Posted by: deadmousediaries | March 13, 2014

News from the Path Valley Hotel – Episode #33 He’s baaaccck – Itsy, Bitsy Spider


Never trust an arachnid to keep a promise. After rescuing and safely removing my itsy, bitsy Volkswagen-sized spider back in July, who do I find hanging out alongside the bathtub today? He’s baaaccckkkkk! How did that happen?  We had quite a chat about him NOT making a second appearance when he first surfaced in PVH News Episode #5. I thought I had made my expectations clear.

I know it was the same spider; he had a little dimple above the second joint in his third left leg so don’t start thinking I have a whole herd or spiders running amok here. Lucky for us both, he fell for the ole’ glass cheese dome trick again or he would  be wrestling dust bunnies in the bottom of my vacuum cleaner bag by now. To my credit, I performed this removal all on my own this time and deposited him on the other side of the driveway. If he shows up again, my pet-store manager daughter says he’s going into a terrarium. Sometimes you have just have to go with the flow.

Although I know my repeat visitor is a wood spider, I’ve been doing a little research this summer after watching a friend recover from the bite from a brown recluse. Not pretty. Not easy. Not fast. One of the defining characteristics of the recluse is that it has only six eyes, not eight. And the famed black widow has a red hourglass marking — on her stomach.  I don’t know about you but if I encounter a new spider on the block, I’m not going to stoop down to see how many eyes are gazing into mine nor am I going to ask her to roll over so I can check for any suspicious markings on her undercarriage. File that kind of scientific info under “not helpful” –unless of course you are a squasher and just want to make sure once the deed is a fait accompli.

In addition to the fact that most of us don’t know how to identify the venomous spider species from the harmless ones, I’ve decided that another reason spiders are so damn creepy is that there are so many scary words to describe what they do. For instance, my beta fish swim, flutter, fan and glide. My cat purrs, pounces, plays and poops. All of that sounds pretty safe and ordinary. But what do spiders do? They dangle, scurry, entrap, lurk, entangle and inject. That’s the stuff that nightmares are made of — as well as CSI episodes.

I m happy to report that my creepy-crawly tolerance level has been greatly expanded thanks to this summer’s little adventure but I wasn’t always this open-minded.  My husband and I visited friends for a cookout over the weekend and in the midst of a lovely late-night conversation, an errant katydid landed on a young woman sitting next to me. To say she freaked is an understatement. It brought back memories.

I can remember one early fall day in third grade when we were sent to the fourth grade classroom to watch a film strip. (Yes. A film strip. Definitely not a movie or even a film which was the vernacular of the day.)  The third graders were instructed to sit on the desk tops. There was no such thing as air conditioning in schools in those days so all the windows were wide open. In the middle of the big event, a grasshopper flew in and plopped down in my lap. There I was surrounded by teachers and  “big kids” but alone in my absolute terror. I was paralyzed by the fear he would hop again and touch my arm or heaven help us, my face. And as kids back then, we all knew that grasshoppers spit tobacco juice so I sat motionless to ensure he wouldn’t do such a disgusting thing on my dress that would be a reminder all day long of those agonizing moments I had been held hostage by a bug.

In some weird kind of way, I’m grateful for the snakes and spiders I’ve encountered in my life and especially this year on my stay-cation.  They have made for great stories. I like being reminded that ordinary moments accumulate to make extraordinary memories and what is a tale weaver without memories worth retelling? MK


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