Creepy Crawlies (again)

Three times in two days an intruder has dared to enter our house. I know it’s ‘that’ time of the year again, but still, I thought I’d made it clear last spring that inside is MY domain. I expect creepy crawlies to stay outside. Suffice to say, those three are no longer around to make a comeback next year!

To explain my aversion, here’s a peek at what I wrote last time there was a similar encounter…

~

A proficient gardener I’m not, but I love to putter around in the yard. I meander through the flower beds on a regular basis, hauling the hose along to water needy plants, discovering what’s new, deadheading depleted blossoms and, yes, (shudder) occasionally encountering miniature wildlife.

I’m not a big fan of bugs, but I accept that they serve a purpose in nature. In their place I tolerate them. In my place, I do not. Anyone who spends time in my household will know that a shrieked “Spider alert!” requires an immediate response. I can’t tear myself away from spotter duty long enough to fetch a shoe or tissue, because, after all, during even the briefest gap in my attention the spider might creep away.  It would be out of sight but definitely not out of mind. I’d know he was still there somewhere, a lurking intruder just waiting to leap out and startle me again.

Unfortunately there’s a no-man’s-land between the garden and the house that the bugs and I both insist on claiming as our own — the back deck.

 

It’s my favourite summertime location, quiet and distraction free; the perfect spot when I need a fresh writing environment. I am not amused, however, when a spider glides down his silken guywire and suddenly lands on my keyboard! Talk about a plot interruption! Maybe writing indoors is a better option. But I resent being chased away. After all, this is a structure attached to the house, so it’s my space.

“Ah,” leers the eight-legged creepy crawly, “but it’s out here with the flowers and fresh air. It’s my space.” Deadlock.

I compromise and knock him off my laptop. Watching him scurry to the edge of the deck I’m satisfied that he’s still out there somewhere, just not on me, my laptop or my lounge chair. I have asserted my authority. They are mine!

~

How do you feel about trespassing arachnids? Have you ever put your characters into situations where they have to deal with arachnophobia? Or any other kind of phobia? What did they learn during the experience?

~

“That’s what happens to all who forget God—
    all their hopes come to nothing.
They hang their life from one thin thread,
    they hitch their fate to a spider web.
One jiggle and the thread breaks,
    one jab and the web collapses.”

[Job 8:14-15, MSG]

~  ~  ~

Eye to Eye: a Spider Encounter

Spiders and I don’t see eye-to-eye… at least, not unless I walk head first into one, which I almost did last night.  I don’t know how I missed it on the way outside, but as I was about to go back in through the door I jolted to a sudden stop as a huge spider (and 3” across is a monster to me) clung to the doorjamb right at eye level.

Instead of busily doing what industrious spiders normally do, she chose to hover there and take in the view of our family room through the glass door. A gigantic eight-legged peeping Tom!

Since I live in the country I love seeing the wildlife in its place. However, I take offence at any that get too close to my space.  I don’t like bugs that try to trade their domain for mine.

Which is why I used a piece of firewood to capture and fling that spider back to the garden where she belonged. (Oh, I guess I have to be truthful here. Actually I flattened him. When I feel threatened I react rather violently. My apologies to those who think all of God’s little creatures should be protected.)

It’s also why I discouraged a nest of baby spiders from thinking they were going to adopt a corner of the deck as their personal nursery. I don’t care what their Momma told them. They’re not welcome here. They may be tiny now but I don’t want to have to cope with them when they grow up.

When it comes to most wildlife I have a live-and-let-live policy. With spiders… not so much. It’s not exactly a phobia. It’s just the way I am. I. Detest. Spiders.

What about your characters? Do they have pet peeves or irrational fears that affect how they react in certain situations?

It’s Mine! No, It’s Mine!

You remember that walk I mentioned yesterday? The one in the lovely September sunshine? Well, let me tell you….

I love nature. Honestly, I do. There are just a few of its inhabitants that gross me out, but I compromise: I’ll let them live undisturbed outside as long as they let me live undisturbed inside. The back deck, however, continues to be a battlefield as both of us try to claim ownership. (I wrote about that last summer, here.)

Despite accepting that the outdoors is their rightful place, when I’m out there I’d rather not encounter any miniature wildlife unexpectedly. So as I returned from my walk and climbed the steps onto our deck I was not at all amused to walk head first smack into a spider web complete with its dueling occupants.

Araneus diadematus – Garden spiders

Araneus diadematus – Garden spiders

“It’s mine!” “No, it’s mine!” They seemed to be competing for the location and a nearby tasty morsel caught up in the web beside me. Blech! After I had disengaged myself and watched their antics for a moment in semi-fascinated revulsion, I took a quick picture, then found a stick to remove them and the web. Begone, trespassers! This deck is mine!

th_farmer_fenceP.S. If you want to be really grossed out, check this Fall 2007 story about a 60 acre spider web near McBride in northern BC! (Photo by Matthew Wheeler)

Creepy Crawlies

 A proficient gardener I’m not, but I love to putter around in the yard. I meander through the flower beds on a regular basis, hauling the hose along to water needy plants, discovering what’s new, deadheading depleted blossoms and, yes, (shudder) occasionally encountering miniature wildlife.

 

I’m not a big fan of bugs, but I accept that they serve a purpose in nature. In their place I tolerate them. In my place, I do not. Anyone who spends time in my household will know that a shrieked “Spider alert!” requires an immediate response. I can’t tear myself away from spotter duty long enough to fetch a shoe or tissue, because, after all, during even the briefest gap in my attention the spider might creep away.  It would be out of sight but definitely not out of mind. I’d know he was still there somewhere, a lurking intruder just waiting to leap out and startle me again.

 

Unfortunately there’s a no-man’s-land between the garden and the house that the bugs and I both insist on claiming as our own — the back deck.

   

 

It’s my favourite summertime location, quiet and distraction free; the perfect spot when I need a fresh writing environment. I am not amused, however, when a spider glides down his silken guywire and suddenly lands on my keyboard! Talk about a plot interruption! Maybe writing indoors is a better option. But I resent being chased away. After all, this is a structure attached to the house, so it’s my space.

 

“Ah,” leers the eight-legged creepy crawly, “but it’s out here with the flowers and fresh air. It’s my space.” Deadlock.

 

I compromise and knock him off my laptop. Watching him scurry to the edge of the deck I’m satisfied that he’s still out there somewhere, just not on me, my laptop or my lounge chair. I have asserted my authority. They are mine!