Sunday, April 29, 2012

Hong Kong Spring

I hate this time of year.  Not because of the rains, not because of the heat, not at all because I'm no longer in the classroom.  I hate it because my walls sweat.  I hate it because the new paint in my daughters room is starting to peel off the concrete wall.  I hate it because we can't keep dry towels in the house as they are all being used to mop up the floors that are wet from the sweating walls....

But most of all I hate it because all of my wooden puzzles are out of commission for yet another 6 months or so.  It doesn't matter if the puzzle is a cheap piece of rubbish that was made in a shack in the middle of nowhere China, or an expensive one I purchased from overseas.  All of them are now locked nice and tight.

The worst thing about locked up puzzles?  I can't play with them.  I have this one on my desk that I have been fiddling with off and on in an attempt to open.  Well, you've guessed it, she's locked up tight.  I would let out a very heavy sigh here, but no one would care I'm sure.  I guess I'll just have to wait until typhoon season is over round about November to attempt those last few I bought...

Now I wonder, how do others feel about puzzles that can only be used 1/2 the year?  Am I ruining them for someone else?  The really good ones don't get warped, they just shut for a bit.  Should I stop purchasing wood and leave them to those who can enjoy them year round?  Should I stick to plastic and metal?  (Although, some of the metal doesn't like this humidity either...)

Thoughts?  And if anyone has a plan on how to stop this problem-besides the dehumidifier, I have one running 24/7 already-I'd love to hear about it.


  1. Fortunately, the climate in Portugal is not that extreme. I don't think I ever had that problem with wooden puzzles. I have two Japanese boxes that do require a bit more care, but the only thing that I do is not to expose them in open air, like a shelf and keep them in a small cardboard box.

    I do have a solution for your problem, though. You can send you wooden puzzles to Portugal for half a year and I'll take good care of them. Then, I'll send them back when the climate is more favorable over there... Problem solved :D

  2. Yah know, I have friends in NZ, England, The US, Germany and they all give me the same solution. :-)

    I'm saddened because I have yet to solve the last cigar box from Eric, and my latest Karakuri puzzles are still unsolved and will remain so until winter....Such a shame. You are so lucky that you don't have to deal with this problem. I envy you.

    1. You see, it's a solution recognized internationally. Must be a good thing.

  3. Beijing is much more short in distance than Portugal from HK. Well you know, It's dry here~

  4. I'll look after them ALL for you if you like!! :-D


  5. I have a solution for you Rox!!! Send all your wood puzzles to me. Here is the Southwest it's dry and hot!!! I strongly suggest not giving any thought to the matter and just sending them. I'm going to attempt to use my jedi mind trick through the internet. S e n d M e P u z z l e s

  6. Short of a humidity controlled cabinet, there's not much to suggest really. Possibly if you can run a de-humidifier in one room you may be able to put a few of the wooden puzzles you want to play with in there. I certainly wouldn't say don't but them, but I can appreciate the issues with not being able to play with them.

  7. I can send you a large air-tight crate of air from Colorado. If you can get inside without letting any humid Hong Kong air in, you can sit happily and play with your wooden puzzles until the oxygen runs out. :-)

  8. Bonus points to George for the most interesting and creative answer.....

  9. I have a similar but not so severe problem in Singapore.My dehumidifier has run out of space, so what I do now is to just place all my wooden and other puzzles into a cabinet with doors and place several of those drying agents, the type you can get at a grocery store or supermarket to keep your clothes dry in the closet or preventing mold. You may have to use 3-4 units depending on the size of your cabinet. It's not as effective as a dry box or dehumidifier but it keeps the wooden puzzles from locking up.

  10. I tried those for the closet years ago. What's the allergy? BCG? We can't have most of them anywhere around. I'll have to go take a look at the ones that cause problems and see if I can't work out what the ingredient is...I'm glad it works for you though. I'm just upset because I have this cigar box I want to open.....

    I guess I should count my blessings. Our humidity is only terrible for a few months, then just high for the next 3-4. I could live in a place where it's like this year round.

  11. You are referring to Havana #2? I am still stuck with mine.....and not because of the humidity.

  12. hey Katsmum, enjoying your puzzle blog. Are there any good puzzle shops in Hong Kong you would recommend? - I am particularly interested in puzzle boxes / trick opening boxes. Many thanks. Gerard

  13. Jerry, I got so busy with work after Havana #2 came in that I really didn't have much of a chance to sit and really think about it. Yep. She's the one that's locked up. So sad really. But come October~November, I'll have a toy to play with.

    Gerard, HK has 2 puzzle shops. SmaZ's in Kowloon Bay and HKNowStore in Causeway Bay. Neither of which sells boxes. A shame really. But, when beating the streets, you never know what you may find....

  14. I got this wonderful message from a fellow puzzler and because it is something I never thought of before I'm posting it here.

    Hi Katsmom, With my most delicate and prone to humidity problem puzzles I place them in zip lock baggies. I would suggest doing this durning the time of year when the puzzle is operating it's finest. The sealed zip lock bag will preserve the humidity level inside the baggie until it's opened again. You should be able to play with the puzzle and then when you return it the the baggie I would recommend using a straw to suck all the air out of the baggie as you zip it up. if the puzzle is out for short times I believe it won't be greatly affected by the temporary change in humidity. I have almost the exact opposite problem than you, here in Canada our winters can be very dry. Durning the winter I will place a full glass of water on the shelves of my puzzle cabinet. I monitor the glasses through the winter and refill them as they empty. These tricks seem to work for me and I hope they help you with your puzzle problems.

    Thanks Peter! I did know the water trick. We use that here in winter as well. From dry to humid and back again. What a wonderful place I live in.