Why On Earth Is It So Hard To Actually Finish A Puzzle?

Achievement: #89. Do the Pittsburgh Skyline Puzzle

It’s easy to start a puzzle. It’s easy to leave one half-assembled upon your table for months on end. But actually finishing a puzzle? For Fox and me, at least, it has turned into this weird Herculean task in our minds, always abandoned by year’s end.

Pittsburgh Skyline Puzzle
Seriously. I bought this puzzle back in 2009 as part of a Christmas present for Fox. I had planned a spring trip to California for us — our first since moving back to Pittsburgh — and I had hidden the tickets inside the puzzle.

Pittsburgh Skyline Puzzle
The year 2010, in addition to being the year of our first return to California, was also the year we established this 101 Achievements blog. So, of course, completing the puzzle went on our list. And there it stayed for that year, and the next, and the next…

Until this year. This year, we decided to (literally) dust off this bought-years-ago-but-never-attempted puzzle of Pittsburgh’s skyline, and truly commit.

Pittsburgh Skyline Puzzle
We laid out a long cut of holiday wrapping paper to provide a more perfectly even surface and dug right in to forming the border.

Pittsburgh Skyline Puzzle
As we worked, we learned a slightly embarrassing fact: this puzzle is, and always has been, ridiculously easy to put together. As it turns out, the back of the puzzle has a sectional grid system drawn on it, making it not 1 puzzle with 1500 pieces, but essentially 30 little puzzles with 50 pieces.

Pittsburgh Skyline Puzzle
If only we had known! (Or, I guess, if only I had paid any attention whatsoever when buying this thing…)

We spread the work out over several days, but really, it was just a handful of hours’ effort to finish the assembly.

Pittsburgh Skyline Puzzle
Then it was time to answer the age-old question: what in the hell does one do with a finished puzzle? For us, the answer was to lay a sheet of poster board over the top…

Pittsburgh Skyline Puzzle
…flip the puzzle ass-over-tea-kettle (note the highly Nerfed backside grid)…

Pittsburgh Skyline Puzzle
…slather that badboy with an entire bottle of Elmer’s…

Pittsburgh Skyline Puzzle
…and then stick the poster board on for a sturdy backing.

Pittsburgh Skyline Puzzle
Happily, nine years after grad school, I finally found a use for my pretentious bookshelf full of cultural theory!

After the gluing, we covered the front side of the puzzle with contact paper, and then hung it up on our bedroom wall.

Pittsburgh Skyline Puzzle
It may have taken us half a decade to get there, but it sure is a nice image to wake up to, isn’t it?

Pittsburgh Skyline Puzzle

1 Comment

Filed under #89, #89-14, long-delayed achievements, pittsburgh, puzzle

One Response to Why On Earth Is It So Hard To Actually Finish A Puzzle?

  1. woubbie

    I am smiling!

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