A Most Unwelcome Visitor

Late last night

I’d a terrible fight

With a Wild Gazite

With eyes of white

And he gave me a fright

When he gave me a bite

But I fixed him, all right–

I turned on the light.

–Shel Silverstein

Well.  I wish it had been some imaginary bogey-creature that vanished when the light went on, but it wasn’t.

What it was, (past tense), was an arachnid the size of my hand, give or take.  On the door.  The door by the refrigerator, the one I have to pass by in order to get to the overhead light switch.  

I was on my way over there to do just that: turn off the light.

That was when I saw….it.

It was frozen, probably with fear of me, halfway up the door, right at eye level.  I jumped back, spine tingling like mad.

I hate spiders.  Especially gigantic ones.  And most particularly, gigantic ones that invade my living space.

I have had conversations with them in the past, that go something like this:

“Spider.  I know that you have a job to do, and that you are, in truth, my servant.  You eat other creatures that I don’t want in my living space.  I appreciate that, and I encourage you to continue, as long as you do not invade my space, and most importantly, as long as I don’t see you.  Because, spider, if I see you, you will die.  Guaranteed.”

I think this approach works, somewhat, because I seem to see fewer spiders after such a speech.  I think that spiders are actually quite intelligent, and that they pay attention.  They have to, to make a living, and keep from being killed.

I live in a building that used to be my father’s pottery studio, until he became too disabled to work, and I cleaned the place out (sort of) and moved in.  It’s quite….rustic here (no plumbing except for one spigot), and pretty well closed in from the outside elements, but there is an established spider population, because before I moved in it was damp, cool, and dark: just what a spider loves.

The first thing I did before moving in was to thoroughly bomb the place with anti-spider poisonous gas.  It worked pretty well.  Looks like it might be time to do it again, eh?

So.  Back to last night’s arachnophobic encounter.

After I got myself together from the initial shock, I ran for the big orange can labeled “Spider Killer,” which I have to keep turned around so that I don’t see the horribly explicit picture of a huge spider on the front of the can.  I sneaked up on the monster from behind my clothes rack (shudder: what if it had….never mind).

There it was, still on the door, but having tiptoed a little to the left, trailing a thread of silk.  I felt kind of sorry for it, but not for long.  I aimed the nozzle of the Spider Killer at it, and fired!

The can kind of fizzled and got Spider Killer all over my hand.  Cursing softly, so as not to alarm my prey, I washed my hand thoroughly under the one spigot and returned to the fray, having made sure that the nozzle was now functioning properly.

I aimed again and fired, this time covering the arachnid with a thick coating of white Spider Killer.  She jumped (the huge ones are always female) and kind of drew in her legs a bit.  Good, I thought, now the poison will quickly kill her and I can think about something else.

But no.  She picked herself up, and letting out some more line, shuffled in a diagonal fashion across the door, leaving an image of herself where I had sprayed the white substance on her: a nice spider-shaped stencil on the door.

I had at her again with the Spider Killer.  I sprayed her until she was totally white, like a spider snowman.  She stopped moving and looked a little sick, but in no fashion dead.  In a state of low-grade panic, I cast about for something to fatally whack her with.

The studio is full of every kind of tool, including a mattock and a machete (I am SO glad that I forgot about my .22 Ruger pistol that I keep under the bed), but the only thing I could imagine that would actually murder a spider at a distance without causing damage to my living space was the broad side of the broom, followed up by whacks with the dust-pan if necessary.

And that is what I did.  I gave her a tremendous whack with the broom, one that I hoped would cause instant death, not caring whether I had to clean the aftermath off the door.

But no.  She was a very tough customer.  Although she did fall **plop** on the floor, she was neither squashed nor dead, and in fact picked herself up and groggily tried to make a getaway.  It took several more smacks with the broom and frantic whacks with the dust-pan to reduce her to a pile of spider debris, which I triumphantly swept into the dust-pan.  I grabbed the door handle, planning to throw her remains outside, but my hand just slipped and sloshed around, because the handle was covered with Spider Killer (indeed!).  Cursing out loud now (the spider being beyond hearing me), I rushed once again to the spigot to wash the Spider Killer off.  It didn’t kill the spider, but who knows what it would do to me???

