I'm one of those people who has a deep-seated fear of all things creepy crawly. I know I'm a million times bigger than the bugs are (except in the case of Palmetto bugs which are slightly bigger than I am.) I know most of them are harmless. I know these things on an intellectual level. However, all things intellectual fly out the window (no pun intended) in the presence of flying, creeping, crawling bugs. I'm convinced my response is not a conscious decision, but more an involuntary reaction thanks to the copious amounts of adrenaline that course through my body upon seeing a creature with more than 4 legs. I know I don't purposely choose to scream like a little girl, duck & cover, while running around in circles like a dog frantic to find a good pee spot. So when my kids yell at me to "calm down", their directions are completely wasted. There is no calming down. There is only the primordial instinct to save myself from the beasts.
Want a picture of how I deal with bugs? You can read HERE about the batmoth. And HERE about batmoth's revenge. Or you can read HERE about the cockroach that nearly ate off my face. Or even HERE about the time I almost caused a 5 car pile-up. Or HERE about my shower freak-out.
Okay, now that you're familiar with my M.O., I'm sure you'll understand what happened when Austin told me there were Black Widow spiders on my lanai.
"Hey Mom, there's a spider out here. I'm pretty sure it's a Black Widow."
"I doubt it's a Black Widow. Don't those things live in the Amazon with the death spiders from Arachnophobia?" I said. I didn't entirely believe my statement, but I thought I might be able to keep the spiders from being Black Widows through sheer will and positive thinking.
"Come look," Austin suggested.
"Sure, I'll come look. Once you kill it and lock in a jar, and you bring me its death certificate first."
"It's dead. Well, mostly dead. It's almost dead."
I walked to the lanai door and cautiously peered around the corner. There sat Austin with a bottle of bug spray in his hand. He was repeatedly dousing a spider with the liquid, but I could tell from the door that the spider was still moving. I crept a little closer to take a look.
"It's not a Black Widow," I said assuredly. "It doesn't have that red shape on it."
"It's on the underside, not its back," Austin countered. "Look." He sprayed it again and it flipped over. I couldn't quite see from my vantage point 8 feet away, so I moved in another foot. I didn't want to get any closer because I was positive, if I did, the spider would leap from the wall and land on my face and I would die right then and there, not from a bite, but from the absolute horror of having a spider! on! my! face!
I zoomed in with my camera and snapped a quick picture before backing away again. I looked at the photo. Holy cow, he's right! It is a Black Widow! Now I'm going to die! We're all going to die! The whole town is going to die! I'm pretty sure these thoughts were contained to my head, but there's a slight chance I screamed them aloud while flapping my arms up and down.
"It IS a Black Widow! They're poisonous! And disgusting! They EAT their mates! EAT. THEM.
"Do we have any more bug spray, Mom?"
"No, that's it!" I squeaked, my voice rising. "Are you out of it?! You can't be out of it! It's not dead yet! I can see it twitching!"
"Should I use bleach? I could spray it with bleach cleaner," Austin offered.
"Yes, sure bleach! Use lots of bleach!"
Austin sprayed the spider and a couple egg sacs with bleach-infused toilet cleaner. At this point, I retreated to the relative safety of my house. Of course, after seeing the creatures on my lanai, I was convinced they'd infiltrated my living space and couldn't shake the feeling that I had spiders crawling all over me. I sat, randomly slapping at my arms and legs just in case.
At some point, Austin came in and informed me that he and Clay had found another Black Widow and some more egg sacs. "The bleach isn't working that well. Can I use hairspray and a lighter to make a blowtorch?"
Now, a rational parent would put a stop to this and tell her kids, in no uncertain terms, that flaming death is not an appropriate way to deal with spiders. However, I think we've already established that I am not, in fact, rational. I discouraged Austin from making a flame thrower, but did tell him he could light the things on fire. Meanwhile, I dug through my desk until I found my realtor's card because clearly, my only choice at this point was to move.
"The hairspray isn't igniting, Mom. Maybe I should use some rum," Austin suggested.
"Rum?! Over my dead body!" Why is the rum gone? in Jack Sparrow's voice ran through my head.
Sooo, the spiders and egg sacs were hit with bug spray, bleach, hair spray, fire, and my son's size 13 shoes. I'm still not convinced they're dead. And I'm positive they have more friends out there. I just know it. Anyone feel like moving to Orlando? I know of a house for sale. With only a slight poisonous spider infestation.