“So what does he do all day?”

Ah yes. If my life were to have a Frequently Asked Questions page, this one would hold the top slot for the summer months. It’s a troublesome weasel of a question as answering it means dipping your toes into the troublesome waters known as the Sensitive Teacher Topics Tropics. And lemme just tell you…bad things happen to well-intentioned people there.

Here’s what you need to come to terms with before we go any further. Yes – the newf is off all summer. If you want to be off all summer, you should have been a teacher. If you don’t think teachers deserve summers off, you should try to survive a week in a classroom filled with six-year-olds. Good? Good.

The newf’s average day starts at 8am as he gently wakes up to his favourite science-fiction something or other on television that I kindly turn on for him because I am nicer before breakfast than most people are all day. Mostly because my niceness isn’t sustainable – it’s more of a binge and purge situation: LOOK AT ME BEING NICE! OH WAIT – ‘BE NICE’ TIME IS OVER NOW! BOW TO MY EVERY WHIM!

Case and point? Fifteen minutes later I leave the house with our only car, leaving him in solitary suburban confinement with no means of escape. Spending all of your days in the ‘burbs by yourself for two and a half months? Not so fun, as it turns out. I mean, I shouldn’t be surprised – his only options for entertainment are The View, not letting sleeping dogs lie, or his usual favourite, rearranging things in the house while I’m not home to intervene which is what he does every. single. day. From furniture change-outs to glassware staged in half-moons in our cupboards, it’s like he’s coaching our entire collection of belongings to be a synchronized swimming team. Every day there are new and confusing angles, off-kilter focal points and waterproof glitter paste.

My own interior design beliefs aside (summed up perfectly by this 67-second video), it’s a blind person’s worst nightmare. Even with complete vision I’m still very much at risk of experiencing blunt force trauma at the hand of a new lamp, shelf or potted plant that wasn’t there eight hours before. I can only assume that he shops in bulk, hides his wares somewhere on the property, and brings each piece out over the course of several days while I’m at work. I must have taught him that when I came home from California last summer and suddenly found three pairs of designer jeans from before we dated that miraculously still fit and were still in style.


Unfortunately for our dear newf however, my senses are finely tuned to pick up on any unauthorized changes to my living space. Even stumbling into the house drunk off work stress and too many Skittles with two dogs jumping all over my legs, tripping me with my own laptop bag (fine…it’s a purse), I will INSTANTLY b-line for whatever is different and point at it while making dry-heavey noises until someone moves it back to the way it was – a necessary skill on the days when you come home to find out that someone bought $200 worth of plants and now your living room looks like it was sexually assaulted during a vigorous game of Jumanji. I’ve had to start underground-railroading plants out of our living room just so I can keep a grasp on when I’m inside and when I’m outside.

And so continues the two-year-long power struggle of my amateur design chops (they’re genetic) versus his spare time and willingness to actually do stuff around the house. Next summer I’m going to have to bring in back-up. Like a nanny. Or pool boy. But preferably an ugly one. I don’t want to have to compete in my own bloody home.