When I first moved to the country, well over 34 years ago now, I was a stereotypical city gal (though not as bad as Lisa in Green Acres). For the first part of my life, I could easily sleep through busses, trolley cars, and loud honking on the streets outside my window. My first weeks in the country, found me leaping out of bed from a sound sleep to grab my baseball bat and run frantically through the house due to the “noise.” Turns out, the noise was just a squirrel jumping onto the roof.
My next hurdle was spiders. I’ve never been fond of them, but in the country they are terrifying. I found one in the laundry basket that was the size of a softball! My usual response to this was to scream (which never really brought my husband at a very fast pace) and let him deal with it. Because, after all, (a) I wasn’t going near it and (b) he’s the one who kept saying “spiders are our friends.” I did think for many years that he had strange friends. If he wasn’t home, I just dropped a large Webster’s dictionary on the critter and left a note – “large bug here.”
Years passed, and I got over the spider thing. I mean, I still don’t like them, but the screaming has stopped. Possibly bats are the reason for this. They are bigger than spiders, fly, and occasionally come in for an uninvited visit.
I really, really hate bats. The first time one got in our house was about six years after we moved here. Matt told me it was “a bird.” He was trying to prevent the screaming, I’m sure. We didn’t see one for a long time after that, until 2017. Then, they appeared to be having some kind of bat-conference. In our house.
We noticed the first one when we were watching television and there was a swirling shadow in the hallway. I immediately said to Matt, “there’s a bat in here.” A calm response, I thought, as I made a bound into the bathroom and slammed the door.
From there, I supervised the process of removing the bat. This included my usual helpful behavior from behind the closed door, such as yelling “get it out.” Fortunately, the bat got so tired of flying around, seemingly unable to find the wide-open door, that he fell to the floor. Matt quickly covered him in a large towel, took him outside, and showed him the woods. After that, a bat was swooping around our house several nights in a row.
Finally, one evening Matt pointed out an incredibly large bat hanging in the corner of the stairwell. We took our usual paths to this disaster. He stood, quietly assessing how to best approach the creature. I scurried to the upstairs bathroom, again anxiously saying, “get it out. Get it out, get it out, get it out!”
For many long moments, I heard nothing. Then, Matt said that he was going to need my help.
My help? Was he kidding?
As it turns out, Matt had the bat in a box with a file folder on top. He needed both hands to keep the file folder on top of the open box. My help was needed to open the back door. This meant that for several long seconds I was downstairs with the possibility of a winged beast escaping and finding me. I was brave. I stood by the door, ready and willing to leap outside into the pouring rain if need be.
Without incident, Matt escorted our unwelcome guest to the woods. Then he called a wildlife removal service and we got our house bat-proofed. Matt’s my hero.
Until one night we came home and found a little bat, sleeping on the hinge to our back door. On the inside. Again, I employed my usual tactics when a flying, furry creature is inside our home. I bolted for the bathroom. Matt prevailed and took the bat outside to release him.
A few weeks later, another bat was swooping around our kitchen. This one was much bigger than the sleeping one, or so it appeared to me. I started to run into the bathroom off the family room, but as I opened the door, I realized I could go open the back door and help Matt get the thing outside.
Matt stood, bravely attempting to herd the bat toward the open door, but it flew into the bathroom instead. Matt shut the door, blocking it in, so that the next day our removal team could come do their work.
They team came to confiscate the winged creature and assured us that now that it was warmer, it likely wouldn’t come back. It’s been over two years, and in fact, we have been batless.
So you can imagine my delight when we found a herd of raccoons swarming our bird feeders last week. At last count, there were ten. Raccoons. Twenty feet from my back door.