Puzzles and pasta

Life lessons from another quarantine weekend

The latest quarantine weekend has come and gone, and we’ve learned some valuable lessons.

Here’s a look at how the Dad on Board/Bored family spent the last two days, how technology helped us stay sane, and what I learned about myself.

Lesson No. 1: I’m terrible at puzzles.
I figured we could get away from the screens a bit and spend an evening putting a puzzle together. I queued up ‘The Lion King’ on TV, dumped the 500 piece Thomas Kincaid/Peter Pan puzzle out on the coffee table and was immediately served up the first of two lessons: First, my daughter abandoned the effort once the movie ended.

Friday: It started with good intentions.

Secondly, this was going to take more than one evening. It went from ‘family time’ to ‘Dad hovering over a bunch of cardboard bits for a very long time.’

By Sunday night, the puzzle wasn’t done, my old-man back was sore from leaning over the coffee table for many hours, and I vowed that this puzzle was flawed and was missing pieces. And I am not making up any of this.

Sunday: The puzzle that defeated Dad on Bored. (So far. I shall have my vengeance on this maddening challenge.)

No. 2: I’m terrible at cooking.
My sister and her kids, who are skilled cooks, offered to walk me through making homemade pasta online. It seemed like a fun way to spend an afternoon, and a good use of the newly-ubiquitous video chat technology, so I was all for it.

Dad on Bored (that’s me in the upper right hand view) learning to cook pasta remotely.

We connected via Zoom and started the newest show sweeping the Granite State, “Cooking with the Kanes.” I gathered the ingredients – essentially eggs and flour – and followed their directions as we went step-by-step. I got two cups of flour, molded them into three piles (heretofore known as ‘volcanoes,’) and dropped an egg into each of the tops of the flour volcanoes.


Things started to go bad when the eggs ran over the edges and blended with everything else. Not a huge deal, just not as neat as what I was seeing broadcast to me on my phone, so I just combined two of them into one big volcano/giant mess. I folded it all together slowly, then as it blended, kneaded it. I eventually got it into two dough balls, wrapped it in cellophane and put it in the refrigerator for two hours.

Phase 2: We reconnected over Zoom. I took the dough out of the refrigerator and let it set for 35 minutes before rolling it flat with a rolling pin. My sister and her family have a pasta maker, so they squeezed it through that and came out with amazingly uniform strips of pasta. I rolled it up like a fruit roll-up and cut it as thin as I could. It looked like fettuccine when I unrolled it, so I claimed success and moved on to the boiling phase.

Long story short, I probably should’ve boiled it longer. It was no better or worse than what comes out of a box, which to me means that I didn’t really succeed.

Here’s a look at what my instructors’ pasta looked like when it was all done.

Pasta good: Success!

Here’s my giant bowl of chewy, ribbony Pasta ala Quarantine.

Pasta meh: Not so much success. I think it’s going to outlast the quarantine.

It was definitely fun, I appreciated the patience of my instructors, but maybe I should’ve started with something simpler. Next time: Learn to make toast remotely.

Lesson No. 3: I’m good at napping.
There is no long story attached to this lesson.

How did you spend your latest socially-distant weekend?


Categories: Dad on Bored