My Office Is Not Your Belfry

My bat was not this cute

In the middle of a bright, sunny weekday earlier this month, a bat flew into my small home office. The thoughts that followed riffled past like so many index cards in a library file cabinet, I thought I might just share the journey.

Thought 1: That’s a really big moth…batbaTbAT BAT! BAT! Ohmygod that’s a BAT! BAT! BAT! IT JUST HIT ME IN THE BACK! IT JUST DID IT AGAIN! AGGGGH!

(Note: the bat never once touched me, being fully engaged with battering itself against my “Keep Calm and Carry On” poster. It was the zipper of my jacket flapping against my back as I tore out of my office towards the upstairs at a pace that would have left Usain Bolt eating my dust.)

Thought 2: Where is my dog and why isn’t he addressing this? He’s a hunting dog, fer chrissakes, he chases rolling clods of dirt and he’s going to ignore a bat? Where is Achilles?

My adrenaline-fueled sprint enabled me to reach the living room upstairs and catch Achilles unawares where he was napping on the good couch in the living room. Allow me to translate his response: “Oh, uh, hey lady. I’m probably not supposed to be on the couch, right? I love you. I love you.”

Thought 3: Of course my husband is out of town. He’s ALWAYS out of town when there’s an Urban Wildlife Interface Incident. The redtailed hawk immolating itself on the power line behind the house and starting a brush fire; the time that two rat traps were sprung simultaneously in the spooky back storage area; the time a herd of turkeys walked regally through the front yard and caused Achilles, on the other side of the living room window, to suffer a permanent mental breakdown.

What was the movie on your flight to St. Louis, dear? Sorry about the message I left on your cell phone at this point in the adventure.

Thought 4: Who else’s husband can I borrow? I thought of all the dads in the ‘hood with home offices and remembered that two of the three  now have to work in their corporate location due to work pressure – Thanks For Nothing, Recession! The third was probably traveling and, let’s be frank, would have  been more horrified by the bat than I was.

Thought 5: If I don’t take care of this, we will never set foot on the lower floor again. Besides my home office, we have our laundry room, second bathroom, and our one TV down there. Clearly I was going to have to address this before the girls came home, or we’d never wear clean clothes, have a moment’s peace in the bathroom, or watch Glee again.

Thought 6: I am not scared of bats. It’s true; of all the pests, bats are the least frightening to me. They eat bugs and have built-in senses to avoid flying into me. At camp, I love watching them swoop in the twilight, and the bats are definitely the most bad-ass creatures at the Oakland Zoo (besides the Norteños and Sureños out on Sunday family outings.) Frankly, I’m more scared of birds. I can do this.

Thought 7: Rabies. Must protect myself. I went to the garage for a pair of gardening gloves. Because nothing says business to a bat like a pair of floral elbow length gloves tipped with geranium dirt.

Thus prepared, I crept back down to the office and peered behind the door I’d hastily slammed behind me during my retreat. There, clinging upside down to the curtain of a closed window, was a 3 inch long brown bat, smaller than the palm of my hand.

In order to free it, I had to somehow maneuver around the bat to open the window behind it and remove the window screen. At first I held my breath, waiting for it to fly at me in another panic. But it was so still, it looked like part of the pattern on the curtain. The window screen stuck and I had to tug at it with increasing vigor. The bat still didn’t move. When my elbow shot out and hit the curtain, and the bat continued to remain still, I felt bolder. I even shook the curtain a bit, covering my face with my gardening glove just in case. Nothing. That’s when I realized it was a Teenager Bat whose mother probably has to use an airhorn to get it moving in the morning.

With that, I stood RIGHT NEXT TO the bat, my face just inches away from it,  and gave the screen a pop. Then, wielding the screen in a shield-like manner I learned from watching Game of Thrones on HBO last spring, I gave the curtain a big push and popped the bat, entirely unharmed, through the open window and watched it flit off into the trees. For Winterfell!

