His (mostly) spotless record

I'm married to Mr. Clean. My husband loves to polish our shoes, take stains out of clothing, wash windows frequently. He just naturally gravitates to jobs that need cleaning.

When our three girls were very small, they wore high-top white laced shoes. It was Robert's nightly ritual to get out the white shoe polish and give them each a thorough swipe.

Whenever my mother or sister dropped by, you'd know that Robert was outside with cloth, brush, soap, and water, ready to spruce up their cars. The cars would also get a periodic waxing, too, of course. Today, when our girls, now grown, stop by, it's the same routine.

He also loves to dabble with the laundry. When the washing machine was on the blink, Robert got to tinkering with it. And when it was ready to test, he grabbed a bunch of all-wool sweaters and ran them through the hot (very hot) cycle. A sheepish-looking male came into the living room to show me the shrunken mess. His otherwise booming bass voice shot up an octave as he sputtered, "Could the girls use these sweaters for their dolls?"

Sure.

One time, he took a day off from work and called me at my office. Using that same high-pitched voice, he whispered, "You know those blue-and-white striped cotton slacks you have? Well, could you use a nice, very-white pair of all-white slacks?" Not knowing how to answer that query, I replied, "I'll be home at the usual time."

Actually, the slacks didn't look so bad, and I wore them for many years.

Once, Mom and I overdid the bleaching, and Robert's long-sleeve button-down oxford shirt was minus part of a sleeve. Without missing a beat, we cut off both sleeves, got out the sewing machine, and hemmed them to make what we swear was the first short-sleeve oxford ever. Hanging it in his closet, we went on to other more important tasks, neglecting to mention the incident. That was one surprised Robert who pulled out a shortened version of the original.

Our home is adorned with white carpeting, which we pamper by slipping off our shoes before entering. It was time for professional cleaning. Tom, the cleaner, had come back to retreat several stubborn spots. He had taken off his heavy army boots - very dirty, very grimy - before entering the venerated area. When his task was completed, he returned to the garage to put on his boots again. He looked around to see where he'd left them and, coming from behind, Robert handed him his boots - looking spiffy, pristinely clean, and polished to a T.

Tom thanked him, put on his rejuvenated boots, and as he roared off in his truck, he yelled, "My wife will never recognize them!"

I'm also married to Mr. Good Guy.

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