FRIDAY OPEN THREAD: This Spider Almost Destroyed Me

You made it to Friday. We made it to Friday. Let’s kick off Friday Open Thread with a story…

You know when you’re worried about something but convince yourself you’re not really that worried, because actual worry gives weight to it in a way that you’re not prepared for, and so to reinforce the idea that you’re definitely not worried you talk about it all the time? Then when you’re talking about it one time someone’s like, “Oh, that’s bad” completely unprompted and now you can’t ignore it? That was me last week after a month long battle with a spider who took over our front porch.

I’ll start by saying I’m not a huge fan of spiders. Oh, so original, I’m sure! Look, I don’t trust them, they don’t ever seem to be doing the “hard work” everyone boasts about in terms of controlling the bug population, they’re too fast, some of them jump for some truly nightmarish reason, and they’re a little too bold for my liking. But I live in a pretty woodsy area, so I understand that this is life. To give into whatever fear I have about spiders would be debilitating.

Which is why when I saw a spider the size of a GMO’d lemon with neon yellow stripes on its back end set up between the railings on our front porch one afternoon, I remained calm. I was casual. “Oh, hello, is the weather to your liking?” I did not then imagine the clicking of a thousand lizard king tongues as its response.

screen-shot-2016-09-14-at-5-46-56-pm

Again, casually, I took a picture and Google matched it. She was a nonpoisonous garden spider, which we knew because of her coloring, markings, and zig-zagged web pattern. Great! No harm here, and no real reason to rip at its web with the fury of a Olympic breast stroke swimmer while simultaneously spraying at it an entire bottle of Raid!

As the days went on, I became genuinely curious about her. I’d check on her throughout the day and watch the progress she’d made on her web. I named her Harriett. One night it started raining on a walk home and I sprinted the rest of the way back to make sure Harriett hadn’t been taken down.

Those were the golden days. Then something happened.

screen-shot-2016-09-14-at-5-50-55-pm

In a span of a week, Harriett had given birth three times and placed her egg sacs on the front wall of the house strategically below the bedroom window. I felt disrespected. How could you, we were all rooting for you, etc. My initial thought was: burn the house down. Torch it. Everything. We’re driving to California today to start new lives as fabric store owners, where nothing bad will happen.

Once that fantasy played out I refocused. Like I said, I knew this was bad, but not prepared for how bad it could be. I knew they needed to go, but like, how pressing was it? I took to the internet. Surprisingly, not as many horror stories as I’d thought I’d find. On one forum a woman found herself in my position and ended her query with “AND NO PICTURES.” She knew people were going to act up in her time of need. My searches started to get desperate, just adding all sorts of unnecessary adjectives into the search bar. “Delicate egg sac removal.” “Noninvasive spider egg extraction.” Sad!

Nothing made me feel better or worse enough to immediately do anything about the millions of spiders who would grow to become as big as Harriett hanging below the room where I sleep, so in the meantime I was very busy putting a wig on my dog and imagining him as a woman named Carol who was late for work.screen-shot-2016-09-15-at-10-35-34-am

Then I Instagram’d a picture of Harriett and her pods, and people were saying things like “RUN” and “goodbye” and “panic” and, “You should be scared.” Fears confirmed. It had to be done that day. THAT HOUR. I gathered items for a spider egg removal kit which included: latex gloves, kitchen tongs (?), Tupperware, garbage bags, scissors, and Raid. Raid was a last resort, an emergency measure should the unspeakable happen. I also filmed it so if something happened there would be record of why I disappeared.

View this post on Instagram

SPIDER PODS REMOVED

A post shared by Erin Sullivan (@active_senior_) on

Do I miss Harriett? No. Do I expect to find her one morning posted up in the same spot in the very near further? Yes.

Have you lived to tell a tale of home infestation? Did you have cats in your walls? Do birds stalk your house? Has a spider ever disrespected you?

Also it’s (supposed to be) fall!!! I can’t wait to be released from this humidity and also for apple cider. What are you excited for? What’s your go-to music or movie to get you in that fall mood? Let’s get crackin’ in the comments!

How To Post A Photo In The Comments:

Find a photo on the web, right click (on a Mac, control+click), hit “Copy Image URL” and then…
code it in to your comment like so:

If you need to upload the photo you love from your computer, try using imgur. To learn more about posting photos, check out Ali’s step-by-step guide.

How To Post A Video In The Comments, Too:

Find a video on YouTube or Vimeo or WHATEVER and click “embed.” Copy that code, paste it, you’re good to go!

Before you go! It takes funding to keep this publication by and for queer women and trans people of all genders running every day. And support from readers like you keeps the majority of our site free for everyone. Still, 99.9% of our readers do not support. Autostraddle is fundraising right now to keep our site funded through January 2022. Will you join our community of readers in helping to keep us around?

Los Angeles based writer. Let's keep it clean out there!

Erin has written 208 articles for us.

193 Comments

  1. yay open thread! *I AM EXCITED FOR*!: living + working in a country with a currency that’s relatively powerful on the global currency exchange BECAUSE that means I can soon afford to restart my A+ silver membership again!!!

  2. This is storytelling at its best, and that video and the bags of children is the icing on the cake! I commend your bravery and calmness in the face of danger.

    I have had a week full of nothing, I am counting down the days until next week when I am flying to live in a new country and learn a new language in the place that my girlfriend is from! eeek! I am nervous and excited and trying to forget the dream I had about my trip last night where my accomodation plans were sort of disrupted by an old cannibal witch lady from Yemen

  3. Oh god, spiders no! I am shivering right now. Good for you for refraining from using hairspray and a lighter and burning your house down.

