Yet another post about Spiders

Ideas haven’t exactly  been coursing and sparking through my brain, lately. I often feel that I should be putting energy and effort (even creative effort) to some better use. Blogging feels like a trap-door, because that writing urge should be applied to a more practical medium.

*I hate practical mediums.*

At any rate, the one entity in my world that screams ‘Write me’ right now is Mr. Spider.


Mr. Spider (recently deceased) found near ceiling. Milk jug added for affect.

Mr. Spider (recently deceased) found near ceiling. Milk jug added for effect.


Mr. Spider is my omnipresent fear. This should be self-evident by the very use of the name ‘Mr. Spider’. I think it’s pretty stupid to anthropomorphize non-human things by calling them ‘Mr.’ or ‘Mrs.’, thus rendering them cutesy and folksy, and also (oddly) legally wed.

But Mr. Spider skitters in a way that makes my blood turn to icicles, so cutesifying him is both bizarre and necessary.

Most of my fears are more distant, conceptual terrors, not actual physical realities. In every day life, I hardly ever have to face werewolves, deadly hemorrhagic pathogens or a disgruntled tiger who talks like Jeremy Irons. These things exist only in dreams and movies and the depths of Africa. (The last referring to hemorrhagic pathogens, not talking tigers. As far as I’m aware, Africa doesn’t harbor tigers, and if it does, they sound closer to Walter Cronkite than Jeremy Irons, which really isn’t so terrifying.)

But spiders… spiders exist. Boy, do they. Spiders waltz across my ceiling, lie in wait in the bathtub. They bite these legs/arms at least twice a year. And once, terrifyingly, I woke to a huge, hairy nightmare inches from my face on the pillow. Gak!

So immediate are the little monsters, that I’ve made an odd alliance with a spidery creature in order to limit the chances of ever repeating that pillow encounter.

Enter Pholcidae, the common house spider. If you live in North America, you probably identify this creature as ‘Daddy Long Legs’. Mr. Daddy Long-legs, while fantastically disinterested in human beings except as the occasional jungle gym, is pretty interested in our mites, our lice, our ants, our mosquitos, and best of all, those big, hairy bitey spiders that snack on our flesh.


To my mind, it is a talisman against the brown recluse and the hobo spider to have a nice, gangly pholcidae in the corner of every room. (We have two in the bathroom right now. It’s rather hard to keep two of them in one place though, cus if they get hungry, they eat each other up.)

It isn’t that I’m not afraid of the common house spider, but I’m not terrified all to hell. The wispy, leggy look of it, and that tiny wedge shaped body are possible to tolerate in light of its wonderful diet.

Unfortunately, despite many discussions regarding the cost/benefit analysis of harboring Mr. Pholcidae in order to counteract Mr. Big, Black and Bulbous, my daughter, who has inherited every ounce of my arachnaphobia magnified ten-fold, does not make the distinction. If there is a daddy long legs hanging out next to the shower, she will very happily go dirty. If one has crawled its way to the no-spider-land outpost of her bedroom ceiling, it is generally understood that neither she nor I, nor anyone in a 5 mile radius will be getting any sleep.

Sierra wants Mr. House Spider dead. And though I see the error in that view, that doesn’t mean I necessarily want to deal with the capture and transport of one of our little spider-eating legion.

For while Mr. Daddy Long-legs is an ally, he still moves. And in my arachnid fearing mind, the skitter is much worse than the bite.

So we generally have a stand off that ends with me swiping the spider with a towell, and when it attaches I run, howling and blind, out of the room and throw the towell (with or without the spider attached) at whatever distant wall I can find that isn’t in her immediate living space.

Does the spider survive this exercise?

I. don’t. know.

Does the spider ever manage to run it’s way up the towell and attach to my clothing before I can propel it into a corner?

I fervently do not wish to know. The whole exercise is a little humiliating, so if I see a house spider in the bathroom, or hanging in Sierra’s room, I become engaged in a game of mental keepaway, trying to distract my darling from the knowledge of her little friend, until such a time as she discovers it, and then I’m so surprised, of course, to see it there, and with much unfelt enthusiasm I describe how lucky she is to have a spider protector in her corner, and she puts on that face that says ‘I’m not buying it’, and very shortly after that I’m once more looking for a towel.

Alas, fears are hard to reason with, but let’s look on the bright side:

The removal of a werewolf or a Jeremy-Irons-voiced-talking-tiger would probably require more than fortitude and a hand towel.

So I guess things turned out relatively well.

