Vespertilionidae for the season

2002-2007, 2009…

batI’m told that Vespertilionidae is one of the bat families found in North America. For a while, every year in October, I would note the bat sightings in our dwelling.

The situation actually predates this blog. Back in 2002, not only did we have a bat in our bedroom, my wife and I ended up getting rabies shots. We’ve had bats in the house in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007. When we didn’t get one in 2008, we thought we were done with the creatures, only to find one in 2009.

Then not again until 2014, when one of our cats pointed it out. And because it’s 2020, naturally we got one on Sunday, September 6. My wife saw one above the stairwell going from the first to the second floor. It was high on the wall, near the ceiling, and moving not much at all. After we watched it for about 15 minutes, we decided to go back to our morning schedule, eating breakfast.

Then my wife checked on the bat and it was gone. It had moved to the bricks above the fireplace downstairs without us noticing. Interestingly, that’s where the much smaller 2014 bat decided to hang out. Time to put on the gear: long-sleeved shirt, pants, shoes, a hat, and gloves. My wife used the kitchen coverings, while I went with winter wear.

To war!

My wife got up on the stool trying to trap the bat in a shoebox. Well, she sort of did, but the creature was now trapped on the OUTSIDE of the box. Soon, the bat is on the loose, flying between the dining room and the living room in figure eight, of sorts.

Over the years, we have determined that the weapon of choice is a tennis racquet. It messes up the echolocation. When I’ve indicated this method in the past, some folks have complained that this is mean and cruel. I don’t think so, from everything I’ve read. Actually, solid items, such as a broom – my grandma Williams’ tool of choice – tend to be inefficient.

After five or swings of the racquet, I manage to stun the critter long enough to put the box over it, and then slip the cardboard underneath. From the scratching sound, we knew the bat was still alive.

Our contractor will be patching up the ceiling where the animal likely got in. Even though we’ve dealt with bats for years, I could feel my heartbeat accelerating during the hunt. It’s ALMOST back to normal now.

Going batty

The Daughter was startled by a noise she feared was a bat.

bigbrownA friend of mine recently saw a bat on his screened-in back porch. He ducked out onto the “porch where said bat was pinwheeling in the air madly,” opened the door, and the creature departed.

From having bats in our house EVERY YEAR from 2002-2007, I find that my racquetball racket was good at stunning bats without hurting them, putting a cardboard box over the creature, some sort of plastic or metal tray underneath, take ’em outside, then kick the box away.

My friend expressed concern that with brown bats near extinction in the Northeast due to ‘white nose’ fungus, it was against his nature to use such a tool to down a bat. But another guy agreed that “swat, stun, put outside, leave ’em alone, they fly away.” The Wikihow says: “A tennis racket is an appropriate tool to catch one in flight, but use gently.” You needn’t swing the racket. For whatever reason, a racket screws up their echolocation and they practically run into it.

While it is true that if you do get bitten & you don’t catch the culprit the health authority will insist on you getting rabies shots – I can say with painful recall – it seems that fewer bats are rabid than was generally thought.

Three days after that discussion, at about 3:30 a.m., the Daughter got up to go to the bathroom but was startled by a noise she feared was a bat. It is true that one can hear the bats outside, and they sound like they’re inside the room. So we prepare, with head covered, hands covered (I had oven mitts, she rubber gloves), arms and legs covered. We closed all the other doors in the house.

We meticulously went through the towels hanging up, the bathroom shade, and the shower curtain; no bat. At least when she IS confronted by the creature, she’ll be prepared.

Guano crazy candidates QUESTION

Only recently have I realized that Herman Cain is also guano crazy.

For seven years out of eight years (2002-2007, 2009), we had at least one live bat in our house. The problem seems to finally be solved by roof insulation and fixing some gaps between the roof and the main house structure. One of the telltale signs you have a bat, even if you don’t see it: guano, which means bat poop.

I was talking about some of the candidates for President with my wife, and I was divvying them up between those with whom I merely oppose politically and those who I called “guano crazy”. I don’t know if I had made up that phraseology, or stole it from someone unconsciously, but I’ve become rather fond of it.

The question: among those who have announced that they are running, which candidates do you consider guano crazy? Democracy for America is running a poll, asking, among the Republicans: Who do you think would make the worst President? When I took the poll a few days ago, Rick Perry had a clear plurality of the votes cast, with over 40% of the vote, followed by Michelle Bachmann (c. 25%), Mitt Romney, and Herman Cain.

I would consider Perry to be guano crazy. His disastrous debates, when he decides to be too clever, but it backfires, as he mangles his narrative badly.

Michelle Bachmann is quite guano crazy as well, confusing both her American geographic history (Concord, NH is not THE Concord of Lexington and Concord, MA), but her rock and roll history (celebrating Elvis’ birthday on Elvis’ death day).

