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Covid Days: See Ron work. Watch Lyn Putter

Ron just completed his most recent yard improvement. Using a front end loader and his trusty shovel, he spent hours uprooting the trunk of a 30 year old tree felled in a recent storm.

As we get older, I worry more about Ron around heavy machinery. We’re both getting forgetful. What if he forgets to set the brake and his limbs get shorn off instead of the tree’s?

Ron started his project while I was in the middle of my latest endeavor: putting together a 1000 piece puzzle. I did what any caring, loving wife would do. I moved my puzzle project near a window where I could observe Ron’s progress. I placed my cell phone nearby so I could dial 911 if disaster struck.

All went well for Ron but somehow in moving the puzzle I lost a piece.

This was a brand new, factory sealed puzzle and I don’t remember dropping or misplacing a piece. Nevertheless, due to my carelessness, a mouse lost part of its face and one paw.

A friend and I exchange puzzles and I simply could not in good conscience give her a puzzle missing a part. Armed with glue, cardboard, craft scissors and my printer, I decided to recreate the missing piece. Wow. It took me as much time to resurrect that damn mouse as it took Ron to unearth a tree stump.

The first challenge was to cut a puzzle piece that would snugly fit into the missing space. I needed a laser but had to make do with craft scissors, a very poor substitute. Once I got a piece that sort of fit, I faced the next challenge: enlarging the teeny tiny image of the mouse on the puzzle box to the same size as the missing piece. Other people may know how to mathematically calculate what percent enlargement on the printer would yield the right size. Not me. I tried increasing it by 15%, then 20% then 25%. The amount of money I used for ink probably exceeded the cost of the entire puzzle. Each time I enlarged the image, the mouse got fuzzier and fuzzier.

The reinvented puzzle piece.

The last step was the toughest. I had to cut the mouse image to fit the substitute puzzle piece and make sure it lined up with the neighboring pieces. Again, craft scissors are not up to such a precise task. When I finally finished I realized the cardboard I used was awfully thin so I reinforced it. More cutting and gluing.

I was pretty pleased with the final product. I went to show Ron but he was sound asleep. Apparently unearthing a tree stump the size of a dishwasher is more tiring than recreating a puzzle piece.

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