Smith’s Web

I’m not one to squeal when I see an ant and I don’t shy away from beetles. While I can do without centipedes, I’m not going to run away. (Ticks and mosquitoes are a different story as I have very sensitive skin and react quite poorly to these bloodsuckers.) I had no problem digging for worms as a kid and didn’t mind baiting my own hook for daily fishing trips across the street at my neighbor’s pond. While I know snakes are definitely more scared of me than I am of them, I am just fine if I don’t encounter one. I have had the occasion to jump out of my own skin and run screaming in the other direction when a serpent slithers across the running trail in front of me. But, if armored with a shovel and given proper warning, I think I could handle myself just fine.

The point is, growing up on a dead-end street as the baby of the family and no other kids for miles, I got pretty accustomed to the creepy crawly things in our back yard. The white nests teeming with caterpillars meant summer was coming and I could go barefoot. I’ll never forget the summer when ladybugs infested my Pa’s workshop and literally thousands of them flew about as we played in the sandbox. I still believe they’re good luck and they’re my second favorite creature topped only by my beloved giraffes.

The yard is Ray’s domain and so I ignore most happenings out there aside from blooms and buds. However, recently I have noticed some spider webs spun up in the rails of our front porch railing. While unsightly, I didn’t do much about it and never even mentioned it to Ray. When I head out for a run or to get the mail, (my domain, as I am fairly certainly Ray wouldn’t notice if the mail carrier had to attach a grocery bag to the box because it’s so full) I casually swat at the webs and be on my way.

Today I went out to get the mail just as the mail carrier pulled on to our street. Careful to avoid human interaction as I’m still wearing my pajamas and no bra, I busied myself by cleaning the spider webs from the porch. To my horror I realized the web didn’t end where the shrubbery began. In fact I am surprised I could see anything green at all. The intricate weaving of silken spider webbing was laced back and forth the entire length of our house. It looked like those foreboding fields in Australia that look like fresh snow but are actually just one giant spider web. I rapidly began breaking up the webbing on the porch, glancing around the cul de sac wondering if my neighbors with their landscaping companies had noticed the terror trove taking over our yard. What kind of arachnids were these anyway? If one bit me, would my skin turn black and slough off? I was going to need backup.

I ran back into the house to find tools. Broom? Yardstick? Why am I so short?! I made my way into the garage and like a savior sat Ray’s golf bag. I grabbed a club and channeled Elin Nordegren while attacking first the rhododendron and then the holly bush. It never occurred to me that this display would be more embarrassing than the webs themselves. So long as the spider colony is moving on, who cares if the people across the street know I haven’t worn a bra one time this entire month?

It took 31 minutes, but I dismantled the nightmare all except for the very top of the tallest bush. Climbing a ladder alone isn’t on the top of my Thursday to-do list and I was sweating out completely anyway.

*pause for spread eagle nude laying under the fan to cool off*

Now I’m back at my computer and my skin and mind are crawling. I’ve already washed the full lengths of my arms with soap that carelessly soaked the hardwood floors in the kitchen and followed that up with a lysol antibacterial wipe of my entire body for good measure. I can’t help but wonder how long it’ll be before this entire charade will have to be repeated or before my arm puckers and blistered with venom (or is it poison?). How does one prevent creatures from calling their home home? Didn’t I read an article once that said you should take it as a compliment that your yard is riddled with bugs and reptiles? Something about being a healthy ecosystem or whatever. If only it was October I could save some money at Pier 1 buying faux webs for Halloween decor.

Side note: moths are completely terrible. They’re like tiny birds, so calm perched on a ceiling . Then freaking entirely when you approach. Why do they leave such a disgusting smear on the wall when you crush them? I’ll be the dumb girl in a horror movie every night entering a pitch black house if turning off the porch light means they’ll stay away. I think my feelings on slugs are likely an entirely separate blog post. Stay tuned.

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