Posted by: mindyourknitting | March 9, 2010

Itsy Bitsy *Updated*

Last Thursday night I was hanging out in our basement rec room, minding my own business, enjoying some down time after Abigail went to bed, when I saw it: a beige-coloured spider crawling across the carpet.  Now, it’s a small miracle that I spotted it at all, since our carpet is beige.  And I’m pretty sure the spiders in our basement have mutated to be almost exactly the same shade as our carpet in order to avoid detection.  After suppressing my survival instinct that was at that very moment urging me to run, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD RUN, I managed to kill it by trapping it with a piece of cat-hair laden masking tape (it was cat-hair-laden because that’s what I use to clean off my computer desk chair that my big fat cat Stella now sleeps on all the time, much to my extreme, extreme, annoyance), then folding over the tape and squashing the life out of it.  I saw a leg twitch and promptly threw the little ball of spidery masking tape across the room into the trash bin, where it still resides.  It’s possible the spider is still alive in there, but it’s pretty well trapped so I don’t really care. Or at least I don’t care if I don’t think about it too hard.

I resumed my game of Wii New Super Mario Brothers (which Erik says I shouldn’t play because it makes me furious and therefore is not really a ‘relaxing’ activity; how I wish I had the fine motor skills of a 12-year old boy), but soon I had to get something from my computer desk.  This was a mistake.  There on the wall above my computer was another beige spider, although I swear this one was a bit more yellow, so as to blend in with the ugly hopefully-soon-to-be-painted yellow walls.  I killed that spider by trying to repeat the masking-tape process, but this time I used a handy Post-It note figuring that a sticky surface is a sticky surface so the method should prove sound, but it didn’t exactly work.  Damn you, 3M!  The wily spider managed to somehow unglue itself and I freaked out after attempting to squish it and made a flinging motion that I think slammed it against the wall.  So either it is dead and its spidery carcass is lodged behind my computer desk (and it is welcome to stay there for infinity) or it is limping around plotting revenge over its missing legs. 

After these two (attempted) arachnid homicides I was understandably a little shaken, so sat down to share my experiences with the most forgiving and understanding medium I know – Facebook. 

I posted this (*please excuse the crappy rendition of Facebook postings below – I am not so tech savvy that I can copy wall posts and blur the last names, like other people seem to do quite frequently in blog posts…I’m such a Luddite):

 Trista: just killed two too-large-for-comfort spiders in our basement….now to douse my hand in bleach and convince myself that there isn’t a nest with a mama spider somewhere down here….bleargh….

And rather promptly got these replies: 

Heather: We lived with a friendly, neighbourhood spider in South Carolina on vacation for a few days one spring. It was the size of my hand and it came out every time we turned on the lights. I slept with one eye open the whole trip!March 4 at 8:17pm ·

Sandy: No Im sure theres no nest, or mama spider, or other spiders. . . Did you know that humans while sleeping, will eat a few spiders in their lifetime. They just crawl right in your mouth. . .just saying lol    March 4 at 8:41pm ·

Heather: Oh boy… well in our case – she was there every night! (Thank goodness)!  March 4 at 8:58pm ·

Louise: Yup I’m pretty sure they quote 6 in your lifetime. I’m ok with that as long as no cockroaches slip in too bleugh!!!!
Horror, I hate those little tapdancers.
x     March 5 at 1:13am ·

Shannon: OMG I thought I was the only one who would see one spider and lay awake waiting for the nest with about a million more to hatch.     March 5 at 6:45am ·

Umm, thanks guys.  Way to jump on the Reassurance Bandwagon.  I FEEL SO MUCH BETTER.  I’m also going to start sleeping wearing a surgical mask.

On the night of the spider attack my husband, the appointed spider-killer in our house, wasn’t home from work yet (because if he was I never would have had to deal with the infestation in the first place, thankyouverymuch stupid overly-long work days), and I was sitting alone in the basement.  The one with the spiders.  Did I mention that the basement ceiling is tiled, so there is the occasional gap in the ceiling that would provide a perfect way for a spider to descend onto my head?  That would be a beige spider that cannot easily be seen against walls or carpet in my basement??  Despite these odds not working in my favour, I  refused to be ousted from my warm spot on the couch and I didn’t see any more spiders that night.  But the next morning I came across this post at Hyperbole and a Half.  Oh my god.  The infestation is worse than I thought.  They’ve crossed national boundaries and are mounting assaults on unsuspecting people everywhere, even rural Montana.

