August 7, 2007

Today the sheet rock is going up in the addition, and if there’s anything that can fuck up your whole house more than sheetrock dust, I don’t know what it is. Oh wait I do know, it’s insulation foam, which was splurted into various places over the weekend and has been occasionally breaking loose and gently drifting down from the exposed kitchen ceiling ever since.

JB’s parents were visiting last weekend, and JB’s mother kept telling me how well I was handling the remodel. “Well, you sure seem serene about all this,” she said, which instantly made me paranoid that she really meant, “Way to not even try and keep things clean, slacker.” Which I don’t think she did. Except . . . well, there was that odd moment when she fingered the coat of dust on a nearby houseplant and . . . ah, fuck it. I’m sure that’s not what she meant.

(?!)

Anyway, what else can a person do when their house is being gutted but succumb to the chaos? I hardly even notice the workers trampling around the kitchen in the morning while I’m hoovering down my increasingly large bowl of Cinnamon Life (hello, and welcome to my craving of the week) anymore. Hell, I make my coffee in the bathroom right now, what’s the use in getting worked up over a little insulation foam in my cereal?

Besides, there are far worse concerns at hand. It’s August, and maybe some of you know what that means. That’s right, it’s Giant House Spider Mating Season. And oh jesus god, I had my first encounter yesterday (after I had just recovered from reading Megan’s G.H.S. entry, too).

There it was, just lurking there on the carpet. I don’t know what made it catch my eye, maybe its sheer girth and audible footsteps. It was so big and horrifying I actually felt my brain trying to shear lose from the confines of my skull, possibly trying to escape to safety through my eyesockets.

I immediately scooped up Riley, not so much out of a fear that he would somehow be bitten but more from the deep and shameful knowledge that if he touched that godawful thing, I could never kiss him again.

I was frozen in indecision for a moment, standing there with a bemused toddler dangling from one arm, but it was apparent that in JB’s absence—he was off in the shop, too far away to hear a terrified squawk—I would have to deal with T. gigantea on my own.

When you’re a person with a bit of a spider phobia to begin with and you’re faced with an arachnid the approximate size of a fucking dinner plate, you don’t just get some paper toweling. You need long-range weaponry. I didn’t really want to squish it into the carpet, but my other options seemed equally unappealing: spray it with oven cleaner, get out a revolver and pump it full of bullets, set the entire house on fire, etc.

I ended up dragging Riley with me into the utility room where I grabbed a broom, deposited Riley on the floor and told him “STAY HERE IF YOU WANT TO LIVE”, and rushed back to the carpet where I summoned every ounce of courage and used the broom to whack frantically at the spider while simultaneously shrieking a cowardly, girly squeal of fright mighty war cry. I swear I felt that broom bounce harmlessly off the thing’s back a few times before he seemed to succumb, legs curling inward.

I used another broom to kind of sweep it onto the first broom (while being occasionally overcome with massive, full-body shudders) and I threw everything out the back door. The spider’s body rolled off the broom and lay there on the concrete. Motionless. Thank god. I went back inside and proceeded to experience the sort of heebie-jeebies that make you scream and recoil from the dark thing on the counter before realizing that ha ha ha, it’s a hairband. Ha ha ha . . . whatthefuckisthat?!?

Of course, about an hour later when JB came in and went to get the brooms, he noticed that the spider was in fact NOT DEAD. No. ALIVE. That thing took about fifty-three smacks with a broom and it was still LIVING. Still slowly, painfully crawling its way along the patio and towards the back door, surely on some dark mission of revenge, despite its many wounds, planning to limp all the way into our house and onto our bedroom ceiling, where in the dead of night, with its very last shred of strength, let itself drop down, down, down, down, into my open and snoring—

Well. Anyway, JB squished it flat. The end. I think.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, now that I’ve written all this down and relived it I have some very important activities to engage in, mainly involving batting wildly at random, invisible things nearby and lunging at various body parts in order to scratch at myself like a cracked-out baboon.

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hello insomnia
14 years ago

We have been battling those kind of spiders recently. Only, instead of killing them properly, my husband “releases” them back into the wild (read: yard) where I can assume the GHS and its angry GHS babies will come after us in our sleep.

