Solving Puzzles

Do you enjoy solving puzzles…

doing crosswords, sudoku, escaping the room, finding the missing piece of a sequence, putting shapes together, working your way through a maze…

figuring out what something means, connecting separate elements, discovering missing pieces and slotting them into place…


online daily puzzle via 7 Little Words


Last week I finally solved a puzzle I’ve been working on for over a year. It was a DIY challenge… it’s one of several challenges which this house has presented me with…

I am beginning to refer to this house as the guru, as its challenges and the solving of them seem to correlate with life puzzles, psychological, emotional, physical, relationships…

working things out with the structure of this place requires restructuring the self… changing old patterns, releasing myself from ruts and other stuckness… many of the fixes I’ve made here have meant fixing my mindset. Clearing out areas in this home often means simultaneously clearing out the clutter within me.


online quotation puzzle via All Star Puzzles


When I first encountered this particular challenge which I’ve just solved, my initial reaction was – get a professional to do it. It just seemed to be too big of a job for me to do myself, beyond the ability of my skill. It overwhelmed me with all the components needed…

But professionals are expensive, and they’re not always as good or reliable as advertised…

when I moved in I had to get an electrical survey, the guy who did it sounded and looked the part of the ‘expert’. He found quite a few ‘urgent’ issues which needed immediate fixing, the most pressing of which was that apparently the electricity supply to the house was fluctuating in an unusual and dangerous way (it could potentially fry the house) and the electricity company needed to be called – they came out and the guy who checked the supply (and tripled checked it to allay my fears) said it was fine and that the ‘expert’s’ equipment is what really needed immediate fixing.

That was one of several early experiences with calling in ‘experts’ which ended up with me deciding that maybe it was time that I learned to be my own expert.

A few of the experts I’ve had to call in have been awesome – the awesome ones all have similarities which the non-good ones lack. One of those similarities is that they’re humble about their expertise. They aren’t trying to sell me something and someone they are not, in fact they downplay just how good they are because they’re good at what they do, they know it and their ego doesn’t need to boost itself into the stratosphere and charge people to watch it burn up like a supernova.


online brain teaser via Bright Side (for the answer follow this link)


The DIY I’ve just done was a fix of one of the first issues presented to me by this house.

An upstairs toilet overflowed – I had cleaned the toilet tank, descaled it (it looked like a limestone cave), and limescale was all that was keeping the ballcock in working order, so once it was descaled it fell apart and the tank just kept filling up, emptying its contents into the ceiling below because the overflow outlet wasn’t connected up to anything (the local plumber has since fixed this – he likes to teach me how to do things myself rather than call him. Awesome!).

[Apparently plumbing problems after moving into a new place are considered a positive sign according to some Feng Shui article I read awhile ago – Plumbing is the emotional part of your house (and plumbing problems can signal emotional shifts, in you, in the house), and when it changes owners it releases old emotional issues, needs time to deal with the change (it’s not just people who need to deal with that kind of thing), can finally get things which had been ignored to be given due attention, or something like that].

The previous owner had painted the ceiling below with vinyl paint which is impermeable and when wet it bubbles (and peels away in large satisfying swathes).

While peeling away the paint from the rest of the ceiling I discovered that a whole section was moldy and rotten and had to be removed, exposing what would become the challenge which I’ve finally met. Originally I thought this was due to the toilet leak but it turned out that the roof was the real culprit. While all the roofing is fairly new (thanks to the previous-previous owner – each person who lives here fixes something but also leaves something for the next owner to fix), the section of roof over that part hadn’t been finished off with flashing and when it rained water hitting the outside wall slid right down into the roof cavity and soaked the ceiling.

I did have pots and pans under that bit to catch the drips (which in a heavy downpour were a tiny waterfall) until a local handyman fixed things – quickly, easily and inexpensively without telling me that I needed to re-roof the whole house (which is the sort of thing that the non-good experts I’ve called in have had in common – turning a small job into a major one because their ego needed to do that and they thought that I was a fool whom they would soon cause t0 part with money… and they would laugh all the way to the bank).


The Molyneux Problem and other philosophical brain teasers explained by Wiki (but can Wiki be trusted?)


