The Room Remodel

Saturday Tiger and Jimmy's Saturday morning started off much like any other Saturday. One small difference was the day's significance. It was the eighth anniversary of the day they met at Tiger's cousin Greg's dorm when Jimmy and Greg were roommates. The couple made breakfast and reminiced about their years together.

Tiger was excited about his day for he was going to spend it with his cousin Greg, who was in town on busisness - or so he thought. In reality, Jimmy had set Tiger up for a big surprise. If anyone was going to be able to pull off, what he had planned, it would be him. After all, for the past five years, he worked as a successful planning coordinator for a Fortune 500 company.

Tiger, oblivious to the plan, asked Jimmy to join him and Greg. Jimmy declined Tiger's invite and told him that he had some paperwork to catch up on and was looking forward to seeing Greg that night. He also promised to make a big dinner and told Tiger that he would call him later with the exact time. Tiger kissed Jimmy goodbye and drove off to meet Greg at the airport.

Shortly after Tiger left, Jimmy called the crew, who were waiting a few blocks away. The crew was, none other than, the design crew, from a national home decor television show. Today's project was to makeover Tiger's home office. Jimmy and Greg had planned the room makeover together.

As the crew unpacked their tools and materials, the host interviewed Jimmy.

Host: "I am really excited about today's makeover. I'm here with Jimmy who wants to make over his partner Tiger's home office. By the way, Jimmy, is there anything special about today?"

Jimmy: "Yes. Today is the eighth anniversary of my first date with Tiger."

Host: "Happy anniversary! But that's not the only reason you want to do this for Tiger, is it?"

Jimmy: "Tiger runs his non-profit business out this room. It's an organization that provides eyeglasses and services to underpriviliged children who really need them. As you can see by my glasses, my vision is pretty bad. Here's a picture of Tiger. He's really nearsighted too. Until I met Tiger, I hated my glasses. He has helped me and hundreds of children come such a long way. Besides the fact that I love him to death, I want to do this makeover so he can have a great organized place to keep up the great work he does."

Host: "That's a great story. I think I'm going to cry. Especially since I can relate. I was once a kid in tick glasses. If you look close, you can see my contacts. They're +10Rx."

Jimmy: "Tiger and I both wear -18."

Host: "I'm going to bring in the designer who has some great ideas. Here she is now."

Designer: "Hi, I was just wondering, if Tiger is his real name, and, how would he feel about a tiger theme?

Jimmy: "Actually, his real name is Tighe but his cousin Greg, who is keeping him busy right now, named him Tiger when they were kids. Tiger absolutely loves tigers and has a tattoo on his left arm that matches this one on my right arm."

Designer: "I was thinking that maybe we could take a picture of your tattoo and frame it."

Jimmy: "I'm one step ahead of you. Just yesterday I picked some closeup pictures we did of each other's tattoos. I'll grab them...here they are...will they work?"

Designer: "These are great. These two are perfect. Whose eyes are these?"

Jimmy: "Ha! That's a rare shot of Tiger without his glasses."

Designer: "He's even got tiger eyes. Let's blow up this one too. I'll run down to the photolab as soon as we get the carpenters started"

Jimmy: "What else do you have in mind for the room?"

The designer described her vision for the office which included built-in storage, a bookcase, tiger upolstery, new lighting, and a larger work area to accomodate a second computer. Jimmy loved all the ideas and mentioned a very special collection of Tiger's.

Jimmy: "Tiger's parents recently sold their house. His mom sent him this box which contains every pair of glasses he has ever had starting with these little -2s that he wore when he was 4. Do you have any ideas?"

Designer: "What a great collection. When I go to the photolab, I'll pick a glass enclosed showcase for them. Do you have all your glasses too?"

Jimmy: "Unfortunately not. While I was away at college, my mom decided that the Lion's Club could put them to better use. At first, I was upset, but, when I realized how many kids her donation benefit, I forgave her."

Designer: "Mom's idea sounds alot like Tiger's, huh?"

Jimmy: "It's similar, but with Tiger's organization, the kids get their exact prescription and not just an approximate one."

The project got underway. Jimmy wasn't too worried about Tiger for Greg had planned a full day of time-stalling activities. It included shopping at a mall that was an hour's drive away. Greg also convinced Tiger to take the three-hour tourist bus to see the sites. Ironically, three year resident, Tiger, enjoyed it more than his tourist cousin. Tiger treated Greg to a great lunch in the Italian section of town.

While still in that neighborhood, Greg treated Tiger to his first old style, straight-edge-razor shave. Since Tiger was a bit nervous, Greg sat in the shop's lone chair and got his face shaved first. Enrico, the barber, removed Greg's glasses from his face and placed them on the marble counter right next to the jar of blue liquid containing comb disinfectant.

Tiger watched on as Enrico shaved Greg and told stories about the old country. By the time Enrico was finished and was handing Greg back his glasses, Tiger was completely at ease. Greg announced that he was stepping outside to buy a soda from the vending machine. He asked Enrico and Tiger if they wanted one. Neither of them did, but Tiger asked Greg to hold his glasses.

