Yes, I’ve gone batty

One of the many things that keeps our marriage interesting is that I am a very unpredictable (see also: maddening ) person.

Mr. Wonderful, bless his heart, continues to labor under the delusion that much of what I do should make sense. I don’t know if and when he will ever get the hint that this is unlikely to happen — ever — but until then it keeps things fresh and fun around here.

No bats

Regular readers may have noticed, and been disappointed, that there was no bat column this summer.

Each summer you can set your watch by the fact that at least one furry-winged harbinger of screaming and rabies (see also: nature’s little mosquito vacuums) will make its way inside my house. It will usually be escorted out dead. We think they die of fright. Probably post-traumatic exposure to my flailing and shouting, poor dears.

For years now I have maintained that I am happy to embrace nature — at arm’s length. I’d honestly prefer a 10-foot pole. My standard has long been that I will live inside my house and the wildlife will live outside my house and we will get along fine. I won’t go try to sleep in the bat cave and they shouldn’t plan any sleepovers in my bedroom (or anywhere else inside my house).

Net

Last year we finally, blessedly, figured out where the bats were gaining entry. Following the advice of bat experts (not as prevalent as you might think, by the way) we hung bird netting at the presumed entrance points to our own personal belfry.

Bats can, apparently, figure out how to fly out of the enclosed space through the bird netting. Later, apparently struck by some sort of bat amnesia, they cannot fathom how to get back in.

This year, all netted up, we enjoyed a blissful, bat-free existence. On the other hand, for the first time in over a decade we were almost eaten alive by thick roaming cloud-gangs of mosquitos in our own backyard. I can’t be sure but I could swear, at dusk, you could hear the distant sounds of displaced bats — laughing.

Pet

Thus, Mr. Wonderful was surprised to find himself categorized as Public Enemy #1 when he reported that he had found — and rousted — a small brown bat clinging to the outside screen on one of our windows. He reported this proudly, being a big strong manly type.

I’m sure he never anticipated the response of the children and I shrieking in horror “You did NOT harass Bailey!” Our reaction was akin to his having confessed he kicked a puppy. “Bailey? We have a bat named Bailey?” he asked, incredulously. Yes we do. He or she showed up a few weeks ago and has been spending the days sleeping on the exterior screen of a third floor window.

Frankly, I worry. What if he/she hits a deep sleep cycle and loses grip? Should I be doing something to ensure bat safety? Perhaps a tiny bat hammock? The name was chosen by our daughter because “Bailey” seemed androgynous enough to suit either gender. We didn’t need a possibly offended bat on our hands.

You haven’t known exasperation until the same man you’ve routinely charged with “Kill it! Kill it! Get it OUT of my HOUSE”! is now being chastised because he might disturb the REM cycle of a snoozing bat. I’m sure he just gives up and you really cannot blame him.

We enjoy daily bat reports “She’s back!” or “No Bailey today?” and worry when “our” bat is gone. We don’t know where it sleeps when not on our screen? Perhaps it divides time between a country and city place? Do any of you have an apparently half-tame visitor bat?

Nonetheless it’s been fascinating to watch. As it turns out their little feet (and impressive wingspan) are fascinating if separated from me and mine by at least two layers of glass and a screen.

Exchange

It is not lost on me that “Be careful what you wish for” is very much applicable here. We evicted the bats, and got mosquitoes in trade. Thus we embrace our (outdoor) bats and hope to find the balance that makes our property (if not my master bedroom) welcoming for them. We watch, and wonder, over our bat’s safety, and hope that when Bailey the bat wakes up, he or she is very hungry.

About the Author

Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless. More Stories by Kymberly Foster Seabolt

One Comment

  1. Susan S says:

    We had bats for several years in a row when I was jr hi age. They usually got in in my room, which was very tiny. I’d wake up hearing the fwip, fwip, fwip sound of one flying over my head. It was awful. One year they just went away and our neighbors got them.

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