The day after the school year ended, my husband started on his summer to-do list.The wood railing around the front porch was crumbling, and we couldn’t prolong its life with another coat of paint as we’d done before.After three days on the project, Phil had replaced the wood around the entire perimeter of the porch and on one side of the steps. With only one tiny banister left to construct, he was confident of finishing that afternoon. Then, as he was removing the bolt attaching the handrail to the steps, the three corner bricks fell off. Phil calmly packed up his tools and retreated into the air conditioning.Someone asked me once, “What do you do all summer?” For those who work year-round, the best way I can describe the teacher’s summer is this: Think of what you do on a Saturday, and then multiply that by several weeks. Yes, we do a bit of lying around and watching the grass grow, reading magazines and, when it’s too hot to go outside, catching up on TV shows that everyone else watched six months ago while we were waiting for that one kid’s parents to pick him up after a soccer game.But mostly, there’s the to-do list. Like a gecko’s tail, the list is self-regenerating. Scratch an item off, and something new will appear in its place, usually at the tail end of the project. This provides a handy defense against any kind of leisure time.While Phil was busy cursing the cheap construction of our home, I decided that the dining room needed to be blue. I admit that this aspect of our to-do list is entirely my fault. As I’ve said before, I have little talent for decorating. I compensate for this deficiency by frequently changing the arrangement or color of rooms, much like the defense strategy of a chameleon.In the ongoing debate about whether year-round schooling is better than a traditional schedule, there are numerous arguments, for the children’s sake, in support of a long summer break from school. But we adults need to make educational decisions that are in our own best interests, too.I need the summer break. It’s the only time of year when I am able to cook dinner in real time, instead of heating up a casserole that I cooked during the summer and squirreled away in the freezer. It’s the only time I can make casseroles and squirrel them away in the freezer.It’s the only time I have another adult in the house, so that when I finally get around to washing the windows, I don’t have a 2-year-old trying to climb the ladder behind me. Frankly, it’s the only time I notice that the windows need washing.Apparently, it’s the only time I can bone up on herpetology.Many animals, including lizards, hibernate during the winter. Summer is not so much a break as it is important preparation time for the coming months.Then again, lizards have been known to lie around in the sun for hours.And if I don’t take time to lie around, the to-do list is going to take over my summer. Year-round work or school might be a blessing, if only because the commitment to be elsewhere means you’re not constantly tinkering with your own home.One day, I hope to dust off the DVR and become a bit of a lounging lizard. But just to be sure, I better put it on the to-do list.
Monday, Jul. 01, 2013
Summer? It’s the home catch-up season
Erica Batten is a freelance writer for Mooresville News. Have a story idea for Erica? Email her at email@example.com.
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