Sunday, July 8, 2007

When the Outside Comes In

Birds are interesting to look at and sing pretty songs. We’ve always fed them and encouraged them to brighten our yard. They are beautiful creatures—when they’re outside. Something happens when they cross the thresh hold into your home, though, that transforms them into winged beasts of terror.

Writing “Intruders Beware” reminded me of a time when a bird got in my parents’ house. I happened to be home visiting, and bore witness to the havoc it caused. The bird first arrived under the supposition that it was a bat. My mom saw something fly by out of the corner of her eye, sending her on a fruitless bat safari for the rest of the afternoon. When some time passed without it showing up again, the fact of the bat became a matter of lore—perhaps she hadn’t seen anything, after all.

The next day my mother was cleaning the stove when the bat flew out from under the hood and buzzed her. It then disappeared into the hallows of my childhood home, where my mom and the cleaning lady spent hours trying to find it, again to no avail. Now that there was a second witness to its existence, the entire house was on bat watch. Another confirmed sighting was made around lunch time, and this time we weren’t going to let it out of our sight.

My brother and I were the only children home, so it fell to us to rid the house of the bat. We suited up for the job. John Candy taught us how to dress for bat capture in “The Great Outdoors,” and we learned out lesson well—our uniforms included long sleeve shirts (Allowing it to touch our arms would certainly result in some sort of bat disease), pants (What if it buzzed us on one or both of our knees?), gloves and close-toed shoes (Not even digits could be exposed). Most important of all was head gear, for a bat touching you anywhere on your head would certainly result in Acute Vampirism. And if it lit in your hair? Well, you might as well kiss this world goodbye. I had my hair up under a baseball cap and had a laundry basket on my head for good measure. My brother was a professional—he went with a football helmet. My weapon was a tennis raquet; his, a shovel.

My mom shooed the bat out into the open and my brother and I chased it upstairs and into my parents’ bathroom. As soon as we saw it go in there, we secured the area by slamming the door to the bathroom shut. Now that we had it trapped, we took some time to regroup and form a plan. Bats can be tricky, so we would need two layers of bat force. We decided my brother would go in first for the kill, and I would be his backup in charge of emergency detention if it got by him. We cracked open the door and took an exploratory look around. The bat wasn’t out in the open flossing its teeth in front of the mirror or anything, so we were going to have to go in there and hunt it down. Bats can squeeze into the tiniest of holes, so we were very cautious as we looked around, lest it fly out of the drain and tangle itself up in our hair which was, of course the ultimate bat nightmare. A sweep of the sink, medicine cabinet, toilet bowl, toilet tank, and floorboards didn’t uncover the bat. There was only one place left, the shower.

We slowly pulled back the shower curtain and… nothing. Stumped, we turned to try again someplace else, when a beady eye caught my eye. Oh, sh*#, there it was! Perched atop the shower head! And OH MY GOD, it was a BIRD!!! AND IT LOOKED AT ME!!! Had a grenade been thrown in that bathroom there would have been a more orderly evacuation. My brother ripped the shower curtain closed and we dove out of there screaming. That it was a bird and not a bat was somehow so much worse, though I’m not certain why. We’re not talking about a big nasty crow or filthy seagull here, it was a little sparrow-like bird, innocently sitting on the shower head, either scared out of its mind or quietly making fun of the two idiots who had just looked at it. We leaned up against the door panting, and again had to regroup. We were certainly not prepared for this latest development. A bat you could whack with a racquet, but beating up a bird was simply out of the question.

My brother traded in his shovel for a blanket, with the thought we would capture the bird by throwing the blanket over it. I was wielding a broom for purposes of bird round-up and redirection. I left the laundry basket on, though—I wasn’t quite sure how a person contracted bird flu, but a bird touching you on the head was probably a good start.

We were trying to keep our distance, which resulted in my brother throwing the blanket at the bird, rather than over it, which sent the bird fluttering about the shower in a frenzy. This was too much for me. I think I blacked out for a minute. When I came to, my brother had succeeded in trapping the bird under the blanket. I saw him scoop up the bundle and run out of the bathroom screaming and holding it out an arm’s distance in front of him. I showed my support by running out screaming, as well.

As soon as we got outside my brother threw the blanket in the grass. The bird was trapped in the folds, though, and couldn’t escape. We were going to have to take further action to set it free—the horrors seemed never ending. My brother, brave soul that he is, ran up to the blanket, grabbed a corner, and kept on running. The blanket unfolded and the little bird hopped out, dazed by our stupidity (and by its time spent in the blanket) but otherwise unscathed. It took a few more exploratory hops before flying away to tell its tale to an incredulous audience, just as I’m telling mine to you, and we all lived to see another day. If only just barely.


  1. I hurt!!! oh, My i have laughed until my tummy hurts and I still can't gigling!! I can just see two little kids on Bird brigade!!! LOl...for sharing this!! I needed a laugh tonight!! LOL roflmbo thanks!!

  2. So, the truth comes out, after all these years. We were led to believe that the winged intruder was a bat!! This was one hilarious story-Well done!!!

  3. How did a bat in the belfry(or should I say 'oven hood') morph into a bird in the shower?? I'm with A.B...all this time we envisioned much scarier victim. How funny!! What a are an awesome storyteller!! A.K.

  4. Too funny, how would we know what to do without Uncle Buck!?

  5. This is something that I am sure has happened to a lot of people.(NOT ME) I am like neighborhoodmom and my stomach huts to much. I jsut got asked what was so funny and my boss said not to laugh out loud as he walked away laughing. Take care and keep them going:))