Batarang!

Last night, I woke up past 11:00 p.m. Somehow the room had gotten warm, and I was sweaty. I looked up at the ceiling fan, ticking away. Something was flying around. A large insect, mayhaps?

No.

baby bat flying

(source)

“Is that… a bat?” I asked Jonathon, nudging him awake. Because we have had bat visitations 2 other times. As in, twice, once in Portland and once in our previous house in Shelton.

“Looks like it,” he said. We dragged ourselves out of bed and onto the floor. I shoved my glasses on to see better in the dark. We knew the drill. We sat with our backs to the bedroom door and watched the fledgling bat follow the ceiling fan around and around, maniacally orbiting the air-splitter. All I could think was, Again??

“Maybe if we opened the door it would find its way out,” I suggested. We have a small deck off the master bedroom. Jonathon crawled over the threw the door open. There! But the bat continued to circle and circle, oblivious.

After about 15 minutes, Jonathon advised me to head downstairs.

“He’s swooping lower and lower as he gets tired,” he said.

I brought a pillow down to the living room couch, away from Zac tickety-ticketying on the computer keyboard and Dakota’s bedroom in the rotunda. I laid down and waited for sleep to claim me again. Overhead, I could hear Jonathon trying to escort the bat out. Unfortunately, it sounded like a lot of thumping at irregular intervals, aka a ballerina on steroids.

After an interminable amount of time, I heard him descend the stairs. He walked over to Zac and explained his mission. I know this because I heard Zac say, “What??” Then Jonathon walked over and closed a pocket door to keep it quieter for me.

“Is it gone?” I asked from the couch.

“No,” he said, “just getting more tools.” Then he headed to the basement.

Moving to my office seemed the best solution. I pulled out a fuzzy blanket and situated myself on the plush carpet, ignoring the pine needles and dog hair. I didn’t think I would sleep. But I did. Having a door to close made all the difference against a potential bat invasion and extra noise.

In the morning, Jonathon told me it was a baby bat, and he’s pretty sure (!) it escaped our room. Infant bats fledge in August. They start learning to fly, and use their echolocation to guide them. The poor little guy upstairs would stop flying and attempt to land on the wall, only to slide off and have to fly again. He is a work in progress.

The only way Jonathon was able to lure it out was to close all the windows and leave the door open. Only one way out, just like a lot of humans. Block every exit and maybe, finally, we get the hint. Doors opening and closing make all the difference. They shape our potential. Changing our perspective allows for new directions; noticing when doors are shut against us makes us search for another opening, often helping us find the one we were meant for all along. Friends, we are all works in progress.

Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends...” – Revelation 3:20

 

Wisconsin Christmas

Today we say goodbye to Wisconsin. We are leaving at noon from Chicago. Such a quick trip.

 

Christmas Eve, we attended my in-laws church in Columbus. Candlelight glowed in the sanctuary. About 30 people attended, including our family. Plus one bat.

“See there?” Jonathon’s cousin John pointed out a black spot high up on the wall behind the altar and the lit Christmas tree. It looked like a flattened fleur-de-lis. What was it?

“That’s a bat,” he said, with no other explanation. The service was already starting.

What?!

I found out afterwards from the pastors that it had gotten into the church earlier in the day. They’d try to corral it. It started swooping around the sanctuary at 6:30. They shooed it with a racquet. No use. It landed on the wall. They threw things at it. I can just imagine. “Fifty points if you knock it down!” The bat would not budge.

Meantime, it listened patiently to the carols. It absorbed the thoughtful sermon by Pastor Chris. It wondered at the Children’s Moment. In short, it became part of the miracle of the Nativity. Really, animals attended the birth of Jesus. Cattle. Horses. Sheep. They were there when He was born. I mean, Jesus crashed their pad. They were included in the redemption of creation. Why shouldn’t the bat be there? He/she will succumb to death (eventually, though not immediately), as part of the Fall of Creation. It’s all the humans’ fault. Makes sense that Jesus would invade their space and forge a new way forward, free of sin and death, right in the midst of smelly animals and dung.

I found myself awed at the mystery and wonder of God all over again. We like our Christmas sanitized. The holy 3 sit still, surrounded by a halo, all others at a distance. Yet He includes, even now. His love made a way for us to be renewed. He will come again and we will be with Him forever.

 

 

Bat Man

Last night, while Jonathon and I watched one of our favorite old sports movies, something circled overhead.

For those who have read this blog for awhile, you know what it was.

A bat.

bat.jpg

We ducked as it lapped the family room, circling lower and lower. We scooted out of the room pronto.

“Seriously?” Jonathon said, frustration in his voice.  “How did the bat even get in?”

No idea. Well, we had a couple of ideas, but did it really matter? No.

