So. What was behind that access panel? Whatever could it be?
BAT NUMBER SEVEN.
Three bats in our place, plus three bats in the attic, plus this one. Lucky number 7. One for each day of the week.
Eli and I retreated to the bathroom to await the all-clear, which came about 15 seconds later. We came back out into the hallway where Phil showed me the “access panel.” It’s a piece of MDF (you know, the backs of cheap bookcases?) that had been screwed in – not to studs, or boards, or anything reasonable like that – but to green egg carton foam placed in front of the studs. Phil said that we should be glad the bat there was a baby bat because if it had been an adult and decided to stretch out even a little bit, it would’ve popped the access panel right off. And then UNLIMITED UNFETTERED ACCESS TO OUR PLACE FOR BATS GALORE.
Fiddle dee dee.
Phil “reattached” our “access panel” and then put duct tape around the whole thing. He continued on into Ryan’s and my bedroom, where he noticed what one of the animal control officers had also noticed: another “access panel” going into the attic. THE ATTIC, people. Ryan had put screws all around the edge of it to make sure it stayed in place but apparently before he did that, it was kind of hanging open. Why was there an opening in our bedroom ceiling going into the attic? Well, you see, when the people who did all the other high-quality work in our place put in new light fixtures, it just wasn’t quite easy enough. So they cut a hole in the ceiling with a jigsaw large enough for a person to stand up into. Then once they had the fixture installed, they just put four screws in the corner of a piece of MDF over the top and called it good. Phil noted that, besides being just a lovely way for bats to fly into our bedroom, it’s also an awesome way for random people to enter our unit to steal things without ever unlocking a door. The attic entrance is in the stairwell of our building so a savvy burglar could open it right up, walk over to the hole, kick in the ceiling, and take all of our valuables. (Joke would be on him because we have no valuables.) If, of course, he wasn’t swarmed by bats first.
I added that panel to the ever-lengthening list of repairs that needed to be done. Phil finished up his Tour de Bat and started to head out: but not before Eli needed him to help build a cross out of blocks. Sweet Phil sat with Eli for 20 minutes playing blocks with him before he left. Phil is the reason that Eli’s number two thing to pretend to be is a pest control man. Number one is a doctor that gives everyone shots. All the shots. I can’t imagine where Eli got that idea.
Phil gave me his business card and cell number, saying that we could just call him directly if we had any more issues. He took his duct tape, flashlight, mirror, screwdriver, and coffee can with a scrabbling bat inside back to his truck, never to be seen by us again. (Please, God.)
I called our property manager to give her the repair list. She said she’d send her handyman over to take a look at everything later that afternoon. I asked if our landlords would put us up in a hotel until the repairs were finished, since we really couldn’t even enter our unit at this point without automatically scanning the corners and light fixtures for hanging bats. It’s not an environment conducive to sleeping. Or anything, really. I was thinking a Super 8 or something but her husband worked at Marriott so she could get a deal there. Would we be okay with that instead? Let me think. YES.
The handyman came out that afternoon and seemed very capable. He mentioned when he arrived that he liked some of the fixtures that had been put in, so obviously he wasn’t the one who had done the previous work on our place. That was promising in and of itself. After I showed him what needed to be done he said he’d get started Wednesday afternoon and would finish up Thursday or Friday.
After the handyman left, I set about packing our things for our little vacation. Ryan had packed a go bag – you know, like spies have? – after bat number 2 just in case we needed to leave in the middle of the night, so there wasn’t much to add. Yes, this was our life now. Rabies shots and getaway bags and flying animals. We picked up Ryan at work and headed over to our new temporary home at the hotel, nothing on the docket except our third dose of rabies vaccine on Thursday and our final dose a week following.
Ah. Sweet endings.
BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!