Notes from Puzzle Palace

Friday, March 17, 2023

Beware the Ides of March

Yes, I'm superstitious. Or stupidstitious as my daughter said when she was younger.  We left Ohio and drove through some beautiful country. As we were driving, I was thrilled by the snow I saw along the drive.  George was nonplussed of course. 

We made it about an hour the first night as we had to stop before 8 for a zoom call.  As it turns out, we are going to have an article written about us and our hobby  in the New York Times this year. When we woke in the morning there was more show and I was giddy. It's so beautiful isn't it.

We drove To Ithaca that day as Tracy needed a bit more time to finish the Mega-Mansion. And this is where my superstitious nature comes in.  When I first discussed picking it up I requested the 13th. It was a Monday so no big deal.  After we got into our trip, she changed the date to the 15th and I began to build anxiety.  We were supposed to spend Sunday at Niagra Falls on the Canadian side and then drive to Haym's. Um.  You need a passport to go across the border and we didn't have ours.  Stupid Rox.   But not to worry, now we had an extra two days so we decided to go visit Haym Hirsch.  I knew George and he would get along swimmingly and they did, but more on that later.  

That night in the hotel in Ohio I happened to turn on the weather by accident and saw a big storm coming in.  I contemplated skipping Haym's and going straight to Rochester and hunkering down there but George calmed me and reassured me that luck was on our side so to Ithaca I drove. We arrived Sunday night and spent it in a hotel as I had planned anyway.  The next morning when I woke up, it had snowed and was not getting any lighter.  We arranged to meet Haym at a local place for lunch and follow him home.  

This was great!  You can't go wrong with breakfast and I'm a sucker for sunnyside up eggs and bacon.  He and George discovered thy had a lot in common and did a bit of geeking out. We drove to Haym's after lunch and met his son Jay.  We spent the afternoon puzzling and chatting about different people and puzzles. Of course I had to take a few photos of his collection.

The snow kept up all day, but we went out for dinner anyway. The place they wanted was overbooked, so we headed down the road and found another.  We were in a large pedestrian mall and the place was empty.  George said it wasn't a fit night for man nor beast.  In fact, the next night he showed the video to Jay.  We had dinner at a street food place which was really good and after returned their home to stay up talking until around 1 am.  For the first time in our marriage, I went to bed before George!
There was a big storm that raged on and we spent the next day we spent puzzling and talking. I ordered a few books Haym recommended and he and George spent more time talking.  We were gifted with a special puzzle.

Haym explained his use of Jenga blocks to us and why he puzzles and a good time was had by all.  This time he and George only stayed up until midnight.  We really enjoyed our trip there.  

We awoke at 6:30 and got out the door quickly.  Not because we wanted to leave, but because we had a mission.  We had to be at Tracy's to pick up the Mega-Mansion by 9.  Sadly, the lack of plowed roads in some spots caused a half hour delay but that wasn't too bad.  

When we arrived at Tracy's house, I backed the truck in and backed into her awning.  Boy did I feel stupid.  No harm done though.  We went in and she showed us around her house.  Man is she creative! She built her own fireplace, and didn't put wood on the walls, but painted them! Amazing!  Everywhere you look there is something wonderful to see.  I just loved it.

We even got a tour of her workshop!

And then came the time for the big unveil! I can't express how much I love what she did.  You see, the Mega-Mansion was destroyed before, and this was the second version of it.  This is one of the reasons we took this trip.  To make sure that didn't happen again.  Tracy went out of her way to make sure we had a good puzzle. It is truly amazing and I can't wait to dig into it. 

While there, we had our photos taken by a reporter from The New York Times.  
The article about us should be out this year.  We brought a few puzzles to show them as well. After the photo session and the show and tell, Tracy put on a great spread for us.  Sadly, as with all of these trips, we had to hit the road because of another storm that was brewing (and never hit).  George and Winn lifted the Mega-Mansion into the truck and we said our goodbyes. I would have loved to have spent more time there just chatting.  Tracy and Winn are such wonderful people.  Oh, and we even signed the workshop wall. 

The signature plate from the first Mega-Mansion
And guess what?  Nothing but good happened on the Ides of March. It was a truly spectacular day!  On to Boston and another meeting of puzzlers!

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