Zac, startled from his video game by our rush into the living room, helped us out by Googling how to get bats out of your living space.

“Open all the doors and windows. Bats have excellent echo-location and should be able to find the exits. Or put on heavy gloves and trap them in a tupperware container.”

I looked at Jonathon. He shook his head, face grim.

“You can also cover them with a blanket. Remember, bats have delicate wings and they break easily, ” Zac went on, reading off his phone.

“They will fight back if cornered.”

Great. Didn’t mention the carrying rabies part. Yes, I know bats eat insects and do good things for the environment. I just don’t want to share a living space with them.

We sat and contemplated our navels for awhile, chatting about this and that. Then, since we couldn’t find the bat after searching the family room again, we resumed our movie.

But it wasn’t gone. It surfaced from the curtains and flew around the room again. Like a bad movie, we ran out again.

Now what?

We wanted to finish our movie and go to bed. By this time, it was way after 10:00 p.m. I had practically turned into a pumpkin. Emboldened by the late hour and the need to evict the visitor, we started banging on things and peeking behind furniture. No winged mammal.

“I see him!”

Jonathon found the critter on the back of the curtains. He lifted the 10-foot curtain rod off its holder gently. He eased it up and out of the room. I spotted the bat, tiny now in repose, clinging for life to the back of the curtain. Jonathon tossed the curtains, rod and all, out in the carport. The bat unfurled its claws and crawled away.

I only noticed  bats the other night, looking up into a blueberry sky as the daylight faded. What looked like large insects flew back and forth from the laurel hedge on the edge of our property. I told Ruby about them.

“Oooh! Everything has its cute face,” she said.

I felt a little sorry for the bat, despite the creepy factor. It got lost, somehow, and soared into another creature’s home. It got confused. The bat didn’t know the way out. We all get lost sometimes, wandering into places we truly shouldn’t go. Hopefully, some kindly stranger will help us find the nearest exit.

 

 

 

 

 

Bat in the Belfry

I’m not sure what a belfry is, but I do know what a bat is.  We had one in our bedroom…again.

The first time was more than 6 years ago, back in Portland in our house on NE Killingsworth.  Great neighborhood.  Bus stop in front of the house, a drive-by shooting, street closed down for police action – twice. All of that happened in the space of three and a half years.  One time the police even used our house to wire-tap a neighbor’s home where a hostage was being held.  Good times.

Anyhoo, one evening in August, Jonathon and I were watching “So You Think You Can Dance”.  Wait, that’s familiar.  We were in our tiny living room on the main floor.  I was very pregnant with Ruby.  Suddenly, something caught my eye.  Reflected in the mantle mirror, a baby bat circled the room.  It chased the ceiling fan around.  It knocked into the mirror. The only light in the room was a leftover glow from the sun. 

We jumped up.  Jonathon shooed me out of the room.  He put on his blue coveralls – leftover from a previous project – and grabbed a broom.  We knew bats carried rabies.  But this bat was tiny and disoriented.  What to do?

We thought we got it out.  We opened the front door.  But no.  It kept flapping around helplessly.  Finally, Jonathon called Animal Control and told them our situation.  The wonderful people told him not to hurt the bat.  What?!  At this point, I was wishing for a gun, , a net, or at least a phaser. 

Finally, we went to bed.  Only…the bat had flown upstairs and fell asleep on the back of our door, apparently, because the next night he was flying around our small low-ceilinged bedroom, bonking his miniature head on said ceiling. I don’t remember how we got him out, only that we were both pretty wired after that.

Fast forward tot his morning.  It was about 4 a.m.  I couldn’t sleep anymore so I thought I’d get up and read Bible and get ready to workout.  I put my sweatshirt on and started to head downstairs, when out of the corner of my eye I noticed something flying around the ceiling of our bedroom.  A bat!  I woke Jonathon up.  He ushered me into the study. He got dressed and shoved a blanket around the base of our bedroom door so the bat couldn’t crawl out.  We were wise to the buggers now.

He didn’t get nearly as upset as the last time.  He didn’t need to call animal control. He calmly plucked the broom and mop from the downstairs and headed back into the bedroom. I suggested opening the backdoor that goes out to the rotting staircase on the back side of the house.  Our bedroom used to be a separate apartment and the staircase serves as a reminder.  He opened the backdoor with the lights on.  He turned off the box fan in our window, as he’d since learned that bats are confused by fans, their noise and air circulation, and it interferes with their sonar.  After a few minutes, he closed the door. He checked around for any other stray animals (raccoons?) or a hidden bat.  Finding nothing,  he closed up the room.

Then he came into the study.  We have a spare bed in there and so he went back to bed and I headed downstairs.

There you have it.  We don’t know how it got in, either time. Is it gone?  Your guess is as good as mine. We wish it well. We are…bat magnets.