She loves me, she loves me not

At Christmas (I hope the ACLU doesn’t come after me for using that word in my column) gift-giving time I learned which daughters loved me and which daughter doesn’t.
Daughter-in-law Linda gave me a fine robe. Daughter Luan gave me a fine DVD player.
Daughter Susan (I call her Suz-z-z cause she slept her way through five colleges) gave me a jigsaw puzzle with 1,000 pieces.
First, the ACLU should go after jigsaw puzzle makers for cutting a piece of cardboard in more than 500 pieces. Second, there should be retroactive abortions.
It took an hour for me to just turn all the 1,000 pieces picture-side up. My first call to Susan to alert her to her disinheritance was when I couldn’t find two pieces to the frame. In her youth she was known to stow a puzzle piece or two away so she could say she found the last piece, thereby taking credit for completing the puzzle.
Not long after that call she showed up with twins Trevor and Haley, both of whom wanted to work on the puzzle. When they left it took me another quarter hour to turn ‘upright’ puzzle pieces Trevor had handled.
This is the same 3-year-old boy who came into his family room recently, pointed his finger at his dad, winked, and said, “I just went to the bathroom just like you, daddy.”
Naturally, I had to tell others how Susan’s gift was affecting our relationship. “Anyone who would give a 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle has to hate them,” I announced to everyone in the Oxford Leader office.
And an employee responded, “My folks were given a 3,000 piece puzzle. They had to buy two folding tables to display it.” “Your parents are obviously hated,” I said.
That damn puzzle became like a magnet. I’d find myself trying to find ‘just one piece’ before breakfast, and two hours later I was still looking for that piece.
Two days in a row I was so intent I didn’t even hunger for lunch. For a week I missed evening news tv shows, which I always see. When a particularly ‘easy piece to find’ wasn’t, I’d search the floor. I did that a lot.
When I hit a brick wall on the big picture, I’d start assembling pieces outside the frame, to be put in place later.
I had people over for pre-dinner refreshments one puzzle solving night and stipulated they each had to find one piece before being served. One person found one piece, they all took credit and I was forced to start pouring.
I thought maybe I could find the pieces easier from the other side of the table. I couldn’t. I even connected the puzzle maker to a terrorist organization in my mind, but decided driving people out of their minds was too slow for an authentic terrorist.
I started on that puzzle January 3. I should have clocked myself. For the three days prior to completion I never left the house, except to get the mail and one day I forgot that.
I completed that puzzle at 9:10 p.m. January 13. I called Suz-z-z and told her, “I’m done!” She laughed. I said, “The monkey’s off my back. Now I’ve closed the doors to the dining room and if you want to see the completed puzzle you’re going to have to pay to get in.”
“And, don’t bring Trevor!”
P.S. January 14 I found myself feeling disappointed that the puzzle was finished.