I bought my house three and a half years ago. There is something to be said for being a 26 year-old single female buying a house by herself. I had lived in apartments for years and wasn’t necessarily looking to buy a house, but the opportunity arose and I wanted to do it. I had no misconceptions about the amount of work it would be, especially by myself (and trust me, if I forgot at any point, my Dad was sure to remind me – Love you, Dad!). For the first three and a half months I stayed living in my apartment and spent every spare second fixing the house up. It was a community effort too. My parents, my sister, my friends. Together we redid just about everything in the house and I only hired someone to paint all the ceilings, hang drywall upstairs, and tile the dining room and kitchen floor. Despite the long hours, the financial investment and the sore muscles, it was so worth it. I love my house. It has been so awesome to be able to make it my own; amazingly gratifying.
That said, there was an incident yesterday which reminded me of one thing that has been trouble from the beginning and makes the “single female homeowner” piece just a bit less joyful…. Bats! Bats have an affinity for my house (and part of me can’t blame them – it is pretty cozy!). But UGH. I’m not afraid of or grossed out by much, but creepy crawly (or fly-y) critters are on that list for sure. Prior to yesterday, in the past three and a half years I have had four encounters with bats in the house. I should have bought stock in “Great Stuff,” as it fills even the tiniest crevices in my house! After the second one (which woke me up in the middle of the night flying around my bedroom – yuck!), I hired a pest company (they’re local and awesome: JP Pest Services) who ended up having to come out countless times when, despite their best efforts at exclusion, I was still hearing them in the attic. Get this too – the fourth bat was found in the attic dead in a mouse trap! Yup. Crazy! I wish I had a picture to prove it. JP Pest was sure surprised by that one!
This past spring I called JP Pest yet again as the bats were coming out of hibernation and I was hearing them in the attic again. They kindly came out to try again to seal every one of the tiniest spaces on the outside of my house. Finally, it worked! I heard nothing. I slept through the night. I stopped peering around the corner up the stairs for flying things prior to making my way upstairs. It has been so nice to relax and stop worrying about it.
Yesterday started off like a normal day. I planned to catch up on things around the house, including piles of laundry. I brought a load of dirty laundry down to the basement, put it in the washer, and went to work on something else. The washer finished, I moved the load to the dryer, and again, went to work on something else. When the dryer finished I brought the now “clean” clothes up to the second floor to put them away. The first shirt I picked out of the basket came out fine. The second one came out with a present that landed with a thump on the floor.
Oh my goodness! So absolutely gross! Who can say that they have found a dead bat in their fresh-from-the-dryer “clean” laundry?! I called my sister and with her moral support over the phone managed to sweep it into a paper bag and bring it out to the garage trash can. I am SO not good with this stuff, but clearly I couldn’t leave a dead bat laying on my floor. From that point, the rest of the day was spent Googling, talking to people, trying to get to the root of the problem (since clearly that became my #1 priority – How did it get in and how can I prevent it from EVER happening again?!).
I went and bought a new dryer vent with a bird guard, and accompanied the installation with a lot of caulking! The one piece I’m less clear on is that even if the bat did get into the (nice warm) dryer vent (which my Googling tells me has happened to other people), it would be a bit tricky to get into the dryer itself. And yet, that seems the most probable explanation. I’ll be calling JP Pest again today (I’m sure they have missed hearing from me!) and perhaps will now hold the record for the TWO strangest bat encounters – one bat dead in a mouse trap and one bat dead in a dryer full of clothes!
Despite these unwanted intruders, I do still love my house and I love being a homeowner. It’s not always easy, especially since you have to take the good with the bad (and oftentimes the bad is unexpected), but it is one of the most rewarding things I’ve done and I wouldn’t trade it for a second!
Have you had any encounters with bats?