Every year beginning in August, one of these sets up shop between our front porch post and a hanging potted plant. Every year.
It’s not the same spider because I generally squish the August visitor sometime around mid-September when I cannot stand it any longer. When I get entangled in its ever-expanding web. When I humiliate myself one too many times in front of the neighbors by performing the “spider dance” on the front porch in my sleepwear.
Picture this: arms flailing and slapping my head and arms while my legs do the Michael Flatley “Lord of the Dance” number and I’m uttering Tourettes Syndrome like barks and profanities.
I spray. I sweep. I perform daily recon on the area. Yet each morning, a newer, bigger web with an even-fatter spider balanced at its center. Is it a clone? A ghost? Perhaps it is a residual haunting.
I’m an arachnophobe, I admit it. But I’ve come a long way. This house helped cure me of a phobia that was once debilitating.
Within the first few months of living in our new home, we realized the toll of the previous owner’s neglect. Since he didn’t clean, there were many bugs in the house. And bugs mean spiders. There were egg sacs everywhere. I recall seeing a few spiders on the living room ceiling on one of our walk-throughs, but didn’t think much of it at the time. Even our inspector commented on the number of webs in the basement.
I’ve suffered every possible indignity with spiders.
I found one perched on my toothbrush.
I’ve had them in my bed. In my clothes, in my shoes.
We eventually hired an exterminator. Since then I’ve learned to harness my fear and rationalize it this way: Any spider that is employed, in other words, in a web or actively hunting, is left alone. Except when one’s place of employment is in conflict with my daily living space or dangling over my baby girl’s bed. One that is found to be in conflict or wandering the walls or floorboards seeking handouts is hastily evicted.
The other morning, as I opened my front door and began reaching down to grab the newspaper, I felt the telltale snare of a sticky web grab my face and neck. I jumped back in time to avoid a quarter-sized arachnid.
Now I’m thinking maybe I need to take advantage of some legal avenues here, such as the restraining order.