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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Opening Hosta-ilities

Pulling a few things together into one post…

One corner of the back yard, directly behind the downstairs bathroom(s), is one of those spots that none of us have figured out what to do with. Beneath the master bedroom is a very utilitarian cellar space; there’s about 10 feet of sidewalk in front of the door, and a low rock wall on the left (facing the door). In previous years, when I haven’t ignored this space entirely, I’ve gone in with the lawn mower and took no prisoners. But last year, I realized that there was something other than grass and weeds along the top of the rock wall. This spring, I pulled up some of the grass around the hostas planted there, and one of them rewarded me with some flower stalks. Well played, hostas. It probably helped that the tree (now the stump on the left side of the above photo) was removed, giving them a little more sunshine to play with. The lawn back here is as much wild strawberry as grass, but that’s fine with me. Mason might find some forage-snacks in late April, and they don’t need as much mowing.

Around the front of the manor, we had a handyman replace some rotted wood around the door frame. He used some kind of (I think) PVC-based composite material, which should last until the house collapses. The wife & I got around to painting it yesterday afternoon. She ever so helpfully left the paint bucket at the bottom of the ladder, whereupon I stuck my foot in it and knocked it over onto the brick stoop. Well, the window frames on either side of the door needed some fresh paint too, so I dipped brushes in the spillage and took care of it. The rest of the spilled paint I scraped into a paint tray. I figure we’ll use the pressure washer to clean off the stoop once we put the screen door back up.

After some weed-pulling outside this evening, in which Daughter Dearest threatened a rabbit who got too close to the flowers, she went upstairs for a shower. Shortly after, I heard a scream and my name being called.

“You need to come up here and kill this spider in the shower!” she yelled. Oh yeah, like I’m really comfortable with spiders? Well, I came upstairs and saw this monster in the shower. Now there are places (especially Australia and Indonesia) with much larger spiders than this, but this SOB was the biggest I’d ever seen outside an enclosure on Planet Georgia. And it was IN MY HOUSE. And its eyes reflected the flash on my phone camera. (What was even scarier was that Daughter Dearest was wearing only a towel, and it was barely adequate to keep the important stuff covered. She used this as evidence of how urgent this was to her.)

I decided I needed long-range artillery to deal with this thing, so I went back downstairs and got a shoe. Mason, meanwhile, was attracted by all the noise surrounding the situation and had to come up to get a look at it himself. Fortunately, it stood still until I opened fire; it only took two or three attempts to get the shoe angled where it could compensate for the rounded shower corners.

I reached in with the toilet brush, planning to knock the corpse into the trash can, and it stuck to the brush. It was then I realized that it had webbed the bottom of the shower stall. And the web was all over my hand. I made sure Mason didn’t hear what I really felt about that—I hate spider webs more than spiders themselves, when it comes right down to it—as I boarded the spider for his one-way trip on the Septic Express. Then I got the webbery off me as best as I could, while Daughter Dearest laughed.

With that in hand, I rejoined Mason downstairs and gladly went into his room to watch him play with his blocks, while Daughter Dearest finally got her shower.

There may be three of us having nightmares tonight. I’m self-medicating in advance.


  1. HOLY CRAP! When I realized that picture was of a bathtub I freaked out myself. And I'm the official spider killer of this house.

  2. Holy crap. That thing looks like it was going to grow up to be She-Lob. Seeing it to scale against the toilet bowls creeps me right out.

    Kudos for killing it. I hope it was just a freak and not representative of a species (and I say this as a "cycle of nature" fan).

  3. Ever since I read (and subsequently watched) James and the Giant Peach, I've been unable to kill spiders. Usually I catch and release.

    That was one big spider, though. Heebie-Jeebie inducing, for sure!

  4. Michael, I'm used to "huge spider" being one whose leg-span might cover my thumbnail. This was a rather unpleasant surprise.

    Katherine, like I said it's the biggest one I've seen around here outside of zoos or pet stores. But with climate change, armadillos are being seen around Atlanta, and I guess other warmer-weather critters must necessarily follow.

    Maria, I used some other four-letter words!

  5. Whoops, sorry I missed you, Wendy. That spider in James and the Giant Peach creeped me out, the way she kept caressing & kissing him. I wasn't sure if she was an arachna-cougar, or just planning supper. For that one, "catch and release" would have involved a long, long drive and a hope they haven't evolved GPS.

  6. We had two similar spiders in out shower a few days apart. They scared the crap out me. I believe that I used the toilet bowl brush to dispatch them. Final disposal was similar. You apparently used the thrown shoe method similar to what former President Bush (deservedly) endured toward the end of his second term.

  7. Yeah, Boran, I know what you mean! I guess I'd better look out (or listen for another shriek) for the next one…

    I did think about that particular incident, but the spider only dodged the first shoe instead of both!

  8. Well you certainly had a full week - gardening, foot in the bucket and then the spider. We rarely kill spiders, not even the one I showed you a photo of the other day, we just get a large jam jar and put it over the top of them and then slide a piece of cardboard underneath trapping it. It is then no problem to lift it up, turn the jar over and the spider is safe inside. We then take it outside and release it. Although I do have to say I really screamed one day when one of those huntsmen spiders I showed you jumped onto my head> ^__^

  9. *shudders* That spider was creepy!


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