    My building is replacing all of the windows and balconies, which is good because it’ll be more insulated and quieter, but bad because I’ve had to move and cover all my stuff and now everything is covered in concrete dust. So cleaning that up is going to be my weekend.

    But it’s okay, because in the meantime I’ve discovered Mo Kenney, who is pretty much a lesbian butch douchebag Bob Dylan, but in a really appealing way, and I’ve been listening to Carly Rae Jensen’s Emotion (both sides) I’m kicking myself in the pants because I got to meet her once, but it was before Emotion came out. I was totally blasé, like “sure, you had one earworm hit that people in high school loved” I WAS SO WRONG.

    I also made caramel sauce last night, which is easily the least work for the most deliciousness ever. https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2016/09/easy-caramel-sauce-recipe.html&ved=0ahUKEwj6q96zu5TPAhVV7mMKHdDdCkYQqUMIIDAB&usg=AFQjCNFNyfaccJ9foyUFcuq0wl8rml3JKQ&sig2=4tqMQGFcQncsAWR9QLKxcg

    I highly recommend it.

  4. Unless my name is Dee Reynolds, I don’t think many people have cats just hang out in their walls. My parents home(and current residence) at one was infested with snail all over the outside. Like sidewalk would have shells, the steps that lead to our door was lined with snail juice, and the walls out door would have snails. Gardner used whatever store bought chemicals he had to drive them out of the neighborhood. Also, a few years back I had a swarm(think 100+) of bee for half a day, just hanging around the wall that separates our home with the neighbors home. I don’t have pics of with me right now, but may post it when I get home. The neighbors called Animal Control(?), but they came the next day after the bees left, who told us someone must have destroyed their hive nearby, and were just taking a rest migrating. A bit weird for the part of LA I live in.

    So, the other week I mentioned my mother found my toy, last night she made it awkward again, but saying I hope no surprises pop up again. Ugh. At least the rest of the week was less awkward.

    How’s everyone’s week? I went to a friend’s queer birthday party Wednesday and it was great as expected. Plus, now I know of a queer bar that has free pool and $2.50 drink Wednesdays. On Sunday I took a lovely hike to a waterfall where I jumped it. Water was a bit cold, but it was a great blast of adrenaline.

    I think it was around 30ft tall the jump. I did it once, but my buddy did it twice.

    What the area around the waterfall looks like.

    After the dip in the water we walked the rest of the trail to the cave. Not the kind you can sit in, but this is the view from the top of the cave. I was hopped on adrenaline the rest of the day, it was great.

    I asked my buddy to take pics of me taking the jump, which I do have. For safety/not being out reasons I wasn’t in my bikini top; so, I this genderqueer trans woman-ish person took the jump topless. I felt naked, and confused, like I am going to be in trouble for being topless(though I am om not on medical hormones yet). Ugh, but fear of making a mistaken kind of helped me forget. Still, would do it again!

    Thank you for viewing and reading my post. Have a positive weekend!

  5. Haha, at first I was wondering if there was going to be a correlation of fall and Halloween/horror, then was amused to see the story end with a call for things we are excited about. :) I, for one, am ready for some serious apple-picking festivities. Drinking apple wine, and snacking on apple cookies and donuts are the way to go.

  6. Harriett was kinda neat but those child-bags GAG GAG GAG! Trypophobia engage!

    British Columbia is currently infested with bears. Lookit this fuzzeh bebeh burr that was bumbling around in my friends’ yard the other day:

    Also another friend nearly got eaten by a grizzly on her camping trip. Come to Canada for fun and excitement!

  7. I have a terrifying story about a nest of baby jumping spiders that I mistook for a colorful patch of moss when I was about 8.

    I could relate it here, but I think I’ll just let your imaginations run wild. Bags of children, indeed. *shudder*

  8. Thanks to Erin, my Friday has now contained way too much spider. :P

    I’ve got arachnophobia. I’m just irrational scared of the things. They terrify me. Do you know how terrible it is when your wife has it WORSE?! Do you know what that makes me? The DEFAULT spider-foe!

    Just last week this massive, dark, ugly, scary spider from the inner levels of hell suddenly appeared at the top of a wall while we were watching the first season of Penny Dreadful and demonically summoned spiders were pouring out from under Tarot cards. As you might imagine, this resulted in much screaming and panic.

    My natural inclination was to sic the cat on it. My wife objected. “No! what if it’s poisonous?! The cat will die!” This, coming from the same woman who insists the toilet lid must be closed at all times or else, “The cats will drown”. No one said either of us were rational.

    As I determined what to do, I realized the leg-span of this advanced scout of the demonic horde was wider than my phone. To make matters worse, we have dark brown shag carpet. If this sucker dropped, it was going to enter stealth mode. Not only that, but my wife was screaming from across the room not to let that happen so the cats didn’t get killed.

    It took about ten minutes of me working up the courage to engage my foe in combat mortal. Most of that time was spent pleading with the universe for some sort of magical fix that involved none of this happening. I also wanted to call the maintenance man, but my wife insisted we couldn’t bother him with something so petty. At that point, I felt less than intense love for my wife and wanted to volunteer several unpleasant things she could do while she forced me to duel with Godzilla’s arachnid cousin.

    How dare she replace restrictions on me while forcing me into battle?! See, when I am forced to kill a spider it’s no-holds-barred. Anything goes. Fire everything! All the cliches.

    It occurred to me that I could grab the swiffer mop. I did so. Immediately my wife objected. “Put a paper towel on it so the guts don’t get on the mop!”

    Really?

    “I can wash them off. I want the rubber so I can pin it and grind it apart against the wall.”

