January 22, 2013, 9:30 p.m.
So even though I have two posts partially finished to, you know – FINISH (one of which is about my Christmas), I have GOT to talk about what happened last night.
At about 11:00 I was channel surfing (we still call it that right? I’m so ’90s about electronics, I’m never sure – I mean, I still listen to CDs forgodssake). And after two hours of complete engrossment in The Carrie Diaries and The Following (try THAT juxtaposition on for size), I was beginning to think that going to bed might be a good idea. But first I had to make sure there wasn’t something super awesome on Lifetime (or at least something starring Jo from The Facts of Life).
So I know it was sometime before midnight when I heard Eleanor crying. She said her foot hurt where the splint covered her heel. Oh – did I mention that she broke her foot this weekend? It’s a long story involving children picking up free weights when they know it’s not allowed and Eleanor’s foot being in the wrong place at the wrong time… Well maybe it’s a short story… But yeah – Eleanor broke her foot. Anyway – it hurt, she cried and I had to give up on 1990’s made for Lifetime movie entertainment.
I gave her some Tylenol and said she could sleep in my room. Then I tucked her into bed with George, who had already found his way there. Wait – did you know that Chris is away on a week-long business trip? Wow – we have A LOT of catching up to do… Well, moving on, I looked at my six year old “book ends” and resigned myself to a cramped night of elbow jabs and pillow stealing.
I suffered for a while, but when our dog, Alice crawled under the covers to make herself comfortable in the area where I would typically choose to place my legs, I decided that one of my bed mates had to go. And because Eleanor was playing the “wounded” card and I have never once won a battle for bed space with Alice, the choice was obvious. I got up and moved George back to his own bed. This was easy enough as George sleeps so deeply you could probably arrange him on a coat hanger, and he wouldn’t notice.
It was the moment when I finally relaxed back into the luxury of being able to move at least one of my limbs, that the scratching noise started. Then continued, persistent and loud.
I had woken Eleanor up with my moving around, so she heard it too. And sensing my newly alert state, she said, “I think it’s just Alice.” Since I was at that very moment straddling my sleeping, 60 lb. dog, I knew for a fact that it was not Alice.
And speaking of that, please take a moment to give it up for Alice, the WORST guard dog EVER. She will bark her head off at a cat sitting on the sidewalk outside of our house – but an unknown creature makes menacing noises IN MY BEDROOM and….nothing.
As the mysterious scuffling (and Alice’s snoring) continued, it became increasingly clear, that I was going to have to get up and “check it out.” I was so tired, I would have preferred to just pretend it wasn’t happening so I could sleep. But the noise was coming from the corner where Chris’ closet was partially open, and I figured that if there was a raccoon in there eating his dress shirts, I’d probably better deal with it sooner as opposed to later. Oh who am I kidding!? I’ve already admitted that I’d be the first to meet my grisly end in a horror movie. I ALWAYS “check it out.”
I tried to make it as “not scary” as possible for Eleanor by saying that the boys might be awake and making noise downstairs. But as I went through the motions of listening for signs of my naughty sons, I was fully focused on that corner, trying to identify the the true source of the commotion
Was it the closet? Or was it the window next to the closet…? It was definitely the window. So all I had to do was open the drapes and take a look.
Oh Christ. I really didn’t want to open the drapes… But hey – it could be an ax murderer or something…so I figured I pretty much had to do it. And with Eleanor’s encouragement, I peeked in the side and saw a small fluttering shape.
My first thought was that it could be a bird since I did once have an experience with a sparrow flying in the window and getting trapped in my room (and let me tell you – you haven’t lived until a bird has crapped all over your room). But in my heart of hearts, I knew it wasn’t a bird. It was the middle of the night. What birds fly around in the middle of the night? I looked a little more closely. And sure enough…it was a bat.
Oh sweet Jesus. I had a bat trapped in my storm window.
I immediately started fuming, “OF COURSE Chris isn’t here, leaving ME to deal with this.” But then I quickly remembered that Chris would have been of no use, as I was fairly certain that “bat removal” was not listed under “Skills” on his marriage resume.
And truly, I didn’t know what I could do at that point. The only way to get the bat out was to open the window. And if I opened the window it would most definitely make a beeline for my nice warm bedroom. No – there was nothing for it. I had to leave it where it was until the following day when I could find “someone else“ to handle the situation.
I have to admit, I felt conflicted… On the one hand, I thought “aw! poor little thing…” and on the other hand, I thought “OHMYGODGROSS! KILL IT! KILL IT!” But either way – it would have to be dealt with in the morning.
And that was another thought. What would happen in the morning? Would the sun burn it to ash? Or was that just vampires? It was late. I was was confused…
Then I realized that Eleanor wanted to know what I saw. So in keeping with the whole “not scary” thing, I told her it was a bug. A really big bug. But it was trapped outside the window and couldn’t get in.
Unfortunately, she insisted on seeing it. Since I obviously wasn’t going to be able to pull off the “it’s just a bug” ruse, I said, “you know…I THINK it might be a BABY bat.”
This did not elicit quite the electrifying response that a six-year-old Kate have displayed at the notion of a thin sheet of glass separating a BAT’S sharp teeth from our tender flesh. Obviously, my daughter is not growing up with a dial’s worth of television channels, one of which undoubtedly airs the odd “Mid-Day Monster Movie Marathon.” No – she hails from the era of closely monitored cable shows and Twilight. She just thought it was sad and kind of icky.
I convinced her to try to go back to sleep, in spite of the futile scrabbling going on behind the closed drapes. But it was difficult for either of us to manage with Alice’s stalking and growling. OH HI ALICE! Thanks for joining us. Yes – there is a bat stuck in the window. Get it girl – GET IT!