It’s also nice to know that someone is as grossed out by spiders as I am.  I date my disgust with spiders to a very specific event from my childhood.  There were two movies on television in the 1980s that (very sensibly) cast spiders as the villains – in one the spiders were huge, bigger than houses, and in the sequel they were about the size of dinner plates but there were rampaging hordes of them.  I don’t remember much from my early childhood with a great level of detail, but I remember seeing parts of those movies and being equally fascinated and freaked out by them. (Come to think of it, I was probably young enough that I shouldn’t have been seeing them at all – I’m assuming that I saw them under the care of a babysitter or at a friend’s house, because what type of parents let their kids watch giant spider horror movies??  Although there was that one time I went to see Frailty and there was a dad and  his two sons, both clearly under the age of ten, in the row in front of me – I sat through the whole terrifying, gory movie, totally judging him and hoping his kids didn’t end up total psychopaths).  Anyway, anytime I see a spider I flashback to those movies, and imagine them growing to impossible proportions or multiplying before my eyes.  There are few things that freak me out more than spiders.  Those horrible house millipedes are one them though – one of the few drawbacks of my awesome apartment  was that it was an old house and had those awful many-legged quick-as-lighting fuckers.  Yes, in addition to the bats. Maybe I don’t miss that apartment at all.

Addendum to post: You will appreciate my determination when I tell you that, a few days after finding the translucent spiders of death in my basement, I changed FOUR pot light lightbulbs in the basement, simultaneously putting my head within easy spider jumping distance from the ceiling tiles and sticking my hand in a dark receptacle in that ceiling.  And although I still feel like I have creepy crawlers on  my head, I also think I have balls of steel.

Update: Ohmigod you guys, the spiders have learned to climb stairs!  How do they do that with their tiny legs?  When I was getting ready for work this morning, there was a spider on my TOOTHBRUSH.  In case you don’t understand the screaming horror that this was, it was on my TOOTHBRUSH.  The one I put on my TEETH.  In my MOUTH.  Get it now??  Aside from the obvious ick factor, I am not sure what sort of pathogens spider can carry, or whether they qualify as vectors for disease (anyone with an entomology degree out there, lemme know).  So just to be safe, I threw my toothbrush out and made do with mouthwash this morning.  Note to self: buy new toothbrush.

*Something new in the Junk Drawer.


  1. This is by far one of the funniest things I’ve read in a long time. And I read things highschool students write on a daily basis.

    I have a few spider horror stories for you, but I’ll save them for in person. Maybe sometime when we’re sitting in your basement 🙂

  2. omg you kill me Trista!
    Seriously I don’t know how I’ve lived all these years so far away from you!

    oh and BTW- I’m pissed at you! I only ever read one blog ( before you started yours…and you keep leading me to ones like Hyperbole and a Half… you must stop doing this!

  3. I’m glad you ladies enjoyed this. Just so you know, there have been no spider sightings since I wrote this. Maybe they took a warning from their fallen comrades.

    And Renee, I don’t know how you’ve lived so far away for so long either! I used to see you altogether too much, and miss that 🙂

    Blogs are a dangerous thing – it’s hard to stop at just one. Hyperbole and a Half makes me howl with laughter, the Spaghatta Nadle stuff is too much.

  4. Did you know that Lee Valley Tools has a ‘bug catcher’. I love mine! You don’t even need to touch the bug/spider at all.

    • Lisa, that’s so awesome, thanks for the tip! I just googled it, and I’m torn between the “Long-Handled Spider Catcher” and the “Bug Trapper” – one has the advantage of keeping the spider as far away from me as possible, and the other has the advantage of the clear plastic bug-cage so I can keep my eye on the critter at all times and make sure it’s not in my hair (I’m not so concerned about the “release unharmed” option, so sue me). I see a trip to Lee Valley in my future!!

  5. […] that the galleries featuring live critters weren’t open, I was excited about the creepy crawlies – I’m okay as long as they are thoroughly trapped) we were able to walk through the Fossil […]

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