Adam Breen is the rooster in his household - the person responsible for making sure other family members get up on time.
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No, that wasn’t a sonic boom you heard in Hollister on Monday morning – it was the collective groan of a city full of kids returning to school after a long winter’s break.

Two of those groans came from my house, where a 15-year-old and a 17-year-old were none too pleased that the second semester was beginning after two weeks of staying up late and sleeping in each morning.

In my house, I have become the alarm master, tasked with the job of setting the alarm clock for my wife and me, serving as the de facto alarm for our youngest son, and telling my oldest son to stop sleeping through his.

Each night, I ask my wife what time she wants me to set on the alarm. The weird thing is that we even have this conversation, as it would seem natural that people would get up at the same time each day. Not in my house.

My wife doesn’t start work until 10 on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so the alarm can be set a bit later. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, she has to be on the job at 9, so it is set earlier. But it’s not that simple.

Some evenings, my wife will get the bright idea that she should get up at 6:07 a.m. or some weird time so she can work out early and get home before we boys leave the house. I applaud her efforts. I do not applaud the fact that the alarm is on my side of the bed and I have to swing my arm to shut it off when it blares before the sun comes up.

Our alarm clock has dual setting capabilities, so I always set two times. There is the initial time, when my wife would like to get up. And then there’s the absolute wake-up time, when there absolutely can be no more sleeping.

There is something special about the six minutes or so between the two alarms. That time is among the most precious in the day, when an alarm has sounded but I know I am allowed to fall back asleep to get 360 seconds more of shut-eye before the absolute wake-up time arrives.

That extra little bit of sleep is so precious, I wish the previous eight hours would be so satisfying.

Once I wake up my first stop is the room of my youngest son – he of no alarm. I touch his shoulder or tap his foot while telling him to rise and shine. I am usually greeted with the same reaction a mummy would provide.

I open his windows to let light hit his face, figuring if it works for a vampire it can work for a teenager. I tap him on the head and remind him that he needs to have breakfast and get his books together and take a shower and not be late because his big brother will just get mad about leaving later than he wanted.

Figuring I’ve stirred him from his teenage death slumber, I move to the older brother’s room, where the alarm is going off for the third or fourth time since 6:30. His snooze bar works, but it keeps the alarm ringing every 5 to 8 minutes, over and over again.

As with our younger son, the only thing that really wakes him up is a tap from Dad and more sunlight.

Some mornings I realize that if I didn’t set the alarm right the night before and slept through my first alarm, the precious bonus sleep time between alarms and the last call for being on time alarm, my entire house would sleep until mid-morning.

My youngest son would not even know it was daytime because his room is so dark. My oldest son would keep hitting the snooze bar without waking up. And my wife would skip her pre-dawn workout.

It’s really an eye-opener – I’d even say alarming – to realize that I am the Breen family’s modern-day rooster.

After he wakes up, Adam Breen teaches newspaper and yearbook classes at San Benito High School and is a reporter for The Pinnacle. He is former editor of the Free Lance. Email him at abreen@pinnaclenews.

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


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