Saturday, January 06, 2007
I solve challenger crossword puzzles, in ink. Yes, I'm one of those annoying people. I blame my mother. She uses pencil first and then, for whatever reason, goes over the writing with her pen.
But as all children must, I blame her.
When I was still in elementary school, I was the kid who was always out sick. Whatever the wind carried, it blew into my body and I'd be down for the count. Being a kid, homework and TV weren't enough to keep me busy, so mom gave me the LA Times crossword puzzle to do. She'd also play scrabble with me. Hence, my addiction to writing as well. (Now you know two)
In time, puzzles weren't just to keep me busy and out of her hair on sick days (she's never actually said that's why she started me, but as a mother myself, the guess must be on target), but to help me learn a dangerous amount about a lot of different things and expand my vocabulary.
My favorite Saturday morning activity, before I post this column: I sort the LA Times and the Orange County Register and organize the crosswords in order of difficulty. Then I make a nice big pot of coffee (addiction #3) and have a wonderful time with all of them, culminating with the NY Times challenger.
At first, I kept my addiction from by husband, but once we were married I had to let him know of my weakness. In the beginning, I'm sure he thought our love would somehow cure me. Alas, he was so wrong. Now I had another source for answers having to do with the sports world. I roped him in. He doesn't do them (he'd lose an arm if he tried taking my books or magazines, I think), but when I'm really concentrating, he'll quietly ask "Can I help?" Who wouldn't still be head over heels in love after 26 years with a guy like that????
In fact, our children were appalled one year and then were aghast at my joyous response. We were going through a rather tough financial time and it was Valentine's Day. My wonderful hubby went on the internet, searched out crossword puzzles, downloaded about 50 and put them into a small paper folder (the kind kids use for school reports). I was so overwhelmed I almost cried. Really.
Our kids rolled their eyes. "How could you give mom puzzles for Valentine's Day" and then, "You actually liked it! You'd think he just gave you a five carat diamond ring or something!"
Kids, they just don't know the real meaning of love.
And just to let you in on my fourth and final obsession, which you've probably guessed, my husband.