26 August 2009

Batting a hundred

The kids in bat fighting stance from the 2008 outbreak, notice the spray foam

Things have been crazy around our house for the past few weeks. Our kitchen and dining room are in a state of remodel....which actually began in April of 2008. My office downstairs is complete and awaiting my relocation and the rear porch (which is kind of our front porch) is almost finished after 6 years of waiting.

The kids started back to school last week and my wife and I went opposite directions this weekend as she went on a retreat and I went kayaking on Sugar Creek-again. Projects have taken me to Syracuse, Porter and Indianapolis over the last week and a half which has affected my blogging. But, even with a schedule that is filling up through the fall, it seemed we began to see the light at the end of the tunnel and a certain calm began to set in.

Except for one problem. A few weeks ago I noticed what appeared to be bat "leavings" in our basement stairwell. Great. We've had bats before when we reconstructed the attic to add my son's bedroom. They "hung" around for a few days until I believed they escaped through the window or were sealed up in his wall. That was our first bat episode in almost four years of living in this old house....it was also our last until the winter flood of 2008. After 6 years of bat-free living, one rather large flying rodent dive-bombed my head as I went to check on the rising waters in our basement.

Then last summer we had a bat that wrecked havoc upon us for three nights in a row. We tore the house apart looking for it and sealing up every little crook and cranny with 2 tubes of caulk and three cans of expandable foam inside and out. We felt reasonably assured nothing could penetrate our bat-proofing. Then the "leavings" showed up almost a year to the date of our last encounter.

Last week, after a strong storm and loss of power, we sent the kids back upstairs to their bedrooms once the lights came back on and we soon followed them. But our dog, who has a keen sense for these furry flying fiends, started going crazy sniffing around one of our supply duct grilles. Oh you've got to be kidding...it's in our ducts? So we closed all the grilles and went to be a little uneasy. At about 2:30 a.m. the dog and I heard something banging around in the ducts like a tennis ball being thrown through them.

Bat eradication, 2009

A friend of mine came over the next night to install a phone line for the office; as we headed downstairs I warned him about our bat problem and as we turned the corner, there the little bugger was roosting in the stairwell....a good 12 feet overhead. So we shut the basement's bottom door, opened up the outside door and turned on the light assuming it would leave. It didn't, so I began to throw rocks at it from outside the house, only to scare it....not to kill it, because they're endangered or something. It finally flew out and I again used up another can of spray foam sealing up what I thought could be the last possible entry points.



Gone! Right?

Last night at 1:30 my son called from his room and said there was a bat flying around. We didn't believe him until I got up and saw it darting between his room and the stairway. Crap. I turn on lights to disorient it...the dog starts going crazy barking and jumping at it....and I grab the tennis racquet from the cedar closet at the top of the stairs. Back and forth it flew with an altitude in line with my head, the kids screaming....and wife screaming, dog barking and me in my "pajamas" or lack thereof. It turned the corner to head downstairs, which is where I had positioned myself, and with a prayer of forgiveness to St. Francis I put every ounce into one big whack.

It hit the floor. Whack! Whack! Whack! The dog was ecstatic. As I held the rodent down, trapped between the racquet and the floor, I yelled for my wife to get something to put it in and a towel to pick it up. It now rests in an ice cream container on our back step. Tonight I set up a "bat watch" as recommended by the internet "batman" to determine if and where they are going in and out of our house. Do I feel bad? Maybe, just a little bit. But the sure fire way for these guys to stay endangered is to make their way into my house. Had it not been for the two cases of rabies nearby, I probably would be more tolerable.

8 comments:

jimgrey said...

Better bats in your ductwork than in your belfry, I suppose. Though some of your anonymous commenters here might think you've already got them in the latter place. :-)

Anonymous said...

Ok if you are "batting a hundred" that means you have hit one for ten,I assume you meant to say you are "batting a thousand" or 1 for 1

Swing for the fences!!( but make sure those are not Indiana Bats or you could be charged with a federal crime!)

Wingman

Anonymous said...

I'm an Anonymous first time commentator. I’ve been following your blog ever since a friend sent me your URL and your comment on obamish acres. Having lived in Nappanee for twelve years and with a daughter still there I find your blog most interesting and refreshing. Your blog today reminded me of an episode many years ago. My late wife and I were doing missionary deputation before leaving for the Rhodesias (Zimbabwe-Zambia) in Africa. We were in a home overnight in Ontario Canada south of the Georgian Bay. And I got awake during the night to find a bat swooping high & low over us. All I could commandeer as a weapon quickly was my pyjama pants. (Spell check wants to my write pajama – but I will stick with pyjama.) There I stood on the bed flailing around with my pants in my hand and my wife laughing on the bed. All of a sudden the bat flew into the open fireplace and disappeared, presumably up the chimney. We went back to sleep and never told our hosts of our mid-night humorous incident. That was in October 1946.
Call me Father “C” in Pennsylvania, 90 years old last June.

Anonymous said...

Cool we are only as old as we think we are...Father "C" 90 years old and blogging... Wingman

Natalie said...

YUCK! I wouldn't bat an eye at killing one of those creatures if they were in my house. Especially when it has happened repeatedly.

But I'm curious what a "bat watch" is? Are you just going to sit up all night and watch for them to fly around.

hoosier reborn said...

Jim-you know HR all too well!

Wingman-seriously, as many times I've swung at bats during other episodes...batting 100. And I'm sure it was not an Indiana bat-it had a distinct southern draw.

Father C-your an inspiration, blogging at 90! which is probably what I'll still be doing. I'm glad you enjoy HH. I hope to do a missionary segment on this soon-have sent some good friend to "the field" recently. Thanks.

hoosier reborn said...

Natalie-just missed yours when replying...so are you going to be in IN this weekend or not?

Bat watch: assuming it quits raining, my wife and I plan to get out lawn chairs and park them on the front lawn pointed toward the house, with a bottle of wine, and wait for the critters to emerge!

This is what we do for fun in Indiana.

Natalie said...

Yes, we are in Indiana and contrary to popular believe, we WILL be at the picnic for a little bit on Saturday.

Jeff and family will be there the entire time. They arrive tomorrow and leave Sunday.

And, bat watching is a Hoosier pastime that I think I'll leave to current residents. YUCK!

We did have a bat in our house when we were kids. It dived at my parents while they were sleeping one night. Found it the next night when we walked into the house in the evening and it was flying around the family room. My mom shoved me and Jeff in the bathroom and chased it with a broom. It finally landed on the curtain rod. Dad was away on business, so our neighbor came over with these huge gloves and grabbed it and let it go outside.

At least you shouldn't have many mosquitoes around your place :)

Tell Chloe I've got a huge box of clothes to give her on Saturday!!! Lots of great stuff...and a few surprises too.