Bats hone the fine art of bugging homeowners

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I have probably bored you at length with my battles with bats, which are far more plentiful this summer than at any other time in memory.

My policy has always been one of utmost tolerance: bats may live anywhere they please except inside my home. This gives them a lot of freedom, as the vast majority of the world consists of areas that are not my home.

Just stepping out my own door I am instantly within sight of a multitude of places they could live that are not my even remotely my home.

Unfortunately, bats are like small ill-behaved children and apparently telling them they cannot do something only makes them want to do it more.

Frankly, they are growing impudent and I’m afraid my patience is being tested.

Swoop. A few weeks ago, we noticed that a multitude of bats were launching themselves from the eaves of our home each night at dusk. It was rather like the coordinated take off from an aircraft carrier.

If you strained, you could almost imagine yourself hearing the “Launch! Launch! Launch!” cries as they swooped in precisely timed intervals from the eaves.

You didn’t have to strain nearly as hard to hear the screams of we humans on the ground as we dove under patio furniture, taking cover from the bevy of bats. This put me in an awkward position.

I had always told my friends, “I have nothing against bats! Bats are our friends!”

I have always aimed to impress with my progressive attitudes toward what is otherwise rabid, flying vermin. Now I was on the horns of a dilemma.

My strategy toward bats is well known. I am in awe of their natural insect-control abilities, flawless instincts and speed, but if they come into my home, I will kill them.

Surely the word would have spread by now. Young bats should be using my home in their ghost stories: “Never go into Old Lady Seabolt’s house!” they would whisper. “No one’s ever come out alive!”

Defense. The last time a bat entered our home, Mr. Wonderful was nowhere to be found. Defenseless and alone, I nonetheless managed (through no skill of my own) to corral the bat in our dining room.

I then raced around slamming all doors into the room, including one glass-paned French door to keep the bat at bay. I planted myself firmly on the “safe” side of the glass with my fist clenched, white knuckled, around the knob.

I held that door tight with all my might (in case the bat might be moved to wrestle the knob from my grip, perhaps?) as I whispered prudent bat facts “Now he’s on the drapes … ooh! Now he’s flying around” via telephone to my spouse, who was speeding home to save me. Smart boy.

Granted, I don’t doubt that Mr. Wonderful was less fearful of my fate with the bat than of my hurting myself running around slamming glass doors willy-nilly.

Of course, after all the excitement, he came home and in mere minutes, had somewhat calmly escorted the bat out into the cool, night air. Thus, no bats were harmed in the making of my heart attack and don’t we all just feel better about that?

Now, as if the bats that continually try to colonize my house are not enough, the other night saw an influx of a new kind of little gnat-like bug. I’ve always waxed rhapsodic about the charm of life in an old house, but I swear if the next step is a plague of locusts – I am out of here.

It is a widely accepted fact that bats, bugs and things that go bump in the night are Man Territory (see article 1, section 2711.4 (a) of the marriage contract).

Thus, aggrieved, I reported to Mr. Wonderful that we now have little flying bugs in the house.

His reply?

“Well, if we’d kept the bats in here, they could have eaten these bugs!”

Obviously, I married him for his sense of humor. Sure, he’s cute as a bug, but honestly; he’s going to drive me batty.

(Kymberly Foster Seabolt is open to all bat eradication suggestions. She welcomes comments c/o lifeoutloud@comcast.net; http://kymberlyfosterseabolt.com; and/or P.O. Box 38, Salem, OH 44460.)

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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.

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