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

Home-blogging

If you know me, you know that during the winter months, I dive in and invest the lion’s share of my time and energy in teaching.  My wife and I have discovered that you simply can’t achieve optimal student outcomes unless you approach their education with a sense of urgency.

That means time has been pinched for performing projects on our new home.  I haven’t done as much as I wanted to do in my first year here, but there are a few months left.  Here are a few odd tasks already checked off the list.

When we first moved into our new space, we prioritized a few areas of furniture needs.  As economically as possible, we chose a few quality pieces.  Economically may be translated as “assembly required.”  After many hours of slow, deliberate work, we have a couple of nice desks and a highboy.

One thing that I hate to do is put holes in the walls, and one thing that girls want is lots of stuff on the walls.  So, after finding out where she wanted things (actually that was not difficult, I just listened to her showing the house to visitors and telling them where everything will go), I surprised her by hanging some stuff, including her picture calendar, a kitchen towel holder, her ship’s wheel clock (one of the first presents I got for her when we were dating), and the lighthouse key holder.

What a winter to be initiated into the Society of Driveway Shovelers!  Three major snows are one thing, but when the sky dumps over 22 inches that I have to remove in strata like an archeological site, that’s what I call a “baptism by fire.”  I got everything off in plenty of time to go back to school after the snow days.

Flash forward to Spring, and I’m mounting a “Topsy Turvy” tomato growing contraption on my deck, along with a rain gauge.  Getting a working mower was a different problem, as I invested many days working on two candidates with no luck.  For my first mowing of the lawn, I had to borrow a mower from a friend.

Most psychologists agree that mowing your lawn is excellent therapy for the troubled mind.  Okay, I’m not sure if that’s a universally true statement, but it sure fits for me (my apologies to Linus VanPelt).  It’s hot now, 90 degree days, so I don’t mow the whole yard, front, back, and sides in one sitting, but I still find a certain catharsis in the activity.

417 Idea Home

I like to surprise Angie with “extra destinations” on our annual birthday trips.  (The first corn maze we went to in Columbia was a big birthday surprise.)  This year was no different.  The fun we had in Springfield would probably have been enough (Japanese Stroll Garden, Braums, Battlefield Mall), but I wasn’t finished yet.  I took her down to tour the 417 Idea Home in Branson.

We’ve been talking about building a home for some time now.  The Idea Home was a collaborative effort that took four years to complete.  The home featured the best of what local architects, designers, builders, and suppliers had to offer.  It was meant to be an inspiration for people who want to build their own homes using the latest materials and technology.  Something that you can actually touch and walk around in.  And, best of all, Angie had never heard of it.

It was great fun for both of us, and it fueled another round of design plans and revisions.  One day, one day….