People often ask me the same question:
What is it like to live with Melodee?
That’s a pretty big and deep subject, and there isn’t an easy answer. Like the old saying goes, it’s complicated.
But I’m going to try to tell you a little about what Life With Melodee is like in a series of postings here on Melodee’s blog.
The Music of Melodee
Yes, Melodee has been all over me to add more to this series, so here I am again in front of the keyboard. Not like I have many more important things to do, I guess.
Anyway, Melodee has been in a musical mood lately. Given the fact that she’s totally deaf, that might seem strange to a few people, so let me explain right up front.
I’ve mentioned in a few early posts in this series that Melodee can dance very well. Oh, and I’m not talking about using the pole in our bedroom, though she does a great job there, too. I mean like going to a club and being on the dance floor while a band or DJ plays. She can stay in time, and even sing along if she knows the words. Melodee claims that she can feel the vibrations of the sounds through the air or floor and that means she can “hear” the music. I can’t feel these nebulous vibrations she talks about, but I suspect that being deaf since birth, she’s more aware of them than I can ever hope to be.
Melodee has a set of what I’ll call Bone-Phones. I think that was an actual brand name from a number of years ago, but the idea is that they are kind of like headphones that lay over her shoulders and rest on her upper chest. The idea is that instead of covering your ears, the Bone-Phones transmit vibrations directly to your body. When I put them on, I can feel the vibrations though I still can’t make a lot of sense from the sensation.
Not so with Melodee. She puts on the Bone-Phones, cranks the volume way up, and sings along with her favorite songs.
And speaking of favorite songs…
I guess everyone has a favorite song and even a favorite performer. For Melodee, that’s the Moody Blues. I’m not sure if from the repertoire of the band there is one song she would call her favorite, though…she seems to like all of their songs equally. And that’s a big deal. The career of the Moody Blues spans nearly fifty years now, and they are still on tour.
As an aside, I rarely get jealous over Melodee despite her flirtatious nature. By and large, I feel very secure in the fact that she’s not at all serious and is coming home with me. Except that is, with the Moody Blues. Yes, she gets a little giddy around Graeme Edge (the 72 year old drummer), and a little more so with John Lodge (the bass guitarist who is 68), but it’s Justin Hayward (66, lead guitar, vocalist, and front man) who actually worries me. I have no doubt that all Justin would need to do is smile and nod to Melodee and she would be all over him. While he’s clearly in great physical shape to do multi-hour concerts and maintain the show schedule for the band’s tours, I wonder if his heart could take it. I sometimes wonder about my own heart, too.
In any event, for the past few days, Melodee has been on a writing binge. When she writes, she “listens” to music. She puts on her Bone-Phones, cranks them up all of the way, and also puts the music through to the speakers in her office. Despite the well designed soundproofing, the kids, staff, and I can hear the music all over the house. As you might suspect, with her affinity to the Moody Blues, Melodee is a classic rock fan. Her playlist for the MP3 files leans heavily in that direction and is probably half Moody Blues tunes, with multiple versions of the same songs. Also in the mix are a good deal of show tunes (she loves anything by Andrew Lloyd Weber) and some older country music. There are more eclectic things in the mix, too. I imagine that if she could hear the radio in the car, Melodee would be one of those people who change the station at the end of every song.
But she claims that the music helps her write. I’ve watched her (I do that a lot) and she will sit staring at the screen as she types, and her lips are moving as the music plays. And before someone asks, no, Melodee does not have a good singing voice.
Like most profoundly deaf people, Melodee has what we hearing folks would call a speech impediment. She can’t hear her own voice, so she doesn’t know what it sounds like. By the same token, she tends to mispronounce words, at least by “normal” standards, because she has never heard them spoken by someone else. While she can indeed keep tempo and sing along with the lyrics, Melodee shouldn’t consider making a living as a lead singer.
I often wonder if Melodee’s love of music is at least partially responsible for a similar passion in our oldest daughter Amanda. Amanda can, as far as I can tell, play just about any instrument, but her real love is for the guitar. At last count, she has about twenty different guitars, and they all sound different, even to me. Melodee has a number of Amanda’s “demo tracks” in her playlist, too, and she will often ask Amanda to play something special for her.
One thing I did a few years ago for our anniversary was to get with Amanda to teach me to play just one song on a simple acoustic guitar. After some eight weeks of practice and dealing with bleeding fingers, I was ready. Amanda set up her music “studio” and hooked in Melodee’s Bone-Phones and twisted the volume hard to the right so Melodee could “hear” the performance. All I did was to play the rhythm part and Amanda played the lead, but I played and even sang In Your Wildest Dreams for Melodee.
She cried for a week.
I just hope she was crying because she was so touched by the act and not because my singing and playing was so bad.