Thought 8: I am She-Ra, protector of my home and of small innocent creatures. Bow down.

Thought 9: Some days this blog just writes itself.


Related Posts:


  1. says

    Um, absolutely hilarious.

    Getting involved with your Keep Calm & Carry On poster? I had no idea bats were such cut ups. Who knew?

    I was also alone a few years ago when a bird flew into my house and planted itself in my fake ficus. Like you I had a whole bunch of thoughts and considered just abandoning the home for a short time. Then I called animal control. Thankfully they didn’t call people control, because just I sure did sound like a sack of crazy.

  2. Floribunda says

    She-Ra, you are clearly the am-badass-ador of icky flying pest removal. I gagged periodically as I read this – I can’t even glance in the direction of the bat exhibit at the zoo without throwing up in my mouth – so next time one of those things pays me a visit I’m calling you. Anyway, the one time we had a bat my husband raced throughout the room brandishing a wire hanger like a fencer on meth, so…

  3. Jennifer Kitt says

    I cannot breathe I am laughing so hard, here working from my home office. Keep Calm and Carry On indeed. I bow down (especially because I cannot breathe from laughing so hard). And poor Achilles missing his big chance. Turkeys really got him, didn’t they!

  4. Tiffany K. says

    There is so much RIGHT with this entry that I don’t know where to begin. Note to self: stop drinking your diet Coke when you’re taking your lunch/read MidlifeMixtape break – it’s rough snorting diet Coke because you’re laughing so damned hard! Also, I know who that 3d husband is, and you’re darned right, he would have told you to call ME! A teenage bat, oh god, my sides are hurting from the laughter…

  5. Nancy Deyle Randall says

    You go, She-Ra! Glad you’ve had years of bat training up at Camp Gorham. You’re all set for hero day at Polar Bear Swim next year!

  6. says

    Oh my Gosh this was laugh out loud hilarious, thanks so much for sharing it w. me! I do not like bats either except your photo of baby bat was so cute. I related most to #3 “Husband out of town at times like these.” (-:

  7. Louisa says

    I’m crying! So funny.

    I have to say, I too have had a bat experience but it was in Spain and it was a less She-Ra experience. My plan was to call the fire department and have them come and get it. This was not the best plan, mostly because I was unable to pronounce the word bat in Spanish. I think the firemen only came because they were curious what a flying rat (the only way I could think to describe it in Spanish) could possibly be. I still can’t pronounce bat and my parents like me to tell the story just to hear me try. They pronounce it over and over for me and I try, but each attempt just sends them into deeper fits of laughter. Anyway, the firemen came and got rid of the bat for me and my girlfriend (we were about 20). They also showed back up at 11pm to ask us out on dates. So Spanish and no we didn’t go, although I thanked them profusely for getting rid of the “flying rat”.

  8. Jim says

    Thought 10: How did that bat get in there in the first place?

    We always knew you had no need for He-Man. Bowing as ordered.

  9. Heather says

    Funny how anything insolent and unresponsive reminds us of our (oops did I say “our”?!) teenagers. I think motherhood makes all of us stronger than we can ever imagine. Great post.

  10. says

    Do you actually live in Oakland, Canada? I don’t remember seeing any bats in my travels through your area. Just a lot of cars up on blocks.

    PS–Why does your skin look so glittery today?

  11. Karen Clayton says

    I’ve had rats, birds, giant spiders and moths in my house, but never a bat. Loved the gloves to ward off rabies bit! You handled the whole thing with such aplomb. Laughed so hard about your husband always being gone whenever there’s an urban wildlife interface incident. Of course!


  1. […] Then there’s the screaming. Luckily this has not yet manifest in cases of emergency, but rather in clutch situations when not screaming would have been way, way better. Like the time I shook President Clinton’s hand the first time, when he was Christmas shopping in a Georgetown mall with Chelsea and my husband and I were also wandering through. The time Neil Finn leaned into my face to sing a lyric at a concert. The time a bat flew into my office. […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *