Saturday, August 24, 2013

Bat 2013

This story won't make as much sense unless you remember our experience with the bat wars of ought-nine. Go here and here and here and here to get the background (optional background reading: here, although that one is about flying squirrel infestation that occurred roughly 3 weeks after we finally got rid of all 72 bats that were living in our house. While technically that was a separate conflict, in our heads it is all wrapped up in our minds as part of the same traumatic series of incidents)

So anyway, last night Mrs. Noz and Noz Jr. were both asleep and I was sitting in bed streaming a movie to my ipad. At about 11:30, I had to pee. So I got up and walked across our hallway to the bathroom. I didn't bother turning on any lights. It's my house, I know the way. On the way back, I felt this weird blast of air on my upper chest/lower neck. At first, I thought that maybe a stream of air conditioned air was shooting out of a crack in Noz Jr's door (I happened to be right in front of that door when I felt it). But I took a step back, and could not replicate the feeling. It didn't really make sense, but I wanted to get back to my movie before it got too late for me to finish. And so I went back to bed and started streaming again.

But as I watched that mysterious air current was really bugging me. What was it? I started thinking that maybe it was a critter. Once that idea got in my head, I couldn't concentrate on the film. So I stopped the video, opened the door to my bedroom and flicked on the hall light. A bat flew right at me. I hit the light off, jumped back in my room, closed the door, and woke up Mrs. Noz.

Why I turned off the hall light I'm not sure. Because we quickly realized that we needed to light up the house to find the bat and get it out. We grabbed things that we could use to whack the bat, and then crept out into the hallway together and flicked on the light.

There was nothing there. Mr. Noz stayed watch on the second floor, as I crept up to the stairs and slowly walked down. There it was, fluttering wildly around our first floor, back and forth across the bottom of the stairs. I dashed across it's path and opened the front door, hoping that it would just fly out. The mechanism to lock the screen door in the open position wasn't working, so I had to stay by the door and hold the screen open with my hand. As the bat kept diving at me, I was too scared to look at it. I just concentrated on keeping the door open.

Then it was gone. Mrs. Noz was still on the second floor so she didn't see whether it went out the door. And I had my head down and didn't see either. Eventually, we both calmed down. We knew it hadn't flown up to the second floor (Mrs. Noz would have seen it if it did). So I turned on all the lights and did a walk through of the first floor. I didn't see it anywhere. So we guessed that it had flown out of the house when I wasn't looking.

I closed up the door, turned off all the lights, we both went back to our bedroom, and closed the door. The adrenaline wore off and we started talking about how we hoped this was just a single bat invasion and not the first sign of another infestation.

Then we heard a sound in the hallway. Why had I turned off all the lights? I went back out, turning on lights as I went and found it flying back and forth on the first floor again. This time Mr. Noz held the door open and I stood on the stairs and swatted at it if it tried to fly to the second floor. We weren't getting anywhere. The bat kept flying past the open door without trying to leave. So we decided to do what worked on our first bat incident, we called campus security.

Bad idea. Only one security guard showed up (last time it was two) and he was more scared of the bat than we were. We spent about an hour and a half with him in which he talked about how nice it would be if we had a net, left for about 20 minutes to look for a net, knocking over our curtains, threw Noz Jr's nerf football at the bat as it hung on our window sill, and missed. At one point the guard tried to trap it in a box, but instead, that just got it started on another series of dives at us as we cowered, held the door open, and hoped it would notice the way out. It didn't. It landed instead on another window sill and hung there for a while. When Mrs. Noz mentioned that a neighbor called animal control when they had a bat last year, the guard gave us the number for the local police. However, he told us that the police would not help if they saw the campus security vehicle in front of our house. So the plan was that we would call the police, he would leave, he would loop back and pretend to happen upon the police at our house after they arrived, and then he would offer to assist. Whatever, the dude was useless. I was anxious to get someone who could really help.

As we discussed how it would go (the bat folded up and hanging quietly above our living room window), I heard "daddy?" I looked up, and Noz Jr. was looking down at me from the second floor hall. Mrs. Noz went upstairs, took him, and barricaded themselves into our bedroom, I called the police, and the campus security guy left. Then I was alone with the bat. Just staring at it as it hung there and I waited for the police to arrive. It was about 2am. It probably took about 5 minutes before police car arrived, but it seemed like much longer. During those five minutes I was utterly terrified. It wasn't because I thought the bat would hurt me. It's like when you're watching a movie, expecting someone to jump out on the screen. You know it's going to happen, you know when it does it will startle you, and you know that you are in no danger of actually being hurt. And yet there is still all this tension in the air. It was like that. I stared at the bat hanging by the window, hoping that the cops arrived before launched itself into flight and startled me.

And she did arrive before that happened. It was a single policewoman, barely five feet tall. She was utterly fearless. I felt like a total wuss explaining why we called the police for something as stupid as a bat in the house. She asked for a towel, but took a blanket instead. Then she walked over to the bat, covered it with the blanket, wrapped it up, took it outside, and let it go. I closed the door and all the windows. And it was over. Just like that. I was exhausted. It was almost three hours after it started. All over a stupid bat.

Noz Jr. was so excited. Not because of the bat, but because a real police car came to our house (he was watching upstairs from the window). He wanted us to call the fire department next. He was also completely wide awake. None of us got to sleep until about 4:30.

Now the question is: was this just a run of the mill bat wandering into our house, or is it the first sign of another infestation? If 2009 had not happened, this would not have been that big of a deal, just one bad night where we proved completely unable to remove a single harmless bat from our house before getting help from someone who could. But 2009 did happen. So now what?