Up to No Good
By Karen O’Connor
“Will you marry me?” The handsome man with gray hair and bright blue eyes proposed to me on bended knee after a lovely walk along the beach in sunny San Clemente, California.
Before I could say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ he qualified the question. “However, I have one stipulation.”
A stipulation, no less, not a simple request? Hmm! I held onto my affirmative response. After three years, I thought I knew what this guy was up to. We both had committed our lives to Christ and were digging into the Bible together in a study group at church. We supported one another in parenting teen-aged children, and we each paid our bills on time. What could it be?
“I want to be in charge of the laundry,” he said. “There’s no sharing when it comes to washing and ironing. I have my standards. What do you say?”
I hesitated . . . “Let me think about it. YES!” I loved this man and if it would make him happy, I was willing to make the sacrifice.
And so we married. For the next twenty-eight years the laundry room has been off-limits to me. I’ve been instructed that my knowledge of how to wash, dry, fold, and iron clothes is so lacking as to disqualify me from even auditing Household Management 101.
And furthermore, my husband Charles has made it clear that he could not only teach the course but also run the entire university department on such matters. This guy is worth his weight in soapsuds!
There’s nothing he likes better than the rhythmic pounding of a washing machine whirling socks and shirts into submission. Even the sheets snap to attention when he comes round the bend and through the bedroom door.
In our house, it’s “Charles in Charge”––of all things Pima and percale, rayon and nylon, velvet and velour! Even his dresser and his side of the closet are fit for inspection any time of the day or night. A two-finger space separates each shirt on pristine white hangers. Socks are lined up in the drawer from gray to blue to brown to black, and nary an argyle shall dare come between them.
The hamper is never more than half full. And the crease in his pants matches the crease in his brow. So imagine my shock and his chagrin, when I walked into the laundry room one Monday morning. There he stood holding a soggy lump of leather, and a mass of wet bills and dripping credit cards in one hand, and a pair of soaking jeans in the other. Yep! This man’s been up to no good. I caught him laundering our money!