June 12, 2013

My Hero

My Hero.
I slept in. Sort of. I stayed in bed.

The girls were happily playing in their nightgowns, putting on crowns and gloves and butterfly wings from their dress-up box. They obeyed my wishes to stay on their end on the house, so RH could continue her inexplicable prolonged snooze.

Finally, beginning to worry about RH's continued quiet, I went into her room and discovered her happily playing with a few toys in her crib.

I changed and dressed the baby, directed the big girls in their dress-up cleanup, and then brought the kids to the dining room for breakfast.

I was all prepared to make them green eggs, when I happened to glance at my drying rack, next to the sink.

And there, in all her glory, sitting on the dismantled juicer (aka my meal ticket), was a gigantic brown spider.

Now, when I say gigantic, you must understand my meaning.

I am well documented arachnophobic. I have CRIPPLING arachnophobia.


So when I say "giant fucking spider of doom that's going to kill us all," I really mean "large-ish house spider."

Of course, it always COULD be a brown recluse. Right? RIGHT???

She's not moving. She's just sitting daintily on the juicer parts. As though I wouldn't notice her.

Of course I fucking noticed her.

I froze, staring at the spider.

All the silly, useless things my father used to say to me ran through my head.

Charlotte was a spider. She was nice.
Spiders are good. She'll eat flies that want to come into your kitchen.
Just pretend she looks like a tiny little kitten. A tiny, fluffy, eight legged fucking kitten christalmightydearfuckinggod...

I gritted my teeth, and stared.

She didn't move. I could almost hear her saying, "Just back away, sister. Pretend you never saw me. By the time you get back, I'll be looooooong gone."

But... to where?

To some other place in my house, to surprise and terrify me when I'm expecting it even less. Like, in bed. Or the shower. Or at my computer.

No, she had to go. But how?

For a moment, I contempated asking the girls for help. They LOVE bugs. They have these wristwatch bug cages, and they go around the house "catching" ants, which means, killing them as they smoosh them between their fingers and drop them in their "wristwatch bug houses."

...they're pretty convinced that all their ants are "sleeping."

...they also tell me they're collecting bugs "for our website!"

But I don't think I could handle watching my children manhandle this GIANT FUCKING SPIDER into their bug cage. And they'd need me to close it.

And even if I managed that Herculean feat, I'd have to to experience the torment of my children going around with a GIANT FUCKING SPIDER ON THEIR FUCKING WRISTS. That they would want to show me, no less.

No, I have to put on my big girl panties and deal with this situation.

So, what to do?

I can't smash the spider. She's on my dish rack, with lots of breakable dishes.

I give her a last, suspicious, terrified glance, and speed walk across the house. As I pass the table I bark at the children, "STAY. WHERE. YOU. ARE."

"Why, mommy?" they call after me. I ignore them.

I march at full speed to the living room, grab the vacuum cleaner, and drag it across the house.

Now they're suspicious.

"Mommy? What are you doing?"


I look at the drying rack. She's holding perfectly still, but she's moved. About three inches to the left.

I plug in the vacuum, staring the whole while.

I put detach the hose from the base, and add the extender.

Not good enough. I'll have to get too close.

I add the detail tool.

Now I'm not so sure. She's big enough that she would't necessarily fit into the detailing tool. But with all the suction... probably?

I'm going to have to risk it.

I turn on the vacuum cleaner. RH starts crying- she hates the vacuum cleaner. I feel the hose tighten up and shorten in my hand. I imaging the feeling of holding it as the spider is sucked inside. I turn it off again.

RH wimpers gratefully, still hungry. Shit, none of the kids have eaten.

I tell myself, as forcefully as I can, that I will not feel the insubstantial spider rush through the tube. I turn on the vacuum again. RH starts to cry once more.

I freeze.

This isn't going to kill her, I say to myself. She'll just be trapped in there... she could climb out...

She can't climb out, right?

Then I picture her, frantically scurrying around the clear plastic cylinder where the dirt is stored in the vacuum cleaner.

It sends shivers up my spine. I turn of the vacuum cleaner again.

RH stops crying.

No, I need to kill this spider. But how?

I picture knocking the bit of juicer that she's on down to the floor. It could probably take the fall. But what if she just goes flying?

The muscles in my neck start to twitch.

Then I look at the sink.

There are five items in the sink.

On the far side, three sauté pans.

On the near side, right next to the spider, there is a large pot, soaking, filled with water, and a baking sheet.

