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The First Step is Admitting You Have a Problem

On Maui, you’ve got sun, ocean, sand, and warmth. So you can probably guess how we spent our vacation in Island Paradise. That’s right – we went jigsaw puzzle shopping!

So we’re at this alleged toy store in Lahaina where the piddling puzzle selection rivals that of your corner gas station. To wit:

seven puzzles at the maui toy store

Seven puzzles. That’s it. That was all they had. But we were desperate. We’d already finished the one we found in the condo and we still had TWELVE MORE DAYS of vacation and we were starting to go through withdrawals. We needed a puzzle NOW!!! My clammy hands were already shaking as I reached for the box with the sea turtles and other ocean creatures.

As I’m handing the guy my hard-earned cash, I ask him if he knows who else on the island sells jigsaw puzzles. I’m giving him money and I did not tell him that his selection stunk, nor did my tone of voice indicate as such. I’m patronizing his store and you know what he says to me, this guy?

“Oh, we’ll be getting in another shipment next week or so.”

Of the same puzzles, no doubt. So I ask him again. He hesitates, then mumbles, “Well, there really aren’t any other toy stores around. I mean, if you want Hawaii-themed puzzles.”

“They don’t have to be Hawaii-themed puzzles,” I say, trying not to sound too eager.

He wasn’t going to tell me, the rat. I was hoping he’d be a nice guy. I mean I realize that I’m asking who his competition is, and I was taking a chance on what his approach might be, but it was obvious he was coming from the used-car salesman side of the island. And I asked because I figured, hey, this is Hawaii, it’s all good, Brah. Everybody’s laid back and friendly, right?

I give him my most innocent sweet-talking smile, verging on Damsel-in-Distress, and he finally caves and says, “Well…you could TRY Barnes and Noble,” he says, pointing across the street, “but I don’t know…they MIGHT have some”. He said “might” like it weighed 12,000 pounds and there was no way it could be lifted without a crane and Oh God, the unions, you’ll never get a crane out here this week, it’s a holiday you know.

“Thank you,” I said, trying to sound sincere, sure I would never visit this store again because he tried so hard not to help me, even after I bought something from him.

Twenty-four hours later, after we finished the sea turtle puzzle, and still with ELEVEN MORE DAYS of our vacation, we took a trip to Barnes and Noble (because what else is there to do on Maui, am I right?)

The toy store guy was somewhat correct when he said that Barnes and Noble MIGHT have puzzles. They had these:

puzzles at the maui Barnes and Noble
(cue Hallelujah Chorus music)
and these…
more puzzles at maui Barnes and Noble
and these…
more puzzles at maui Barnes and Noble
and these…
more puzzles at maui Barnes and Noble
Oh, and these…
more puzzles at maui Barnes and Noble
I know! We were in Puzzle Heaven.
Of course with any addiction left unchecked, we got a little out of control and by the end of our trip we had OD-ed which required some rehab on the beach with Lava Flows and shipping a box of these bad boys back home since they wouldn’t fit in our carry-ons.
We did seven puzzles
We finished all of them except for the one called “Wonder Change”. Wonder Change sucked. It was one of those lenticular puzzles where the picture changes depending on the angle from which you are looking: Here is New York by day. Here is New York by night. GAHH!!!!
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  1. Ginger says:

    Puzzle heaven! you took the word outta my mouth.
    p.s. I thought the whole idea of a holiday was to spend it outdoors, observe the blue skies and rest the brain etcetc. you spent it solving puzzles and wrecking your eyes? I'm gonna call the holiday abuse cops…

  2. ShallowGal says:

    We went to Nicaragua for spring break, and we brought one puzzle: 1000 piece scene of penguins from the Planet Earth series. Our rental house was one of those open air layouts, and when the ceiling fan was on (which it had to be, it was 98 degrees) the pieces blew everywhere.

    Try finding another puzzle in Nicaragua. Rum? No problem. Puzzles? Not a chance.