I’ve watched Arachnophobia a few times. I know the deal.

Kathryn
Kathryn
14 years ago

The vacuum cleaner, it is your best friend. Not for actually cleaning, mind you–I haven’t used mine for that purpose in months. But for sucking up ginormous spiders that are too scary to think about squishing. The attachments are great for ensuring that you don’t have to come within 3 feet of the fucker.

Of course, I always make my husband throw out the vacuum bag after I suck one up. I’m not taking any chances on them crawling back out to seek their vengeance on me.

jonniker
14 years ago

HAAAAA. Do you know that while Lawyerish was visiting, my cat had a Giant House Spider (MATING SEASON. I HAD NO IDEA.), and I casually announced that I was just going to “let him have it?” Because no. No, I wasn’t going to kill it, and why should I, when I have a hairy beast to get it for me? And then she looked at me like I was mad, because it could be POISONOUS, and also KILL MY CAT, so she bravely – OH SO BRAVELY – got up and smashed it with her flip flop while I squealed and cowered in the corner.

Danell
Danell
14 years ago

I don’t recommend flea collars for use on animals because they’re fairly worthless…BUT! one placed lovingly into your vacuum cleaner bag or canister is good for keeping down the dust mite count AND would probably be pretty annoying to any spiders who survived being sucked up into it.

Also, this entry made me simultaneously gag, shiver, and guffaw out loud. Hate spiders. hatehatehate.

hantavirus
hantavirus
14 years ago

Awww… can’t be that bad – at least you don’t have this in your house (sorry, I don’t know how to make it a link):http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZxHhddwxADs

Sunshyn
14 years ago

Hairspray. It coats them down so they can’t move. Then you get the damn thing outside, where you can spray it with the aerosol of your choice (I like Lysol) and light the spray on fire. Flamethrower! Woohoo! Crispy critters. I am a trained professional, so do this at your own risk… Seriously, I think the hairspray alone will kill them, but maybe not. Where were all your hunky construction guys when this was going on? Could you not prevail upon one of them to ride up on a white charger and rescue you, the damsel in distress?

Liz in Australia
Liz in Australia
14 years ago

I’m generally not arachnophobic any more, but what still gets me is Long Hairy Legs. Given that Australia is richly endowed with great big spiders with long hairy legs, this is a bit of a problem…

I have practised a form of desensitisation therapy and kept huntsman spiders in observation tanks on and off for the last decade, and it has gotten me to the point where I can now catch and release giant hairy-legged spiders instead of (as in one occasion in the past) refusing to go into my garden flat and sitting in the garden in hysterics until my landlady came home and removed the juvenile huntsman spider that had been sitting inoffensively on my front door. I can now appreciate them for the complex, fascinating creatures they are…but if I ever accidentally touched one I’d still panic and flail *g*

Sarah
14 years ago

What is UP with those spiders in August, is my question. I fucking HATE them.

I had a (now hilarious, at the time terrifying) encounter with one the other night in our basement. Jon was standing there and we were discussing a large plastic tub of ski clothes that I refuse to sort through because I am convinced that it is chock-full of our fuzzy friends when Jon says, all casual-like, “Speaking of giant spiders, there’s one right behind you…” and before he could finish his sentence, I had flung the three old birkenstock sandals I was holding at him, screamed like a little girl and leapt about 4 feet sideways gazelle-style; which I assure you is no easy feat for someone who is 8 months pregnant! Turns out, Jon’s sentence ended with “…but it’s dead”. And indeed it was, all curled up and starved to death because it couldn’t get out of yet another large plastic storage bin (way to go, GHS, confirming my previously unfounded fears! See? They *do* like plastic storage bins!).

Also? The damn thing was the size of a silver dollar even *with* it’s giant hairy legs all curled up underneath it. GACK.

Swistle
14 years ago

Next time use the broom to sweep it out the door and into heavy traffic. Stand and watch until something runs it over.

Naomi
Naomi
14 years ago

I agree with Liz. Huntsmans tend to come inside inside when its wet outside or hot outside. Pretty much they like to be insde. Almost as freaky as the huntsman is the wolf spider http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolf_spider
which I believe you also have in the US but of course ours are bigger (wink). Have I convinced you to visis Australia yet?
Naomi

Christina
14 years ago

This is the time of year I genearally just keep a broom out and handy for whacking GHSs. (And do paranoid spider checks when entering any room.)

