You Can’t Take the Jersey Outta the Boy

This morning many of us rose earlier than our prescribed wake-up time as three or four PG&E trucks rolled in front of our house and a tree-cutting service began cutting branches away from a rather large, many-limbed, old tree at the front of our rental property…at 6:00am.

Charlie, whose second floor bedroom has two large windows facing the front of the house, experienced the brunt of the noise (saws whining, workers bellowing orders, and the constant low hum of a generator that kept all the cutting tools going full throttle)…at 6:00am.

Charlie likes his sleep, A LOT, and every minute that he can stay asleep, especially on a school day, really matters. So much so, in fact, that when Scott goes up to nudge him awake (as is the usual routine), Charlie always checks to see that his clock reads 7:30 exactly, not a minute before. Scott will usually stick around to make sure that Charlie is actually in a vertical position and truly in functioning mode, because if a parent doesn’t linger, Charlie will quickly crawl back under the covers for an extra few winks.

Today, we heard an earful from Charlie right off the bat. “Oh my God, what is all this noise?” “Are they cutting the tree down?” “I’ve been up since 6:00!” “Who said they could do this?” “Did Chris say it was okay to cut the tree?” (Chris is our landlord.) We had no real answers for Charlie’s urgent queries. “They’re probably trying to keep the branches off the wires,” Scott offered.

Charlie continued to rant through two bowls of Honey Nut Cheerios, loudly chewing and muttering with a “What gives” kind of gesture punctuating his diatribe from time to time. Everyone else went through their morning routine, subdued and quiet. I made my coffee and unloaded the dishwasher. Max stuffed his lunch into his backpack and zipped the pack up, finally growling on his way out the door, “Okay, Charlie, we get it. You’re giving me a headache.” (My thoughts exactly….)

But Charlie would not be calmed. Even a soft peck on the cheek from his adoring mother (unlike Max, Charlie still accepts a kiss from time to time) was quickly brushed away. The injustice of his rude awakening this morning seemed to have set off some sort of chemical reaction in my child. He was hot and simmering now, but I feared he might blow at any second.

Finally, (praise the Lord), Scott and Charlie headed out of the house to drive to school. (Scott drives Charlie to school every day then hustles himself over to Starbucks for a quick caffeine hit. East coast, west coast: some things never change!) But before Charlie climbed into the back seat, he yelled loudly in the direction of the tree workers who were perched high above him in their long-necked cranes, “Hey, dudes, you woke me up at 6:00! What are you doing to my tree?!” Then he slammed the car door for emphasis, not waiting for an answer. Of course, no one was going to answer him, anyway, because no one could hear him over the loud tree chew party that was underway. Scott heard him, though. “That’s our boy,” we thought together, when Scott quickly ran back into the house, chuckling, to relay Charlie’s final words on his messed up morning. “That’s our Jersey boy!”

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