    “Ew! No! Just PLEASE put a paper towel on it.”

    She’s now nearly having a panic attack and I’m forced to deal with that, the spider, and pretend I’m not having a panic attack of my own. Another ten minutes later… because I kept approaching and backing off, scared one of its twelve eyes was watching me and waiting to jump on my face like a smaller version of something in an Alien movie… I finally took the mop high and several feet away, then brought it down hard on the demon spider. It hit! Squarely on!

    I immediately moved over to empty the remains into the toilet, but my wife wasn’t satisfied. She grabbed a box of matches and rushed over, lighting the paper towel wrapped mop on fire to burn the remains before we drowned them. To say this was a bad idea is an understatement.

    Now, with the smoke detectors blaring and me rushing through the apartment with a flaming mop, I had to be careful not to drop the remains of the spider, which were more terrifying than setting the carpet on fire in that moment. I arrived at the toilet very quickly, realizing I had no way to actually remove the flaming wreckage from my mop. I did what any sensible person having a panic attack and losing their critical thinking skills would do and immediately stuffed the mop into the toilet itself.

    The paper towel still didn’t come off. Thankfully we had latex gloves handy and donning them (by that I mean I did, because my wife would sooner touch a super bacteria than spider remains), successfully removed the paper towel, the remains of spider, and flushed them to oblivion.

    After all that, you might expect my wife would bleach the mop clean for me. No. The spider had been on it. Well, it had been on the paper towel that had been on it. That was enough for her. I grabbed the bleach and disinfected the toilet soaked mop.

    We decided to watch something else when it was all over.

    I blame Erin for triggering last week’s horrors. :P

    • I’m just imagining two people running around with a flaming mop covered in dead spider with alarms going off everywhere and realizing how easily this could be my life.

      We keep so-called “spider jars” (empty plastic kraft parmesan cheese jars with lids) for occasions such as this. As much as I can’t stand spiders I can’t stand spider remains even more. The only catch is you have to get within arm’s reach of the thing to get it.

    • This was a riveting story. Just one question, was a vacuum not an option? I am more scared of other bugs than spiders, but spiders still kind of irk me out. So, for me I just grab the vacuum and generally use the attachment to get it. One time I even tried to vacuum smoke so inside dirt container was smoke to either kill or relax the spider. I forget what happened.

      • I can’t do that. I’m sorry if this becomes an issue for you, but I always imagine the spider is alive and making a nest in the vacuum bag, plotting its revenge because I sucked it up. I can’t. I just can’t…unless you have a canister vac and can just dump it!

    • You just jumped to the top of the list of the world’s most sexiest women. Nothing is sexier than an arachnophic person turning into a spider foe. My wife and I agreed, when and if we get a girl friend, she will be in charge of spider killing. I am arachnophobic and I always have to do the killing.

        • I saw this in recent comments and knew it had to be directed at me. :D

          I have both because I’m polyamorous. I can marry whomever I choose, but I can’t get it legally recognized. No differently than that my wife and I were married before we were able to do so legally because it was a same-sex relationship.

          Just because the government and culture enforce a religiously based standard of marriage—and have made inter-faith, interracial, same-sex, and polyamorous marriage illegal at some point—doesn’t mean people are going to magically stop following their hearts.

          “Marriage” in my book, is between the people involved in it, not society or the government. Society and the government aren’t in my bed so they can fuck off. ;)

          I hope that’s helpful. Be sure to check out Autostraddle’s new series on Polyamory. :)

  9. I want you to know how much it took for me to open this article. I recently deleted a long time nature photographer friend because he posted a close up of a hideous spider. I don’t think I’ve ever hit an unfollow button so fast.

    FALL IS COMING. We just had a few days of glorious 70ish degree days and I could have WEPT in happiness. My jam for fall is cinnamon scented candles that I burn when I come home from work after I plug in my multi colored christmas lights and settle in for some netflix. It’s my post-work de-stressing ritual.

    The candles are a yearly fall item at a local convenience store chain that are always marked at 50% off no matter where in the holiday season we seem to be? I don’t know, but that’s the story of how I spent $30 on fall scented candles a few weeks ago.

    The cool weather also inspired me to make danish pastry dough, which is currently chilling in my fridge until I can figure out what kind of fillings to make for them. I know I have to go and actually drive to the store for produce which is making this process a lot longer. Anyone have any suggestions?

    Also! I’m learning ASL and I had several deaf customers come into my work the other night and I was able to communicate with them fairly successfully! Everyone I worked with thought it was really impressive even though they couldn’t tell my signing/perception was average at best but I felt pretty happy about it. Even a customer came up to me and said they didn’t know I could sign and they thought it was really cool!

    The best part though was that it was a family of a woman and her two daughters (probably about 6 or 7), all Deaf, and when the little girls knew that I was hearing they would fingerspell very slowly and clearly for me which was the sweetest thing I’ve ever seen.

    • i know, re: the picture feature image an alt title to this was “im sorry about this picture”. i just got my multi colored lights up too! makes our back porch feel like an underwater dream. after reading that asl story with those two girl i need to lie down.

  10. Last month I spent two weeks in Nairobi, Kenya for work (and I got to do a ton of sightseeing and spend down time with my colleagues) and now I’m trying to adjust to being back home in the US. It’s very weird.

    I’m looking forward to apple cider and the trees turning colors. And my queer book group is discussing Ancillary Justice next month and I’m really looking forward to that.