I much prefer spider bits mashed into the carpeting to potential still-living spiders ;)

Katie (The Yap)
14 years ago

Oh my god! You TOTALLY need the BugStik. It is a long wand with a bath pouf thing attached at the end. When you pull your end of the handle, the pouf squeezes shut and kind of goes up in the handle, trapping the bug. Then, you open the door and release your end of the handle and bye bye bug! World’s BEST invention!!!!!

I have full body shudders now too! EEEK!

http://www.bugstik.com/

Kathryn
Kathryn
14 years ago

Ha–the paranoid spider check! The husband laughs at me because any time I enter a room, I immediately give it the once-over to make sure it’s clear.

dorrie
dorrie
14 years ago

UUUGGGGGHHHH

Now I have to use a brillo pad on my entire body

Yuck!

Heather
Heather
14 years ago

Oh The hairspray suggestion almost has it right. I have a spray bottle with rubbing alcohol in it at all times. A few quick sprays on any bug and it either incompacitates them or kills them totally depending on the size of the enemy.

Samantha jo campen
14 years ago

You never fail to crack my shit up. Damn.

Aunt Linda
14 years ago

You are descended from a long and proud line of spider chickens. It is your destiny to pass this along to at least one of your youngens. Along with the “If god meant me to cook he wouldn’t have invented take out” genes.

Amie
14 years ago

GAAAAAAAAAAAH.

But, also? Bwahahahahaha!

Amber
14 years ago

Your brain trying to escape through your eye sockets…lol. No one does it like you, Sundry.

Jennie
14 years ago

Best post ever!

I too am living in arachnid hell. The other day my husband came into the room and asked why my make-up bag was on the living room table. I told him that’s where I got ready that morning. “Why” he asked.

“Because there was a spider in the bathroom.”

Bastard spiders. THEY’RE EVERYWHERE.

Even in the mailbox, which means I can’t see what we got in the mail until Mike gets home because LORD KNOWS I won’t stick my hand into that death hole.

wilddreemer
14 years ago

don’t worry i didn’t want to sleep tonight anyway

Sadie
Sadie
14 years ago

Christ, all the skin on my body is now crawling. I hate spiders. When I was growing up, we lived in an old drafty house in the woods and all manner of creepy things would find their way in. One day, around age nine, I pulled a sweater off a hanger in my closet, put it on, and went into the bathroom to brush my teeth. As I was sleepily coating my toothbrush with paste, I felt a sharp itch on my shoulder. I absentmindedly scratched it and was suddenly overcome by a hot pinching sensation, over and over – I started screaming and clawing at my shoulder and hurling myself into the wall until my mother came running. I pulled my sweater over my head and flung it to the ground, and a disoriented, half-smashed WOLF SPIDER the size of a QUARTER came stumbling out of the sleeve.

and then I died.

jenna
14 years ago

oh. my. GOD. Fully body shudders here in so cal. Someone please tell me we don’t have spiders like that here. Because I cannot deal.

Glad to have read all the comments though! The bugstick is on my list of things to order. And I’m going to think about the flea collar in the vacuum bag and hairspray ideas as backups.

warcrygirl
14 years ago

Oh sweet jeebus. In SoCal we have these hideous things called wolf spiders; huge, gray and furry. I’m pretty sure it could compete with a dingo in the carrying off of small children.

Oh yeah, and thanks for the case of the heebes.

Sadie
Sadie
14 years ago

P.S. I clicked that Huntsman spider link up above in the comments (why, I don’t know, because I ALSO LIKE TO HIT MYSELF IN THE FACE WITH A BAT, maybe?), and upon the first glimpse of its photo, my scalp actually got up and ran off my head.

lara
14 years ago

Oh that dust. We call it gyproc up here in Canada, but it’s the same crap. You know what’s the best? When you are working with it all day, a real hot summer day, and you’re dressed in your oldest, most stained tank top and pants from when you were 15lbs heavier (’cause you’re not gonna wear your good clothes around that shit) and your hair gets caked with sweat and gyproc dust and you might even have bruises on your arms from all the old gyproc hauling around you’ve been doing and you decide go have to go to 7-11 for a slurpee NOW and the clerk looks at you like “ew” and you think “what? fuck off” and then you get back in your car and look at yourself in the mirror and not only are you sweaty and greasy and red-faced and wearing stained clothes that are hanging off you, but every.single.nose.hair is covered in fine white dust and holy crap, did you know you even HAD that many nose hairs? That didn’t happen to me at all this weekend.

