Sunday, June 26, 2016

An ounce of prevention

When my kids were younger, I came home from running an errand one day and went upstairs to where an unusual amount of noise was emanating from my bedroom. 

There I found not only the teenager who was kid-sitting, but what looked to be half the neighborhood. At least two boys from across the street, my daughter’s friend from the corner, my daughter, my son, and other recruits from nearby streets were all there staring up. They wore hockey masks, football helmets, and in one case, a trashcan. They were also swinging rakes, brooms, and hockey sticks. How there was still a pane of glass in any window remains a mystery to this day.

          We had a bat in the house.

          I don’t know why it was there in the middle of the day; it must not have gotten the memo about the whole nocturnal thing. If only that had been an isolated instance. 

          Since we’ve moved to this house I’ve woken up twice, TWICE! to a bat in my bedroom. The first time happened during the travel years of my husband’s career. Fortunately, our son was still living at home. Unfortunately, he was working the night shift at UPS and I huddled in a spare bedroom waiting for him to come home. He dispatched it with a tennis racket, not the best outcome, but by that time I just wanted it gone by any means necessary. 

          The second time, my husband was asleep in front of the TV, so the denouement was a bit quicker – we opened a window and miraculously, it took the hint. 

          A few years later, we also had one in the basement living area when my daughter and her family were here on a visit. That time I handed my saintly son-in-law a big lobster pot which he popped over it, slid a piece of cardboard underneath, and cha-cha’d it out the back door.

          I know that bats can get into spots you’d never think anything bigger than a beetle could fit. I’ve seen a bat crawl under our bedroom door when we thought we had it trapped in the room. We’ve taken in the window air conditioner for the season and found one clinging to the underside of it. 

         These days I’m more than a little twitchy when it comes to the subject of bats.

          Hence, this weekend’s project. Our chimneys are capped and caged, but I’m taking no chances. I was cleaning on Friday and in
the fireplace found a pile of the brown pollen/seeds/who-knows-what that our trees give off in the spring. The damper is closed, but after convincing my husband to lie painfully across the raised brick hearth to peer up, he discovered a large gap between the firebox interior and its brick lining. 


      We wrapped couch cushions in trash bags and towels, created a cushioned platform, bought pre-mixed cement, found the safety glasses, gathered more towels, rounded up flashlights, and inserted 6’2” of husband into the job site.

      I don’t need anymore nighttime wake-up calls.



  1. Oh my goodness, I would love that. I love bats. I suppose though I wouldn't want to have them in my house uninvited. I understand they can cause real problems if they get in your attic.

    Years ago I read "The Bat in My Pocket" by Amanda Lollar. I actually drug my husband to Mineral Wells, Texas to visit her sanctuary. Fascinating. I wonder if she's still doing that?

    When we were still in Texas I rescued a bat from the mouth of a neighbor's dog. Ran across the street with plastic dishpan and a towel, wrapped the traumatized bat in the towel and laid it in the dishpan. Back in my kitchen I spread it out on it's back so I could spread its wings and be sure they were not damaged. That done I wrapped it lightly in the towel, put it back in the dishpan, and waited until dusky dark. Then it was back across the street to the neighbor's where he put a ladder next to a tree, climbed up a bit, and took the dishpan with the towel now pulled back from the little bat. He took a small limb and put it in the dishpan, the little bat crawled out on it, and neighbor descended the ladder. We watched it and within an hour it was gone.

  2. The perils of living in the woods.

  3. I had a bat once in my rented apartment and it was flying around the living room until a friend came over to find out why I was screaming. We got a sheet and threw it over the bat and then carefully found out where he was under it and wrapped him up. Then we peeled the sheet back until we could look at that face. I was really surprised at how much it looked like a little miniature dog! We released it but I have never forgotten that face. I kind of like bats; they eat mosquitoes. :-)

  4. I can admire them in theory and from a distance.
    However, the rabies scenes in Old Yeller and To Kill a Mockingbird had a formative influence on me.

  5. Mercy, you have really done battle with the rascles. I have never seen a bat and have even put up a bat house in hopes of encouraging them. Nada.

  6. I got a call out from a security firm one night to go round to my brother's place (he was away) because his alarms were going off. That bat was nocturnal. And trapped. Sigh.
    I like them, but yes, from a distance.

  7. Yes, bats can give you the creeps even though they are quite harmless. We have very few bats here. It's years since I've seen one.

  8. I can't think of much worse than having a bat swooping around dive bombing my dinner and getting in front of the TV. Thank goodness I've never had one inside. I don't know anyone who has actually. Here in Australia they stay up in the trees, mostly hanging around the Zoo and Botanical Gardens.

  9. Bats are fascinating creatures. Your open-the-window method, from what I understand, is actually the best way to go -- bats are smart and will find their own way out.

  10. I would probably have a heart attack if a bat flew past me inside the house! You described coming home to those children, so true! I can picture them dragging out everything in the house to use for protection. It all sounds so familiar.


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