It happened. I don’t know how or why, but it happened. Last night, my husband and I snuck away for a quick dinner and he started talking about work. I like what my husband does for a living, I am always interested in his stories. An architect and an artist can discuss a lot of things in the realm of design quite happily. I was having a nice time, he was having a nice time, but then IT happened. The conversation shifted, and I realized my husband, the love of my life, had lost his mind.
It was so sudden, so subtle, I barely knew he was lost initially. It started with a slight shift in topic from design to management. My husband owns his own architecture firm, so I have always been expected to endure a certain amount of talk around things I know nothing about, like money, billing, and computer programs you can’t draw pictures with. I have always tried to follow along as I love my husband and would never want him to experience these horrific things alone. But last night, that infamous night, my husband uttered the words that now are emblazoned in my mind as the first sign of his insanity. He said, dare I repeat it, “I think you should do the billing.”
Time froze, my mind raced in panic, my first thought was of course denial, I must have heard him wrong. I have always managed our family money with common sense. Common, in this case meaning not very good, and sense, as in, I have a sense of how much money we have, nothing specific, mind you, but a general feel of if we are broke or not. Our checkbook is tidily kept, because I have never once written in it with crazy things like balances. Our online information is secure, I only access it often enough to forget the password and create a new one. I am not saying any of this is a good idea, in fact, I think I am saying it is a bad idea, which makes my husbands idea of taking this same money manager on at the office, clearly evidence of the rantings of a lunatic.
He said I can learn the programs and that he has a system that I just have to follow. At least, I think that’s what he said, I was already bored and probably failed to pay complete attention. I tried to explain to him that my mind was not made for these things. Numbers are not my friends, I am pretty sure Excel spreadsheets were invented in hell. Systems is just a nice word for torture and even if I could endure it all, I am sure in the end I will have done a really, really, bad job. But he was gone, off into his own mind and fantasies of a wife who can add without using her fingers. Reality slipped away as he contemplated an office of organized files, processed mail and stacks of bills ready to go out the door. There was nothing for it, I had to save him from going further down this rabbit hole, I had to snap him back to the real world, there was only one solution. “I think you should call my mother.”
My mother would sleep with a balance sheet to ensure she had happy dreams. My mother likes to fold fitted sheets cause she enjoys the challenge of the geometry. My mother takes on hopeless causes (her pet name for my family) every day just for fun, this job is perfect for her. At the mention of my mother, my husband’s dreamy look cleared, his eyes unclouded. He looked at me with familiarity, taking in my mismatched socks and recent DIY haircut (it will look better in a couple of weeks), and spoke the words that assured me he was going to be alright, “Yeah, maybe that’s a good idea.” Sanity restored.