August always brings back memories . . .
Shady, tree-lined streets, beckoning front porches, gingerbread trim, and turrets—all of these and more are what lured us to an old Victorian neighborhood when we moved from Milwaukee to Waukesha in August, 2003.
Though our house has proven to be a money pit, it offered many pleasures: space for our family of six to spread out, close proximity to the bike path, and walking distance to Frame Park, Buchner Park, the library, the post office, and the renovated downtown, including Waukesha Civic Theater and Amy Lyn’s chocolate shop (now known as Allo Chocolat). Waukesha gave us a sense of place and history, socially and architecturally.
Perhaps like Gotham City before evil penetrated. (Though it’s quite a bit bigger than Waukesha!)
Upon arrival to our new house, we were greeted by the Welcome Wagon lady and many friendly creatures. Spiders. Bugs. Benefits of living in an old home that had been vacant for awhile.
We met our house’s other tenants the first week we moved in. My daughter Kaia, thirteen, hopped in the shower and promptly hopped back out, screaming and running through the house. “There’s a bat in the shower!”
Our home inspector had warned us about bats in the attic. But why in the shower?
Of course, Tim was gone. Teachers were back to school in late August. With no idea what to do with a bat, I called the only neighbor I’d met. “There’s a bat in our house!”
Shelly immediately called Frank, another neighbor, who trotted over with his fishnet and thick gloves. He calmly captured the bat, took him outside, and let him go. Whew!
Frank was quite proud and happy to function as a Batman of sorts.
But that wasn’t enough to calm Kaia’s nerves. She feared showers for weeks.
Apparently, bats prefer to make themselves known in August. Every year in late summer, we had a bat-sighting. One evening we were out visiting friends. Our dog was at our neighbor Lauren’s. When Lauren brought Rocky to the house (before we returned), she was afraid to enter because through the window she saw bats soaring around the dining room.
In August, 2006, Tim was too hot and went downstairs to sleep, so I was in the bedroom alone when I noticed a whirring noise. Bats! My heart pounded. I turned on the bedside lamp and sure enough, a tired bat was comfortably resting on the dresser.
I gingerly walked to the door, opened it, slammed it shut to keep the bat in, and ran downstairs in a panic to find Tim.
Unhappy to be roused from sleep, Tim mumbled something about why hadn’t I taken care of the bat myself, or why couldn’t it wait till morning. But that only lasted a few seconds since he couldn’t escape the urgency in my voice.
It was two a.m. Tim stumbled outside in the dark to retrieve the butterfly net from the garage. There was just one little problem: earlier that day, one of our sons had tossed the butterfly net onto the garage roof.
So Tim pulled the ladder out of the garage and propped it up. Fortunately, the moonlight aided in guiding him to the net. Unfortunately, the local bars were just shutting down and cars with intoxicated riders drove by. Men shouted, “Hey, what in the blankety-blank are you doing up there in the middle of the night?”
So much for trying to be discreet and not wake the neighbors. I’m sure those fellas thought Tim himself was under the influence.
Finally, Tim made it back in the house and caught the bat in the bedroom. He took it outside, while I stayed in. After that, he wouldn’t reveal what he’d done to get rid of the bat.
I didn’t want any bats harmed, just removed from the house. Tim had a different philosophy. Bats that were freed outside would return to the house.
It was better not to ask questions.
But no matter how many bats appeared and were removed, more came along.
In August, 2007, Tim and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary in Nova Scotia. Grandma and Grandpa Moore came to stay with the four kids, aged 17, 15, 10, and 8. Grandpa was known to be laid back about certain things. Bats didn’t faze him. He’d taken care of a few in his time, but didn’t seem worried when Kaia reported whirring noises upstairs in her room. She could hear them above the ceiling and in the walls.
Meanwhile, Tim and I were having a wonderful time in Nova Scotia, riding the ferry to Prince Edward Island, visiting the Anne of Green Gables sites, walking around the harbor and shops in Lunenburg. We spent our last night there at a lovely bed and breakfast in Halifax.
Then the thing we all dread: my cell phone rang at three o’clock in the morning.
My heart skipped a beat as I charged out of bed and tripped to the phone. What happened? Who got hurt? Who’s ill? Who is dying or already dead?
It was Kaia, shouting, “Mom, there’s a bat in the house!”
I laughed out loud, relieved. The best news ever! “Thank God it’s only a bat!” Tim, who’d popped up in bed, laid back down and rolled over.
Kaia didn’t appreciate my levity. “Mom, I’m scared! I don’t know what to do!”
“Why are you calling me? I’m hundreds of miles away!”
“I didn’t want to wake up Grandpa. Besides, he wouldn’t do anything anyhow.”
“What do you expect me to do?”
“I don’t know!”
Oh, brother. I think empathy is what she wanted.
Apparently, the bat had appeared in the family room while Kaia and her friend Jenna were watching a movie. Since neither girl had the fortitude to capture the bat, they were afraid to be in the house and instead spent the night in Jenna’s car in the driveway. That’s where Kaia called from.
Unable to solve their problem, I said good-bye with some forced empathy, still thankful it was only a bat.
But something had to be done. Finally, someone told us about the Batman. Yes, that’s what he’s called. The Batman.
Tim called him right away. The Batman came over in his Batmobile and got to work. Outside the house, he fearlessly searched for holes in the attic where bats would leave to find food and then return again. He stealthily attached the little wooden contraption that would allow the bats to fly out to freedom but prevent them from going back in. Then, pleased with his good deed, he happily collected his fee.
It wasn’t cheap. It came with a six-month money-back guarantee, but we never saw another bat in our house after that.
We sit outside on the deck at night during August and other summer months. At dusk, bats soar and swoop above us. But we’re at peace knowing they can’t enter our house anymore.
The Batman is worth every penny. We no longer fear the shower, the dark, or things that go whir in the night.
I don’t know where our bats went. But fortunately, no neighbors reported any increase of bat sightings in their own houses.
Have you had bats or other unwanted creatures in your house? What happened?
Please add your comments below. I’d love to hear from you!