if you wake at 2 a.m. to find a bat flying around the living room, don't lose sight of it. don't get a towel and begin to swat at it. just be quiet, wait and watch. this won't be easy.
if you lose it, you may not see it again for days. animal control will try and fail to find it. you will feel uncomfortable, get the cat's rabies shot updated and lose sleep.
until you see it again the next night, swooping through a room you've now locked it in.
animal control will get it this time. and though you'll think it's over, don't give in to the sense of comfort whispering in your ear. just don't.
because about a week later, you could be in the kitchen packing lunch for the next day when something catches your eye. another bat. swooping in the living room. you'll scream. shriek. scream again, yelling "BRAD OH MY GOD THERE IS ANOTHER BAT." but you shouldn't do that. because it will be scared. and will, somehow, crawl under the floor molding to hide.
you'll then call animal control as you set up camp outside the bat's hiding place. you've learned not to lose a bat. so you'll sit. you'll drink a beer. you'll listen to the championship game. you'll eat a snack. and you'll wait and wait and then, about three hours later, you'll notice another bat trying to get in through the fireplace screen, which you duct taped to the wall just minutes before.
this is when it's handy to have two people in the room. one will take a broom and hit the bat trying to get through the screen until it retreats and you can reinforce the duct tape. the other will keep a flashlight pointed at the one hiding under the molding.
then, when you can hardly keep your eyes open any longer (it's probably 1 a.m.), animal control will show up. bat number two will be removed from the molding with an industrial-sized shop-vac that you purchased last summer at a garage sale for $25 because it's missing a wheel. this won't be animal control's idea. it, instead, was concocted over the last four hours in your brain-gone-batty. but it will work, allowing you to attempt to get some sleep in the bedroom you've bat-proofed by stuffing towels under the door and putting tape over the vent.
because, don't you know, bats can squeeze through openings as small as a dime.
the next morning you'll wake up to find the fireplace screen bat still alive and still trying to make its way in. so you'll stand there screaming and panicking while you're significant other tells you he can't help you because he is late to work. so you'll panic more and call six critter control companies. the one that can come the soonest will win the job.
that company will be ardvark.
two hours later, a miracle worker will arrive at your door. he'll kill the fireplace screen bat. and then he'll look down into your chimney from the top. the next thing that comes out of his mouth will shock you.
"there are about 30 bats down there hanging out in the fireplace," he'll proclaim.
you'll be sent outside to watch the bats fly out of the chimney as he lights a small fire to smoke them out. you won't see them leave, but he will assure you that they are gone. he'll climb up to the top of the chimney to double check both sides again. no bats. he'll tell you you'll be happy now. and that you can sleep. you'll believe him.
he'll put a temporary cap on the side of the chimney that didn't have one. and he'll give you his business card, which you will hold close to your heart as he leaves because he killed the trapped bat with his gloved hands and then let each bat, one for each year you've been alive, out.
for about $200 and 20 hours of lost sleep.