Before buying his soda, Greg called Jimmy to check on the status of the project. Jimmy's immediate concern was that Tiger was going to catch Greg on the phone. Greg assured Jimmy, that it was not likely to happen, since Tiger was sitting in a barber chair. Besides he was holding Tiger's -18 glasses.

Jimmy told Greg that the room remodel was right on schedule and looking great. Greg informed Jimmy of their whereabouts and told him that the drive back would take about 90 minutes. That was more than enough time to finish everything. Greg told Jimmy, that he would time it out, so they would on the road, in a half hour, and for Jimmy and the crew to expect them in 2 hours.

Jimmy bought a Dr. Pepper, from the machine, and sat on the bench enjoying it. He took off his glasses and tried on Tiger's. They were much stronger than his own -13s. The glasses and the Dr. Pepper took him back to when he was 6 and Tiger was 4. He remembered the day that Tiger's mom caught him wearing his old glasses. A few days later Tiger was wearing his own glasses and beaming with joy over his new world. Jimmy finished his soda, put his own glasses back on, and walked back to the barber shop. Enrico was just finishing up.

"Should I put these on you so you can see that beautifully shaved face of yours?" Greg asked as he placed the glasses on Tigers face.

"Thanks!" Tiger said "I think the last time our faces were so smooth was back when we were kids....What are you smiling about?"

"While I was drinking my soda - a Dr. Pepper, I tried on your glasses and started thinking about the day the your mom caught you wearing my old glasses." Greg recalled "I was also thinking about our prescriptions. Ironically, I started wearing glasses first, and mine were stronger than yours, but now yours are way stronger than mine. I'm a minus 13. What are yours -15 or 16"

"My glasses are -18. Just like Jimmy's" Tiger replied "If you want to talk irony, for the past eight years, both Jimmy's and my myopia have progressed at the exact same rate."

"I remember the first time you guys figured that out." Greg said "I can't wait to see Jimmy tonight and remind him about it. Look at the time!"

Tiger looked at his watch and said "You're right. We should probably get going, huh?"

About an hour into their drive, Jimmy called Tiger on his cell phone. "Hi honey, I've missed you. How's Greg?"

"Jimmy!" Tiger exclaimed "I've missed you so much too, but I am having such a great time with Greg. It's just like when were kids."

"That's great! I have had a really productive day, but I haven't started dinner yet" Jimmy said before asking "Are you on your way home?"

"Yes! I'm near exit 4. We should be there in about an hour." Tiger replied. "Don't worry about making dinner. I think the three of us should go out for dinner."

"That's a great idea - especially after all that Greg has done." Jimmy said just shy of blurting out the surprise..."Um...I'll never forget the night that he introduced us."

"Greg mentioned that earlier" Tiger said "I'll call you when I'm close to our exit, to check if you need me to pick up anything."

"Thanks! See you in about an hour." Jimmy said as he hung up. While the crew finished applying the finishing touches to the room, Jimmy and the designer hung the room's two focal points. On one wall, they hung three 36"x48" cork message panels which were silkscreened with images of the tattoos and Tiger's eyes.

On the opposite wall, they hung a glass enclosed showcase that had compartments to hold 24 of the 25 pairs of glasses that Tiger's mom sent. The case was lined with a tiger print fabric and looked incredible. A special case was made for the final pair - Tiger's first glasses - tiny plastic rims holding -2Rx lenses.

The phone rang. Before Jimmy answered it, he thought to himself "Time flies when you having fun." For Jimmy it was not just a thought, but rather a reality. Remodeling Tiger's office was truly a labor of love. He motioned to everyone to be quiet, as he sat down at Tiger's new desk and pressed the answer button on the speaker phone.

"Hello!" he said as he took his glasses off, placed them on the desk, and wiped tears from his eyes, with the palms of his hands.

Tiger's amplified voice filled the room "Hi honey it's me. I'm about a mile away. Do you need anything?"

"The only thing I need is you." Jimmy said trying hard to control his excitement "See you in a few minutes."

As Jimmy reached for his glasses, Tony the buff carpenter said "Jimmy, before you put them back on, may I check them out?"

"Sure. Here." Jimmy relied

"These are really light." Tony said "I usually wear my contacts because my glasses are so heavy" Tony held the glasses up and looked through them at arms length "My contacts prescription is -12. What are these?" he asked as he handed the glasses back to Jimmy

"I'm so blind. They're -18." Jimmy replied

All of a sudden, the designer, who had been keeping a lookout for Tiger and Greg ran in and said "They're here! Quick! Everyone into position"

"Tony, let's talk more later, OK?" Jimmy said as his heart was now beating in double time.

"Sure!" Tony said as he, to, got into position.

"Jimmy! I'm home! Where are you" Tiger shouted as he walked through the front door.

"I'm in your office." Jimmy replied "I'm looking for some printer paper. Can you come in here?"

"SURPRISE!"

(TO BE CONTINUED)

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