I cant even watch parts of Spider-Man movies without looking away from the screen until my kids say the scary scenes are over.
Yeah, I know they eat bugs, serve as food for other critters and contribute in a positive way to the world. But theyre also super creepy and they freak me out.
So of course, the one week this year that my husband was on a business trip, the biggest, grossest, most ferocious-looking spider Ive seen in a long time invaded our house.
Granted, it wasnt as scary as the hairy, black-and-white spotted spider we found in our sink when we lived in a single-wide mobile home near Ellensburg, or the enormous hard-shelled spider that apparently hitchhiked from South America inside a banana box into our house in Puyallup.
But at least my husband was around to rescue me from the first one, and his dad helped dispose of the second one.
Nope, this time my children and I were alone with a spider that had a leg span as large as a tea cup saucer, and a body that was the size of a quarter. Those are just estimates, of course, because there was no way I was getting close enough to measure it.
Anyway, there it was, perched on the wall, surveying our staircase and entryway as though it was planning an attack.
The first thing that came to my mind was: Why couldnt this be the type of normal housewife emergency that I could handle, such as a clogged toilet, flat tire or puking child? Why, oh, why, did it have to be a gigantic, sci-fi looking spider inside the house?
Then, I thought about how my sister had recently referred to me as a tomboy. Its true, our dad raised us to be tough girls. Were not afraid to get our hands greasy or do hard work. Were independent and self sufficient.
I snickered, and thought, Shes right. I shoot guns, I ride quads I am woman, hear me roar. Ive totally got this under control.
Next, I created a spider death machine out of the floor duster and a bunch of heavy-duty tape. My plan was to rush it and crush it, like a medieval warrior going into battle. The tape was sticky-side out, so if for some reason it wasnt smashed to death, at least it would stick to my contraption and not go Missing in Action.
I realize it would be more humane to capture it and release it back into the wild. But, heres the deal: The spider would realize its a safe place to hide out and he or she would return, and possibly bring buddies into my house too.
Plus, Id probably have a heart attack or a nervous breakdown if I came in contact with it. I couldnt take the risk.
As if sensing its certain death, the spider inched up the wall. Each time one of its eight legs moved, my confidence faded. Clearly, I was facing an enemy that was not going to be caught or smashed by surprise. Plus, was it just me, or did that thing double in size in the span of about 10 minutes? Tears filled my eyes as I prepared to protect the homefront.
Finally, I did what Im sure anybody in my situation would do: I asked my children if they wanted to kill it.
For a moment, I really thought one of them would say yes. After all, wasnt my 11-year-old daughter just bragging about pulling engorged ticks off horses the other day? And arent those the same boys who absolutely loved going through the bug display at the San Diego Zoo (while I waited outside)?
The more I thought about it, the more I realized they were the perfect candidates for this particular assassination job.
Their dad has made it a point to try and make sure they dont suffer from arachnophobia like their mother and grandmother. And my daughter is even more of a tomboy than I am.
Unfortunately, all three said no, citing that it was the biggest spider theyd ever seen. Well, that scared me even more because now normal people who arent even afraid of spiders didnt want to go near the thing.
I opened the door to give the spider a chance to make a run for it. He or she didnt get the hint.
Finally, I took some deep breaths, and mustered the courage to do what I had to do: I crossed the street and asked a neighbor guy for help.
Lisa Pemberton is one busy mama, raising three children while working as a reporter at The Olympian. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org .