  11. Hi, Erin!

    1) Your dog is adorable in that wig.
    2) You handled that spider much better than I would have. My response would have involved far more screaming. =)

    I went to a lake cabin with a date last weekend, and fortunately, the weather was really nice:

  12. I’m having the same feelings I’ve already had TOO many times this summer. Summer SAD is terrible :(
    I’ve spent two and half months trying to find a roommate (lots of stress/anxiety) and the last two weeks I’ve been sure that I finally had, but some stuff happened in their life and I’m not sure what’s happening now. But I do not want to restart my search for the fourth time! and especially not since my fall term starts in about a week! I thought all of this would be long over with once school started.
    And I’m having sappy feelings over a great person that lives across the country, that doesn’t want to do distance but is still seriously flirting with me!
    It’s like the end of July all over again.

    • Did I mention how awful summer is? and how much of a terrible emotional rollercoaster it is?
      Cause for about a half a day I didn’t have a roommate anymore and was stressed the hell out. and now I’ve found someone else and hopefully this is the last of this absurdity and she works out and moves in. Cause I’m just so done with my stress levels skyrocketing like that. And I’m so done being hopefully and then hurt.

  13. I’m so happy you relocated the spider mama Harriett with her sacks of children. I’m sure that made her moving less stressful. Am I thinking about a spider’s feelings this much? Yes, yes I am.

    This week has been long and exhausting and I am so glad it is Friday. Work hasn’t been particularly challenging lately and it is starting to wear on me. As a sort of self-care escape, I did one of those sensory deprivation floats for the first time on Tuesday and it was nice. No hallucinations though :( I just floated and relaxed and got salt in my eyes on two different occasions within 60 minutes.

    I’ve been impatiently waiting for fall with the rest of y’all and it is slowly happening. Still warm in my parts but the humidity is manageable which means I can still comfortably enjoy iced coffee.

    Have a good weekend everyone! It’s fall pride here so I’ll be running around with rainbow flags or a rainbow umbrella, depending on the weather.

  14. I live at peace with spiders, but I have a hard time with cockroaches.

    I also don’t kill things.

    Several years ago, I packed an ailing office cockroach into a fed ex envelope, and walked him across the west side highway to a nice waterfront trashcan where I’m sure he lived his days out in joyful solitude.

    That’s not my story.

    This weekend, I went to the bathroom with no contacts in and saw a large dark spot on the wall high above my shower. I peed, whatever, and then went to grab my glasses, certain it was not a cockroach. There are no cockroaches in my apartment, kthx.

    Sadly….there was a cockroach. In my bathroom. It was big.

    SO. I did what any logical person would do. I left the lights on, closed the door, sealed the cracks with grocery bags, and left the apartment. For 18 hours. Which certainly is enough time for a cockroach to realize that we don’t eat in the bathroom, and the only way out is the vent 3 feet to his right.

    Cockroaches are not logical. (ALSO THEY LAY EGGS IN THEIR DEAD AND CUDDLE YOU IN THE WINTER.)

    When I came home 18 hours later? He was still hanging out. In the exact same place.

    So by god. I got a broom and a chair, and I put on my best rambo face, and I herded that cockroach hack out to the air vent.

    ….Then I screwed a papertowel in behind the vent plate so nothing larger than microscopic can get back in.

  15. So, once I may have dropped a giant hardcover dictionary from a great height onto a spider.

    Which was STILL ALIVE after I removed the book.

    So yes, they are demonic, and no, you can’t trust them. Also, they have homing instincts.

  16. Since we’re out-grossing each other with spider stories… I was in Costa Rica once and stepped into a shower and pulled the curtain across and there was a tarantula bigger than my whole hand hanging out in the folds of the curtain. We made eye contact. I somehow managed to not run naked and flailing out of the bathroom and into the common area, but just barely.

  17. Also, wow Erin, really yes this should have been the hallowe’en open thread.

    I could tell the story of the maggots dropping into our frying pan from the ceiling, but I think perhaps this instead:

    A friend living in Kenya found a giant spider on the inside of his mosquito net, and after very very careful maneuvers got out. He asked a local coworker what type it was..but his Swahili wasn’t great yet, and he figured he wasn’t explaining well, as his coworker called it a “snake”. Until he tried to explain a different way, and the coworker replied “Yes, yes, it’s a spider; we call it snake spider, because one bite and you’re dead.”

  18. That’s so many spiders! Where did Harriett go!

    Our house is also v woodsy and there are bunches of spiders and I don’t like it but they also aren’t usually so huge or obvious, I just see them scuttle away as I swat away dozens of spider webs on my way to the car every morning like that one scene in Indiana jones.

    My week has been sort of bonkers, mostly bc I was scheduled up the wazoo with clients after being on rustic vacation with my gf’s family for a week (I drank out of a creek and washed dishes by lantern light and I did not complain because I am a GODDAMNED TEAM PLAYER.)

    Anyway I am finding out that I need to start scheduling in more time to bullshitting around and just because I could do a thing that somebody would pay me money for does not mean that I should always do it. It’s hard to be like “more opportunities for money will come, because life is different now than it was three years ago, therefore I have to also prioritize free time and funning around.”

    But I’m good otherwise, I have a fairly unscheduled weekend but will get happy hour with an old friend and go to a car repair 101 workshop at the queerdo auto mechanic shop, which I think will be charming.

    There are also a couple of really long term couple I know splitting up, it’s funny when it happens in clusters like that. Is that happening with anybody else? Is it Mercury in retrograde or something? Idk, but I’m gonna get ice cream with my buds and talk about it.

    Happy weekend to all!

    I’m nannying now and put the little down to be like “nap time now” and he isn’t sleeping but he isn’t crying either so……we’ll see.

    My

    • wow, a week of that? im all for camping but you really are a team player.

      don’t i knowwwe just what youre talking about re: taking on more than you know youre prepared for and end up livin to work! when u make ur schedule want to send it this way?

