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.
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.