All of this leakage happened in the vicinity of the main electric box… which I suppose might affect the readings taken by an ‘expert’ (but then again maybe not).

While all of this stuff happening with my house probably really only interests me… I do think some of the ideas, thoughts, and such inspired by this stuff happening might be of interest to others, particularly to those who, like me, have spent a lifetime trying to meet the challenges posed to them by a life involving Narcissists, and attempting to figure out how to solve that kind of puzzle.

The brain teasers posed by Narcissists tend to leak into everything, turning it moldy, undermining its structure, etc, but it can take a long while before the damage it is causing is noticed – years can go by and you think all is fine, perhaps because the plaster and paint keeps the wear and tear hidden behind a facade of okay.

Then when you do notice that something is wrong, that all is not as it should be, that the sky is in the process of preparing to fall on your head… you most likely don’t feel that your skill set can deal with it and you look to ‘experts’ to help you sort it out. But what if those experts are of the kind that need quotation marks around the words defining them… and those quotation marks appear not because you’re a suspicious, doubtful, fearful person but because you’ve ventured there with trust in hand and experience has made you less trusting.

There are quite a number of people out there who see dollars (or another currency) dancing into their hands where you see a problem that needs fixing.


The False Dilemma via Psychology Today: Your Personal Renaissance blog – Three Ways People Try To Manipulate You


Years ago I read a few of those ‘get rich quick’ kind of books. In one of them the author humorously said in the introduction that the quickest way to ‘get rich quick’ was to write a ‘get rich quick’ book – his book was probably the best one on that subject which I read because he said things like that. He also made it clear that it didn’t benefit him either way whether you got rich or not – what mattered to him was whether your problem made him get rich or not, which it did if you and others seeking material plenty bought his book hoping it would solve your problem.

This was BI – Before Internet – a time when you couldn’t get that info for free online, and you usually had to buy the book before finding out that it was a waste of money (of course clever people borrowed those books and therefore didn’t spend anything on them) or not.

If you think about it – your problem, whatever it is, is worth more to others while you have it, and thus it is worth less to them when you don’t have it… so why would they solve it for you.

Why help you recover from your Narcissist if you seeking to recover from your Narcissist is what keeps you spending money (and other resources) on a cure… and someone is selling you that cure. If you do recover… and then decide to share your recovery process… you could become a competitor for those who sold you a recovery program (unless you’re working with them and they’re offering a franchise deal).


The Riddle of the Sphinx via Virus Comix’s Subnormality


One of the things which struck me about actually solving my DIY problem for myself was how much my mind tried to convince me that I couldn’t possibly solve it or do-it-myself.

Admittedly, while it looks great at the moment, I even managed to smooth the plaster over (previous attempts in other areas using this plaster… now need for me to revisit them and make them less cave-woman and more civilised). I have no idea if it will stand the tests of time. Will it remain as good as it looks or fall apart like a Narcissist’s facade?

It’s better than I imagined… and was easier to do than my anxiety told me it would be… and it has taught me a lesson which… I wish I’d learned many decades ago when the Narcissists in my life were infecting me with their own issues, passing on what they can’t fix themselves onto and into others hoping others will fix it (while also not wanting others to fix it because it would make them look bad for not having figured it out for themselves, and it’s also now a part of their drama and without it, without the endless drama… who are they, and other puzzles)…

If I’d known then what I now know (or think I know) how simpler life would have been… or would it? Maybe we always have to have a Gordian knot which takes a long time for us to find the Alexander solution.


The Gordian Knot via Ask History: What was the Gordian Knot?


