Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Spider Haven

Judith has a great post about a spontaneous trip she took to St. John, UVI. In it, she makes mention of the fact that it was a long walk to the outside privy at night and that there may or may not be taratulas out hunting. This totally freaks me out. I am not a spider person. Not at all. After living alone for several years after college I managed to figure out ways to kill spiders without having a man present 24/7 but they were Rube Goldberg methods in which I would don shoes and heavy socks and stand on buckets with long mops or poles and repeatedly pound the spider until I was certain it was no longer of this world or squeeze large amounts of viscous fluids on them to slow them down. I have relaxed a little about spiders as I've aged and now feel the need to kill only the very large. I'm sorry, I know it's wrong, they perform a valuable function, they are a predator, valuable part of the ecosystem, blah, blah, blah....I hate them and they scare me. One of my most memorable spider episodes occurred on a trip to Ocracoke, NC. I had just graduated from college and didn't have much money so I joined with my sister and we rented a quaint little house on the island. It looked quaint in the picture anyway. Well, my then boyfriend (now husband) and I got there first. Unpacked, looked around a little, and headed out to get something to eat and have a few beers. My sister and her boyfriend at the time got there while we were out. They apparently looked around a little more closely than we did. When we got back my sister was hysterical....."We can't stay here, we can't stay here!" I asked her what the matter was. It wasn't the nicest house and the cleaning left a bit to be desired, but it wasn't as horrible as she was making it. Her face was ashen, but she has a tendency to over-react. But her boyfriend's face was ashen as well. "There are spiders everywhere" they said. Sure enough, we walked through the house and there were spiders everywhere. Big ones. There were legs sticking out from behind switchplates, spiders hanging from the ceiling in the bathroom, spiders in between the windows and the screens (so you couldn't open the windows). There were plank ceilings and there were many little funnel webs over the beds in both of the bedrooms. I was freaked out now. This was a lot of spiders. I really, really don't like spiders. But that wasn't the worst. Soon to be husband was irritated. He thought we were over-reacting. He went outside to have a cigarette. My sister lunged for the door. "Don't open that" she said. "They are everywhere outside too and those are really big". It was nighttime, and as I glanced out onto the screened porch, I could see very large funnel shaped webs going up into the nooks and crannies of the porch ceiling. We walked outside and then I heard my soon to be husband scream for the first and only time. He pointed to the floor and crawling up out from between the floorboards was the largest spider I have ever seen in person. I know that there are tarantulas and such in the southwest, but this was North Carolina....what the hell? It was easily 6 inches across, legs and all and had a huge fuzzy body that was at least 3 inches. It was brown and had visible fangs. He almost pushed past me to get back into the house, but was stopped by the locked door. My sister screamed through the glass that we had to check ourselves before she would let us back in, lest we inadvertently bring them inside. We called the realtor and begged for another place, but with no luck. We were stuck in "Spider Haven" a term we coined based on the name of the house 'Marsh Haven". The realtor did say that an exterminator would be by in the morning. Some relief, but not enough. We killed as many as we could find but didn't get much sleep. In the morning we noticed more about the interior of the house. There were little crystal spiders hanging in windows and spider drawings in a sketchbook and entries in the guest journal about their appreciation for all the spiders. Some people even named the larger ones. Crazy. About noon, the 'exterminator' arrived. A redneck in a dilapidated pick-up truck with a can of Raid. They must be joking, I thought. He killed a lot though. He'd spray Raid up into those funnel webs and these huge spiders would come rushing out and then he'd put his hand all up close to them and squash them with a sea shell. Enormous spider carcassess littered the screened porch. We were even able to sit out there at night and play cards and drink beer for the rest of the vacation. But somebody had to thump their feet every few minutes to deter whatever might be crawling up from between the porch boards. Soon to be husband did get an enormous spider bite that must have come while we were sleeping though. He had to go to the little island emergency center because it kept getting bigger and he was paranoid that it was something poisonous that bit him. Spider Haven was an experience. And not one I ever want to go through again.

4 Comments:

Blogger Liz said...

That is straight out of a horror story. I hate spiders, and I may not be able to sleep now because of this. I'd take blackflies any day over Spider Haven.

8:20 PM  
Blogger meresy_g said...

I didn't mean to give you bad dreams. It was pretty bad. But a good side was that I developed an appreciation for outside showers. I even showered in the pouring rain. Pretty cool. At some point I'd love to have an outside shower put in at our house. Yeah, we have bad house flies because of all the chicken houses around us, but I'll take those any day over spiders.

8:30 AM  
Anonymous Judith said...

Meredith! Thank goodness I had not read your Spider Haven tale before I had to go live with tarantulas & lizards. The spider legs poking out from behind the switchplates is what did me in...as for outdoor showers--if you don't have one, you must make one! We have showered outside at our island house for years & when we moved to this new house we added an outdoor shower here (make sure you put in hot water so you can stay outside in it as long as the pipes don't freeze). I love looking up at the stars at night while showering...BTW, shall I tell you the number of spiders I have found hanging out in the outdoor shower(s)??? Naw...

5:32 PM  
Blogger Garden Obsession said...

*shudder* The horror... I don't know how you slept at all.

6:29 AM  

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