I have a plan. I will use the vacuum detail tool to very quickly flip the clean and spider covered juicer part into the pot of water. She will drown.

I begin circling the dish rack, picking the best angle.

"Mommy? What are you doing, mommy?"


And.... flip!

I scream.

The juicer part is floating upside down in the water. I hug myself and rub my arms, practically hyperventilating.

As the girls tell me all about how I screamed and I agree blindly with everything they say. I pace back and forth through the kitchen doorway. I have to know the threat has passed. I steel myself, and peer into the sink.

Sure enough, there she is, floating in the water. For a brief, glorious moment, I feel elated.

And then, she twitches. Moves her legs.

And suddenly I remember, it takes a long time for a spider to drown.

Still, for the time being, I'm pretty sure I know where she is. I grab the Cheerios, the milk, and some pre-made baby food for RH, and I go feed my kids breakfast. Quickly.

But as I feed RH the last bites, I realize. There are other things in that pot of water. The juicer bit is floating there now. What if she gets onto it? What if she's not drowning anymore?

I step into the kitchen, bracing myself for the worst.

I scream.

She's not in the water. She's not on the juicer part. She's climbing up the baking sheet towards the faucet. Fast.

I grab a wooden spoon and turn on the faucet from as far away as possibly, whimpering the whole while. Too late, she's too high up. She poises, as though about to strike- to jump at me. I jump back myself and scream. I mean, REALLY scream.

RH hears me and starts crying herself. REALLY crying.

But now, the water is running. The spider is on the baking sheet, she's scurrying down the far side towards the counter. The fucking counter. I grab a cup and, still screaming, pour water on her to rinse her down the drain.

It doesn't work. It only gives her dash towards the counter more momentum.

I run for a book. The closest at hand are the cookbooks I use most often. I pass them over and grab a cookbook I don't care for too terribly much, and spin around to face her again.

She's still on the move, but she's almost back to the drying rack.

She's on the lip of the sink, an inch from the drying rack.

I aim for a split second, and a bring the book down, screaming all the while.

It glances off of her.

I drop the book as I slam it.

She isn't where she was before, but I don't see her.

And now my cookbook is sitting, half submerged in dishwater, both blocking half my view of the sink AND providing any still alive spider a pathway up again.

I have no idea where she is, and I am NOT removing that book.

I go back to the kids, shaking, and pick up RH who is sobbing like I've never heard her sob before. She rests her head against my chest as she gulps and hiccups.

SI looks up at me, mere curiosity in her face.

"Mommy? Why did you yell?"

"I saw something scary in the kitchen. In the sink. I'm sorry."

DD chimes in, "You saw something scary?"

"Yeah, but it's gone now."

SI looks me deep in the eyes, as though she can see my very soul. In a matter of fact tone, she explains to me, "Mommy? The thing you saw in the kitchen is not actly scary. You were just... surprised. The thing in the sink isn't scary, it's actly nice. It's not actly scary, mommy. It's just... numfing. It's numfing, mommy."

My big, brave girls.
"You're right, sweetheart."

"It's not actly scary, mommy. It's nice. You were just surprised. You don't have to be scared, mommy."

"Thanks, pumpkin."

"Mommy? I love you."

I can feel the tears rising in my throat.

"I love you too, sweetheart."

"Can we watch a Wizard of Oz?"

"Yeah, sure thing."

And so here I am. Sharing my humiliation as my children watch to Dorothy try to find her way back to Kansas. I'm still twitching, slapping at every hair that looses itself from my head and goes skittering down my neck. (You other curly girlies know what I'm talking about.) I'm not going back in there. I don't care that I need to eat.

My chocolate stash is in my room anyway. I can survive on that and the leftover half a banana from breakfast until M comes home.

I'm just glad I have my big, strong, smart three year olds to save me whenever the next big, not actly scary arachnid comes crawling around.

I have no idea what I could have done to deserve them.


  1. Oh my god. I hate bugs. HATE. I freak out when I see them. The kids know to. It's just awful. EW.

  2. I feel bad that I giggled a little bit at this.

    Spiders are not our friends. No matter how nice Charlotte was to Wilbur.

  3. I'm with Tracie- I giggled a little. And love the way you tell stories. I was thinking about writing about the snake that I saw in our kitchen and my lame attempt to catch it and how I refused to leave the kitchen doorway to make sure it didn't go into another part of my house... but I couldn't tell it as well as you told this!



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