Accountability

Dearest Rachel –

I confess that I’ve never really been a fact of this particular topic. Oh, don’t get me wrong; I know it’s a useful and necessary tool to keep a oneself on the straight and narrow. It works. It’s just that it’s no fun, admitting when you screwed up, and having to constantly report in to someone about your failures. The other person – or people, in many cases – may be your best friend, but in a certain way, they also become something of a parole officer through this process, and that’s not something I want to be on either side of.

And then there’s the fact that, while I know I have certain issues that I need to deal with, I’d be just as happy to not bother. My health – my weight, in particular – is a pretty good example of this. As long as I had you by my side, I didn’t have to worry about trying to make myself handsome and svelte for your sake; you already loved me unconditionally. Indeed, my less-than-conventionally-handsome appearance may have been considered a plus to you, as my ability to attract someone else was reduced by that much more, so you didn’t have to worry about it. And to be fair, this went both ways – neither of us was much into healthy eating or exercise. So you were no Aphrodite – and I no Adonis – so what? At our worst, we could doff our glasses with our clothes, and nothing would matter in terms of our appearance.

And just as you didn’t hold me to account about this matter (among others), so I let some of your own foibles slide. For all that I appreciate being able to live in a clean house, with all the rooms available to use (and even rent out, I dare say), I would gladly go back to that impenetrable mess if it meant you could return to me. Besides, it would save me the effort of having to try to work my way back to a figure that might actually be appealing to someone new – which is a long-distance goal, especially as age continues to gain on me, making me that much less so even if I were to lose the necessary pounds.

But for now, let me set all that aside like a steaming platter of Brussels sprouts.

I mentioned to you earlier today that I had plans to take on once I left the ‘office’; productive things that needed to be done at home and involving Daniel, things that I (and he, let’s acknowledge that as well) might rather not do. But I promised to tell you about it at the end of the day, whether I did them or not, and how it went. In a way, it was an attempt to have you hold me accountable for keeping those promises I made myself about the things that needed to get done.

And what do you know, it actually worked – and I even took care of a thing or two that hadn’t even crossed my mind when I wrote you this morning.

So let’s start with the fact that I left the ‘office’ that much sooner than I probably needed to – nearly an hour before the painter had said he was going to show up. Considering the distance he was traveling, I figured that he might be hard-pressed to ascertain when he might arrive; even the thirty-minute window he suggested might be off by as much time as he’d quoted. So it wasn’t any surprise to arrive home before he showed up (although I hadn’t counted on the lawn service being in the driveway – at least this means they’ve finally arrived at a regularly scheduled time to show up), at which point, I dumped most of the dirty clothes into the laundry (apart from the whites, which I’d washed just before leaving for Anime Iowa).

I also installed lightbulbs into the new fixture that had been hung above the bathroom mirror/medicine cabinet. I don’t think you or Daniel would be particularly fond of them, but we had some of those curly cue CFL lightbulbs, and they have to be used somewhere. At least this way, they’re not someplace that Daniel will have to stare at them for any length of time.
This also means that, for the first time in two decades, I’m actually using the main switch to light up the bathroom.

I had barely put away the stepladder when the doorbell rang. The painter was here for his deposit, and, just as I had suspected, he was ten minutes earlier than his window. Good thing I hadn’t waited until the last minute to get home. I wrote him his check, and he was out the door just like that.

At this point, Daniel was just wrapping up the church service he was listening to, and I asked him if he could be ready to leave (I’d warned him earlier of my plans after he commented about how I was home so early). He asked about the painter, and whether he was finished with his work so soon, and I told him he wouldn’t be able to start for another five weeks or so – this visit was just to secure a down payment.

“Oh.” Well, he was between broadcasts, so he got up and followed me out the door, audibly hoping this would be over with soon. For what it was worth, I had to agree with him, but didn’t want to promise anything; besides, I thought I might try to interest him in a late lunch/early dinner out together, some place where it would be a nuisance to get anything home hot.

The first stop was to AAA, where I’s been told we could get an updated passport photo for no charge (as it was supposedly one of our membership perks). Quite true, although upon withdrawing my card, I realized it was about to expire in a week. However, the agent checked our records, and confirmed that we were paid up for the following year, and offered to have a new card sent to the two of us shortly. He also confirmed our information, including yours; I hope you can understand that we had to cancel your membership.

From there, our next stop was the post office, where Daniel grudgingly filled out three pages of paperwork (“It’s like doing homework back at Judson,” was how he put it) in order to apply for a replacement passport, while I searched through my emails for any evidence of his Social Security number. It took some doing, but I eventually tracked it down, and we brought the form back to the clerk…

…only for her to look at Daniel’s handwriting, and a small section that I filled out concerning ‘emergency contacts,’ and ask if I would be so kind as to fill out the entire form on his behalf, so that it wouldn’t get rejected by the bureaucrats out in Philadelphia. He was embarrassed, but I assured him it wouldn’t take all that long to complete, since he’d done the hard part of assembling the information.

Back to the clerk we went, at which point she informed us we needed to use either cash, a check or a debit card to make the purchase. Well, I’d just gotten a rebate card from the company we purchased the appliances from, so I thought we were well set with a debit card. But upon attempting to pay, it asked for a PIN number, which I never set up when I activated it. So, it wouldn’t work (by the way, the reason they wouldn’t take a credit card has to do with the fact that we were buying a postal money order – essentially purchasing cash, or rather, a cash equivalent – and a credit card has that risk of default behind it. Then again, so does a check, if it’s an overdraft, but whatever), and I needed to pay in cash – and the amount was considerably more than I usually carry around with me at any given time.

However – and I’m sure you and Daniel would agree to this being a God thing – I had overloaded my wallet from Anime Iowa, in hopes of arranging a commission from various artists. As a result, I had just enough in twenties to fork over for the passport, with one spare left over for lunch. Ain’t that something?

For what it’s worth, I didn’t use that last twenty, but rather the debit card, to cover lunch. And it probably didn’t do my figure any favors – although I did get my vegetables as part of my pizza, which is more than Daniel can say. Granted, since he’s as thin as he is, he can gobble down those carbs with impunity, the lucky son of… well, us.

Anyway, I’ll catch you up again later. Keep an eye out for us, honey, and wish us luck.

Published by randy@letters-to-rachel.memorial

I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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