Bats & Barbershops

Back on land again! These were taken in the South End in Boston, a neat neighborhood full of gorgeous little brick row houses that go on and on and on for blocks. It's so pretty too look at. Some, like this one, have spectacular old stained glass windows - these feel a little art deco with the geometric shapes and long lines, but I might be totally wrong about that - and the glossy jet black paint is breathtaking, isn't it? So cool.

M's new barbershop is in this neighborhood, and was recommended to us by our friends in JP. They did a great job! You can scroll down for a photo of her new look. We have to admit, they did as good a job - if not better - than FSC Barber back in SF! (And it was cheaper to boot.)

The shorts and striped shirt are RVCA, and the baseball t-shirt is Workshop. Honestly, I just loved that it paired so nicely with the stripes and EAGLES and lightning, so. The belt is Everlane, the little ankle boots are Trouvé, and the bag is vintage Vuitton. I suppose it's really a case meant for toiletries and such, but it's the perfect slouchy clutch size with a wrist strap, so that's how I used it! Ray-Ban Clubmasters, my new Kiel James Patrick knotted anchor bracelet (I gave the creamy one to M, now she wears it even to bed), and my Mariele Ivy bear tooth necklace - my absolute favorite IndieMart purchase of all time.

Tomorrow we're going to the zoo! The Franklin Park Zoo, to be exact, and it's celebrating 100 years! It's kind of hard to top the foggy wonder of SF's zoo, the quirky absurdity of Oakland's zoo, or the magnificence of the San Diego Zoo, but the truth is that we're going for the dinosaurs. We saw that they have a special exhibit through September called Zoorassic Park, and y'all? 15 life-size animatronic dinosaurs. Awesome. How could we possibly miss it? The weather should be perfect, too, warm, but nothing over 80ºF. Yay!

I just hope they don't have bats, which reminds me that I owe y'all a little bat story. M isn't afraid of much. Heights, drowning, bats. Her phobia of bats goes way back into her childhood in Mexico, on her dad's old ranch near Leon.

They were out on a walk during the day - M was about 11 or 12 years old - when her dad decided they should check out this one cave. In typical jokester dad form, he told them all to go on in and look around. M can still hear the nasty screeching sounds they made as she stood there, trying to figure out where the noises were coming from, right before they all freaked out and flew en masse in a panic out of the cave's entrance. She and the others ran out right behind them, screaming and wailing on her dad, who I'm sure was laughing so hard his belly hurt.

Suffice it to say, bats don't make M laugh. They terrify her. She loathes them. Imagine our surprise when we found one in our basement two weeks ago exactly. It was  late at night and M was headed downstairs to grab her PS3 cable from a box. Now, our basement isn't finished - we already have three floors of living space and so it's mostly storage and boring stuff like the water heater, electrical, etc. - but it's not like a super spooky basement or anything. It's well-lit, has a ton of new screened windows, and is mostly empty since we moved in.

I was in the living room when M hollered for me to come over there. "Jonesey, there's a birdie in the basement! Hurry!" A birdie. "Ooh," I cooed, running over, "let me see it! Poor birdie!" Stupid Bird thought we were talking about him, so of course he was underfoot the whole time. I crouched on the stairs next to M, peering through the railing to the wretched creature flying in very exact, very fast circles around the middle of the room.

It was small but with an impressive wingspan, brownish, and mostly a blur because of its speed. I watched it go around a few times, narrowing my eyes to see it better. It was eerily silent. No flap of wings, no birdsong. When I saw the telling web of its wing, I grabbed M's arm, panic rising. "That bird's wings are goddamn webbed. It's a bat," I hissed, and like a shot ran up the stairs, leaving poor M behind. She caught up with me and we stood looking at each other in the dining room. The door to the basement was still halfway open. "Are you crazy," I screamed, "Do you want it to get in here? It's a vampire!"

We were completely hysterical. We had no idea what to do. We shut the basement door and ran outside with my camera, to study it through our basement windows. There it was, still flying in crazy nonstop circles, and while the photos were blurry, they definitely confirmed that we were dealing with a bat. "Do you think it'll fly itself to death in circles," M asked hopefully. I doubted it, but said I hoped so for her sake. We decided it was trapped down there and we couldn't do anything until the morning, and we went to bed.

When we woke up the next morning, we weren't very worried. We figured we'd call someone, they'd come and deal with it, bam. More or less that's what happened, except the guy couldn't find the bat. He couldn't find evidence that there was a colony of bats, either, so it was highly possible that our bat was a fluke, had simply gotten lost and found his way out somehow during the night. Call him if the bat reappeared, he said, leaving us with a $2,000 estimate for "bat-proofing" the entire house if we wanted to go that route. We were cautiously relieved, but we went about our day with no further incident.

The morning after that, M got up and trotted downstairs to let the dogs out, and this time when she beckoned me there was no chipper, singsong voice. Her tone was grave. Something was so wrong! The bat had reappeared...on our living room floor. Where the dogs sleep. It seemed dead? Did it have rabies? Oh, God. We had to capture the bat. We had no choice.

Suddenly the YouTube video our friend had posted the night before - the one we laughed at because it's RIDICULOUS - was relevant to our interests.  I frantically searched for a container large enough to trap it while M kept the poor dogs away. What if they'd been bitten?! Brave, brave M took the big, clear wastebasket I found and trapped the bat. I stood by with packing tape as she tried to slide a piece of cardboard under the opening. The bat wouldn't move out of the way, and M accidentally nudged it, which is when it went, uh, batshit. It reared up, shrieking and flapping and lunging at the sides of the container, while poor M held on for dear life, getting the cardboard in place. I couldn't look, just handed her tape and felt puke-y while she secured it, and then she put it out on the front porch.

We tried to calm down and started making our calls. At one point we were told the pickup and rabies testing would cost us $300, even though we'd caught it, and that if we wanted to drop it off ourselves at the testing facility, we'd have to kill it first. "Pardon?" I said, and the gentleman on the line listed out, as delicately as he could, the options: "I usually just break their necks, but you could drown it, too, I guess..." We hung up, and of course M and I proceeded to bicker over the best way to murder a bat. "Just leave it trapped in the bucket in the sun," I argued, "dogs and babies die that way ALL THE DAMN TIME. It's clean and efficient." She wanted to drown it, but wouldn't be specific about the methodology.

Thankfully, the police called in the nick of time. They apologized for any confusion and said an officer was on the way to pick it up, bless their hearts. FREE OF CHARGE. We didn't even have to kill it! They called the next day to say the bat was tested negative for rabies, and so the dogs were in the clear! We haven't had a bat incident since, and feel SO lucky we're not in Boston proper, because their bats are not small brown ones that come out full force in August but go away the rest of the year, but large brown ones that are year-round and especially problematic in the winter, when people can hear them keeping warm inside their house walls.

Adventures in Boston, y'all, I'm telling you. (But it sure does make a good story.)