September 5, 2009

I'm Batman . . . (last night, in my house, that meant something!)

So it's been a little while since I've just done a fun update here.

Actually, it's been a little while since I've done ANY posts!

See, I've had some heavy duty deadlines that I had to meet, for Hand of the Morningstar and for the Christ project I'm working on.

But last night, I got to be a superhero in my house!

Two years ago, I posted this about mice in my house. We've had mice in our house since then (not as often as I've expected, actually), but last night . . . last night we had something else. And last night . . . I was Batman . . .

I watched an awesome movie last night. Started it at 10:00, meaning I didn't get to bed until after midnight. My wife was asleep. I put on my iPod and listened to a bit of an old time radio podcast . . . but heard something rustling in the corner. As I popped out the earbuds, my wife heard it as well and snapped awake. We listened for a moment and then, while confused about having a mouse in our room (we've NEVER had mice upstairs, that we know of; we never bring food upstairs), I went downstairs and got a trap ready. I set two traps downstairs in the usual spots (if a mouse was upstairs, that had to mean they were downstairs) and brought one upstairs to put in that corner, by the dresser, where the rustling could be heard.

My wife couldn't sleep, so she read for a while. Then, we heard it. The mouse, again. That quick? Was he really going for the trap already? We heard something that sounded like a soft thud. The trap? Then, in the dim light of my wife's reading lamp we saw it. Flying around our room . . .

A bat.

My wife and I have two doors in our room: one to the hallway, one to the bathroom. We shut those doors and went into my daughter's room, where the attic access is, to check . . . I don't know what, actually. Apparently, we didn't shut the door quick enough, because while I was in the closet, my wife said, "Ben! It's in here!"

Suddenly, my wife is screaming to my three daughters (who were now awake) to cover their heads with their blankets; the bat is flying back and forth in their room; my two oldest girls are crying and screaming and terrified and confused and, amazingly, covering their heads with their blankets; my youngest daughter is just laying in her bed, watching calmly, sucking her thumb like this is a normal, everyday occurrence; and I'm trying to figure out what we're going to do.

I decide to get the girls out of there and try to trap the bat in THAT room, but as soon as I grab my middle daughter and before I can even explain to my wife what I want to do, the bat leaves the room. Problem solved. We put my son in the girls' room (he was awake by now, and there was NO way he was going to miss out on the action) and I trapped the bat in he bathroom (which has two doors -- one to our room and one to the hallway).

I'm going to catch this thing.

I try to net it in a bed-sheet for a little while, tossing the sheet out like a net while its flying back and forth in the bathroom. No dice. Not even close. The bat finally lands up on top of the windowsill. I leave it alone. It's obviously better at this game than I am . . . but I'm not done. I'm not going to give up. This bat is mine.

My wife and the kids, rather than be cooped up in the girls' room, all go downstairs while I plan my new strategy. It's 2:30. Other my middle two girls being terrified to the point of tears and shaking, it's party time. My wife breaks out the milk and graham crackers, let's them play some educational computer games.

There's no open doorway upstairs, nor are there any windows without screens in them. This bat cannot be made to go outside. I have to catch it.

My plan: a wet towel, an oatmeal can, and a plastic colander and plate. Step one: use the colander to catch the bat on the windowsill, because it's so close to the ceiling it's hard to get anything else up there in that corner, then slide the plate under it. Step two: if the colander just disturbs it, and it's able to fly away, hope it lands on the floor, clap the oatmeal container on it, slide the lid on. Step three: if it doesn't land, throw the wet towel on it while it's flying. Step four: take it down to the empty giant garbage can outside.

I look at that bat, and it's obvious to me none of those plans will work. I decide to skip steps 1-3, skip to 4. I get that garbage can and the lid, thinking I'll just use the lid to pull it off the windowsill and right into the garbage can.

That just makes it fly away, and it flies to the doorway that leads into the hall. It crawls under the door and stops halfway. Out-loud, I say to that thing, "You're smart, but I'm smarter."

It's thinking, I'm sure, "You're the one talking to a bat. How smart can you be?"

I run through the other door, into our room, and into the hallway. New plan. Set the oatmeal can over the bat, push open the door, and BAM! Snap the oatmeal can on it.

I look down at that little bat. It looks up at me. It's tiny. Flying around, it seemed so much bigger. It had a wide wingspan, and especially in the dark, when it was fluttering around, it seemed huge!

We look at each other for a moment, and I go to make my move. I put the can over it and it backs back into the bathroom. I hear it screech.

This ends now, I think. It flies back and forth, back and forth, trying to find a way to escape. There is no escape.

I pick up the garbage can. Slowly, I close in on it, holding the can up in the air. It flies by me, veering off, its flight path shortened with my every step . . .

I watch. I wait.

It avoids the can.

It will not go past me.

"C'mon," I hiss. "Closer."

It comes close to the open end of the can. Close enough! I swing the lid of the can around, force the bat inside the garbage can, and slam the can on the ground a I force the lid into place.

I stop. I listen. I look. I see nothing in the room. But I can't hear . . . wait. Yes! It's in the garbage can!

I did it.

The kids didn't calm down, even after we all decided to sleep downstairs in the living room. Party time. Celebratory, this time. Eventually, they fell asleep. But I couldn't.

Yeah. I was the superhero in my house last night. Last night, I was Batman.

~ Ben


Ben said...

The bat, by the way, is still outside in our backyard in the garbage can. We have to get it tested for rabies (although since it's a three day weekend, we're not sure exactly how we're going to do it -- no one is open).

~ Ben

Ken Chupp said...

You're Batman!

John said...


I've had two Batman experiences in our current home. The first was upon coming home from a week's vacation one year... the grass had grown quite tall and needed mowing. When I went to put my lawn-mowing boots on, I felt something squishy down in the toe of one of them... it was a dead bat!

The other was last winter; we had a bat in our basement, just flying back and forth, back and forth. Amy needed to do laundry, so the bat had to die. The thing had calmed down by the time I was ready and armed with a short 2x4. I had to search the walls and ceiling with a flashlight for a while before I located Senor Bat. Our bat put up no struggle; one whack and he became a ghost bat.

Ben said...

John, I don't know if you told that story to me before or if I heard someone else tell a similar story . . . two bat-boot stories? Ugh.

I've always though there'd be a certain irony to kill a bat with a baseball bat.

Bat vs. Bat! Who will win?

~ Ben