Friday, September 13, 2013

The Itsy Bitsy Spider...

So I just got all Kevin McCallister in my backyard.


No one likes spiders except The Doctor.  He LOVES spiders.  He had a pet tarantula named Sunbeam Lynn.  Tarantulas live FOREVER.   When we moved in together and got Ruby, she was kind enough to knock Sunbeam's cage from it's location high atop a shelf and, in the process, brutally mangle the "pet."  The Doctor had to put Sunbeam out of her misery with a biochemistry textbook.  Blissfully, I was not home when this went down.  When I came home, Ruby was cowering in a corner and The Doctor was ragefully playing Xbox.  We went to go see Batman Begins to make him feel better.  RIP Sunbeam (Ruby, I love you).

My backyard has too many spiders.  There are so many spiders that even The Doctor will kill them.  I just did some minimal internet research and discovered that this is the spider:

It's a cross orb weaver.  It makes super pretty webs and the adult female (shown) is really pretty scary looking.  I was just starting to feel guilty about killing so many when I looked up if they're poisonous.  The website (made by a well-meaning naturalist) said these spiders are not dangerous but do bite.  I think he's getting the definition of dangerous confused.  The other thing is that these spiders tend to make their "beautiful" webs at eye level.  That means face level.  That means that whenever I walk into the backyard and I get a spider web SMACK IN MY FACE.  This is annoying when alone and embarrassing when showing people the house.  Also it leaves me with phantom itchiness, sure that a spider is crawling through my hair and will lay eggs in my ears.  

They have to go.

So I just spent half an hour in in the back yard doing battle with spiders.  I won't get within arms' reach of one.  When I discovered Sunbeam, pre-demise, on her back in her cage one morning, I called The Doctor at work.  

Doctor: Is she dead?!
Me: (Taps the cage, spider's legs wiggle)  No...just upside down.
Doctor: You have to tip her back over!
Me: Will she die if I don't?!
D: Maybe...
Me: (long hesitation)
D: Please just take a spatula and tip her over.  
Me: fiiiiiine

I was just googling a picture to show you what Sunbeam looked like but I started getting this weird restless leg syndrome feeling in my legs and scratching my hair even I stopped.  You can use your imagination.  Or look up "tarantula" on google images.  (shutter).

Anyway, I put on yellow rubber gloves, grabbed a spatula and approached the cage.  I was shaking as I approached the cage.  I reached out a hand to open the top of the cage and pictured ANOTHER scene in Home Alone:  

OH NO.  Spiders can jump, right?

So at this point I am crying semi-hysterically.  I put down the spatula. I will leave Sunbeam to die.  But I cannot do this to The Doctor.  He will find out I let Sunbeam DIE.  So I approach the cage one last time.  I pick it up in my two hands.  And I tilt it swiftly back and forth, almost like a snow globe. It takes a few tries, but Sunbeam rights herself.  With adrenaline coursing through me, I do a dance to some Daft Punk, sure my ordeal is over and I will be rewarded.


Turns out tarantulas molt. I'm still too scared to show you a picture.  Look it up.  Basically, they lie on their backs and CLIMB THROUGH their own abdomens, leaving a shell that looks exactly like the original host. I discovered this when telling The Doctor my ordeal that night.  I looked over at the cage and screamed, "THERE ARE TWO SPIDERS!"  In my head, what I was sure had happened is that Sunbeam had somehow split in two and regenerated another self.  That makes perfect sense.  Like a hydra.  But no, just molting.  

And what was my reward???  The Doctor chased me around the house, while I wept uncontrollably, holding the skin of Sunbeam.

I do not like spiders.

So I killed a few today.  They were all lurking in my backyard, full of eggs and webs to walk through.  My method is quite good.  The Doctor uses "The Robot Method" to get through webs.  He does the robot and walks though them.  No.  That results in you getting web and potentially spider on you.  My method is multi step:

1.  Pick up hose.  
2.  Twirl hose in circular motion as you approach nozzle.
3.  Turn on nozzle.  
4.  Find web.  
5.  Spray profusely.
6.  Turns out the webs are nearly indestructible and so you must twirl the hose around it and then wipe the hose on the grass.
7.  If spider is present: Spray with hose until spider is at ground level ("The Itsy Bitsy Spider Technique).  Spiders can TOTALLY SWIM or at least keep their heads above rushing water because I have yet to drown a spider.  So once the spider is at ground level, you may squish with your shoe.
8.  Wipe shoe.
9.  Spray all around for good measure.
10.  Turn off hose.

Sample dialogue while I did this (I hope my neighbors couldn't hear me).

"I will destroy you!  You cannot escape the hose!"
"You thought you could get away.  But I killed your sister.  And now I'm going to itsy bitsy fucking spider you!"

I'm concerned that the survivors are going to make an example of me like in Arachnophobia.  

I'm psychosomatically scratching my hair just in case.  

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