Myotis lucifugus

It’s been so hot this past week that I’ve taken to walking at night for exercise.  Three-three-three:  three miles, at three miles per hour, at least three times a week.  These “midnight constitutionals” have been a time for me to get into better shape, enjoy the outdoors, and gain a little knowledge listening to books on my .mp3 player.

Last night, however, I returned home to more excitement than I bargained for.  As neared home, I thought it was odd that the entire backyard was glowing.  Every light in the house must have been on!  Angie greeted me at the door, which was strange because she had gone to bed before I left.  She was speaking so fast I had trouble understanding her.  I finally made out that she thought there was a bat in the house, and that she had trapped it in the bathroom.

I needed some water, lots of water, and a few minutes to dry off all the sweat from my walk.  As I proceeded to do both of these things, Angie continued on with her narrative.

She started hearing the bat right after I left, so it had probably flown in the door as I went outside.  She got up to see what the banging was, and the bat darted past her into the bedroom and ultimately into our master bath where she turned the lights on and slid the door closed.  Then she went to her computer to research about what to do about bats that enter homes.  She found out that they tend to get confused when they are in a lighted room, but will soon “roost” or find a high place to settle and rest.  She found that you could throw a towel over them to catch them and take them outside, or you could find a wide-mouthed container to catch it in.  She had gone through our recycling bin to find two such containers – a big plastic peanut container and an Oxyclean tub.  She even found a video on YouTube of someone catching a bat in such a container.

I had finished two glasses of water and soaked my workout towel drying off by the time Angie’s elaboration had slowed down to, “what are you going to do about it?”  I told her I thought I’d take a look.  “It might just be a really big moth,” Angie finally said.  I opened the door and immediately saw it roosting above our shower.  It was clearly not a moth, but a small, mouse-sized, furry brown bat.  It wasn’t moving much at all.

“Okay,” I said to Angie as she closed the bathroom door behind us.  “Did your research come up with any advice about how to do this?”  “Yes – stay calm,” she said, her voice clearly not calm.  I turned back to the bat, empty tub in my hand.  I slowly, slowly, closed on it and covered it with the tub.  I heard a little flutter, but not much else.  I slid the lid up between the opening and the wall where it had roosted until I had it enclosed.

“Yes!” Angie shrieked with excitement.  We both proceeded outside (far away from the front door) to release the mosquito-eater back into the wild.  I took it to the base of a tree, opened the lid, and let it gently roll out to the ground.  Almost immediately, it fluttered back to life and took off.

So I guess that’s the happy ending to our midnight adventure!

Myotis lucifugus = little brown bat

Mr. M. Balmer

It’s uncomfortable to think about one’s own mortality.  However, there are moments in our lives when the subject is unavoidable.  I had one of those moments last weekend at Silver Dollar City, in Branson, Missouri.

No, the “moment” didn’t happen on the death spiral of a roller-coaster, nor did it come by way of heat exhaustion from the blazing temperatures.  This life-shaking moment came as I stepped off a main pedestrian thoroughfare to consult a map of the theme park.  A terse voice surprised me, “What … are you looking for?”

I looked up to see a neatly dressed undertaker, complete with measuring rod and top hat.  He was eyeing me intently.

Slightly startled by this “character,” I tried to collect my thoughts.  I looked around for Angie, who I noticed was keeping a healthy distance from us.  I stammered a bit, but finally managed a, “I might have forgotten where I was going.”  Without missing a beat the perfectly serious undertaker quipped, “I wonder why?”

Another glance over at Angie, and she was clearly a couple of steps further away than last time.  I was going to have to handle this on my own.

Ah, yes!  The glassblower!  I remembered we were going to see the glassblower.  I proudly shook off my “flusteration,” and told the undertaker, “We are looking for the Glassblower.”

“Now listen carefully,” he said in a hushed tone after leaning in toward me.  “Go down this street.  Take the first major right.  Follow it.  At the end of that street, you will find the glassblower.”

Finally regaining my composure, I thanked the undertaker for his help.  He reached into his coat pocket and withdrew a small piece of paper.  “Here’s my card… in case you need my services… at a later date….”  After a quick nod at both myself and Angie, he turned and walked away.

He’s right – I will need his services at a later date, but today I simply enjoyed the moment.