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Life Lessons


 

A Summer Adventure

By Patti Chadwick

patti@familytymes.org

 

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 the window!

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 history.

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