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My father's medical bills. (My most serious blog post ever.)

Warning: You are about to read some depressing crap. [Now with an edit at the bottom!]

In 2011, I alluded to the tradition of getting Nikoli books for my birthday. While not also alluded to, I used to also get them every year on Christmas. However, my family is in much more dire financial straits now, to the point that I skipped the Nikoli books on Christmas and have decided that I want nothing more on my birthday than a lunch at Genghis Grill using a birthday coupon I got. The biggest cause of my mother's stress and financial difficulty is currently my father's very recent hip replacement, which has an infection and is stymieing the doctors by refusing to grow a culture so they can know which antibiotic to administer. I even heard that they're thinking of sending him to Fort Worth, which would really throw a wrench in the works. I'll have my mother help me write a much more detailed and maybe even more accurate description of what's going on, but suffice it to say that I'm desperate to help her as much as I can. I've pledged to help her around the house as much as possible on Sundays, and occasionally find it within my heart to help her on other days, but money is really, really, really important right now to pay the medical bills and the other types of bills we have. I'm sorely inclined to seek aid from the Jack Vasel Memorial Fund. I mean, I'm part of the gaming community, kind of, and my father's hip is a personal hardship for the entire family. However, it causes me such grief to beg after my efforts to raise money for the same organization less than a year ago, and really, there are at least a thousand people in the puzzle community who merit more financial aid than me, aren't there?

I am very much considering trying to sell a bunch of crap to help my family out (perhaps an auction Geeklist on BoardGameGeek?). I also plan on redoubling my Grandmaster Puzzles efforts in the hopes that maybe writing puzzles will merit more money. If you want to help out and get almost nothing in return except humble gratitude and maybe a mention on this blog alongside a custom puzzle, contact me at glmathgrant at gmail dot com. You can send me money via PayPal via that address, but for payments above $12 or so, please send the money to ginger dot fikes at gmail dot com, my mother's account, where a smaller portion will be eaten by fees.

I'm sorry if this sob story is a waste of everyone's time, but my mother seriously needs the help.

Edit: I followed through with the auction Geeklist idea, and raised over $100. I have also received generous donations from many people, and I thank you. To avoid overloading my blog with serious posts, all updates on my father's condition will be posted as comments on the auction Geeklist. There are two things I want to say publicly, though.

Number one, I used my birthday money to buy some Nikoli puzzle books for my birthday, because my mother refused to use it for her own purposes. Two out of the eleven books I got, Fresh Shikaku 3 and 4, are already retired. Shikaku puzzles are so easy. :)

Number two, I am going to maintain my wishlist on BoardGameGeek. If you want to give me one of these board games as a gift instead of donating money for my father, you now have that option. I will try to save portions of my Grandmaster Puzzles paychecks to do this, but I'm so reluctant to spend money on myself that my logic puzzle book collection would never have expanded if my mother hadn't been so obstinate that my birthday money needs to be used on myself, and my game collection is currently in the same state where nothing short of "hey Grant, here's a game" or "hey Grant, here's some money, and if you don't buy a game with it, I'll be very sad" will expand it. [Minor edit: my mother is so loath to take my money except when it's necessary that I'm less reluctant to buy my own things. Donations of all kinds are still appreciated.]

Puzzle 611: Room and Reason 41

This puzzle was written for Joe Huber (huber) of BoardGameGeek, who recently won some of my possessions in an auction and paid enough to also have a custom puzzle written for him. Having bought a lot of four copies of my board game Battle of LITS and a lot of all four Game & Watch Gallery games, I can only assume Mr. Huber has an affinity for the number 4 (and who doesn't?). The centerpiece of this puzzle is a 4x4 room with a 4.

Puzzle 610: Polyominous 55

This puzzle was written for P. Kellach Waddle (GustavMahler) of BoardGameGeek, who recently won some of my possessions in an auction and paid enough to also have a custom puzzle written for him. Given the eclectic range of his interests (including a major presence in the Austin classical music scene, whose existence I am only now aware of), a single puzzle can't really do him justice; nonetheless, I hope that seeing his initials in this puzzle somehow makes his participation in my auction a little more worthwhile. :)

Puzzle 609: Tetra Tirma 43

A shout-out to Cy Reb, Jr., who was observant enough to notice that this puzzle was contained in puzzle 608.

There are still a few days left in these auctions I'm holding on BoardGameGeek. You can support my father's medical bills by bidding, and get stuff from it. Of course, if you want less of your money to be eaten by shipping costs and more of it to be eaten by my father's hip replacement, donations are happily accepted.

Puzzle 608: Dominnocuous 7

Yesterday, I received Norinori 1 and a handful of other Nikoli books as a belated birthday present. As expected, the puzzles in Norinori 1 range from 10x10 through 20x36, and a few of them are very pretty to look at.

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