Our vacation ended with a stay at our friend Red's family lake house in New York. I love that trip because it combines equal parts virtue and vice. The vice comes in the form of multiple pounds of bacon crisped in the morning and snacked on throughout the day, multiple bags of Doritos inhaled during the 2-to-3-p.m. time frame (also known as chip o'clock), multiple forms of meat seared on the grill round about sunset, and multiple containers of ice cream consumed after dinner, sometimes muddled with root beer in disgusting, chunky combinations.
The virtue is in all the exercise we get. The lake is about three miles around and we walk the loop at least once a day—sometimes twice—keeping an eye out for fun creatures to catch: leopard frogs, salamanders, snails, caterpillars, and crayfish. Some of us have to run to keep up with certain walkers, but that just means I get to make myself out to be sportier than I really am. There's sailing, and kayaking, and fishing to be done, if fishing counts as exercise (Husband says yes). Then there's all the great swimming. I love diving off the floating dock over and over again like a child. And, of course, we have the huge bounty of tomatoes, eggplants, and sweet corn we tote in from Waltham Fields, Lindentree, and the local farms around the lake.
One night after the kids were in bed, a few of us were working on a jigsaw puzzle when we heard a series of raspy shouts and some funny shuffling coming from upstairs. It turns out that Husband had emerged from the bathroom to find a live bat flapping right in his face. We've always known there are bats in the peaked gables of the cottage attic. There's a thick curtain clipped to the wall to block their access to the living area. At dusk, they somehow make their way outside, and you can observe them darting around the lake where they provide a valuable service eating bugs. When we arrived, there was a bat hanging upside-down in the top of the folded-up sun umbrella on the dock, guano dotting the tabletop below. But all of those bats were observed outdoors in at least partial daylight. And they weren't in anyone's face.
After what I can only imagine was a minor heart attack, Husband attempted to rouse some human reinforcements without waking the six children. Meanwhile, the bat proceeded to swoop up and down the hallway in complete silence like a spooky pendulum. Husband and his friend tried to shoo the flapping creature out the doorway to the porch at the end of the hall. After several attempts, the bat finally disappeared and they quickly slammed the door. Everyone collapsed into relieved giggles. Stupid bat! Too riled up to go to bed, I returned to my puzzle.
Ten minutes later, there was another muffled shriek upstairs. This time, it was Red who was rewarded with the flapping of batwings in her face. Another bat?? No, probably the same bat. It had presumably taken refuge in a dark ceiling corner to shelter itself from the ungainly humans that had mounted the earlier attack. The freaked-out bat fluttered into one of the adult bedrooms. More stifled squeaks were heard while the rest of us stood sentry by the kids' bedrooms. The porch door was opened once more and, in a rather large leap of faith that the entire outdoor bat population wouldn't swarm inside the house all at once, a more vigorous shooing resumed. Finally, I was able to give visual confirmation that the bat did actually fly out the door this time.
I haven't seen anything that funny in a very long time! No bats or humans were harmed in the scuffle. I guess all's well that ends in no rabies.