Volume Wars

Each television manufacturer has their own scale to indicate the volume level on their TV set. Mom’s Samsung goes from zero to… well we don’t know yet because it’s never been completely maxed out. Suffice it to say that a normal person would set the level to a comfortable 10 or 12. I’m mentioning this because right now Bill and Mom are having another volume war. It all started a couple of years ago, when the hearing in her left ear went from bad to worse. The first Volume War – or VW 1 as I like to call it – would go something like this…

We’re working in the office. We’re barely aware of what she’s watching at the other end of the house. Suddenly, Steve Harvey apparently invades the living room and he brings the entire live audience of Family Feud with him. We take it until she makes a trip to the bathroom, then Bill runs into the living room, grabs up the remote, notes the volume number, lowers it, and runs back to the office.

“She had it up to 21 this time,” he’ll report. “I turned it down to 10.”

And then we would wait because the sound always went back up, she would always have to make another bathroom run, and Bill would always sprint out to the living room. And this happened at least a half a dozen times a day and continued for months.

If Mom knew we were manipulating the volume, she never mention it, although she did complain once in a while that her TV was acting “wacky” because it kept losing the sound. Finally, a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving of 2013 she decided she needed to get her hearing checked, which resulted in a pair of hearing aids.

The TV volume was blissfully low through the 2013 holiday season… until a year ago January when she decided she could hear just fine, didn’t need hearing aids, and why in the world would we waste money getting them for her.

The new war – or VW 2 as I like to call it – went into full swing last summer and has continued without a cease fire ever since.

Over the winter Bill’s gotten a bit more imaginative – and proactive – than just waiting around for Mom’s bladder to fill up. Instead of running into the living room and grabbing the satellite remote, he uses the television’s remote and stands in the backyard, outside the living room window, and points at the TV across the room. He can manipulate the volume all he wants. He’ll lower the sound from 26 to 10, but then Mom picks up her remote and raises it back to 22. Then he lowers it to 12 and she raises it to 25. He lowers it to 9, she raises it to 21.  He lowers it to 4 and she yells, “Patty, the sound on my TV is going wacky. Get Bill to fix it!”

I’m thinking of moving to a neutral country, like Switzerland, and taking all the remotes with me.

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