Armed with paper towels, I wiped the door handle down, and also the door which now boasted two spider stencils.  And then, holding the dead spider in the dust-pan in my left hand, I opened the door with my right.

Only it didn’t open.  It was stuck.  It does that sometimes, from the humidity.  There are advantages and disadvantages from living on a cliff 500 feet above a Scenic River.  Humidity is a Disadvantage.

I put the pan with the spider down and wrestled with the door.  It took a pretty good whack to get it unstuck at the top, where it always sticks.  I really need new doors in this place.

At long last I stepped out onto the bridge that connects the studio to what used to be the kiln room, and dumped the crumpled corpse over the side.

Then I had a whisky while I waited for my meds to take effect, tranquil in the aftermath of battle.

Leave a comment


  1. LOL! And I’m glad.

  2. you have gone to battle and returned victorious, after a brave fight hand to hand, with thine sworn enemy! You have conquered and remain king of your domain. I too have gone to battle against this enemy, but never with one so large and full of fight. I have encountered many wolf spiders, maybe the largest the size of the palm of my hand, and have felt quite victorious when the battle was won. I quite agree that spiders do things I appreciate, but they should never be in my space, where I may see them.

  3. Midwestern Plant Girl

     /  December 10, 2013

    If you run out of Spider killer, ilk come by and remove them for you. 🐙

    • I was waiting for you to chime in on this! Well, you’d better fire up your time-space machine, because when they show up I want them gone NOW! Especially before bedtime. Actually any time. They give me the fantods. I was wondering why this one was even around this time of year, and big and fat too. Then I remembered that I installed a propane heater in the basement, which keeps the floor of the upstairs warm and greatly diminishes the total amount of propane I burn. The spring-box is right in front of the heater, and there are always lots of crickets and other critters that like water hanging around the spring-box, so plenty of food for the spiders. So it’s nice and warm for them, just like summer. I don’t mind them living here and doing their job keeping the insect population down, just as long as they stay in their territory and don’t invade mine! Send me your phone number so I can call you in a spider emergency (just kidding, you’d never make it here in time to save an eight-legged life)!

      • Midwestern Plant Girl

         /  December 10, 2013

        Ha! Fantoids, eh. Couldn’t let you get those. =-)
        I’ve got a large, fuzzy pipe cleaner that I’ve bent into a hook kinda thang to scoop bugs up with. My spiders, smaller than what you’ve described, get placed in my plants to do their job. Ass, grass, cash, or exterminator, nobody rides for free!

        • Hahahhahahaha! I think you’d need a gaffer’s hook to handle this baby. And they’re fast, which is why I didn’t just get a jar and take her outside. And they bite, and even though their venom is low-potency, as venom goes, it still gives you a painful red bump that lasts several days. I spent some time with a spider specialist who did surveys in Costa Rica (now THAT is a spider enthusiast) and she told me that 90+% of all household spider bites, you know the ones you wake up with, are from jumping spiders, those cute little hairy black guys with the white eye-rims that look like spectacles. Well, it seems that they consider EVERYTHING to be their property, including your bed, and if they find you in it, they bite you. I have put a curse on them and I hope they know it.

          • Midwestern Plant Girl

             /  December 11, 2013

            Yikes, you’re right, I’m no spidey-specialist, but I do like them when they do their job. That does NOT include biting me! Those jumpy guys are pretty cool looking, but you’re right, if you bite me… SQUISH. Final answer.

