Bats and teeth

THERE ARE TWO items on today’s agenda.

The first is bats. They have returned to the Hacienda in a goodly but uncertain number, something they do every year about this time.

Must have something to do with the rain’s arrival.

There are a couple of ways to know they’ve returned. One is to be on the veranda downstairs at dusk. It’s their takeoff time. The other sure clue is the pile of bat crap every morning on the floor of their corner of the veranda.

It’s a sizable display.

The first method is fun. The second … not so much. The bat crap must be swept with care and tossed into the yard trash.

I assume that it’s Mexican free-tails that we have. I assume this for two reasons. One is their name. Mexican. And the other is that we are firmly in the middle of their range.

Over the years I’ve had some exciting moments with these bats. One morning, we sat on the veranda with coffee and bagels, and I noticed a bat trapped in the nylon strings of a wind chime.

I donned leather gloves and liberated him. Another time, while cleaning on the veranda, I was surprised to find a couple of the little, brown buggers sleeping peacefully inside a sombrero hanging on the wall.

More recently, just about two years ago, we encountered one hanging from a light fixture in our Downtown Casita. I captured and liberated him too.

I’ve become quite the batman.

I couldn’t understand at first how he got into the casita, but finally I noticed the chimney was a direct route.

I have put wire screen over the top of the chimney. We rent the Downtown Casita to vacationers, and I doubt they would want to awake one morning and see a bat hanging from the bedroom light fixture. That’s where the bat was, in the bedroom.

I like bats, and you should too. They’re an essential element of the ecosystem. They gobble lots of mosquitoes.

* * * *

Pirate smile

Let’s move now to the second item on today’s agenda. Teeth. About a month ago I wrote about my first step in getting a tooth implant (A dental case).

After having the problem tooth pulled, the dentist inserted a metal post in my jawbone and covered it with a temporary tooth. It looked quite snazzy.

The next step was a three-month wait till the bone connects with the post. Then the permanent tooth will be applied.

Three weeks later, the temporary tooth fell off. I phoned the dentist down in the capital city, and he said come right over. I did, and he quickly reattached it.

Two weeks more passed. It fell off again. That was yesterday. I still have almost two months more before the permanent tooth can be attached.

A bulb lit over my head.

I phoned the dentist again and asked: Is this thing totally cosmetic, just for looks? Yep, he replied.

See you two months, I countered.

I always wanted to look like a pirate with a snaggletoothed smile. Now I do, and it’s a look I’ll sport till August. The gap is not directly in front, but it’s not hidden way back either. It’s midway, quite apparent when I give a good grin.

One of the joys of retirement is that you can look however the devil you want. I look like a pirate.

Or a Mexican bricklayer.

19 thoughts on “Bats and teeth

  1. We bless your old pirate heart, Señor Felipe.

    Take care of those bats every chance you get … nothing better for karma.


    1. Ricardo: I’m considering buying one of those three-cornered hats and a cutlass.

      As for bats, I’ve long been a fan. They’re the good guys. Bats in the U.S. are all Trump supporters, I’ve heard from reliable sources, and that’s in spite of their being Mexican.


        1. Mark: As I said, that second mug shot is me, of course. I’ve changed since last you saw me, and now I’ve changed even more. You should come visit.


  2. Don Felipe, I felt relieved to read that behind your politically disagreeable façade beats the soft heart of an environmentalist/critter lover.

    Bats are not too good-looking, but they are definitely our friends. There’s an abandoned railroad tunnel near Austin from which every night at sunset hundreds of thousands of bats come out in a formation that looks like a tornado. It’s awesome. Some of them supposedly cross the border with Mexico and spend the night on this side as illegal bats, eating mosquitoes and doing other good work even though they are disdained and even persecuted by the locals.

    I just got finished with a tooth implant that took a whole year because the first try at putting in the post didn’t take, so they had to do it again, this time with some bone-implant powder extracted from goats. Just got finished a month ago, and so far so good.

    al lanier


    1. Señor Lanier: Sorry that your comment went to the moderation file. I did not do that. It was an error on the part of WP. Shame on them.

      There are quite a few elements of the environmental cause that I subscribe to, heartily. I do not, however, embrace the climate-change agenda. There are scientists with arguments on both side of that dust-up. I tend toward the conservative side, of course. Climate changes. And I do not froth at the mouth on hearing different opinions, as do so many, sadly.

      I don’t know about any tunnel near Austin where bats emerge in droves, but I do know about the humongous mob beneath the bridge in downtown Austin. I once drove from Houston to Austin just to watch that. It was incredible. There’s also a cave near Austin where millions of bats live. You have to get permission to visit there, which I also did once.

      As for my tooth implant, I hope it goes smoothly all the way to the end. I remain optimistic.

      I just this moment realized who you are in real life. Your email name and the blog you cite when you sign in makes it clear. Saludos to your better half. Tell him he can chime in here too. Nobody bites. I see to that.


    2. PS: Whoops! It was my fault — well, partly. The other part was yours — that your comment was moderated. When you almost wigged out a few months back on some political issue and lapsed into light profanity, I thought it wise to check your comments before they saw the light of day.

      But I have taken your name off that list now.

      I run a tight ship.


  3. And another shout out from me to you about the bats. Not only do they eat bugs but they are pollinators, that being very important to agriculture. We, in San Antonio, have the largest Mexican free tail bat cave anywhere called Bracken Cave. I am a member of a bat conservation group which has permission on special occasions to be the only ones at a bat fly-out.


    1. Carole: It was due to my being, at the time, a dues-paying member of Bat Conservation International that I was part of a small group that visited Bracken Cave in the late 1990s.

      But there is one thing: You don’t want to get too close to the cave entrance. The smell will bowl you over.


  4. For the transient visitors, probably the bridge downtown would be the best place to see a fly out. The Camden Street bridge is where they roost in the city. However, Bracken Cave can be accessed though it’s a road trip.


  5. I also have bats and not necessarily in my belfry but do have them under some of my roof tiles. And lizards are part-time room mates with them. The lizards are out during the day and then come in and the bats go out. Quite the commotion that goes on during the exchange of quarters but I don’t have many if any mosquitoes and very few other unwelcome biting and flying guests. Love my bats and lizards.


    1. Peggy: While I am a bat fan, I am just the opposite with lizards. Don’t care for them at all. It’s a good thing I don’t live on the coast because those big-ass iguanas freak me out.


  6. Years ago I enrolled in a class at the Brookfield Zoo that guaranteed to change one’s negative opinion about bats. Sadly, having observed them and learned about the positive things they do for the environment, I still maintain that negative view of them.
    The central Wisconsin retirement home of my parents must have had an “entrance” because they were frequent unwelcomed guests.


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