Team Building with Bats

oh. no.

I think one of the keys to a successful relationship is recognizing and celebrating each person’s strengths. One of the nice things about being part of a team is finding ways in which your strengths (and weaknesses) complement those of your partners or teammates, and realizing that you’re better as a whole than you would be apart. It may also be said that you don’t truly understand what this means until you face some adversity together. That’s what can make or break you. That’s where the rubber hits the road. For Matt and me: it’s bats.

Before I continue, a disclaimer: I like nature! I like creatures! I am in awe of the magnificent diversity of life on this planet. I also know about white nose syndrome, and I think it’s a terrible thing that the bat population in the Northeast has been decimated  in the past ten years. But when a bat comes into my house, all bets are off. Drastic measures must be taken.

We have a bat or two in the house every year, which makes my skin crawl and reduces Matt to tiptoeing around the house with a towel over his head. We’ve tried a number of methods for escorting them back out. My favorite method was just getting our neighbor, Rick, to help us. He’s calm, cool and always has a plan and the right tools. But since bat encounters almost always happen in the middle of the night, we usually just have to deal with it ourselves. That’s when we all find out what we’re made of.

For starters, Matt hears something in the house and realizes it’s a bat. Our cat chases (and occasionally catches) bats, and he’s not small. So there’s some significant noise in the night, but Matt says he actually hears the bat, and not just the racket. By the time I know what’s going on, Matt is closing doors (to keep the bat from getting lost in the house) and turning on lights (so that damn bat doesn’t sneak up on us). Strength: Matt, for lucid thought instantly following a deep sleep.

Once we’ve braced ourselves, prepared the house, and sometimes put on coats with hoods, we must locate the bat. We creep down very carefully, because we don’t know if the bat is crouching harmlessly somewhere or zooming erratically around like a deranged furry missile. We usually locate the bat because Michael is lying on the floor staring at it. Strength: Michael, for the ability to look commanding while we are acting like big babies.

When we can see the bat, we strategize on how to take it out. (And I mean out of the house, not out of the land of the living! I’m not a monster.) We discuss which door we might be able to herd the bat toward in the hope that he’ll just fly away into the night. And then, the bat must be herded. With a broom, a lacrosse stick, a flapping towel, or anything else that’s handy. Strength: me! I’m the one who puts herself bravely and selflessly into the path of the moving bat.

I will admit that if the bat resists our efforts to move him gently toward a door and outside, I will sometimes lose patience and smack the bat. Last night I smacked the crap out of a bat with a broom. I feel a little bit bad about it, but he was heading straight at my face. Be it known, bats, that I can only take so much. Tell your friends. Strength: me. Literal strength.

And finally, if the bat has been smacked, it’s probably stunned and needs to be helped along. It’s back in Matt’s hands at this point. Being a mild hypochondriac, he’s much more cautious about the possibility of being bitten by the bat, and caution is called for in this situation. Yesterday he had the thing triple wrapped in a towel before it was finally tossed out the door given its freedom. Strength: Matt. For finishing the job.

Anyhow, at my house it takes a village to get a bat out of the house. It’s nice that we actually do have all the pieces of the puzzle.


(cropped) photo credit: tom spinker. he knows what I’m talking about.

One thought on “Team Building with Bats

  1. And then you both go peacefully back to sleep – right? Sort of like going to sleep immediately following the second overtime of a basketball game between MIDD and Williams. Team work.

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