In my ever-evolving life as a widow, I had the opportunity this fall to confront yet another one of my fears: bats.
My house has a large unfinished third floor attic that can be completely avoided by closing a thick, wood door on the second floor. The door is always closed tight, and I keep two draft stoppers stuffed under the door to block the crack. I always have worried about bats coming through that opening into my house, even when I had Tom and the kids here.
So now I’m more paranoid. I didn’t go up into the abyss that is my attic all summer long. On a few summer nights while lying in bed, I might have heard vague ruffling up there above my bedroom, but I told myself it was the birds on the roof.
One day this fall, I ventured up to get a gift box. That’s when I saw the droppings and figured they weren’t from mice. When my son came over, we checked the attic together and, with the help of internet photos, confirmed they were bat excrement.
This led to me finding a company on the web that deals with wildlife removal in an appropriate and humane way. This is how I found Drivin’ Me Batty and its 30ish owner, interestingly a former DJ for a small radio station. Well, judging from my experience, this guy is on his way to becoming a millionaire in his new profession. When he came out to my house for the first time, he confirmed I have bats in my third floor. He said they were probably hanging up there in remote nooks and crannies. He nonchalantly quoted me a price of $1,200 to do his magic and make sure they left the attic and would not return.
Of course, I had sticker shock, so I called another place to comparison shop. A friendly women quoted me roughly $1,500 to $2,000 given that my house is very tall and has 15 eaves.
Making my house bat free was of the utmost importance, so I had to weigh the cost. I decided to stay with Drivin’ Me Batty. I waited a week for the bat expert/DJ to come back to “bat proof” the house. This process took almost four hours and involved chalking around the perimeter of the house between the wood trim and the bricks. It also included installing four “bat doors” — small temporary black pipes that protrude randomly out of the roof of the house so the bats can leave but not return. He did not vacuum the attic and remove the droppings like I asked. Who knows — that might have required another $500.
So my brother-in-law, who thinks this guy totally ripped me off, vacuumed the attic the next day. (I was so thankful for his help.) I knew once he vacuumed, I could easily judge if anymore bats visited. If more droppings appeared, the bats were still there; if there were no droppings, the bats were gone. I was a bit reassured that Drivin’ Me Batty had a five-year warranty in case I hear more sounds in the night.
Well, the bat man is coming back this Saturday to remove the bat doors, do a little more chalking and check on things. It will be his third trip out, but I figure he’s still getting paid around $200 an hour.
Quite frankly, I’d pay any amount of money to make sure I don’t have bats in this house — ever again. It’s also another reason I have to get out of here in the near future. I don’t want to live in a house with a giant third floor that critters find attractive.