“If the psych boys ever got hold of him, they’d never let him go. No. This is a family matter.”
– Louis McMaster Bujold, Memory
One of the reasons I like J. so much is that we have largely completely separate interests. You’d think this might lead to marital incompatibility, but au contraire! It means that we’re constantly introducing each other to new things and are obligated to at least try them out once. I expose him to opera, he takes me hiking, etc. Occasionally this is not only interesting but useful as he has a whole brain chock full of things from business and accounting that I never learned in a liberal arts degree.
For example, his upcoming move to London. As it turned out, my good friend Margot may need a place to crash for a while before she jets off to South America for a job (my friends are nifty!), the timing of which just happened to correspond with my grad-school-induced widowhood! In any event, she need a place to store some things as she figures out life plans, and I needed an excuse to pack up the back room and get it stored, so we decided to kill two birds with one stone and clear out my space so she could occupy it for a while.
I press ganged J. one evening and we packed up our entire collection of books (no mean feat), our fine china (a present from my parents which I’ve never even used because I’m terrified of breaking it), and our desktop computer and stacked it all in a closet awaiting transport for storage.
Then, on fire with my success, I turned a baleful eye on my front room. Before I knew what had happened I had cleaned out our closet and reorganized all the coats, athletic gear, shoes, and luggage. I vacuumed everything. I dusted. Everywhere I looked I saw lists of things to be done and my stress level (exacerbated by recent events and circumstances) rose slyly, but steadily. Finally when I lashed out at J. for leaving the dishes undone, he crossed his arms and declared, “You, my love, are experiencing scope creep.”
“And just what’s that supposed to mean?!” I frothed, clutching the Swiffer Sweeper manically.
And he explained. Personally I appreciate that he used a business reference rather than a (in my opinion likely more accurate) psychiatrist term.
But see? A problem properly cataloged and my worldview expanded. He also sat me on the couch and told me to watch some mindless TV for an hour to calm down. How handy!