It’s a Chimney Dude. Not a Tree.

I DO NOT like being woken up to the sound of a jackhammer.

It’s 6:30 on Saturday morning. I stayed up late last night, filling numbers into an Excel spreadsheet. In our family, we like to do our taxes last minute; that way we get to stress out and yell at each other a lot. Oh joy.

Ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba. The sound moves really fast. And it’s really loud. You’ve heard it before and you put your hands over your ears.

Then it is quiet, but not long enough for me to fall back asleep. Ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba.

Didn’t we move to suburbia to avoid the pounding of metal into concrete first thing in the morning?

I get up, go to the window, look out for the guilty party.


What’re you doing? the husband says. He is still in bed, all the covers on his side, per usual.

Trying to figure out where that noise is coming from, I say.

I don’t think it’s down the street, he says

Oh no? I say. I’m a little miffed at his know-it-all-ness. Then where might the jackhammer be coming from?

He laughs. Jackhammer? I guess it sounds a little like that but I think it’s more like a woodpecker sound. He pauses, waits for the sound but it’s during the lull. 

Then it comes again. Ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba.

I can’t figure out what he’s tapping against, he says.

The husband jumps up, disappears downstairs for several minutes. The noise stops. Then it returns for a minute, stops for two or three, returns again for a minute, stops again for two or three. Then it begins again and stops again. Two minutes pass. Three. Four. Five. Six. Seven. No more ba-ba-ba-ba-ba.

The husband returns to bed. Gets under the covers, closes his eyes, and turns his back to me.

No, no, no.

I shake him. He turns around, his expression says, Let me get back to sleep.

The noise stopped. I say. I’m often teased by my family for stating the obvious. What’d you do?

I opened and closed the flue a few times and it seems to have scared him away.


The woodpecker.

So it WAS a woodpecker?

He nods. And smiles. And closes his eyes. I let him go back to sleep.

I lie awake and try to hear the sound again, even though a few minutes ago, all I wanted was for it to stop. How could I think a woodpecker was a jackhammer? I try to concentrate, but I keep hearing Woody Woodpecker in my head: na-na-na-NA-na, na-na-na-NA-na, na-na-na-na-na.  Of course I didn’t think it was a woodpecker. The woodpeckers in MY world sound like Woody. Real woodpeckers pecking against the inside of our chimney sound like jackhammers (at least the ones I’ve heard on commercials or in cartoons).

I’m a dreamer. I live in my imagination whenever I am able. Sometimes this makes me seem not-so-smart. And in some situations, I admit, I’m not the person to turn to for guidance. At those times, you should turn to the person in my family who is fully grounded in reality. I know I turn to him in those situations despite my being miffed when his reality is right and mine is wrong.

I’m glad in this case, he was right. If not, right now I would be walking down the street in my pajamas looking for the crazy person with the jackhammer. The neighbors who wake up early on Saturdays probably would be looking out their windows nodding knowingly. She’s really lost it this time, they might say to one another.

What can I say? Saved again by my man. Like in a fairy tale.

Uh oh. There I go again.


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18 thoughts on “It’s a Chimney Dude. Not a Tree.

    1. I know. All that pecking and all he gets is some ashes flying up when the flue was opened and closed. But at least I got back to sleep!

  1. That is so funny! I would imagine that it does sound like a jackhammer when he’s pecking on the chimney. I’m sure he wasn’t getting many bugs outta that thing!

    Great post ~ thanks for the laugh 🙂

    1. I’m starting to feel less foolish now that others confirm that woodpeckers can sound like jackhammers. Thanks for the feedback and for coming by.

  2. Haha, I can see you now wandering the street in your pajamas in search of the offender … and the woodpecker sitting atop your chimney with a smirk on his beak! I needed a good laugh this morning – thanks for providing it 😀

  3. I would have thought it was the same thing, Sara. Too funny! Glad you got it resolved. And I don’t think you were “saved by a man”. He merely provided information. I’ll bet you can save yourself whenever needed. 🙂

    1. Very true. Not saved by a man. What really happens is that we balance each other out. His particular way in the world serves me; my particular way in the world serves him. When we’re not busy being frustrated with each other. 🙂

    1. They get concussions? That’s so sad. But clearly they aren’t the smartest of creatures if they don’t stop once they begin pecking at metal. Still, concussions? Bummer.

  4. It is 6:45 AM, I have just returned from my yard (in my PJs!!) and I saw not a woodpecker, but what looked from a distance as a pigeon, it is a flicker. I rushed in to investigate online and found your blog plus a few more. It seems that this is quite common and actually a mating call for the bird to claim its territory. Apparently it will be back annually!! AAAH!!

    1. That’s fascinating. Thanks for the link. Can’t say I’m thrilled that it will be back annually, although I wouldn’t mind if he/she could wait until 8 or 9 am. 🙂

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