  4. I have much the same conversations with spiders, too. I really don’t like killing living things, but spiders are one exception I will make since they make my skin crawl. Well, I can handle a little tiny one as long as it’s waaaaayyyyy up in the high corners of the ceiling just sitting on her web awaiting a nice, plump fly (which we seem to have an abundance of for some reason…maybe not an abundance, but it seems that way, especially in the cold of winter when I don’t think there should be any flies anywhere near here; flies I also make an exception for when they are in my home). My kids (even as teenagers) will say “why are you killing that spider, Mom? It’s not hurting you”. “Well”, I say, “it might decide to come hurt me, and spider bites are nasty. The spiders can crawl all over wherever they want to outside and I will happily leave them alone. But this is my home, not the spider’s home, and they are not welcome”. And I don’t want to see a rattler anywhere near my home! When we lived in a little tiny town in north central Washington called Tonasket (really a quite nice place to live) one day I walked outside the front door to find THREE rattlers right by our front stoop. This is where our young children played, where they left for school, where I had to walk to get to my SUV…or anywhere for that matter! The hubby wasn’t pleased either, but ran to get a shovel and proceeded on a rattler rampage until they were all quite dead with their heads missing. Well done, hubby!
    A bit of an update: my home medical care guy found an appropriate light box, but good ol’ Medicare/Medicaid won’t pay for it. I’m hoping the business will allow me to charge the $205 to my account there and pay it off in about 4 monthly payments or I’ll have to do without for four months. And the point was to get some help with this damn depression quickly. Four months from now it will be April, my favorite month, and Spring, my favorite season…the sun will be shining and things will be growing and my antidepressant, God willing, will be working. Ain’t this just the way things go sometimes? I hate depression.

    • Well. First of all, your rattlesnake story is epic. Ewwww! Glad hubby was a good shot with a shovel. Very sorry to hear about your light issues. I suggest two things: 1) write to the company and tell them you really need it NOW and how can they help you; and if that doesn’t get you any where then 2) go to crowdsource.com and crowdsource it. You can Google it and read more about crowdsourcing, a new way to raise money for worthy causes. It works, and you could get relief from your depression sooner! Keep me posted.

      • Thank you so much, Laura! You are just full of great info and ideas. I”ll contact my ‘guy’ and find out what company it is and contact them asap. Tonight I will go to the crowdsource site and see what I can do. You are a blessing to me, Laura. Peace to your heart

  5. PsiFiGal

     /  December 11, 2013

    OMG you had me laughing! Great post. I love your speech to the spider, I’m going to copy that if you don’t mind? I don’t live in a place that has spiders that big, thank god.

    • Thanks, glad you enjoyed it! You’re welcome to borrow my Spider Speech but please tell them that Dr. Laura SAID they better stick to their own territory LOL and then you can add your own set of threats and curses as you like…..!

  6. Haha. We have the same agreement with our Spiders. We get a lot of Huntsman Spiders in our house. They are about as big as the palm of your hand.
    They don’t help themselves though. I am more prepared to collect them in a container and relocate them into the garden, but they are too fast … so out comes the spray.
    They are most commonly found when Emma (Miss 9) wakes me up at some crazy hour to advise me there is a huntsman between her and the toilet.

    • Errrrr……..aren’t those poisonous???? Y’all have some crazy spiders where you live, don’t you???

      • Errr … yup. Crazy spiders and snakes. Had a rat in my ceiling the other week. Climbed up into the roof space to lay some bait and was met with a 1.5m python which had beaten me too it and had a rat in his belly. Think I’ll stay out of the ceiling for a while 😉

        The huntsman is not poisonous though. Just creepy looking and FAST – hence his name.

  7. Your writing is amaaazing, such perfect story-telling ability. You keep that up!

  8. You write wonderfully.

    Your approach was a lot better than the last time I had such an encounter. I hysterically thew books at it. (Oh, to be 24 again.)

  9. Im not getting your posts in my reader despite turning on email even. So I have to look you up each time I want to see what you have posted and generally there are a bunch I didn’t see. Frustrating. I don’t love spiders but I love their bug eating habits, so I live with them, mostly, but this would have turned a hair or two gray for sure! I usually gently carry them outside using a dustpan and put them on a bush to kill the nasties outside.

    • Hmmm, I wonder what the subscription monsters are up to? Lori, this spider wouldn’t stay in your dust pan unless it was dead. And I wouldn’t get that close to that critter if you paid me. Not only that, Wolf Spiders are very territorial, so if you take them outside (if you can get near them) they will be right back. I set off bombs every now and then, just to thin the population, but they are not deterred for long.


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