“I CAN’T HEAR-RRRRRR YOUUUUUU!” Jerry’s voice thunders so loud that anyone within a mile radius requires hearing protection.
We had just parked at a tile store to check out tile for our new atrium or garden room, or as Jerry calls it, “Magic Room.” Jerry says he envisions our patio enclosed in glass with indirect lighting and huge potted plants. He sees it in his mind and it will be magical.
To make the magic come alive, we need the right kind of tile for the Magic Room’s floor.
Before entering the store, we stop to check out the tile samples displayed in the parking lot. I say something to Jerry, (I can’t remember what I said as my memory is short, but whatever it was, Jerry didn’t hear). His hearing is not like it used to be. At one time, when we were younger, I could whisper to my son something like, “Don’t tell your dad, but we have ice cream in the freezer.” Jerry, far from earshot in another room, would call out, “Ice cream! What flavor?”
As the years rolled on, I joked, “Much cheaper to yell than buy a hearing aid.” I could joke about it back then because I was younger and still had a joking mood. Now life has become serious.
As we view the tile samples in the store’s parking lot, Jerry stands two feet away. Okay, maybe three or four feet away. It’s just us, so it didn’t seem like I needed to speak louder.
I turn to Jerry and say, “Let’s have a signal when you can’t hear me. That way, you don’t have to holler and I will know what you mean.”
He agrees and asks what signal.
“Why don’t you put your hands out as if you’re presenting your gorgeous wife.”
He smiles, “Okay.”
We step inside the store. Every kind of tile one could imagine screams “choose me” from every angle. Ceramic tile, porcelain tile, even tile that looks like planks of wood put us in a daze.
“I really like this tile,” I say to Jerry pointing to terracotta tile. “It’s very Southwest and it looks perfect for a garden room, or ‘Magic Room.’”
Jerry frowns and squints as if in miserable pain and says, “It is too pink, I don’t like it at all.”
“Terracotta has pink in it, it’s reddish-pink,” I justify.
Jerry points to a glossy white tile with black streaks, the kind of tile you might see in a bank.
“I like this,” he says.
“Jerry, that is not the kind of tile for a garden room.” I veto it (I love the veto power).
After much browsing, Jerry and I come to the conclusion that none of the 10,000 various colors and types of tile fit our mutual need. We decide to buy something we both like and not settle for less. We agree to keep looking until we find spectacular tile that knocks us out and is also affordable (if such a tile exists). We make a plan to check other tile stores at a later date.
We cruise to the grocery store and after shopping there, Jerry loads the bags into the car. He suddenly does the strangest thing I’ve ever witnessed. Why is he doing that funny, jerking thing with his hands? He continues to do it. His eyes shoot laser beams my way.
“Oh, oh, the signal!” I say.
“Bronwyn, you have to look at me when you speak to me. Now what was it you said?”
By that time, who could remember?
At home, Jerry and I unload our groceries and suddenly Jerry is doing the funny thing with his hands again, but this time he tap-dances and gesticulates wildly as if bees surround him with murderous ambition.
“Yes, Bronwyn,” he says with serious intent. “I can’t hear if you don’t look at me when you talk.”
“Well, I never had to look at you before and I think the signal doesn’t work. Maybe you should just holler, ‘here’s my gorgeous wife’ and forget the hand signals.”
Of course, I made the suggestion in jest. I hope Jerry realizes.
Now all I can do is wait for the completion of the Magic Room. When that happens, I will race to it and stay there for a very long time. Hopefully, with magic-looking tile to stare at.