If you follow me on Twitter you could not escape the Bat Tweets today. I'm sorry. BUT YOU GUYS. The bat! It was ridiculous! It is STILL ridiculous. I cannot believe we arranged an entire day around, and my husband missed an entire day of work because of, a STUPID BAT.
Around two in the morning Phillip got up to investigate a noise in the bathroom. Silly me, I thought he was getting up to deal with the Insomniac Baby who starts talking to herself around two or three and doesn't stop for at least an hour. But no, he thought Jack had come upstairs to use OUR bathroom, but the noises were weird, so he got up - and then he was turning on lights and banging doors and I was all, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING YOU CRAZY MAN."
He slams the door and looks at me. "So," he says. "There's a bat in our bathroom."
While Emma yammered in the background, we both Mulled The Implications.
It wasn't in a place where he could trap it (hiding in a heap of bath toys) (which are now in the garbage) (ugh). If he shooed it out it could fly anywhere in our house. We didn't have a net or anything to catch it with. Besides, Phillip was afraid it would bite him.
He left the lights on, both doors shut, got back in bed and began to Google. What else would we do?
The bathroom is a little weird - one end opens into the hallway and the other opens into our bedroom. It's the only bathroom on the upper floor AND it has a super high ceiling with a skylight. It's pretty if you ignore the cobwebs. Phillip assumed the bat somehow flew in from the attic? But how did it get in the attic? In the middle of the night he left messages for pest control services and in the morning I said, "Um, no, you aren't going to work today and leaving me with VERMIN ON THE LOOSE."
We used the bathroom downstairs. We told the kids the toilet was broken. I made Phillip sneak in and get my contacts, but otherwise we kept the doors shut. We didn't want to wait for anyone to call us back, so Phillip called again, and a man from Critter Control promised to be at our house between ten and noon.
Twitter warned me that Vermin Catchers were chatty and the Bat Man did not disappoint. In the span of five or six minutes I learned everything I never wanted to know about bats. However! He located and caught the bat within minutes and duct taped it into a coffee cup he had in his truck.
Why didn't you just get RID of it? you are asking. Throw it outside! Well, because the Bat Man made a Very Big Deal about getting it tested for rabies. It was that or immediately go to the clinic and begin the series of rabies shots for the entire family. The chance was low, he promised, but STILL. STILL. WHAT IF? These are your BABIES! AAAAUUUUGGGHHHH!
It sems like this is the sort of thing pest control should do FOR you, but no, we got to KEEP the bat. He left the bat on our PORCH. In its coffee cup HOUSE. (Well, first he checked out the attic and the roof and nope, no bat colonies here and OMG BAT COLONIEEEEEEEESSSSS.)
He told us to call Seattle Public Health. And this is where everything gets RIDICULOUS.
Seattle Public Health was very sorry about our bat, but they didn't think it needed to be tested for rabies. Phillip demanded to know why not. Well there are requirements and restrictions for doing such testing and if we weren't DIRECTLY EXPOSED to the bat, there was no need. Phillip explained that we didn't KNOW if we were directly exposed. What if it LANDED on one of the CHILDREN during the NIGHT and seriously, I was dry heaving as he had this heated conversation.
Phillip and the SPH lady went back and forth and because she felt sorry for us in our Bat-Ridden Plight, she agreed that as it was found in the Master Bathroom which is technically part of the Master Bedroom, she could say it was "flying around in our room" and we were "directly exposed", but she'd have to the argue the point to her superiors and get back to us.
Oh! And if they DID agree to test it, we would have to drive the bat to Kent (waaaaay south of us), have it humanely euthanized, and then drive to Shoreline (north of us) to have it tested. !!!
While we waited to see if they'd agree to test it, Phillip decided to call a vet and see if THEY could euthanize it. (I didn't know this part.) "Uhhhh..." they said. "Uhhhh...." Then they told him to call Animal Control. (WHY DIDN'T THE BAT MAN JUST TELL US TO CALL ANIMAL CONTROL.)
So! Animal Control said, "Hey, we'll euthanize your bat! AND we'll deliver it to Shoreline for testing!" Then they wanted our information and they'd call us back. Note: Animal Control? MUCH CLOSER THAN KENT. Note: I WAS UNAWARE OF THIS PHONE CALL.
But. They never called back. Phillip sat around wondering what to do about our bat. I was ignoring this to the best of my ability, except for when I had something exciting to tweet.
Then SPH called and said they agreed to test our bat. OH THANK YOU FOR THE LOVELY FAVOR, SPH. But we had to euthanize it first and deliver it to the lab "packaged properly". I do not have ANY desire to know what that means.
Animal Control still hadn't called. (Note: I DID NOT KNOW THEY WERE SUPPOSED TO CALL.)
Around 3 Phillip decided that he better just drive the stupid bat to Kent so he'd have time to drive it back up to Shoreline before the lab closed. Me = still ignoring everything. Me = wondering why he can't go pick up Jack on his way to deliver the bat. Me = disbelieving that a bat, a MOUSE-LIKE BAT, has put a total stop to Cheung Daily Production.
Phillip left with the bat. Two minutes later I hauled the girls to school and fetched Jack. When we got home, Phillip's car was in the driveway. He was in the house talking on the phone. I stood at the top of the stairs and shouted, "WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON PHILLIP CHEUNG!"
"Animal Control is coming to get the bat!"
"They're coming to PICK UP THE BAT!"
Oh you guys. This is so stupid. Animal Control didn't call Phillip, but Seattle Public Health DID, in the car, right before he got on the freeway, to tell him that Animal Control was coming to get the bat. How SPH linked up with Animal Control I AM STILL VERY CONFUSED ABOUT THIS. I was sort of stuck on the part where someone was driving across town to my house to pick up a half-dead BAT.
I MEAN, REALLY?!
And it's not like it started to make sense after that. I know Phillip is reading this and dying to explain how SPH knew about Animal Control and he DID tell me but I'M STILL NOT CLEAR BUT ANYWAY. Phillip had a half hour conversation with the Animal Control girl in our driveway, who was holding our bat in something that looked like an oatmeal cannister about three feet away from her body. GOD KNOWS WHAT THEY WERE DISCUSSING. But Phillip came inside and said he had to FOLLOW THE BAT.
I KNOW, INTERNET. I KNOW. IT'S A BAT.
Apparently he had to give Animal Control twenty minutes or so to kill the bat, I mean Humanely Euthanize the bat, THEN he could go pick it up and take it to the lab in Shoreline. (They told him they would deliver the bat on the phone, but I guess they mixed that up with "we will pick up your bat from your house".)
Meanwhile I am thinking: TAXPAYER DOLLARS AT WORK.
So Phillip left again, a bit later, for Animal Control in Interbay (for you locals playing along) to pick up a dead bat. Then he made it to the lab in Shoreline at 4:55 PM, five minutes before it closed.
All this to find out if a bat, which should not even be flying around in January, and did not come from a Bat Colony in our attic, and which is the size of a teeny mouse, which (we are fairly certain) was NOT flying around our house and landing on each individual family member in their beds, and living in an area in which rabies is not common, HAS RABIES. So that WE CAN KNOW THAT WE ARE NOT EXPOSED.
I realize that rabies is a big deal. But this just seems wildly SILLY to me. Who knew that catching the bat would be infinitely easier than deciding what to do with the bat post-catch?
So! Let us all fervently pray that this bat is not one of the lucky five percent that have rabies because OH GOD if I have to add "Now we're all getting rabies shots" to this blog post I'll have to also add a padded cell to my house.