I am behind on a hundred different stories related to leaving New Mexico, coming back to Wyoming, NBA basketball, general activities from the last month... but for now I'm going to jump back into blogging with a bat story. Because who doesn't love a good bat story? Ahem.
So. Tonight there was an extremely action-packed and exciting Cavs game, and it ended on the late side so the girls were still up and taking adrenaline-fueled showers in the 10-11 pm range. At exactly 11:06, I heard the strangest sound coming from... outside? I stopped to listen from the kitchen for a minute to try and tell if it was some sort of wild animal in distress, when I realized it was coming from inside the house. Note: isn't this where all horror stories originate, with noises coming from inside a house? I wouldn't really know since I avoid horror stories at all costs, but I'm pretty sure this is true. I ran up the stairs to find Bridget kind of hunched/squatting on the top bunk making gurgly-screamy shrieking sounds—at which point a bat flew across my field of vision in her bedroom. I was very afraid she was going to jump right off the top to escape, so in my very best panic calm voice I begged her to climb down the ladder safely and get out of there. After more gurgly-screamy shrieking sounds (possibly from both of us at this point) I got her out of the room but still had to close the door to shut the bat inside; Maddie pointed out that it was a darn good thing the transom window wasn't open above her door. Because that would have made this story even more awful.
Matt was very helpfully not home, by the way, as he is attending a class this week.
I put Bridget in Gracie's room with the order to calm her down while I raced down the stairs with the dog in hot pursuit to call the 24 hour maintenance phone line for base housing. Maddie was finishing up her shower afraid of what muffled catastrophe soundtrack was unfolding in the house. I explained the issue, and within a few minutes the night Bat Patrol Man called me to tell me it would be about a half an hour before he could get here—Bridget was thrilled! A bat flapping around all her worldly possessions for 30 whole minutes!
Gracie decided at some point that bat in the next room or not, she was going to sleep, so Bridget came downstairs to tremble in the living room. I set her up with some comfort picture books while we waited for the night Bat Patrol to arrive, then went back to try and finally finish the dinner dishes at 11:30 or so. A few minutes later, she came in giggling to show me the illustration that perfectly captured her initial bat reaction:
Here's a closer look at what she sounded like, too:
Maddie came down and Bridget was able to retell the bat discovery moment within the context of this most perfect illustration, and that got us laughing uncontrollably because Bridget is a ham, and she can do a pretty exact Melissa Sweet-illustrated dog-in-fright impression. The Bat Patrol man came as promised and spent two minutes in Bridget's bedroom before declaring his mission a success; because bats often carry disease, he put the itty-bitty bat (which seemed like two feet across when flying) in a ziploc bag so it could be tested. All fine and good, except for ziploc bags ARE CLEAR, and he was holding it in one hand while passing me forms to fill out with the other. I have no problems with bats as a concept, but I do not care to be within 100 feet of them when they're dead inside a ziploc bag less than a few feet from any part of me. He thinks it's a loner (meaning not part of a colony of 20-30 like the house down the street had in it last week), accidentally lured into our house by the promise of indoor living. The next few nights the full Bat Patrol will be on bat watch at our house at dusk to see if they can figure out if bats are coming and going freely. Awesome! They are really working to discourage bats from entering houses in the first place, though—building bat houses, scraping guano to relocate it away from housing areas (yuck!), etc.
This is not our first (bat) rodeo. It is the second; three or four years ago we had a bat in our house next door—we lost that one while we were tracking it and let me tell you what: that's the best argument for a ranch-style one story house I've ever heard. The Dillows were not their best selves that night.
Bridget is sleeping in my room tonight. I may never sleep again.