Bats in my belfry


I love bats. In my last house, I had a bunch of bat-themed stuff in the first floor half bath. I called it the batroom. (Ha.)

Two nights ago, I was in the middle of an oddly boring dream. Then some lightning started (in the dream) and thumping. But it was a dream so…par for the course right? But what jolted me out of my slumber was a very insistent THUMP, a BANG, and a lot of cursing.

The lightning was my husband’s flashlight. The thumping was him trying to get out of the way of a swooping bat as it soared into our bedroom.

“WHAT IS GOING ON?” I demanded.

“Uh…there’s a bat in the house…”

I put on my glasses. Sure enough, there was a little fluttery shape flying in circles around our ceiling fan. (We turned off the fan.)

I got up and put on a robe, because I am a sensible person. Husband, however, chose to deal with the intruder the same way he came into this world: naked and waving his arms around.

We got wee Batman to fly into the hall and then rest on the doorjamb of Thing 1 and 2’s room. Poor thing. But cute as could be. And no white nose, so that’s good. I got a towel and tried to gather him into it, but he took off and spent the next five minutes swooping up and down the stairwell.

Husband got a broom and opened the front door.

Me: Why are you turning on all the lights?

Him: I don’t know! I don’t know what to do!

Me: Turn the lights off, you don’t have any clothes on.

Him: Sara, it’s 4 a.m…..

Batman landed on a picture frame hanging on the wall. I gently laid the towel on him and he gave a tiny squeak.

Me: Crap. Did I hurt him? Why do you keep ducking? He’s not going to hit you.

Husband: I know, it’s just a reflex.

I stuck the broom up in the air, hoping Batman would land on it and I could launch him safely off the porch. Gently, bit by bit, we herded him right out the front door and back into the night.

Me: Thank god nobody is awake, you gave quite a show… This is why you need to have a bathrobe.

Husband: I’m going back to bed.

I’m not surprised we had a chiropteroid visitor. It’s an old house. I’m sure we’ll have more.


Charlottes are Gone…

     Big Charlotte was hanging in during the horrible windstorm we had a few weeks ago. I checked on her a few times – not that I could help, just to see – and she was clinging to the shredded web, nestled down in the mint. A day or so later, they came to cut the grass while I was at work and when I returned she was gone. I wondered if the grass people had ripped up her web or killed her or something… Such a large bug is sometimes too great a temptation for immaturity, and the impulse to HULK SMASH cannot be overcome. Maybe they thought such a big yellow and black spider was poisonous? I don’t know if that’s what happened for sure. But all my writing spiders seem to have gone. 

     A bit later, we had a much smaller Charlotte appear, build a web, then vanish.

     I’m a little sad about this lack of arachnid authors. I’ve come to see them as my scribbling familiars who arrive to usher in autumn, share their silk secrets with me, blessing the garden as they do, and then climb into the shadowy web of the next life. Now that it’s turned chilly I don’t hold hope that another Charlotte will take up residence for the remainder of the season and that makes for a dark October indeed.

Charlotte’s Back

     I discovered one of my writing spiders making her home at the corner of the house, just beyond the drainpipe. That means…last year’s Charlottes’ babies made it and also that fall is coming. Normally I don’t see them appear until late September but it’s been a cool year and I think that makes a difference.

     In case you aren’t a faithful reader and missed the first few posts, this blog is named after a particular spider, the Argiope aurantia or writing spider. Argiopes make a thick squiggle in their webs called a stabilimenta which strengthens the web, makes it easier for birds not to fly into, etc etc. They’re called writing spiders because it was assumed that it was some form of communication. The female builds a web in late summer, lays eggs in late fall, then dies.

    I claimed the writing spider as a sort of seasonal familiar after I had lost my job as an English teacher and realized that writing is my calling. It had been a tough year and I saw this beautiful spider making a web right outside the front door. Further research provided her name and habits. Of course I’d read Charlotte’s Web as a kid but I had no idea she was based on a real animal.

     This year’s First Charlotte is beautiful. If you’ve never seen a writing spider, they’re a little intimidating as spiders go, though they are totally harmless to humans. First Charlotte is beautiful but she is also large and in charge. She’s already got a huge pile of spent prey piled neatly on a leaf by the web. She’s always moving around, fixing things, tidying up. 

     I will try to post a picture of her sometime this week. It’s just rained and the web’s a little bedraggled at the moment.

100 Words: The One-eyed Morkie

My sister lives with my parents right now. We are all big animal lovers so I wasn’t surprised when, last year, the beloved family dog passed away and to ease the unbearable sadness, they all went to a breeder and bought a Labradoodle. (Which sounds like a toy you get from Mattel…”It’s a science experiment AND an art studio! Turn your little Einsteins into Picassos with LABRADOODLE!”) Well, they went back to the breeder this week and got…

wait for it…

a one-eyed Morkie. A Morkie is a cross between a Yorkie and a Maltese. This one in particular was doomed to most certain death when the breeder’s various compatriots said he’d ruin his reputation if people knew he was breeding one-eyed puppies. I’m not sure how my family found out about the vision-impaired pooch but leave it to them (well, us…I’d have done the same if I was in the market for a dog) to bring her home and love her to death. My sister had all sorts of signs that pointed to GET THE ONE EYED DOG which I won’t go into here, but trust me, you’d have gone to get the one-eyed Morkie, too.

She isinsanely adorable. She’s very small, black and brown and likes to sit between your feet. The Labradoodle is slowly getting used to her, although I suspect she feels like the older sibling who desperately wants a playmate in her new baby sister but is disappointed that said baby can’t play until she gets bigger.

I suggested they call her Mindy. Mindy the Morkie. Or Pirate. But they chose Lucy which is cute.

I just say the word “Morkie” and I have to snicker.

100 Words: What comes to mind

I read PostSecret’s site every Sunday. It’s a little voyeuristic, I think, but we’re all a little bit Peeping Tom, aren’t we? Sometimes the secrets are funny, some are touching. But some make me really really upset. Secrets where someone is hurting someone else are very sad. The ones that are most upsetting are the ones about people hurting animals. A few months ago, a woman posted a secret that she was giving her cat antifreeze or something justso she could go see the cute vet. Today, a woman posted that when she felt the urge to stuff her face, she stuffs her dog’s face instead. I don’t understand the impulse to hurt animals in this way. Are they so selfish that a cat’s existence is just a means to a date with a vet? I can’t even wrap my mind around it.

I have the same reaction to people hurting kids but people don’t put secrets about hurting kids up on PostSecret. (Well…maybe Frank weeds them out or something.) A few months ago there was a spate of stories on CNN about various child abuses and I had to stop reading CNN for a while. Now I just avoid those stories. But at PostSecret, if someone mentioned hurting a child I suspect they’d be turned in to the police. But somehow it’s ok to post that you’re abusing animals.

PostSecret is supposed to be a cathartic non-judgemental way of sharing your secrets. There’s a catch about secrets though. You want to let them out because sometimes they’re just hanging around inside you, chewing on your insides. It makes you feel better to let them out but then they are hanging around whoever hears them, chewing at them instead. So when I read some of those secrets, I feel like the person must feel better but the trade-off is that the readers feel worse. 

I don’t really know where I’m going with this. I started writing and this stuff just kind of came out. Maybe my lesson here is that I need to stop reading CNN and PostSecret.