Lisa B
Lisa B
14 years ago

You crack me up. Your commenters crack me up. Should I even admit that I haven’t seen any GHS inside yet? Tho I did see something the size of a brillo pad scuttling across the patio last night when I let the dog out … I had to call her back in for fear that she’d stick her nose in it and I’d never be able to touch her again …

wickedfun
wickedfun
14 years ago

How’s this for a GHS??

http://www.worsleyschool.net/science/files/biggest/actualsize.html

This one made MY skin crawl and I LIKE spiders!

Jem
Jem
14 years ago

I feel you! We have a cockroach infestation in our house, the MASSIVE ones that are like three inches long. I see one every couple of days, and it SLAYS me. I’ve had one on my toe, on my skirt while trying to…use a tampon (SCARIEST THING EVER BUT ALSO AMUSING) and about a zillion trillion others in interesting places so I walk around the house in the constant heebie-jeebie state you mentioned (dead on, by the way).

mnerva
mnerva
14 years ago

Fellow arachniphobe here. Can’t believe the timing of this post. I am in KS, and we have wolf spiders (mentioned by previous commenters), huge wolf spiders. I have been doing a weight loss workout program for the last 5 weeks. So far the workout has been strictly walking, but week 6 adds circuit training. Today I did the walking, and then prepared for the circuit training. I was VERY focused (apparently) on going straight to the book and reading what it was that I was supposed to add. I stomped to my coffee table to read just what it was that I was supposed to do with these new accoutrements (jump rope, aerobic step). Stood there reading for a good 2-3 minutes. ON TOP OF A HUGE SPIDER!!! This is the most scare-free spider killing that I have ever performed. I didn’t even know that I had accomplished such a feat until I came back after gathering workout equipment to see if there was enough free space in my living room to jump rope, and I see a spider with front legs held threateningly up in the air (you know their attitude, “die MOFO die!!”). I approach apprehensively; it is not squished, but it is not moving. Ok, it’s still not moving. Get out trusty Kirby and vacuum that muthafucker UP!! Am still recovering. *le gasp* *le pant* Why oh why can’t they stay outside?!?! Still can’t believe that I stood unknowingly on spider. *gag*

Maureen
Maureen
14 years ago

You are absolutely hilarious. I read this aloud to my husband and daughter, and we about died laughing. You wrote another very funny post about spiders a while ago, that was when my Sundrylove started.

I like spiders, maybe too much Charlotte’s Web as a kid?

Katy B
14 years ago

From “The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allan Poe –

“I must not only punish, but punish with impunity.” I once swatted a one-legged spider off my shower wall into the drain, only see the same one-legged spider lurking at me from the shower head the very next morning, yes, with a vengeful stare. I smooshed him the second time. :)

Eric's Mommy
Eric's Mommy
14 years ago

I am still shuddering after reading that. I have a horrible fear of spiders that my husband doesn’t understand, he says they are harmless and gets mad when I make him kill them.
My sister lives in VA and she had a wolf spider in her basement and she said its body was the size of her thumb. I would be staying at a hotel if that thing was in my house and nobody was around to kill it for me.
My method of attack is spraying the spider with any possible cleaning/beauty product I can find….windex…..hairspray etc. because god forbid I have to touch it with something like a broom because that would be like a really long extension of my arm so therefore I would be touching it! YUCK!

M.A.
14 years ago

Hantavirus: move out of your house. Now. Good God, where do you live?! In Michigan we have wolf spiders which are nothing like the Aussie version, but still large enough and lightning-speed-y enough to freak even me out (I actually do the catch and release thing if they are small enough). The one thing I canNOT stand are called House Centipedes, because… Sweet Baby Jesus they’re disgusting…. I can’t link, either, but copy and paste this to see what I mean. *WARNING — ICKY PICTURE*

http://www.uos.harvard.edu/ehs/pes_centipedes.shtml.