During the process of solving this DIY challenge, in the latter stages when I was finally doing it physically rather than only in the mind (prep work for action)… while some of it just involved plastering onto brickwork, another section needed a wood frame to be built onto which plasterboard would be applied and then plastered over…

some problems can be resolved one way, simply applying some plaster over it, but other problems may require more work, building a new structure, cutting out a new form… and both may be part of the solving of a singular and single problem…

during the cutting of the plasterboard… which I was doing outside as it was a sizable piece (and luckily it was a sunny dry day)… I misplaced my shoes and decided that I would be fine doing it barefoot…

barefoot is my preferred state and status, and while I do enjoy the benefits of this (connecting to the world through my feet, my soles… keeping my soul exposed!?), there is sometimes a price to pay for this kind of magic and I have paid for it before…

I stepped on a thistle… because I was focused on the end result rather than on the steps I needed to take to get there, looking at the goal and not the path to the goal, living in the moment I would be in several moments from the moment I was actually in, looking over there instead of here…

and while I did remove the tiny, delicate, and sharp thorn which embedded itself in my foot, tossed it aside, forgot the pain, then continued to work…

after it my work was done… my foot still feels as though there’s a thorn in it… but only sometimes. It’s fine, but in certain circumstances it’s not fine at all… and in those not fine at all instances I limp, imagine the worst, feel sorry for myself and expect others to make allowances for my pain…

that, to me, is rather apt, the sort of poetry which life offers in unusual ways within the problems it poses… an analogy for the wounds which we get along the way of walking our path (whether we do it barefoot or not) which sometime hurt as though pain is all that there is to feel and sometimes we feel nothing at all… but when we feel pain… woe is our world.



While we may be able to deal with many of the challenges life throws at us, solve the problems… the problems like to remind us of the impetus which took us from A to Z…

without the thorn in our foot would we have bothered trying to solve the problem or known that this kind of problem existed… would we be able to understand, empathise with, others who had such a problem if we’d never walked in feet which had a thorn in them…

I’ve learned a lot while trying to solve a puzzle… and much of what I’ve learned has nothing to do with the actual puzzle itself… and yet everything to do with it.

Care to share a puzzle you have and are trying to solve…

Or a challenge you have had and the solution which you found for it…

sharing sometimes helps… and sometimes it has an opposite effect…

but we always get were we’re supposed to be going… where is that exactly?




  1. “The brainteasers posed by narcissists”…well that’s a polite understatement:lol! This double Sag would word it more bluntly.
    I can relate to the DIY satisfaction in achieving some kind of improvement in renovating your own place. It’s been a slow 10 year slog here trying to finish what was just a very basic shell of an eccentric tin house when I bought it.
    Most of that time has been in trying to get handymen to help me out.
    Some have been helpful..others have been a bit chauvinistic towards a single woman who would rather just pay guys than complicate things.
    One needed some persuasion that no I was the brickies labourer. Why should he have all the fun of doing it himself? I enjoy it and I am paying you!
    Wonderful synchronicity saw me trying a phone number which I had long ago scribbled down from somewhere and turning up a not very experienced Indian guy. Talk about problem solving, Youtube videos are wonderful ha!
    We have fab philosophical conversations whilst laying blocks. I love it! Tomorrow we will start to wander around the property chainsawing crook trees.
    I have made it a policy here to hunt down and use recycled and 2nds materials wherever feasible and to pretty much remain off grid.The place started off rough, It’s basically a big cubby house to me and I get a stubborn pride from proving that it can be fun,cheap to build.A single woman can do it,and i leave a minimal footprint on this environment.
    Good job with your house, cheers!


    • Thank you for sharing 🙂

      Your home sounds like a work of passionate personal art!

      One of the things I enjoy doing is staring at the end result of DIY done and reviewing the steps taken from before to after – I can’t always believe that I managed to do something I didn’t think I could do 😉


  2. I have lead a peerless existence of puzzle-free decades – I always know the answers, people just have to ask. And best of all, there’s no charge. 😉
    But seriously, right now I am rather puzzle-less. Not that there aren’t any, but more that I don’t worry about them quite as much. It’s a nice little phase to inhabit at the moment.
    I have been known to take it on the chin … breaking teeth and bones. It’s faster I guess than having it sticking in you but maybe somehow easier to forget.


    • Thank you for sharing 🙂

      Haha! Can you imagine what it would be like to actually know all the answers. I wonder if babies are born with all the answers and they slowly forget them all, and the real goal of existence isn’t to learn but to unlearn things.

      That definitely sounds like a lovely phase to be in, enjoying the sun while it shines without worrying about whether it will shine tomorrow.

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