Posted by: deadmousediaries | July 16, 2012

News from the Path Valley Hotel, Episode #12 – Strangers in the Night

We have some nice perks here at the Path Valley Hotel but we also lack some basic amenities. There is no garbage disposal (or garbage pick-up, for that matter). There is only one bathroom. (But we do have a second shower curtain separating the tub from the other plumbed parts. That’s the security curtain we installed just in case anyone else has an extreme emergency during another guest’s bath time.) Another thing we don’t have is an exhaust fan for the kitchen. That situation we address by placing a window fan on the sill above the stove. The problem is, we don’t have a screen for that window.

Every morning, I find that my beta buddy Dewey has been joined in his bowl by 14 or so flying insects that cannot swim. My morning routine includes fishing them out with a plastic spoon while the coffee is brewing.  One night we came home to find two birds  zooming back and forth through the living room. They had managed to navigate their way in through a narrow set of glass louvers in the kitchen window but were mighty slow in recognizing a wide open door as their exit. While we tried to shoo them to freedom, Iceman and Maverick seemed intent solely on competing for supremacy in demonstrating their tactics for aerial evasion.

Last night, I had been asleep for at least an hour when I heard the cat racing back and forth in the living room and then out into the sun porch.  I marveled a moment at how she could have opened her crate and then I got annoyed by the racket she was making. I opened my eyes in time to catch  a shadow in the kitchen night light. I heard, felt and saw the swooping of wings past my head.

    Do you know that a single little brown bat can eat as many as 3,000 insects in an evening? That’s a lot of bugs. I didn’t realize that the inside of our house represented such a smorgasboard but apparently meatloaf wasn’t the only thing on our menu.

Your rational brain often betrays you after midnight and my first action when I knew there was a bat in my room was to pull the blanket up over my head. Really silly. Bats do not want to smack into our foreheads –or get entangled in our hair as old wives would have us believe.  By design, they have internal guidance systems superior to Patriot missiles that make it as easy for them to avoid us as it is  for them to pluck 1,000 mosquitoes an hour out of the dark night air. Still, there was that little issue of all that late-night wing-swooping happening alongside my head…

My next strategy was to step outside the room and close the door between us. That worked except for the fact that I had allowed my pillow and blanket to be held hostage by a little brown bat. I pulled on my big girl pants, opened the door (I bent down a bit and covered my head, just in case) and grabbed my sleep essentials before closing the door for the rest of the night. I checked the living room for any of his travelling companions and then fell asleep in the chair after leaving a warning note for my son who would be up at 5:30 for breakfast.

Forget what you’ve been told about catching a bat with a tennis racket. Your tall, fearless kid and his shirt work just as well.  After several YouTube worthy attempts, my son swooped the bat out of the air, into his shirt and onto the sofa. He scooped him up gently and went to the back porch to release him –except that the bat had vanished. In a move worthy of David Blaine, the bat had apparently landed between the sofa cushions and immediately climbed up under the blanket that was folded across the top.

Round two followed with the same arm flailing and wild gesticulations on the part of my son. When the rescue was finally complete, I wanted a photo. After all, you can’t buy this kind of blog fodder. I’m not sure what all is involved in bat juggling but my son had surely handled it with style and he carefully peeled back the layers of his shirt to expose that little brown face for a picture.

I’m happy to report that our stranger in the night was released without harm after 3,000 hots and a cot. The photo you see here is proof so look closely. If you respect your  wild neighbors and ask nicely, a little brown bat will say “Cheese!” when you ask him.

Copyright 2012. Mitchell Kyd.  All rights reserved.



  1. I love his little smile! I bet your son awakes each day just wondering what adventure may be in store for him. LOL

  2. Good for you for not feeling obliged to send him to the Great Bat Cave in the sky!

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