In Which I Keep A Spider Count In Order To Preserve My Sanity

In Which I Keep A Spider Count In Order To Preserve My Sanity

I know as well as the next person that when you move to a new place you inevitably must deal with new inconveniences. In the southeast these took the form of cockroaches. In the southwest they were scorpions, and snakes, and mice, and poisonous spiders (wait, why did I like the southwest so much?). In the northeast it’s ice and snow and depressingly grey skies. And in the west it was earthquakes and bugs whose names I never learned because that would have made them all too real. Now that we’re in southern Oregon, we have bears (cute) and cougars (the animals not the older women; also, cougars?! I kind of thought those were make believe), but honestly I’ve never seen either in the eight months we’ve been here (though Bambi and his family make regular appearances on our street). What I have seen, in hoards, are spiders.

Sometime in mid-June our rental house was invaded with spiders. Big spiders, small spiders, spiders on the ceilings, spiders on the floor, spiders smack dab in the middle of the wall, spiders in the bathroom, spiders in the hallway, spiders on our sheets (!!), spiders in the kitchen. Really, spiders everywhere. And while none of the spiders I saw looked particularly poisonous, spiders are still the creepiest creatures of all. They have so many legs. And if you look away for even a second they can fly across the room and disappear. And then reappear on your face when your sleeping. And then they crawl all over you. And then you spend the next two weeks swiping at various parts of your body because you swear there’s a spider there only to have your husband tell you it’s just your hair that your baby pulled out when he grabbed a fistful and wouldn’t let go, but it’s too late and now the whole world thinks you’re slightly unbalanced because you keeps swiping at yourself and oh-my-god spiders freak me out so much that I write stupid-long run-on sentences. Someone stop me.

Now, most days Caleb and Sadie and I are home alone, so spider-dealing-with is up to me (at least until Caleb is old enough to have decent hand control and then I’m making him do it; he’s a boy so he’ll probably think it’s super cool), and while I’m generally a live and let live kind of person, I draw the line at spiders in my house. I’ve seen the whole capture them and let them loose outside manuever, but I have three problems with this approach:

  1. You have to get relatively close to the spider in order to extract it and move it outside.
  2. Once it’s outside it could conceivably come back inside at some point and/or I could walk into it’s web outside or have it land in my hair when I’m out watering plants.
  3. In the process of capturing and transporting said spider the sneaky thing could crawl all over me.

For these very sane reasons I apologize to the spider and God and kill them. On the spot. With no mercy. I like to think I’m kind about it: I do it quickly and I make sure they’re really, really, really dead (so they don’t suffer – or, you know, come back to life), but there’s no getting around it. I’m a spider killer.

Even so, there are occasions on which I call Adam at work and force him to drive the two miles home to kill a spider because it is either too freaking huge to be believed and I can’t approach it for fear it will eat my head off, or it is out of my reach. In exchange for this service, I have been known to offer up various household chores that now include putting the baby to bed (a time consuming affair that can involve many attempts and leave one wiped of the desire to go on being awake themselves).

Nevertheless, most of the time I kill my own spiders because I’m grown-up like that, but in order to convince Adam of the enormity of our problem, I began keeping track of the number of spiders I was killing on a dry erase board we keep by the garage. Sadly I forgot to mark the date I began, so I had to start over yesterday in order to accurately capture the invasion-like-scope I’m experiencing. But, prior to erasing the marks and beginning again, I was up to 21 spiders. 21. Spiders.

Somehow marking them down makes me feel more powerful. And garners me more sympathy. And makes me feel productive. So what if I didn’t shower today? I killed five spiders. Beat that.


(Oh, and sorry spiders, I hope there is a lovely afterlife for you. Please don’t haunt me.)

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Donna Wright 2012-07-29 - 1:04 pm

Yes for some reason there are lots of spiders here! I have a spider rescue cop wih accompanying sturdy index card which serves as my scoop them in the cup shovel and my cover the top when I have finished card and then I take them outside and release them, hoping they will love their new environment! Thankful that I don’t have bears visiting my deck as one friend did or a mother bear with cubs in my driveway as another. I’ve never seen one and am satisfied with that. There was a cougar (mountain lion) in a tree not far from the Y before you moved here and I was told one man went out to get his paper and there was one resting on his porch. So what’s a spider in the scheme of things? ( of course unless it’s a Black Widow which do choose to live in Ashland also) Great writing by the way!


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