      Ive never been more jealous of someone’s weekend plans- i want to go to a queer auto work shop so bad. life mission.

      it’s the pisces full moon which i guess is all about letting go of major relationships/commitments, which would make some sense here!

  19. KILL ALL SPIDERS! DESTROY THEM!
    They really scare me. I can’t get through that damn movie Arachnophobia. I feel like the spiders will pour out of the tv.

    I grew up in various dilapidated houses, so I am familiar with infestations. We had a bad ant, flea and spider problems and other times we had rat problems. I was bitten by a rat in my sleep too. Nothing like waking up with a body eat and a rat looking right at you. It seemed like cleaning or poisoning never worked.

    Human infestations are the worst by far. My mother in law lived with us for a year….I would rather have bugs and rats. It was so bad we only refer to her as Voldemort.

    Oh and happy Friday guys. Usually I would be all happy and stuff in my comments, but I am really tired. I only get about 4 hours of sleep because of school and work. I am still enjoying it though. I must be mental.

    Yep. I am mental.

  20. In the interest of sharing infestation stories…

    I was in a lecture hall once for a class and saw a giant cockroach scooting across the floor. I was in the front row and (for some reason) told myself that as the TA I had to remain calm and composed as though I hadn’t noticed it. I decided it’d be SUPER discreet just to keep my legs held 5″ above the ground just in case the cockroach thought my pant leg was its new home. I maintained this position for an hour.

    Meanwhile, in the middle of class, as the professor is lecturing about Communism, she notices the cockroach about an inch from her foot. She stops mid-sentence, casually remarks “I believe Gregor has returned to visit us,” and then goes right back on teaching. I will never have that much chill.

  21. One time, at night, I tried to go into my backyard, but stopped when I saw the red hourglass of a black widow a few inches from my eyes.

    She had decided to make her web across my backdoor-frame. Unforgivable.

  22. Oh my god, I am SO GLAD you made this post, because a friend of Harriet’s is chillin’ right outside my living room window, not five feet from where I sit at my computer!

    It is a Harriet & Friend-sized weight off my shoulders to know she’s harmless, PHEW.

    …I still may have to gently disassemble the web before bags of babies happen.

  23. Did you guys know that on Tinder there are girls with cars who want to take you to enjoy leaves and pumpkins and other fall things in the countryside? So anyway I am going on two dates.

    This week I have mainly been working a lot and continuing to obsess over the work-in-progress of my hair. I am doing all right with less washing and more pomade and got flirted with by someone who is probably ten years younger than me when I was at a university campus, but I’m still feeling like I need to get rid of more hair. Also, I got a lot of tomatilloes in a CSA and I have no idea what you do with them, can you tell me?

  24. Awwww, I hope Harriet is doing well, wherever she is. And dem bbs. (I haven’t watched the video yet, so im hoping they’re all ok!) I’ve had a bunch of spider roomies,though none like Harriet. Sometimes they have baby sacs, which is like, excuse, I am not a daycare. I cannot babysit your children who are the size of a pin head.

    Anyway, guess what! I got a job!!! A full time, 9 to 5 office job, of all things. Who would’ve thought it of me? I start Monday, so today I had to travel out to buy “appropriate” clothing. (Gosh I can’t wait to be paid the first time…..) I’m definitely not abandoning my Etsy or Redbubble, though; I even made Facebook pages for my stuff and for my hopefully-someday small business. (If you wanna check them out, the one is @caitlinmakesstuff and the other is @illuminatemd. Take a look maybe :B )

    I’m def nervous and restless and feeling kinda weird, tbh. It’s all strange and sudden and im trying to handle it as best I can, yknow? I’m just hoping that this will go well and maybe the last bit of this shitty, shitty year can be salvaged.

    And tomorrow is the Small Press Expo down in Bethesda, which is a+++++++. It’ll be awesome to see all the new work :) Maybe next year I’ll be tabling! :D

  25. Hey-o!

    Those spider sacks were large eesh! The past two days I’ve been cleaning out a bunch of old journals and stuff Kon Marie style and it feels so good. My bedroom is SO much quieter because I took all the paper out of the closet and chucked it away. My left hip and knee hurt while I was doing this because it’s like a detox pr much and whatever it was leaving my bones physically. I feel quite good today.

    ANyway in my quest to get rid of anything that doesn’t spark joy, whilst moving things around I too found some sacks of the whitish variety attached to my record player that would’ve surely popped out babies of the insect kind. yikes! so basically tidying up saved my life.

  26. This week at my dayjob we too had an infestation, exacerbated by the heat and humidity we had flies. Not one, or two, but enough that by the time the entire can of raid my boss had used did its work I was sweeping up so many that it looked like we’d dropped a 5lb bag of currants on the floor. Horrifying. Clients were coming to tell me how many dying flies there were in the bathroom…all day. It was just so truly gross. Mounds of fly corpses littered the hall, little trampled mangled bodies trodden into the rug. We think a pigeon died in te loft cavity above, precipitating the flies, which then when sprayed…dropped like flies. Oh Erin, I’d still rather have them than your 8 legged interloper and her baby sacks.
    As I write I’m lying on an air bed in my sur-sister’s flat in London. I’m here on a course this weekend, will tell all next Friday. Wish me luck, I need a career change! Haven’t finished Carmilla due to appalling train wifi sitch. So I’m sticking my metaphorical fingers in my ears, certain in the knowledge I’ll be too busy to deal til Sunday night. Prepare for latent flailing all over the interwebs.
    Have great weekends folks. May you remain infestation free.

