The Great Upstairs Bathroom Panic of ’18

Or, as Marido says, “I wasn’t panicking. I was concerned

Or, How I grew to love bats instead of fear them


It’s Sunday morning. (Not right now. In the story I am telling.)

It’s Sunday morning and Marido and I are following our usual Sunday morning routine: Coffee, newspaper, reading advice columnist questions out loud and answering them for ourselves (who are these mothers in law who write about their evil daughters in law? have they ever thought that perhaps they and not the DILs are the problem?), and listening to a re-run of Casey Kasem and American Top 40 from the ’70s (which are great) and the ’80s (which are not so great).

Marido is capable of identifying the year of the episode solely by hearing one song. It’s his superpower: That he has to hear only the opening bars of a pop song to know not only what song it is but when it was released.

My superpower is I can find typos in any document except one I have written.

He goes upstairs and very soon thereafter, I hear a scream.

He would say that he yelled.

I ignore it because Marido is Dramatic. He grew up in a High-Drama Home, where people yelled at each other.

I grew up in a Low-Drama Home (Norwegians) so yelling is a Big Deal in my life, but I have become somewhat conditioned to his yells and have learned to ignore them.

He runs down the stairs.

Marido: There’s a BAT in the upstairs bathroom!

Well. That’s not what I was expecting to hear.

I have to see for myself.

I go upstairs.

And yes, there is a bat in the bathroom. It has fallen into the toilet.

Me: We have to get it out! It could drown!

Marido: Don’t touch it! It could have rabies!

Me: I know! I’m the one who had the rabies shots, remember!

[Yes. This is a childhood memory that will never leave me. I told my mom there was a mouse in the basement window well. She told me to leave it alone. I did not. It bit me. I got a kleenex from my friend’s house, wrapped it around my bloody finger, and returned home. Shockingly, my mom noticed and took me straight to the hospital, where they gave me the first of 14 shots to my stomach. In case you didn’t know? Shots to your stomach hurt a lot.]

I reach for the toilet brush.

Marido: You can’t use that! It will get dirty!

[Imagine the withering look I give him.]

Me: Then what’s your idea?

Marido talks and tries to think of the perfect engineering solution while I try to think of the fast save an endangered species from dying one.

I go to the garage for some gardening hand tools – one of those little pronged thingies you use for prepping the soil for planting and a weed digger. I bring them to the bathroom and start to use them to carefully lift the bat out of the water without touching it with my hands.

Marido: No! You’ll get water on the floor!

Me: Water can be cleaned off the floor, you know.

We had this argument in 2009, when our basement flooded shortly after we moved into our house. The sewer drain backed up with rainwater (not sewage, thank goodness) and was soaking the new carpet. That carpet was new because the basement had flooded the year before right after we bought the house but before we moved in. Carpet left wet for three days in hot weather is not salvageable.

I wanted to save the carpet this time. (I didn’t care the first time – that carpet was really ugly.) I grabbed a bunch of bath towels to absorb the water on the carpet. Marido disagreed strongly with my approach, but I argued back that 1. bath towels can be washed and bleached and 2. it is easier to replace towels than carpet.

Marido: Wait! Let me get something.

He runs outside for a corrugated box, sets it on the floor next to the toilet, and gently lifts the bat out of the toilet and places it in the box. The bat squeaks desperately and pathetically. I am relieved that it was not dead.

Then we put a paper shopping bag over the bat and invert it so the box is over the bat and put the bag in the garage so Marido can take it to the wildlife rehab center near us.

He calls me from the center: I took the bag into the center. We lifted the box off. The bat was gone!

It had flown out of the slit in the bottom of the box. It was healthy enough to escape. It didn’t need wildlife rehab after all! Whew.

(If you want to know more about how cool bats are, go to Merlin Tuttle’s  site. Bats are maligned unfairly.)


3 thoughts on “The Great Upstairs Bathroom Panic of ’18

  1. And, apparently pretty. What a nice little red face! altho, i don’t really want them inside my house, either. We used to keep a bat box, but were never able to attract any bats to live in it. We wanted help with the mosquitos. Apparently, a couple of bats will keep your yard blessedly clear all summer.


  2. We were so happy when we finally attracted bats to our bat house! We moved it 3 times – finally got bats when the neighbors tore down their old chicken barn (which we assume housed the area bats…) But they’re definitely outdoor friends, not indoor!

    Liked by 1 person

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