I’m sure there are all kinds of opinions out there on when someone officially becomes a grown up. Everyone has their own defining moment. It could be when you left home to go to college, graduated from college, got your first real job, got married, became a parent, got your first real window treatments…
I find there are times when I still have to remind myself I am a grown up. Dealing with spiders would be one of those times. I don’t have a fantastic track record when dealing with creepy crawly things. There was the incident in early middle school when my best friend Bethany and I came across a nasty cockroach in our flat in Hong Kong. My parents were not home and I believe we handled it by slamming the bathroom door shut (where the offending party was residing), shoving a towel in the crack at the bottom of the door so it couldn’t escape, running into my bedroom screaming, and yelling at my brother (who was 9 at the time) “YOU’RE the man in the house right now!! Go KILL it!!!!” There was enough Baygon sprayed into that bathroom to fumigate the entire Bank of China building.
Then there was the babysitting incident circa 1999. I was babysitting for a family out in Cave Creek, Arizona. I was in college, so I like to think there was some improvement in how I handled the situation. The kids were in bed already, I was cleaning up the kitchen, and as I put something away in the pantry I heard a strange clicking sound….I looked up to see a small scorpion precariously clinging upside down on the light bulb above me!! I
I didn’t scream (okay there may have been a small yelp but I didn’t want to wake the kids). I didn’t run onto a bed either, but I did slam the pantry door and shove kitchen towels under the door crack to keep it from escaping. I had to protect my sleeping charges after all. They paid me very well, but no amount of money could entice me to deal with a scorpion – especially a small one! (Did you know they are more dangerous? The babies don’t know how to control how much poison they dole out in a sting so they just shoot it all!) When I explained the towels under the door to Angel and Paul later that evening Angel very calmly explained to me what to do if the kids (or me) ever got stung by a scorpion. How was she so calm about this? There was a scorpion in her pantry! Do you magically become cool, calm, and collected when you become a mother?
Apparently not. Because, I have one last incident to tell you about. It was…um….yesterday (ahem). I was in the kitchen innocently working on the Pumpkin-Apple Dessert when I caught a black spider out of the corner of my eye scurrying across the top of my kitchen wall. I looked up just in time to see it continue onto the ceiling. Now, we’re not talking about a tiny little spider here. Those don’t bother me. Or even daddy long legs. Those have no substance. What really freaks me out, are spiders with substance. You know what I’m talking about. Meaty bodies with thick legs. There are two main reasons I hate these spiders. #1 If they’re black I assume they are black widow spiders and can, therefore, kill me. If they are brown I assume they are a brown recluse and can, therefore, kill me. #2 I can’t stand that feeling when you kill them!! These are spiders of substance remember? When you can feel (and hear!) the exoskeleton give way to squishiness it makes my skin crawl. My preferred method for killing spiders is a five foot eleven killing machine….Andy!
Unfortunately this is not always an option. Take yesterday, for example. When I saw the spider my superlative powers of observation assessed the situation quickly: It was black. It was meaty. It had red on it’s abdomen. Don’t black widows have red on their abdomen?
It was on my ceiling. Andy was out of town. If I chose to ignore it, it was sure to kill us all in our sleep. Well shoot! Being the only grown up in the house, I’m going to have to deal with this.
Lilly somehow decided at this exact moment that she had to be in the kitchen, directly underneath the spider. Now my child’s immediate safety was at risk! I sprang into action.
“I need a SHOE!!!!” I yelled. Did I mention I was watching my friend’s son at the time so I had a 3 year old audience for what was about to unfold? Locating a shoe didn’t take long because I almost always leave them by the couch. (Andy, if you’re reading this….see? Forgetting to put my shoes away had very practical applications in saving the life of our daughter!)
Grabbing the shoe, I moved a kitchen stool underneath the target and climbed up. SMACK!!! It was a dead hit (no pun intended). A feeling of safety washed over me. This feeling was probably instrumental in my reaction to what happened next. As I lowered the shoe from the ceiling expecting to see a dead spider stuck to it, two things happened simultaneously: I noticed there was no spider on the shoe (DARN those shoes with TREADS!), and I FELT something fall into my hair and down onto my hand. I SHRIEKED, shaking my hand and saw the spider fall to the rung on the bottom of the stool (not dead or even maimed) and glanced up to see Caleb looking at me in horror. I don’t think he was afraid of the spider. I think he was terrified that it was possible for a human adult to reach a pitch that high. “It fell on me!” I offered by way of explanation. He was unimpressed. Setting aside my humiliation at having been called out by a mere look from a three year old, I returned to the task at hand and did manage to get the spider. On the third or fourth try.
While I may not have managed to preserve my dignity throughout this episode, I did at least get the job done. The spider was dead and everyone was safe. And that’s what good grown-ups do.