  27. Seriously count me in on the list of people excited for fall and the supposedly cooler temperatures it will bring because I got heat exhaustion today for a record-setting fourth time this year. Now you may be saying, “Hollis, weren’t you kayaking on the Gauley river today, which is a dam release and so isn’t even that warm? Also wasn’t the high only like 84?” Yes, those are both true things. And I wasn’t even dehydrated. My body just sucks at temperature regulation that much. So temperatures where I don’t get heat exhaustion would be FANTASTIC.

    On the up side, I’m at gauley fest!!!! Three days of boating and shenanigans! Plus I came down early and am staying in the SE for a bit next week for even more kayaking!!

  28. Erin.
    How could you.
    I thought this was a safe space and then…
    I actually managed to scroll past the s… eightlegged one fast enough to read on and then you continue on about the, the…
    How exactly am I supposed to sleep tonight?
    I’m already alternating between wanting to strip off my itchy skin and resisting the urge to throw my phone across the room.
    Now, this is awkward.
    I’m actually sitting in the boarding area at Union Station waiting for my three hour late night train and now I’m going to be spending half the night trying not to think about that..that.
    You know.

    But seriously, for people like me,with dire arachnophobia, on their phones or handhelds, pictures of the ..things are a real issue, because you don’t just have to look at them, you can’t navigate away from the page without..argh.

    I hope y’all are swell, I honestly can’t deal with the creepy crawley stories bound to pop up in this thread.
    I mean..I have zero chance for a shower until tomorrow night.

    P.S.: New boarding time 10:37pm.
    This part of Union Station is going to get interesting in a little while.*sigh*

    • Train is now scheduled to depart at 1 something am.
      Did you know Washington D.C. has the largest or one of the largest working homeless populations in the US?
      I honestly do not know who’s waiting for the train here and who isn’t, tbh.
      Some certainly aren’t.
      What a crap way if somehow getting through the night means every night..

      • I do, my inner Hermione is not proud of knowing the factoid just rather frustrated and saddened.

        It’s been a fact since I visited there about 10 years ago Post-Katrina and lemme tell ya the homeless and displaced were really on my mind at that time. Especially since we were there to celebrate Christmas with my brother, his wife and my infant niece. Our gutted house made my mom cry, the prospect of doing the holidays in “the shell of our home” made her cry hard.
        He paid for the tickets and my family was able to afford a hotel room for the majority of the visit and the last night we slept on the couch and chairs of their apartment. There was a Nativity story crack at some point that evening.

        “Any society, any nation, is judged on the basis of how it treats its weakest members — the last, the least, the littlest.”
        – Cardinal Roger Mahony, In a 1998 letter, Creating a Culture of Life

        It’s something adapted from a 1977 speech of Hubert Humphrey, LBJ’s Vice President.

        That was on my mind, even though I’m terrible a Catholic and did not identify as Christian at that point in time. Still don’t.

        • I can’t fathom the reaches of your inner Hermione, but in case you didn’t know: That idea about society and their weakest is an old Greek idea.
          Hephaestus was handicapped and a part of life, society and that Olympic soap opera, just as everyone else.
          The US really is not a kind place to its weak, its poor, its ill and its old.
          I know you guys are used to it, but a lot of things were very hard for me to see.
          Well then, in that vein:
          On to the South!

          • I hypothesized as much, I’m not just absorber of random facts like I tend tell to people b/c I’m afraid I’ll come of as pretentious rather than just a “smart person”.

            No this country is not, if you can’t maintain yourself independently you lack value as person and our taking resources away from the productive members of society. Hitler was VERY inspired by eugenics movement, practices and laws of of 20th century America.

            Heh it’s hard for us to see too. You might notice how we won’t look directly at homeless people or people who scavenge garbage receptacles for usable food or goods.
            We look away from them and only at them when it’s our personal garbage.

            http://scholarworks.umb.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1539&context=nejpp

  29. There was the squirrels one winter when I was a little girl, one of them got trapped in the chimney and died. But we did’t know the little one was still there until things got stinky or need to used the fireplace and its corpse fell down when the flume was reopened.
    Not so sure about that part that cause the whole reason they got in was the flume being left open while we were out after dinner purchasing a Christmas tree.

    What I am sure about is the other squirrel(s) that escaped and caused havoc. They or it partially ate one of the curtains, nicked others with their claws and got wee little paw prints on the walls and the nice parlour couch Katrina latter ruined beyond reasonable repair. I really miss that couch it was horrid tacky and fancy at the same time. Despite the giant floral print with thick and thin stripes I couldn’t care less, it made me feel like Marie Antoinette.

    Then there’s the meal moths.
    That was an infestation, like an old testament plague or that dybbuk movie with Jeffery Dean Morgan(Denny, Sam and Dean’s dad).
    And it never ends.
    Just because the adults appear to be gone, are not flying about or dead like a bunch of flies of means jackshit.These fuckers can hide their little pupating selves in any stationary crevice you can thing off, chew thru foil and many plastics, eat chili peppers.
    The only thing you can do is put pheromone based traps out to seduced the males to a sticky grave rather than fertilize the eggs hiding in your crown molding, on your cans or literally in any of your food and go thru all your food to check for pupa, larva and eggs.
    And do this every 6 months until you don’t see any flying about for a minimum of a year.

    Anyway.
    I been having a rip roaring fun time with this thing

    https://iwl.me/ (click it you know you want ta)

    It analyses your writing style and finds a famous or important writer with the same style.

    So naturally I shove somethings my dysgraphic ass has written into and well. I got Nabokov with one. James Joyce with another thing. Margaret Atwood with something I wrote about Witchsonas. But most commonly David Foster Wallace.
    I don’t understand what “moving beyond the irony and metafiction associated with postmodernism” means but some quotes of his break my fucking heart.