Needless to say, there was another hour or two of growling and stalking and giggling and wondering HOW I could possibly function tomorrow on just a few hours of sleep.
And then we woke up.
And there were no scratching and scrabbling noises. And I really hoped this meant that the bat found its way out of the storm window while we were sleeping.
But alas. There it was – a tiny fur ball wedged in the corner. It was so cold outside that the poor little guy must have frozen to death.
On the upside, I no longer had to take immediate action.
So I spent the rest of my busy day ignoring the fact that the there was a dead bat in my window.
Then earlier this evening, I was summoned upstairs by Oliver who sounded quite agitated. He said that he was “afraid of the bat,” so I explained that the poor little thing was dead and no longer a threat to the good, bat-fearing people that lived in this house. My son then continued to inform me that it wasn’t THAT bat that was scaring him. It was another one he could hear in his room.
The chittering (yes – chittering) noises outside of the boys’ bedroom window clearly indicated that our nice warm(ish) house must be a beacon for all uninvited guests of the furry, winged variety.
So this is what we’re up to tonight:
But WAIT – it gets BETTER! Shortly after everyone fell asleep, Alice became very interested in my bedroom window. Her (better late than never) warning directed my attention to the original scene of the crime. Scuffling noises again.
This time I wasn’t afraid to look – been there, done that – and was only slightly taken aback to find ANOTHER BAT trapped in the storm window.
If tonight’s bat doesn’t make his move and turn us into new Cullen family members (pray for me, as I am emphatically Team Jacob), I’ll have to address this issue tomorrow morning. So basically, I’ll let you know how the move went once we’re settled in the new house. ‘Night all!
EPILOGUE: January 23, 2013, 8:00 a.m.
It has come to light that our second visitor was actually our FIRST visitor. Apparently, he reanimated last night and is no longer a tiny ball of fur cowering in the corner. Now he is hanging from the window pane, BOLD AS BRASS.
Someone pass me the smelling salts. And the number of a good exterminator. And a blunt object I can use to kill my husband when he returns for his business trip next week, long after I have figured out how to evict unwanted bats from storm windows. Never a dull moment around here…
EPILOGUE II: January 24, 2013, 8:00 a.m.
After a day of talking to Animal Control (who didn’t feel a connection to my bat and suggested that I contact an exterminator), exterminators (who weren’t overly concerned about the bat devouring us in our sleep and offered to come by in day or two to see “if there was anything they could do for us”), and finally a bat expert/rescuer lady (who worked somewhere called “Bats Alive”), we seem to have found resolution.
Here is the deal. The bat cannot get into our house – he really is just hanging out in the storm window. So there is no danger to the people (and vicious guard dog) who live here. And the bat expert lady confirmed that our bat isn’t in danger of freezing to death (THANK GOD). No – he’s just snug as a bug in a rug – happily hibernating in a warm (for him), safe place. She said that as long as he is able to climb out of the window (he is), then he will eventually leave on his own (when he’s damn well ready).
SO, it seems that we will be one big happy family as long as he’ll have us. Or at least until Spring when I’ve had enough, and make Chris get up a ladder to forcibly evict him. In the meantime, friends and neighbors are welcome to drop by and wave hello. He’s dangling in the the window above our front door.
And they all lived happily ever after… THE END
…until… EPILOGUE III (the FINAL installment in the Hood Family Bat saga): January 30, 2013, 6:30 p.m.
We’ve had some very warm, spring-ish weather for the past couple of days. So each morning, I’ve checked the window to see if our little friend had left us. My roller coaster ride of SYMPATHY-REVULSION-SYMPATHY-REVULSION finally leveled out on a steady plateau of cautious fondness. And while I’ve hoped that our bat would make his way back into the wilds where he belongs, I’d by lying if I said there wasn’t a (very) small part of me that would be sad to see him go.
I mean, we’ve had some great learning opportunities over the past week. For example…
Eleanor: Mom, bats are like people. They have five fingers.
Me: How do you know that?
Eleanor: I counted.
Yay Science! Also? That’s his tail. Eeeeewwww!
As the slush melted and we switched from coats to jackets, I knew that our time with the bat would be coming to an end. And sure enough, when I checked the window this morning, he was gone.
Oh no…. He wasn’t gone. He just wasn’t comfortably dangling anymore. He was a furry, crumpled heap. I feared the worst.
So I called the bat expert lady.
She agreed that things sounded dire. And even though she planned to be in my area later that evening for a bat release, she decided that she’d better come assess the situation pronto.
I hustled the kids off to school, telling them that someone was coming to help our bat out of the window and “no – no time to say goodbye – he’s sleeping anyway – I’ll send him your regards!” Then I waited for the bat expert lady.
I won’t string you along. Our bat was alive! But he couldn’t climb out, and definitely wouldn’t have lasted much longer without help.
And since I know you’ve just been DYING to see the little guy’s face…
Yes – her shirt says, “I love bats!” The bat expert lady is awesome.
She noted that he is a “Big Brown Bat.” Which I could have told you… But seriously, that’s the real name. In fact, the “Big Brown Bat is one of the most common bats in Northern Virginia, as well as the largest. Their bodies are about five inches long, not counting the tail, and they have a wingspan of up to 13 inches.” Just so you know.
AND it was confirmed that my use of the masculine pronoun was in fact, correct. Congratulations Hood family, “it’s a boy!” We will remember HIM fondly.
So we are now batless. It’s weird. But ultimately a good thing. I’m glad to know that we were able to provide shelter to a tiny soul in the bitter cold. And that we were able to help send him safely on his way when he no longer needed us. But I’m most grateful for the fact that we now know that bats will nest in open storm windows sometimes, so we can make sure that moving forward, ours always stay firmly shut.