I’m about to tell you a true story in the life of my family. It’s a
story of courage – staring danger in the face and doing something
about it. It’s about looking out for each other; watching each other’s
back. It’s about a mom and two nutty teens trying to rid their house
of a very unwelcomed guest…a bat!
It was 11:00 at night and my husband was
gone on an overnight trip. I was settling into bed and my two teens,
David (15) and Jeni (17) were settling in also. Next thing I know,
David comes running into my room. Breathlessly he exclaims, “There is
a bat in the house!”
At first, I didn’t believe him. Baby D, as
we lovingly call my 15 year old, loves to play practical jokes on me.
When he’s not joking, he’s usually exaggerating. So I calmly replied,
“Okay, what did it look like?” As I continued flipping through the
pages of my magazine. “What did it look like? Duh. You know, a black
thing with wings…that flies through the air. It was huge. It flew over
my head and then out my bedroom door.” “Are you sure it wasn’t a moth
that looked really big in the shadows?” (We tend to get a lot of moths
in the house). “Mom! It is a bat!”
So I told him to calm down. I had to think.
Now, I generally think of myself as a very independent woman. I know
how to take care of myself and my family. But this was different. We
are talking about a flying creature, here, stuck in my house. What
would I do? I hate bats. To be honest, I more than hate them. Bats
freak me out.
I suppose I should be used to them by now.
It seems we get at least one bat in the house every summer, but my
darling husband is always home to take care of them! The first time we
ever got a bat in the house, we were in bed at night sleeping. I woke
up and saw the shadows of the bat flying in my bedroom and my cat was
trying to catch it. I screamed, “Bat!”, flipped on the light, ran out
the door, slamming it shut and leaving my half-dazed husband in the
bedroom with the bat flying around his head. I proceeded to lock
myself in the bathroom.
So as you can see, I wasn’t going to be
much help here. Good thing I trained my teens to think for
themselves…because I certainly wasn’t thinking clearly.
My son assured me that he’d protect me. But
just to be safe we better get his sister, to help. “Jennnnnnni!
There’s a bat in the house…help!!!!
Since bats are known rabies carriers, we
had the foresight to protect ourselves. We all put on pullover
sweatshirts with hoods. And believe me, the hoods were up. We also
decided we needed weapons. So we each grabbed a tennis racket, David
grabbed a baseball bat, and Jeni grabbed a roll of wrapping paper.
Yes, wrapping paper. When fear is involved, rational thought flies out
So we were set for our quest to find the
bat. We were really quite a sight, clad in our hoods and armed to the
hilt. I mustered the courage to lead the troops, tennis racquet in
hand, swinging wildly in front of me…just incase the bat was anywhere
in the vicinity. We looked in all the bedrooms and the bathroom. We
checked curtains and closets. No bat. We went down the stairs to the
main floor of our home and checked the living room, dining room, front
porch (it didn’t matter that the door was shut.) No bat. We proceeded
to the basement, turning on all the lights and checking the entire
area. No bat.
My daughter & I turned on my son. “Are you
SURE you saw a bat? We think you were seeing things!” But my son
insisted, “There was a bat! It flew over my head.” As they walked into
the kitchen, the kids screamed. The bat was hanging upside down on one
of my kitchen cupboards.
That threw me for a loop. Every time I saw
my husband take down a bat, it was flying and he used the tennis
racquet to knock it down. But this stupid bat was latched on to my
cupboard. “Okay,” I whispered, “NOW what do we do?” First, I got close
to make sure it WAS a bat. My eyes aren’t what they used to be. It was
indeed a bat. But it just sat there. My kids decided to turn this into
a science lesson. “Do bats hear?” “Can they see in the light?” “Will
it attack us?” Geesh. Are we city folk or what? My son then piped up
with, “Is it a Vampire bat?” After hearing that last question I
decided that my kids watch too many movies.
I approached the bat with the tennis racket
ready to hit it, but I just couldn’t do it. I was afraid I’d break the
cupboard door or, worse yet, it would fly in my face. My son said,
“I’ll do it” and as he started forward I screamed, “No, don’t”. I hate
to admit it, but I was almost paralyzed by fear.
If we couldn’t do this ourselves, we needed
a Plan B. So our next thought was, “Who can help?” I thought of
calling the police, but my son just laughed at me. “Who’d call 911
because a bat was in their house?” Obviously I would. Then I thought
of our new neighbors. Some young adults moved in across the street and
a young man lived there. My daughter voted against that one. She’d
rather sleep in the house with the bat then ask this guy to help. What
if his girlfriend was there? She’d feel like a baby. Jeni then
suggested the older gentleman across the street (you know, ancient…my
age). He was a more fatherly figure; so she didn’t have to worry about
losing her cool. I went outside to see who had lights on, but felt so
childish that I couldn’t take care of this myself. I went back in. We
were back to square one… “What are we gonna do???”
My daughter, the outgoing one of the
family, decided to take the matter into her own hands. SHE would go
get the neighbor. She dashed across the street clad in her wacky PJ’s
which consisted of a long t-shirt and a pair of her dad’s boxers.
She rang the bell and meekly told the
neighbor our dilemma. “My dad is gone and we have a bat in the house.
Can you come and help us and kill it?” Poor guy. What could he say. So
Dan trudged over across the street to our house to assess the
situation. “What do you have to capture it with?” “Tennis racquets and
a Tupperware container. That’s about it.” He came in the kitchen and
stared at the bat. “Yep, it’s a bat.”
Seeing that the “men” didn’t need us at
this point, my daughter & I ran out the door and hid behind the van in
our driveway. In a matter of seconds Dan and my son came out with the
bat caught between two tennis racquets. They tossed it into the grass
and then it flew away. Then they walked toward us with a swagger.
“Well, that’s taken care of…”
We thanked our neighbor profusely and I
assured my son that he was very manly, even though we needed another
man’s help. We tried to settle back into bed. It was tough. “Can I
sleep in your room?” asked David. “Sure…just keep the door shut…just
in case.” Jeni didn’t feel the need to sleep with us…until one in the
morning when I heard my door creak open. David & I both screamed. It
was just Jeni, not the bat. *whew* “I can’t sleep…can I come in here?”
So there we spent a rather restless night.
We jumped at every noise and laughed about our zany antics as we tried
to get rid of the bat. And we thanked God for a friendly neighbor.
We were sure glad when Dad came home. Tonight we can sleep in peace.
Patti Chadwick is the creator of
Family Tymes. She is also the creator of
History’s Women, an online
magazine highlighting the extraordinary achievements of women throughout
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