    “How odd I can have all this inside me and to you it’s just words.”

    “Everything I’ve ever let go of has claw marks on it.”

    “Acceptance is usually more a matter of fatigue than anything else.”

    I see the depression and fatigue and it hurts. It hurts such a smart, sharp tack person got swallowed whole.

    It hurts because sometimes being educated and aware of the world isn’t a freedom. Sometimes it’s weight that crushes you because comprend the depth of wrongness and injustice of things but have no power to change them.
    Depression fucking sucks.

    • For some reason all I could imagine while reading your squirrel story was that scene from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation when the Griswolds’ night spirals into total chaos at the paws of an errant squirrel. So funny on screen, I’m sure not so much irl!

      • Heh, at least the tree hadn’t been even been untied from the car roof yet, and we didn’t have a dog or company over either. My family is more Romano-Seinfield style chaos than Griswold. ;)

        I was like 5, maybe six when it happened and it was plenty funny to me. Plus I got to look closely at their lil’ paw prints and guess the size of their claws from the nicks and tears in the curtains.

      • ISN’T IT? Have you put a piece of writing from each of your coworkers yet?

        But I have dysgraphia there is no style. Just a panicked attempt by my poor brain to compose something with an organization and structure of something that looks like it belongs to a literate adult human that knows more than a sentence is a complete thought.

        It’s why I write long, rambletonsworth comments, I can’t smooth them out it something neater and shorter like neurotypical person. A run on sentence will be a complete thought to me and I can’t break the fucker down without making like 5 (awkward) sentences out it.

        So it’s hilarious to me that writer app matched be to such lauded and influential writers.
        Oh and the last thing I put in it was matched to Charles Dickens, I slapped the table and cackle for about a minute.
        Just wtf, like how is that…even?

  30. I’m feeling particularly squeamish about spider related things because I’m pretty sure I got bitten by one in a bar on Tuesday, and my wrist swelled so much and had this red circle that was expanding, and basically I thought maybe poison was gonna travel all up my arm because I’m from Scotland and not used to living in a country with poisonous spiders?!
    (Spoiler alert: I’m totally fine, I just have a teeny bump where the bite was.)

    But will I ever get the image of this weird spider thing sitting on my skirt, literally waving its arms at me as I tried to shoo it away? NOPE.

  31. Y’all I almost forgot.

    Something adorable, but kinda not good happened this morning.

    The sound of my phone’s alarm clock got smothered by chubby puppy butt.
    I woke up late because the rotund rear end of a canine companion absorbed both the sound and vibrations of cellular alarm clock.

  32. You think that’s bad?

    I’m not afraid of spiders. I used to breed tarantulas and scorpions (along with snakes and lizards)many years ago.

    Last year, I was sitting at my computer in my bedroom with the lights off when I noticed something on the bill of my baseball cap. I brushed it away, figuring it was one of my hairs. Then it happened again, and again. Then, as if the floodgates had opened, all these hairs started descending from the shelf over my monitor and all around me.

    I jumped out of my chair and looked around. In the glow of my monitor, I saw it. Hundreds, if not thousands, of baby spiders were dropping from the ceiling at once. The light reflecting off their webs looked like a meteor shower was happening in my bedroom.

    I left the room and came back with a huge can of Raid and started using it in the spirit of which it was made. After about 3/4 of the can was gone before I felt satisfied that I killed all the little bastards. The room stank for a couple of weeks of a sickening mix of Raid and the floral scent it was paired with. But, no more spiders!

  33. Hallo everyone!
    Ooh – so many Spider stories in the comments! :) I could add some of my (nearly blind) mother, interacting with spiders which she assumed to be dust balls… (is that a word?) But these pretty much always go the way you’d expect them to go… and most of the time don’t end well for the spider. :)

    Guess what? I just moved! :) The moving men left half an hour ago and I am super happy, relieved and tired (not a lot of sleep, due to work and the preparations for the move). It’s finally over! :) This week was rough (dysphoria+ lots of confusing/very new and kind of surprising thoughts regarding a possible transition in the future (in the direction of Gender neutral/transmasculine/nb..?). But now I can settle and relax in my new Appartement and can do all the soul searching I want… (while trying not to obsess about it) and hopefully relax a bit. Also: in my new City there is a local Group of Trans People, which is always open to new (also very much nb) people. I’m very excited to meet them soon…

    I wish everyone a wonderful weekend!

  34. Love the spider removal video.

    I have a tarantula in an aquarium (except the times she escaped), and she’s chill.

    I have so many spiders on my porch ice never seen, but there are always new webs. I’m always ready for Halloween.

    There’s a new spider that thinks the shed door is the place to be. She usually puts her web high and I can duck under it to get bikes in and out, but several times over the past month I’ve forgotten and gotten a huge web to the face. I don’t understand why she keeps rebuilding.

  35. This is literally happening at our house right now. For the past 3 weeks, a very large spider (named Karen) has been hanging out right beside our front door. We check her web every morning, we’ve watched her capture and wrap insects (as we cheer her on), we’ve watched her build and rebuild her web after storms.

    And then one of us brought up the possibility of spider babies. And until now we’ve been like, eh, it won’t happen. But now that I’ve seen this post, I feel it is inevitable and we must take action.