9 thoughts on “Yet another post about Spiders

  1. For me, it’s slugs. Slimy, yucky, horrible creatures that inhabit some of my worst nightmares.

    I’ll take a spider over a slug any day. I can move a spider. I can’t touch, even through gloves or tissues or towels, slugs. While out in the garden the other day I found a HUGE slimy slug crawling on my leg and reacted worse than when that little snake crawled up my foot and ankle. What’s worse is that I can’t remove them on my own and have to find someone to do it for me. Or roll on the ground and hope it falls off on its own without being squished to more slime on my leg.


  2. Now I’m trying to decide what I can list as my “‘fraid of’. Not spiders, slugs, or even clowns. Wasps. Definitely wasps. The ones with stingy things that will make me blow up like a balloon when stung. Oh, and popping balloons, too. I hate the ones, especially, that pop in your face.

    And so here is a bit of trivia from Bo’s past. My first child, all of 6 years old, begged to take dancing lessons with her best friend. Though I know it’s un-American, I detest organized things of that sort for the under-10 crowd, but the other mother agreed to drive there and wait through class and drive home. I acquiesced under pressure. But I couldn’t NOT go to the dance recital. Of course I went. These 10 little girls, all dressed in pink, danced and sang to a little ditty titled “My Balloon.” And during the last line of the song (which I remember was sung in a minor pitch of hysteria) each child was to pull a PIN from their tutu and POP their balloon. Give me a break. I cringed as every child, except mine, popped their balloons. She must have inherited my balloon popping gene and she hates the mere suggestion of popping a balloon as much as I do.

    Geesh, sorry that took so long. Guess I should have written a post of my own instead of a comment! :-)

  3. So its fear ‘fessing time, huh? I mostly leave spiders and “their homes” alone (until they abandon them). I did learn a lesson when I discovered the spider I’d rented a wall to over the bed for months was a brown recluse. So I am more careful now. But we’re talking irrational fears now, aren’t we? So I’ll just say it—- butterflies. I know I have a butterfly garden and chronicle the pupa and metamorphosis, even photograph the finished product. And I love and appreciate this part of nature; just don’t let one land on me. I get cold chills when they flutter close. Put me in a butterfly house if you want me to die a natural death by heart attack. You know, I’ll bet the sleuths would never figure that one out.

  4. Fears are funny things, almost like addiction. I can’t imagine anyone not being freaked out by spiders, but Robin, I would happily handle your slugs (though that slime on the leg thing is rather gross), bo any balloons you need popping, anhinga- I *love* butterflies, especially having them land on me-

    and I’d even take care of the wasps.

    However, if any menacing clowns with knives show up, mad- you’re pretty much on your own.


  5. You never know what life is going to bring you.

    For example, right now I have a British client who *looks* uncannily like Jeremy Irons … as Irons looked in his early 40s. It freaks me out every time I see him.

    Would I trade him for a house spider? Well, he has not yet declared his true nature, so I don’t know. But it does just go to show you that Jeremy Irons is more of a threat than people realize, and he can’t be eradicated with bug spray.

  6. I’m not afraid of Daddy Long Legs. We had oodles of them in our old house, so much that I normally scooped out about 10 a day from places I did not want them. But that first black spider…yikes. That one looks huge.

    My fears? Hmmmm…we’ve got all manner of wildlife, insects, etc., around these parts. I guess mice get to me some. I like crickets but not in the house, and my trick is to put a thin sock on my hand to pick them up. The small ones don’t bother me, but if I have a live big one in my hand and it starts moving around, it can gross me out.

  7. David – lol…. you always appreciate the more quirky, off the track parts just beautifully.

    ybonesy- It was huge! It was huge-ass huge! The picture doesn’t even do it justice cus of the angle of the lens… I swear it was two inches at least, and hairy, and… yeah. I don’t think I could pick up a live cricket with a bare hand, so even in that regard, you’re braver than me.

  8. Ok I had to track down this post and add a comment. I thought about this while working over the last week.

    You remember that scene in Charlot’s Web where the baby spiders hatch send out little streamers of silk and float away on the wind?

    I’ve actually watched a spider do this once. It was interesting. It climbed up on a piece of equipment aimed its rear in the direction of the wind and everytime there was a gust it would let a little more silk out until there was enough to rip it from it’s perch.

    Now this isn’t really the reason I wanted to comment. For the past two weeks since the last rain, little baby spiders have been floating all over out job site. I keep feeling little tickling sensations on my neck and sure enough I reach up and pinch the area and come away with half squashed little spiders. This happens over and over everyday. Arrgg. Normally I’m not that bothered by spiders but this is getting unnerving.

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