I love animals. Love them. I was conditioned early by the likes of Beatrix Potter, "The Wind in the Willows," "Stuart Little" and "Charlotte's Web"...the list goes on. When I would write stories as a child, the characters were almost always mice or rabbits because humans are just so boring.
So the other day when I came home to find a note on the counter from Darren that said: "Alice--don't open the patio door" and I looked and found this little guy, I was not troubled at all.
Yes, that's a bat (please ignore the unwashed state of my window). He had somehow wedged himself in between the screen and the glass doors. Bats are fascinating little creatures who echo-locate and eat mosquitoes, so I'm all for them. I predicted that if we left the screen door open and the patio door closed, as soon as dusk rolled around he would make his way out of there. I was right, and it was so cool to watch him figure that out.
My cordiality toward bats did not extend however, to a few nights later around midnight when I was completely asleep and Darren was sitting up next to me, working on his laptop. He shook me awake. "There's a bat in our room." I opened my eyes to see it swooping by, shrieked, and dived under the covers. Darren was now out of bed and positioning himself around the room, trying to figure out how to corner the bat. He said, "You've got to get me something to capture this thing with." All I could think of was a) how very hot and airless it is completely submerged under blankets and b) close-up pictures I'd seen of vampire bats flying out of caves with their teeth bared. "I can't," I whimpered. "You have to or I'm not going to be able to get him. You'll be fine," he answered. "Where exactly is the bat right now so I'll know when I race out of the room?" I asked in my muffled voice. "Well," he said carefully, "Right now he's actually lying on my side of the bed. Next to you."
Everything is a blur after that, and my heart might have stopped for a few seconds. But...I got the essentials tools, and Darren removed the bat, setting him free out on the front porch. Now each night I do a careful bat check.
The girls are currently in love with Jim Aylesworth's Book of Bedtime Stories. One story, Elaine's favorite, is called "Two Terrible Frights." She positions herself on my lap and commands, "Read dat book about da liddle girl and da mousie." It's a nice story about a little girl mouse who goes upstairs for a bedtime snack and a little girl who goes downstairs for a bedtime snack. When the little girl turns on the kitchen light, click, and they catch sight of each other, the little girl says, "eeek!" and the little mouse says, "squeak!" and they both take off running and have to be comforted by their mothers. The girls and I like to play it in parts, and Lucy will sometimes correct me and say, "No, Mom, you read that line in the wrong voice." I guess everyone's a critic.
We have so much fun with it that it might surprise you to know that the other day while standing at the kitchen counter, checking my email, I was somewhat less than thrilled when a baby mouse ran over my foot. My bare foot. That had no shoe or sock on it. A mouse. A live mouse. In my kitchen. And you know baby mice don't usually come in singles.
Y'all. I 'bout platzed. The fact that the only words I can find to describe this event are Southern and Yiddish, neither of which I am fluent in, should somehow convey my level of distress. I didn't hear if the little mouse went squeak, but let me tell you: this little girl definitely went "EEEKK!"
I don't know what I'm going to do. I love my house so so so much. And I'd like to think of it, you know, like the house where Raggedy Ann lives--and she and the other dolls sneak out of the nursery and raid the kitchen for supplies for the poor starving mouse family since Marcella's mother keeps her kitchen so clean. (I keep my kitchen so clean too! I promise! I do!) But...people. What am I gonna do? There are bats and mice in my house. Vermin. Varmints. Should I get a cat? A DOG? (Because you know I want to.)
I will tell you this: if I see Templeton any time? I'm outta there until further notice.