Paid In Full

Dearest Rachel –

I was going to start off this week by telling you about how certain people have asked me on occasion what a ‘normal’ day is like at the ‘office’ for me, only to go on into great detail about how there isn’t a single day this week that’s going to be a normal, ‘9 to 5’ type day. Stuff comes up, and whether my presence is truly required or not is irrelevant; I set aside my working hours to attend to this or that thing around the house or wherever. You’ll get the individual details as the days unfold.

And so, that’s what I’ve decided to go into today. After all, to talk about the entire week first thing on Monday sort of preempts anything I might tell you for the next four or five days.

Oddly enough, most of these events still involve going to work first thing in the morning, if for no other reason than that they happen later in the day. So, I’ll put in a few hours before heading home to attend to them. Now, that’s not always the case, and again, I’ll touch on that when the situation is upon us – for instance, Thursday will require getting up ridiculously early, so I’m telling you about it now in order for you to hold me to account toward that. If I leave myself to wake up organically, I’m going to be too late.

But today’s special event, if you can call it that, won’t happen until after noon. That’s when Lisa is available to come over to take one final look over the place, to see how the installation turned out, and to take pictures of the results. Not that I don’t have plenty of those myself, particularly regarding the kitchen:

from April 28, after ripping out the old cabinets, but before removing the sink; this was when they pointed out to me that the kitchen had never been insulated, either facing the street or the garage.
as of the morning of May 19th, with the sink removed.
By evening that same day, the kitchen finally received a layer of insulation, for the first time in sixty-eight years since it was built.
By May 24, the drywall had been hung…
…and by May 31st, the flooring had been laid.
By June 17th, the cabinets began to be brought in…
…and by June 27th, the appliances began to be brought in and hooked up.
This is what it looks like today; everything installed, and up and running. I’ve been trying to keep it clean, but you can probably spot the crumbs under the toaster and in the corner by the oven.

Not that mine are professional grade enough for her to use in brochures, but at least they show the progress.

More importantly, today she will be collecting the final installment and the cabinets, meaning that everything will be paid in full once she’s gone. Between the cabinets and the installation, the amount I’ve spent on this remodel is well over half of what we spent (and more than the entirety of the mortgage we took out with your folks) to buy this house in the first place. Granted, that was twenty-six years ago; we could probably sell it for considerably more than that now, especially with these two updated rooms. Whether we make all of our money back that we’ve sunk into this place, I couldn’t guarantee; however, we’ve certainly got our money’s worth out of it, I suppose.

As much of a hassle as it was to free up the cash so as to have it ready for her visit, I can’t deny that I am looking forward to handing the check over to Lisa. No matter the amount, I don’t like owing people anything; the sooner I can get my debt paid off, the happier I’ll be about everything, and this is no exception. Sure, it’s a lot to part with at any given moment, but the satisfaction of being free of yet another obligation, especially one as substantial as this one is well worth it; as a form of retail therapy, this moment of completion is almost as good as a new purchase. There is very little that can compare with the freedom implicit in the words “Paid in Full.”

As it so happens, those words could be considered a reasonable translation of Jesus’ final word on the cross, the one that is generally translated “It is finished.” The word τετέλεσται (tetelestai) was commonly used on sales receipts in those days to indicate a transaction was complete, and the price had been paid for the item or service in question. Of course, in His case, He was referring to a much more substantial (if admittedly intangible) purchase; that of the souls of every human on the planet, past, present and future. As prices went – in this case, the life of an absolutely innocent man – this was too steep for any of us to pay, even for just our own souls, as we simply didn’t have the means to make the payment, since each of us are long past any semblance of innocence. And yet, He paid it, despite our fallenness – indeed, because of it – and despite the fact that most of humanity would likely refuse the payment; so many of us would rather believe we were in possession of our own soul, rather than sign ourselves over to supposed ‘slavery’ under God. Which is a shame, as we’re effectively ‘owned’ by one side of greater powers than ourselves or the other. The trope of the ‘Faustian bargain’ is theologically incorrect; that’s our default state (although it’s not as if we’re the property of the devil or his minions, either – we’re just joining him in the same place, and enduring the same condition, that of a truly God-forsaken eternity), barring our acceptance of Jesus’ purchase.

Given the satisfaction I’m anticipating regarding having these rooms paid off (not that I’m done with paying for work on the house; there’s still the walls to be painted, and other rooms that need upgrading, but that will come later), it’s no wonder there’s celebration in heaven when each new individual takes Him up on His payment plan. Even God Almighty appreciates a good bargain now and then.

Even if it does mean He has to assign His angels to start in on a new mansion for the soon-to-be new arrival some day. Wish you could tell me about yours.

Anyway, take care of yourself, and keep an eye out for me, honey. We’ll talk again later.

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

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