Kung Foo Sudoku

Unless it happens to be your weekend, there’s not much to look forward to about Mondays.

Rainy Days and Mondays -- actually, I like rainy days. Break in the Weather, available as a print or original, by Steve Henderson

The best thing I find about the day is the end of it, when I sit down to the newspaper, toss the sports section (this gives you an idea of what kind of “team player” I am), and, hands trembling with excitement, reach for the TV guide section.

As we don’t have TV service and have contentedly been in this state for 30 years, it’s not because I’m looking to plan the rest of my week around a pathetic group of attractive women debasing themselves to finagle a date with a narcissistic male who is being paid to live every narcissistic male’s fantasy island.

No, it’s the Sudoku puzzle.

Our little town’s little paper features this once a week, and while I know that I can pick up a whole book of the frustrating squares for a dollar, I have established an amiable sense of personal tradition by launching my week with this particular brainteaser. At the very least, I start Monday morning by saying to myself, “If I can make it to the end of the day, I can Sudoku!”

I know. It sounds pathetic to me, too.

While I don't necessarily Climb Every Mountain and Ford Every Sea (or is it Stream?), I am up to a challenge now and then, like the Sudoku puzzle. Ascension by Steve Henderson

Added to my anticipation is the challenge of actually finishing the thing, which I am impelled to do because my brother, 30 miles away, does this so smoothly and easily, every week. I however, do not, not only because Monday’s offering is sadistically difficult (if you don’t think so, please don’t write and tell me), but also because I rarely can find the paper it’s printed on once I temporarily set it down.

Usually, the TV section starts Tuesday morning’s woodstove fire. Other times, it’s the dust pan of choice for the kitchen floor’s sweepings. If we had dead fish randomly lounging around the counter, only this section would do for wrapping them in. It’s not until you want to keep a section of the paper around do you realize how many uses there are for it.

Last night, the TV tabloid just plain disappeared, not necessarily surprising since the Toddler was spending the night, and all sorts of things disappear when she’s around.

“Here it is!” the Son and Heir brought it upstairs. “This one must have been really hard; I see that you colored in a bunch of the squares and scribbled over the rest.”

Well, it looks like the Toddler found a pen at the same time that she found the puzzle. I had no idea that a two-year-old could color so well and completely between the lines, but if it weren’t for the numbers, I’d swear that this was a crossword. What an amazing child.

Amazing or not, at the moment she’s frustrating, because this one time out of many I was actually succeeding, and looked forward to casually mentioning to my smug brother, “Oh, yes, I completed the Sudoku puzzle. Easily.”

“She probably did you a favor,” the Son and Heir observed. “It looks like you were struggling.”

Much thought and contemplation goes into each and every Sudoku puzzle, whether or not I finish it. Contemplation by Steve Henderson

No, this is what the puzzle looks like when I’m succeeding.

When I’m failing I wrap tulip bulbs in the tabloid and stuff the whole thing out in the garage.






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