Here’s my favorite quote from their description: “Their extreme agility may cause alarm when they “scoot” across the floor [hellooo? “Alarm”? Try anaphylactic shock]. There are few enemies of centipedes although one particular species, if attacked, will spontaneously detach legs that continue to wiggle, distracting any predators.”

JennyM
14 years ago

You and your commenters crack my shit up.

“And then I died.”

I used to live in a garden apartment down by a river (as opposed to a van down by the river) in the humidity-prone South and you would not BELIEVE the wildlife that wandered in, despite all efforts of the exterminator. EVERY NIGHT I would have to chase one or more of those nasty conspiratorial fuckers down and kill it. You can’t leave any survivors to carry out the plan of attack. Things should not have that many legs.

Jeanette
14 years ago

I have 6 cats who pretty much take care of any critter that happens to wander into my house. Spiders don’t bother me too much but seeing a silverfish or a centepede can definitely send me running screaming from the room!

Graciemay
Graciemay
14 years ago

Sundry not only do you crack me up but your commenters……..like Lara and her description of dust encrusted nose hairs at the 7-11……I was rolling on the floor.

Christine
Christine
14 years ago

You know, I was just this morning thinking that if we had a chance to move to the Pacific Northwest in the near future I was so going to jump on that chance…but now? Not so much.

If it makes you feel any better, when we first moved into our house we had a rodent problem. We ended up getting a terminator, right after I ended up killing a baby rat in our boiler room. To this day my boyfriend swears it was a large mouse. But he is wrong. There were many girly war cries made and then the bam, bam, bam of the broom handle. I empathize. Although, I must say, I killed that muthafucka dead.

Christine
Christine
14 years ago

By terminator, I mean EXterminator.

The governator did NOT come to our house. Although I wish he had.

Christine
Christine
14 years ago

I totally could have written that post (not just about spiders either, ANY BUG freaks me right the fuck out, waterbugs, crickets, flys etc. I am a total wuss) but it would not have been as concise or funny. You make my day, even when talking about one of my biggest fears.

I am definitely going to get a flea collar and put it in my vacumn bag (great idea!) since I suck up those humungous thousand legger bastards out here in the ‘burbs of New Jersey and I am always afraid one of them is going to live through the journey of being sucked up and deposited into the existing dust and junk of the bag.

Also, I really want to click on the “bugstick” link but I am scared there might be pictures of actual bugs (see, I told you I am a wuss). I definitely think I need one of those but I would prefer that when it scoops the bug up it immediately disenegrates it with some sort of space age laser or something – I am not a “release it out into the backyard” kind of girl since I am convinced it will come back to get me.

Emma
Emma
14 years ago

Holy baby Jesus!

I had never heard of real ‘giant house spiders’ (I always assumed that this was a nickname, y’know, like huge spiders one finds in their house). So I clicked on your link to Megan and (stupidly) followed the Wiki link. Despite being a chronic arachnaphobe. And there being a huge warning in her post saying *picture*.

I nearly died.

But well done for saving Riley first. Sign of a truly great mummy… even if it was only so you could kiss him again in the future :)

Kerri
Kerri
14 years ago

I moved into a new house last year, and never before had I seen the monstrosity that is a spider cricket (aka “spricket”). These MFers are so huge that my husband and I initially thought the first one we saw was a MOUSE. They are prehistoric looking, JUMPING, nasty nasty nasty bugs that drive me into a low-pitched scream complete with running and flapping of arms. I tried spraying one with Tilex in my basement because crushing is out of the question, and if you try to catch them they jump toward you. The sucker took about 8 sprays to even slow down, and then I had to catch him, feeling a mix of pity and disgust. I left him to his own devices outside. Gross!

