…cleaning house. I ripped off his pants and threw them in the washer with the other seven loads of laundry. Not to be outdone, he shredded my old shirt then used it to wipe streaks off the windows. I screamed his name over and over and over again because he kept taking the whole roll of paper towels. He made me all dizzy and tingly when he used all that bleach in the bathroom and forgot to turn on the exhaust fan. In the dark of the fading afternoon, we squeezed and poked and fumbled until all the bathroom towels fit neatly on one shelf in the closet. With Disney Junior keeping the kids distracted, we crept off to the bedroom to rotate the mattress. And I do mean “rotate the mattress.”

By Sunday night, I was spent. He was out on the deck smoking and staring off across the treetops, like men with organized Tupperware cabinets do. It was magical.

Seriously, is there anything sexier than a man who smells like bleach? I think not.

As awesome as our newly organized bathroom closet is (and y’all…THREE BAGS of trash came out of there) it wasn’t the high point of the Big Clean for me. These two puzzles were:


So, can I talk to the people who have small folks in the house? Can you empathize with me when I tell you the delicious joy of finding ALL THE PIECES of these puzzles? For years, I’ve been considering throwing every puzzle piece out in one big sweep, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. It seemed so wasteful. I kept hanging on to a piece here and a piece there and one under the bed in Vivi’s room and one in the vase beside the dining room table and GAHHHHHHHH. My kids have played with this farm cube puzzle for eight years. I remember the first time Vivi put the horse together by herself. But it’s been scattered all over the house for a while now.

Even though the clutter was driving me crazy, I held on to the pieces whenever I found one and this weekend, after an unanticipated discovery in the bottom of the old toy box…all the pieces came together. I can’t describe the satisfaction and the joy.

It’s like storytelling–you hang on to random scraps and pieces and think about giving up then one day, it all falls together and makes a picture.  So I guess what I’m telling you is–hold on to the pieces. It will make sense one day. Maybe.

I wiped the smudges off the puzzle cubes and put them neatly in their tray, then slipped the whole thing in a gallon-sized Ziploc bag. Because we are homo sapiens and we learn to use tools. And not two minutes later, Vivi spotted it in the Donate box and cried, “I LOVE THAT PUZZLE!” I reminded her that she hadn’t played with it in years and she said, “That’s because it was missing most of the pieces.”

Dammit. She has a point. So the puzzle has gone back to her room–in the plastic bag–and I will watch for a week to see if it gets touched. If not, it goes along to some other child with a more organized mother.

Carlos got a fantastic puzzle for Christmas–a magnetic array of the 50 U.S. States. He loves it and we’ve been putting it together, together. But on the day after Christmas, we misplaced Wisconsin and I spent THREE DAYS haunted by that damn state.

Finally found it when G and I were thrashing around on the living room rug, all sweaty and sticky from picking up Christmas tree needles. I scared the bejeezus out of him when I yelled, “YesYesYes! Right there! Right there by your thumb! Wisconsin! WISCONSIN!”

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