Bats in the Belfry

Nothing quite beats the experience of waking out of a deep slumber to the unmistakable sound of a winged creature flying around in your bedroom!

I heard about people who had bats in their home and could not imagine the horror. When we moved into a house that had a history of bats we were nervous, to put it mildly. The homeowners paid for an exterminator to come so we could be assured there were no bats in the belfry. We were so relieved!

After we settled into the house we were feeling more confident as the days passed. Certainly, the worst of the stories from years before were nothing but memories and we had nothing to worry about. My wife is terrified of birds and has been since she was five years old. The thought of a winged mouse flying around was more than she could stand.

Blood-curdling screams came from the basement!! Our daughter and her fiancé were playing pool but came pounding up the stairs with our three sons close behind. “There are bats flying all over the place!!” I wanted to throw something. The authorities told us the bats were gone!

I slowly crept down the stairs, expecting to be mercilessly attacked by the savage vampires. Nothing. I looked in all of the dark corners. Nothing. I peered in between, under, around, over. Nothing. If there had truly been bats, they were now gone.

I convinced my wife it was safe to stay in the house and not move out immediately. Since the house belonged to the church of which I was the new pastor, I was sure the perishioners wouldn’t understand if we disappeared within the first three months.

For the next few weeks we were not visited again. Then one afternoon I was home for lunch while everyone else was at school. I was sitting on the couch eating and was shocked to see a bat fly into the room. I slowly stood, picked up a pillow, and when he appeared again, I threw it and nailed him! He fell onto the couch and lay there, stunned I guess. I retrieved a BB gun and dispatched him quickly, quietly. Right there on the couch. I didn’t tell anyone.

Two of our sons had bedrooms in the basement. “Daaaaad! Daaaaaaaad! There’s a bat flying around in my bedroom!!” That’s an awful wake-up call!

Workers came and dismantled the basement, once again assuring us the problem was over. There would be no more bats. There were.

I always wondered if I would hear a bat flying through our bedroom in the middle of the night while I was sound asleep. I got my answer. I heard it loud and clear. “Honey, honey, wake up.” “Whaaat?” “There’s a bat flying in our bedroom.” “What?!!!” “Go into the bathroom and shut the door.” She was gone in a flash.

The bat headed for the living room. I started turning on lights and the bat finally made it to the den. I closed the door. The den was the exit to the back of the house, so I went around outside and came back in to confront the intruder. In a very small room, I could not find him!! Finally, I actually said, “Lord, you know where he is.” At that moment I looked up on the book shelves and realized there were spaces behind the books. Starting on the top shelf, I pounded the books into the wall. Finally, when I reached “Moby Dick”, I found the predator. The bat went the way of Captain Ahab.

After many long fights, we finally reached the level of bat-free living. When the house was built, the top of the basement wall, which was cement blocks, was not capped. Once the bats got in, many years before, they were in the catacombs of the basement walls, free to live, breed, eat, sleep, make babies, and reek havoc. The final remedy was foam insulation sprayed into and filling each of the openings at the top of the block walls.

Bats really are cute. From a distance. Having that horrible experience, which actually lasted several years, taught me how to get rid of the bats that had taken up residence in the house we bought to remodel. Lots, and lots of bats. And squirrels.

Whose idea was it to put wings on a mouse anyway?