If I were a spider, I reckon the garage of our house would be a pretty safe place to live. I’d stick to the corners, eat bugs and flies, stay out of trouble. I certainly wouldn’t tempt fate by swanning about at floor level right in Boy-Child’s flight path from car to house. Too much chance of discovery, especially if I happened to be the size of a small bird.
Boy-Child: WOW! Check it out! Dad, this is the biggest spider you’ve ever seen!
Daddy: Where? Oh! Yesitisnowgetinsidequicklybeforeitseesyou!
Me: Oh, don’t be ridiculous. I’ll grab a glass and catch it. It’s just a spide- HOLYMOTHEROFDOG it’s beyond huge and I think it just made eye contact with me! In the house, now!
There’s something about a giant spider who is missing two legs but still has full mobility that makes you think ‘OK. So, it’s already had a run-in with a rat or something and come out on top. The lack of limbs makes it more scary, not less’.
After a calm, not at all shrill discussion held at a safe distance, we decided to just leave the spider alone. Surely if we didn’t disturb it, it would just keep on minding its business and eating flies. It’s not like spiders go out of their way to scare humans, ha ha ha! And besides, my husband pointed out that the swollen abdomen was probably just full of eggs, so it was technically a much smaller spider than it appeared.
These are the lengths of self-deception we’ll go to in order to avoid dealing with a problem. Inspiring, isn’t it?
Anyway, our plan of action was a great success, until the following morning when the spider was nowhere to be found. What’s worse than laying eyes on a huge scary spider? Knowing there’s a huge scary spider on the premises and not knowing where it’s likely to jump out from. After an hour or so of skin crawling and reflexive swatting of loose hair and clothes, I was both relieved and terrified to discover the behemoth chilling out on the wall of the garage hallway. Reason set in, and I knew she had to go. Any other time, I’d be looking out for the needs of an expectant mama (and yes, I’ve read Charlotte’s Web plenty of times), but this one was just too frightening. I realise that last picture is of the spider alone, with no point of reference to indicate its actual size. So, here’s one with Baby Girl standing next to it for comparison:
Big. Huge. Spider.*
I waited until it was near ground level and not going to fall on me, and gave it a couple of squirts of bug spray. Done! Spider falls to the ground and lies there twitching a couple of legs. I go back into the house to grab the dustpan.
On my return, the spider has gone. I find her looking unhappy (but far from dead) a couple of metres down the hallway. With muttered cursing, I grab the bug spray again and give her a generous serve. She is completely coated in poisonous white goop when I’m done. I swear she shakes a hairy little fist at me, but I’m confident I’ve made the hit this time. I go to grab my phone so I can take a photo to show my husband how much spray I had to use to kill it. On my return, I see this:
Just a spider-shape stencilled onto our ugly garage carpet. Girlfriend has stomped off to take a shower or something. I find her rounding the corner into the garage proper:
I nuke her again. I spray and spray until every part of her is covered. She twitches a bit in irritation, then starts walking off again, leaving tiny white bug-spray footprints behind her.
Suddenly, I remember. Alison at What Mum Should Have Told Me had an entire post about spiders that I read just yesterday. Spoiler alert: her badass mum defeated a giant spider with a combination of stealth and vacuum cleaning. I can sort this out. Easily! We even have a ducted vacuum system with a socket in the garage! I grab the hose. I point it at the gargantuan spray-soaked spider. I activate the switch.
The beast does its best to run away from the suction, but is no match for the power of Lux. SCHLUMP! As foretold, its plump body makes a satisfying noise as it disappears up the pipe. I’m slightly nauseated when I feel its body get stuck and its legs scrabble momentarily in the hose beneath my hand, but the suction again wins out and the vacuum cleaner is triumphant. As am I, at last.
Until that night, when I dream that Mama Hairy Legs has survived her trip through the ducted vacuum, and is even now plotting her revenge from the bowels of the dust collection bin. I envisage her eggs hatching in there, and an army of undead baby spiders stealthily making their way back up the duct pipes and surging en masse out of the hose sockets at either end of the house to pay me my dues.
I may never sleep again.
*Okay, maybe the scale is adjusted in that photo just a tiny bit. The spider was still effing huge.