Although I’m generally an animal lover, there are a few of nature’s critters that leave me cold. In fact, I can be quite a scaredy-cat!
Some of you may recall, for example, that I’ve had bad experiences with bats. Over the past 25 years, Matt and I have had the occasional bat in our country home. Usually, he manages to shoo the winged beast out of the house before I have heart palpitations.
This summer, though, one of the overly-friendly brown bats decided to adopt us. We became of aware of this bat when it swooped around in the middle of the night and set off our motion alarm. There’s nothing quite as terrifying as being wakened from a deep sleep by the sound of an air raid horn. Usually, we saw him around bedtime.
These nighttime adventures had me in the bathroom, squealing helpful suggestions to Matt through the crack in the door. The suggestions are, “get it out.” Unfortunately, this bat found hiding places. When Matt caught it on the third sighting, he drove it (safely in a plastic, lidded container) to a wooded area 10 miles away.
The next night it was back.
I really wanted that bat, his family, and his friends out of my house. I was about to suggest permanently moving when Matt found an amazing bat removal man, who is in the process of freeing our home from bats.
Matt is not surprised by my reluctance to share my space with these kinds of creatures. When he first moved me to the country, he would often find presents on the floor when he came home from work. These gifts were large books or bowls placed in various spots on the carpet, with a note on top that read “large bug here.” He had convinced me that spiders are our friends and not to be killed. I didn’t feel friendly enough, though, to do more than trap them so he could relocate them outside to be our pals.
Recently, my scaredy-cat behavior drifted into the danger zone. We were driving through the country one evening and I noticed my arm itching. I looked down to see a greenish, fuzzy worm — caterpillar? — crawling on my arm.
Matt was driving and because of our history, my frightened yelp had not startled him. He understood immediately that one of our “friends” had made an appearance. I didn’t stop to think about my response, nor did I pay attention to Matt’s calmly stated, “throw it out your window.” Instead, I did what any normal person would do — I got rid of it by picking it up and placing it on Matt’s arm.
There is good news here. We didn’t wreck the car, because Matt is a great driver. We didn’t have a fight, because he has the patience of Job. The bad news is that caterpillar fell off his arm and is somewhere under the driver’s seat. I wonder if I could begin to bicycle everywhere? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sue is a retired public servant who volunteers at the Hospice store (For All Seasons) in Troy and teaches part-time at Urbana University. She keeps busy taking care of husband, house, and pets. She and her husband have an adult son who lives in Troy.