Notes from Puzzle Palace

Saturday, January 9, 2021

A year in the life of a puzzler. Looking back on 2020

 2020 has been a bittersweet year.  

In January our IPP puzzles finally arrived and we had Nick Baxter over for an afternoon and a dinner.  Little did we know this would be the last of the world as we know it.  Our daughter was sicker than she has ever been but we forced her to continue to attend classes.  Thankfully she was at university and we didn't get sick. I ordered our tickets to IPP and began looking forward to a year of travel and puzzling. 

In February the world started to slowly learn about COVID-19.  Our president said it was under control and would not effect us here in the USA. It was a China problem.  We were making plans for yet another three month cruise.  George's workshop was finished and the cleaning and organizing was to begin.

March saw increased concern over this virus.  People around the country started hoarding of all things TOILET PAPER.  What is happening!  Our golf course closed and we decided to throw ourselves full tilt into fixing up Puzzle Palace.  George kitted out his workshop and I began working on cataloguing our collection.  We had plans for the first Boca Bash, but sadly it was cancelled due to Covid.  

The summer saw us continue with our work on the garage and the house.  I discovered a new 'room' in one of our attics and decided that I didn't want any more bare floor joists showing at all in any the attics.  George put down plywood flooring in two of them and I hired contractors to make the newly discovered area into a room.  We later had this painted and carpeted so George could have a new 3D printer room and storage area. 

Golf opened up again with tee-times.  Something we have never had before.  We met our dear friends the Bookatz's and have been playing together ever since.  

The kid was sent home from uni in late spring because of COVID-19 and began photographing our puzzle collection.

Then disaster struck.  IPP was cancelled!  Our main puzzle party of the year was not to happen.  We along with many other puzzlers around the world were devastated.  The organizing committee put together a few zoom meetings at odd hours of the day for those of us in the west.  I think we were still asleep for the first one.  The Midlands group put together a number of zoom parties and staggered them into three 2 hour sessions so as many people as possible could participate. 

By the end of September the bridge to link George's new workshop and the garage attic was completed.  I began populating the bridge with puzzle games.  After a talk with Rob Stegmann, I devised a way to display paper puzzles.  Our crystal puzzle collection is almost complete and almost completely assembled.  George's workshop is finished and is being used.  We have built at least 2 years worth of IPP exchanges and have ideas for another two or three.  

I managed in October to get George to blog with me.  He's posted a few times and will in future load his CFF articles that need burrtools files.  Dutch Cube day was cancelled as was our circumnavigation of Africa.  Another puzzle party bites the dust. 

In November we voted!  Thank heavens the tRump reign of terror is over.  We continued to work on a variety of puzzles in the house. George got fixated on doing a puzzle analysis for Oskar and we finalized the design for our new driveway and ordered the pavers from Canada.  Thanksgiving was a rather casual affair.  We brought it down to Miami and had an outdoor picnic with the kid.  Sadly, all too many in America did not stay at home, or follow social distancing protocols.  The airlines saw an increase in travel again and the US saw another surge in the number of confirmed cases.

Early in December we picked up the kid from Uni and the poor thing has been stuck with old boring parents ever since.  Although, I'm pretty sure it is us who is suffering more at this point.  The driveway was dug up mid-month and the pavers came in.  The good folks at Genesis Alliance Group and Balderez Construction worked full out to get it in a useable condition before the holiday.  Carl Hoff came out for a rather short visit and left with a CNC machine. 

George built me an Advent PuzzleTree and he was a lucky man.   I gifted him 25 puzzles via the tree and a couple more on Christmas morning.  He gave me the wonderful gift of 3D printer lessons just as soon as the kid goes back to Uni.  

The year ended with my version of the 12 days of Christmas.  I wish you all a Healthy and Happy New Year.  I hope 2021 is better for one and all.  And as my dad always says upon hanging up the phone, "Stay away from the virus!"

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