Barb
Barb
14 years ago

So, you all think your spider stories have an ick factor….gather round little campers and let me tell you a truly horrific story about a young girl, a basement, a flip flop, and a giant spider.
It was a cool, beautiful evening in a lovely suburb in Pennsylvania. 17 year old Lexi decides to head to the basement and make her mamma (me)proud by actually volunteering to throw in some laundry! (That alone is truly story worthy). As she moves a laundry basket, she notices a huge, black spider lurking underneath…..a bit freaked out, she removes her pretty pink flip flop, wacks the extraordinarily fat spider and out spray HUNDREDS of pinhead-sized baby spiders!!!!!!! The pink flip flop can hardly keep up with the smashing of the scurrying pinheads, the 17 year old Lexi manages to make 15 stair steps in two flying leaps. Here, at the top of the stairs, she flails, and scratches, and dances to the hysterical, questioning laughter of her mother. Then she tells her mother the story and they both die.

GoingLoopy
14 years ago

I don’t like bugs, and I don’t like touching bugs. But I have no problem killing the little bastards with one of the 80 gabillion pairs of flip flops I have laying around my house. I also am a fan of dousing the little shitsticks with Raid if I can’t reach them.

I too live in the midwest, and we have brown recluses that can make big ugly icky bites. I should probably be more afraid, but I have enough trouble with insomnia as it is.

Jody
14 years ago

I have nothing more to add but thanks for the morning giggle, laugh and gaffaw! I haven’t read anything this fun in a very long time!

katie
katie
14 years ago

i have a spider phobia that is a little worse than yours i think. i’m scared of all spiders, but the ones that are large enough to have KNEES inspire the worst kind of terror in me. i have to check my bed even though they are never anywhere near it. i have to check the shower before i get in it EVERY DAY although i’ve never seen one in there. i’m pretty sure i’ll never get caught off guard by one there! one time there was a centipede incident (which i’ll have to blog about) but i can tell you the saving grace. listen closely: SWIFFER. one: long-range artillery. two: flat surface sot here’s no missing the bug like the tread of a shoe. 3: neatly remove the offending swiffer tissue from the back and drop in trash without seeing carcass. i swear they should market them as bug killers. best.thing.ever. (ps i’m so afraid of bugs that as a child i made my mom remove the cards from the memory game that were cartoons of grasshoppers, crickets, and bees. i used to shriek and thent hrow the card when i turned them over).

Lawyerish
14 years ago

SEVERE CASE OF THE HEEBIE JEEBIES OVER HERE.

OMG.

And let the record show (see Jonniker’s comment, supra) that I killed THREE spiders when I was visiting her (it’s not like their house was infested or anything, no, it was very neat and tidy and lovely; but it was rainy out and I think the spiders followed my scent or something). Each time, the act involved a lot of squealing, gagging and about 47,000 feet of paper towels. Because if I hear and/or feel a spider CRUNCHING WITHIN THE PAPER TOWEL, I will lay down and die.

Alyson
Alyson
14 years ago

So the spider thing……..not just my house, Huh?

Problem is, I knit. I knit alot, and sometimes in the half-light, I mistake a spider for a dropped tangle of discarded yarn, and I react……….well, can you hear me scream from your house?

DDM(Sonia)
14 years ago

ZOMBIE SPIDER!!!! AAAAAAACK! *shudder*

breckgirl
breckgirl
14 years ago

That was very funny – we share the same phobia. I hate spiders. Hard thing is, so does my husband, so I can get him to act all tough for a minute when I scream “get it!” but he still dances around like a girl if the spider scrambles toward him or, eek, JUMPS. You ought to see him when a moth is in the house.

Since moving to Montana, the spiders haven’t been too horribly bad but there is something else even more dreaded and hated by me – the stinkbug. It isn’t their smell that bothers me (an almost pleasant, Pine Sol sort of scent when you squish their guts all over) but their fluttering and panicky way of divebombing your face. They are hideously ugly and oh, just awful. Yeah, and don’t let your kid near big bugs. Last fall, I saw Wyatt chewing on something and so I started over to get whatever it was out. I SMELLED it before I saw it – yep, it was a giant stink bug.

And don’t forget the insane zombie flies. You know, the black flies that start losing their minds and just get sort of, weird. They just sit on the counter, don’t move when you motion at them, and then suddenly with no provocation, decide to fly at your head or hammer their little fly heads into windows and other hard surfaces. You can usually pick them up and toss them easily into the toilet or sink – they don’t protest. I think they want to die, what with their big summer being over and all. Freaky ass bugs – all of them.

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