So, where were we?
Ah, yes. Bat number three had just been removed from our residence. Because animal control is closed on the weekend, we wouldn’t get rabies test results until Monday to know if my sister needed to get the rabies post-exposure prophylaxis too. I called our condo office (or, rather, the answering service) to let them know about bat number three. Ryan spent the afternoon on Saturday putting duct tape and cardboard boxes over every possible entrance into our living space (read: gaping holes in the walls). I was supposed to sing at church on Saturday night and on Sunday morning but I backed out because I felt like I had been hit by a truck. This is what we in the biz call foreshadowing. Sunday I could barely stand up; my body felt like I had had the flu for a week, including a high fever, and was just now getting over it. I didn’t want to do anything but sleep. So sleep I did, while Ryan and Brynna corralled Eli, until it was time to head over to urgent care for rabies vaccine dose #2.
Naturally there was confusion about when we were supposed to get our shots, since Eli got his before midnight on the 23rd, I got half of mine before midnight and half after midnight, and Ryan got his after midnight on the 24th. It was a whole thing. But we convinced them to please just give it to us right then because we were there already. They gave us each our one shot – sooooooo much better than day zero – and Eli charmed the entire nursing staff. He’s pretty good at being charming. While we were waiting, I got to talk to the management of the condo office, who (apparently) usually don’t check their email or messages on the weekends and happened to that day. She was apologetic for not getting back to me sooner but made sure that I knew she was really getting back to me early because normally it would’ve been Monday before I got a response. Um, great? Pest control was going to come back out to go through our unit and look at things at some point on Monday. She wasn’t sure when. Okay, well, Brynna was flying back to Minnesota on Monday and Dulles isn’t exactly next door.
Monday, Brynna, Eli, and I headed to the Udvar-Hazy Center to look at the space shuttle and allllllllll the airplanes! (Description by Eli.) We dropped Brynna off at Dulles at noon despite the fact that her plane didn’t leave until 7 pm: between nap times and rush hour, it is super tricky to time flight drop-offs. Brynna had to work on a post-doctoral research proposal, though, so she said she didn’t mind. (It was nice of her to say.) We came back home by 1 to no note from pest control, and they never showed up. But! There were workers outside sealing up around the roof, which, though presumably that should’ve been done when the total tear-off was done last fall, was really helpful. We never heard from animal control about test results either. It’s like we had entered into some sort of communications black hole.
Tuesday morning, while making Eli’s breakfast, I heard tiny claws scratching on metal coming from the attic. ARE YOU KIDDING ME BAT NUMBER FOUR! I called the condo office and said, “So, when is pest control coming because there’s another bat at the very least in the attic and possibly in the air ducts? I’m really tired of this and need you to handle it.” She said, “Well, they’re supposed to come around noon, so…” I said that was fine and closed all the air vents just in case. Around 11:00 it started really scritching up a storm and crawling around. NOPE. So I called the condo office again to say, “Are you sure they’re coming at noon? Because I really want this bat OUT OF HERE.” She said – and I am not making this up – “Well, you guys have the shots anyhow so what does it matter when they get there?”
Um, what now?! You’ve had your diptheria vaccine, right? You won’t mind hanging out with a bunch of people who have diptheria for the day, sneezing and coughing all over you? Or perhaps if you have a cat, I can release a bunch of mice in your house because the cat will get them eventually. So what does it matter?
I think she realized her comment was a mistake because she immediately offered to call animal control if that would make me feel better. I said that I would go ahead and call so that there would be a record with the city that I called FOUR TIMES in one week about bats. But I also said that I’d wait until 12:15 to call; if pest control wasn’t here by then, animal control was hearing from me.
12:15 came and went, so I called animal control. They weren’t sure about coming out since technically there wasn’t a bat that I could see in my living space, but once I said, “Oh, by the way, we’re the ones that had the rabid bat last week,” the operator went right ahead and put my request through to dispatch.
Around 12:30, Mr. Phil from pest control arrived. He. Was. Awesome. He came in to take a quick look around and look at the current bat situation. While he was assessing that, animal control arrived. Naturally Phil and the animal control officer knew one another and asked each other about the wives and kids and life in general. Phil then went up into the attic to attempt a bat capture, once again professionally equipped with a coffee can. People in animal and pest control must drink a lot of coffee. Shortly after this, animal control left because pest control had the (ahem) animal under control already.
Phil knocked on the door to say he was taking the bats out to his truck – BATS PLURAL WHAT IS HAPPENING – and that he’d be right back with more equipment to look around our place some more. When he returned he mentioned that he’d captured the adult bat I heard on the ducts, along with two babies. He was very surprised that there were still any bats in the attic. Apparently we got stuck with a stubborn colony. Phil told Eli and me all about bats’ nesting habits, and mentioned that he had been repeatedly telling our condo management that they either a) needed to start weather treating the wooden supports under the roofs every year or b) replace the wooden supports with aluminum ones. Essentially the bat colony has been moving from building to building around here. Someone gets a bat in their place; Phil comes out and evicts the bats; the bats find another rotten wooden support and go live in someone else’s attic. Repeat ad nauseam.
The first problem with this is that it decreases the bat population each time Phil has to evict the colony from a building, since not all of the bats make it out. And that means increased bug population since the bats aren’t there to help. The second is that there are buildings all over our complex either a) with bats in the belfry or b) with rotting bat carcasses in the walls. So there’s that.
Anyhow, Phil found how the bats were getting into our unit: an unnecessarily large hole under our kitchen sink that had been cut to run piping and never patched. The colony was roosting in one wall of our kitchen, so they’d just feel the cold air and come on in under the sink. After that, they’d squeeze out the unnecessary holes in the side of our cabinetry that had been drilled to run some electrical work through instead of putting the wires through the walls. Two holes. In the side. For one wire. So much good workmanship. Phil recommended that the hole under the sink (large enough for Eli to crawl into so bats had no problem at all) be patched. He then said that he wanted to just check the other areas of the house just in case, even though it was pretty apparent that’s where they’d been coming in.
We walked down the hall, Eli loudly asking five gazillion questions about bats, when Phil stopped, saying, “Did you hear that?” I had not heard that, because Eli. Phil put his ear up to the plumbing access panel in the hallway and said, “I think there’s another one right here.” He got out his screwdriver, unscrewed the panel, and pulled it back just the tiniest bit to reveal… TAKE A GUESS.