    • omg karen ahahahaha. and this was harriett’s placement- right of the front door! we would also cheer her on as she caught things, even if the movement of her arms in the process was enough to increase my heart rate. And i would say, yes, keep an eye out to the bottom of Karen’s web for some lil guys

  36. good things in my life:
    – carmilla
    – shower beer
    – my fall softball league
    – my car has an issue the warranty is gonna cover

    less good things:
    – the dealership where i live now refused to fix my car so i have to drive 14 hours back to mississippi to the dealership there which will do it under warranty

    on the plus side, i’ll be there for my baby sister’s 18th birthday, so it’s not all bad. not looking forward to that drive, though.

  37. URgh! I missed FOT again! I swear I spend every Thursday waiting for it and then Friday goes in a flash of business.

    Anyways, I moved house! I am in Glasgow now and having fresher’s week at uni and meeting coursemates and my flatmate and joining teams and clubs and OMG IT’S EXHAUSTING.
    I’m not even going out at nighttime or drinking but just the effort of trying to make friends by meeting groups of new people and hoping they like me is stressful af. As someone who doesn’t have anxiety is it normal to feel sick and have palpitation for hours in group scenarios which subside when you escape/go home? I’m working on the assumption that these are situations I’ll have to work through to get to the good, friend hanging out times. Because people are being lovely, it’s just hard having to be so ‘on’ and alert.

    I’m just missing coming home to my old flatmates and cwtching on the sofa to talk about the day, no worries about what impression I’m giving or coming across odd. Give it time I suppose.

    Anyways, I love you and miss you all.

    • Congratulations on moving house! I moved as well (today). That’s awesome, that you’re starting Uni and meeting new people. :) Hmm… I’m mostly stressed out/feeling a bit sick before and sometimes after social situations with lots of new people… so… I don’t know…
      I also sometimes miss the possibility to just sit, talk and relax with a group of friends, who know eachother and can be honest and relaxed around eachother…

  38. Ahhhh the joys of being Australian?? I recognised Harriet the moment I saw her, in a friendly sort of ‘we’ve got heaps of those!!’ way.

    Lemme tell you some of the best spider stories I have…

    My sisters best friend, when she was about ten, went to open a car door. This car had been parked under a tree for a few hours. The swinging motion of the door dislodged a huntsman spider which then landed ON THIS POOR KID’S FACE. It was the size of my entire adult hand. It covered half her head. She was stuck standing in this sort of… silent scream until her mother smacked it off.

    We’ve had heaps of huntsman spiders at home, though thankfully none of the face-hugger variety. It used to be a bit of a tradition to A. wake up, see one on the wall, and scream like murder (to cause maximum terror to parents) or B. see one making its way across the living room, announce that ‘our friends are back’ and throw socks at offending spider until they got the message to scram.

    One did keep me up half the night once, as it got inside the insect net we had hanging over the door and I had to work out how to get it back onto the other side of the net. Foolish thing.

    I did once have a spider land on my face. It was thankfully only a daddy long legs. A big one, I’ll admit. It landed on my face while I was half asleep and I thought it was my own hair resting on my face. I tried to brush it away but it felt… odd… so I brushed it more… and then realised that, nope, this was NOT fucking hair and woke to discover spider smeared across my face.

    We had a golden orb spider outside our front door for quite a while. It’s a seasonal thing. It’ll be back. I hate the fucker because of its location, but LOVE the name ‘golden orb’ for a spider, isn’t that just so good?

    But at least those spiders can’t really do any harm to humans? Unlike funnel webs. Which, at work, my dad once found three of. In a sink. These huge, often aggressive fuckers had been put there for ‘safe keeping’ until somebody could come and collect them.

    Our local paper also ran a story last year about a kid who saw a funnel web on the ground but thought it was a fake spider placed in his room by his brother as a prank. So he picked it up!!! Nope, not a prank!! But the kid was fine. Scarred for life probably, but fine.

    Aussies, in case you didn’t know, also have this whole song/poem/saying about there being a ‘Redback on the toilet seat’. Basically back when outdoor toilets were a thing, they would become infested by redback spiders. And you can just bet where people get bitten…….. You can google it if you fancy a song about spiders.

    And redbacks can kill ya, if the female bites you and has a strong enough bite. It’s rare and kids/the elderly etc are most at risk, and as the spiders are small-ish and don’t roam (much) they don’t cause TOO much trouble. We have a couple living at my house, we just leave them The Hell Alone. I caught one once because it did leave its web and I nearly fuckin stepped on it, and we did once have to kill one that had started up some… some egg nests. Two huge spider sacks of (potentially deadly) baby spiders. Which was a bit much. So they had to go.

    That concludes my current ‘best of’ stories. To be continued, unfortunately. Spring has arrived in Australia…

  39. One time a spider laid a nest of eggs right outside my window in the summertime, so when it hatched they all just slipped in through the holes in the screen……….

    I didn’t realize it until one day when I was cleaning my trainwreck of a room and I picked up an item and found the TINIEST little black spider, maybe the size of a speck, dangling from a web thread off the thing. I thought it was pretty cute, and there was only one of them, so I took it outside and let it be free.

    The next day I was cleaning my room, picked up another item, and found THREE OR FOUR similar babies dangling from this item. I started looking around and started seeing black specks all over the foot of my bed, the walls, the dresser, etc. THERE WERE HUNDREDS

    I ran around the rest of the day with tissues and a shopvac wildly trying to crush/vacuum up as many as possible, but I didn’t sleep in that room for a month.

    To this day the time baby spiders infested my room remains one of my most terrifying experiences and I’m so glad you didn’t have to go through that horror with Harriet!!

Contribute to the conversation...

Yay! You've decided to leave a comment. That's fantastic. Please keep in mind that comments are moderated by the guidelines laid out in our comment policy. Let's have a personal and meaningful conversation and thanks for stopping by!