Only recently have I realized that Herman Cain is also guano crazy if he believes that it’s primarily the unemployed’s fault that they are without jobs. Santorum (don’t Google that word!) is guano, crazily trying to get Google to change its algorithms to keep him from being embarrassed, a situation he largely brought on himself through his bigotry.

Whereas, Huntsman, Romney, Buddy Roemer (who doesn’t even get to appear in the debates), I merely tend to disagree with. Gingrich checks the weather and takes whatever position he believes will be most popular; a snake. Ron Paul, I totally agree with about 10% of the time, but then he keeps talking.

Keep in mind that one of the guanos could be the next Vice-President if he or she doesn’t get the Prez nod. And don’t underestimate the ABR (Anyone But Romney) factor, which might make one of them the standard-bearer for the party in November 2012.

Summertime Blues

I seriously thought Paul Giamatti was going to be nominated for an Oscar for American Splendor.

It’s very warm on the second floor of my house. It was hot for several days last week, then it cooled off somewhat, only to have the heat return. The only place it isn’t hot is in the daughter’s room; she has a room air conditioner. The bedrooms have ceiling fans, which circulate but do not cool, the warm air.

The attic is comparable to doing the Bataan death march, after about 10 a.m.

The very good news, so far, is that we have not seen a bat in the living quarters. They seem to usually come in on the second or third day of a run of hot weather. Given the fact that we’ve had bats in 2002-2007 and 2009, I’m guessing that the insulation of the attic had an added effect.

Mowed the lawn Friday night with the reel mower, because weeds that look like miniature pine trees – what ARE those, anyway? – grow faster than the grass. BIG mistake. Even at 7:30 p.m., it was extremely humid. I did not have to worry too much about getting sunburn, but it was still so muggy, I needed to take a shower afterward.

A relative sent me one of those forwarded Very Important!!!! notices:
My car book says to roll down the windows to let out all the hot air before turning on A/C. WHY ???????????
Please do NOT turn on A/C as soon as you enter the car.
Open the windows after you enter your car and then turn ON the AC after a couple of minutes.
It goes on to talk about cancer-causing benzene, in great detail. The Snopes report does not entirely negate the e-mail, though it does challenge some of the specific cause-and-effect mentioned in the e-mail. We’ve been rolling down our windows for years before turning on the a/c, mostly to try to dissipate that OMG hot air.

Speaking of air conditioners, Parade magazine’s Ask Marilyn says running the ceiling fans 24 hours a day will NOT help the air conditioning so that the electric bills will not go down.

I was watching the Yankees’ tribute to Bob Sheppard and George Steinbrenner Friday night and was moved. Sheppard, the voice of the Yankees, who Reggie Jackson dubbed “The voice of God” has been so distinctive in the period he announced for the Yankees (1951-2007), plus the New York Giants for a couple of decades, that Yankee captain Derek Jeter had requested Sheppard’s voice be used to introduce him when he comes to bat. Lots of nice articles on ESPN, including this one. The Friday night game had no announcer in his honor.

George Steinbrenner, the man who purchased the Yankees in 1973, in the midst of a fallow period for the team – hadn’t won the World Series since 1962, hadn’t even gotten to the Series since 1964 – was a polarizing character who, I thought, contributed to the zooiness of the Bronx Zoo. Without looking it up, I recall him hiring and firing Billy Martin five different times, and firing Bob Lemon, not for the first time after his team had won 103 regular-season games. He was suspended by baseball twice. I was no fan of George’s, yet felt badly at the passing of such a distinctive character. The Yankees’ 5-4 comeback win over Tampa Bay Friday night seemed somehow appropriate.

Harvey Pekar’s death at the age of 70 did make me sad. The comic book writer who wrote a lot about Harvey Pekar could be self-involved and acerbic, but from the first time I read his material back in the 1980s, I related to his honesty and his struggle to try to figure it all out. I loved the movie American Splendor, and I seriously thought Paul Giamatti – son of the late baseball commissioner Bart Giamatti, BTW – was going to be nominated for an Oscar for playing Harvey. I did NOT enjoy seeing Harvey the one time I saw him on Letterman; seems that Dave treated him like a caricature for its entertainment value. Here’s an appreciation from the LA Times.

The only Jay Leno joke I’ve ever remembered: “It’s so hot [how hot is it?] that even in Cleveland, they can feel the Miami Heat.” I watched The Decision (11.2 million viewers, more than some NBC shows, and came to pretty much agree with what Jaquandor said on the LeBron James issue, though I’d argue that the Cavaliers weren’t going to win an NBA championship any time soon, even if James had stayed. The problem with The Decision – an issue even my wife, who cares nothing about basketball or most sports, tired of the spectacle – is that LJ apparently grossly misunderstood his own press clippings. The only way he could have gotten away with that staged event is if he had stayed in Cleveland.

Wow, this blogpost has a Cleveland feel: LeBron, Pekar, city native Steinbrenner. Makes me want to listen to music from The Band.

Finally, Summer Breeze by the Isley Brothers, a cover of the Seals & Crofts hit.

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