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.
Wow. You handled this far better than I would have done. I cannot kill spiders on the ceiling for that very reason–the first try seldom works. On the other hand, the lives of children were at stake in your case.
always, always, ALWAYS have a vacuum handy! Suck those suckers up (and any other 4, 6, 8, 40 legged critters – think centipedes..) and then let hubs do the duty when he gets home of emptying the vacuum bag. Works for me! 🙂 I sooooooooo relate to you though, nothing else bothers me more on this earth than SPIDERS!!! Snakes are no problem, either are mice…but a creature with 8 legs and 8 eyes is too much for me to handle! 🙂
I’m not much of a fan of spiders. My sweetie, Lee, kind of likes them so he’s not very good at killing them- but at least he does capture them and take them outside. I wish he would let me take a picture of him like the one of your husband!
Haha! The superman underwears were a silly 30th birthday gift from a friend who was on that camping trip with us! Andy insisted on wearing them immediately and was only too pleased to pose for the photo! 🙂
I just asked Caleb what he thought of the episode. “It was scary.” Will you help Miss Sarah kill the spider next time? “Uh-uh.”
If I have nightmares about spiders dropping on my head I am calling you in the middle of the night for a drink- just so you know. 😉
Duly noted! 🙂 Did he say which was scarier? The spider…or the way I screamed like a 5 year old girl?
Ah… yes. The good ‘ol days. I remember the incident like it was yesterday. It was your turn that week to clean the bathroom in your old house on Shouson Hill (you gotta love a home with character- the neighbor kept a rooster on the roof,) and somehow I got roped into helping you. Well as we entered the bathroom, you let out a scream so loud I literally thought a robber was climbing through the bathroom door and I screamed in response. The next part was a blur as we rushed to your bedroom, stuck a towel in the crack by the door, and jumped up and down on the beds.
I’ve had my share of bugs and spider stories since then. The one that creeped me out the most was when I lived in Stanley with LIz and discovered a cockroach on my neck! I pulled a scream you, Sarah, would be proud of and later had a showdown with the cockroach. It was like high noon in a western movie. Armed with a can of raid and a shoe, I pulled away Liz’s bed (he had scrambled into her room), there was a pause, and then all at once, the roach came storming at me.
You should hear David’s brown recluse spider story sometime. That is one for the story books, luckily with a happy ending.
Thanks for the laugh (love the Andy picture, and the part when the three year old looking at you like you were crazy.)
I forgot we were supposed to be cleaning the bathroom! (How did I manage to talk you into helping me?!) Pre-amah days. Good times. The rooster was in the stairwell behind the flats so the sound reverberated through the stairwell!! The neighbors above us were having a baby and I guess Chinese folklore had something to do with having a rooster to help ensure you had a boy? These were the same neighbors with mirrors placed outside the perimeter of their flat so that evil spirits would see their own reflections and be scared away and not enter their home. I think if we hadn’t gotten moved into the Repulse Bay flats we would have moved back to the states after our initial 3 years! My mom was not so enamored with that flat (or the rooster that woke us up at 4AM all the time!) What memories though! 🙂
Okay, so I gotta ask, did you close BOTH doors to that bathroom and put towels under BOTH doors? Otherwise you just let that cockroach escape into the master bedroom. Is that the cockroach that crawled across Dad’s back in the middle of the night? That was a one bath flat as I recall. Character? Yeah, that’s being kind when describing it. The only good thing that could be said for it was that it was big and had lots of closet space. But the cockroaches? Whoa. For those of you who don’t know Hong Kong cockroaches, they were considered the “state bird” by Americans. Yes, they were not only huge, they flew! I don’t miss the flat or the cockroaches at all. But sure enjoyed your stories. I laughed out loud and had to brush the spider out of my own hair!!!! Ugh! : )
And here I was wondering how you got Andy to pose like that. I should have known better than to underestimate the male ego that is so whack it just takes it as a given that Superman Underoos contain the real Superman’s powers. ROFL!
I had a similar incident yesterday with a mouse…in my garage…I bought 2 sticky traps…about 6:30 last night I heard plastic dragging on the garage floor…went in…only mouse’s back feet were stuck and he was pulling the thing. His head got stuck in a plastic bin…so…deep breath……I took my shovel and …well…the screeching made me sick. I thought he was dead…moved the plastic bin…AND HE SCAMPERED AWAY BEHIND AN OLD HUGE PIECE OF WOOD I CAN’T MOVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was traumatized the rest of the evening. Maybe he’s dead?????
EEEEWWWWWW!!!!! I’m cringing at the thought!!!
Maybe just recovering from a concussion?
Mom, there were TWO doors to that bathroom? I don’t remember there being only one bathroom in that flat! Are you sure?! Well, there’s no way it could have survived the dose of Baygon that was involved that night! Unless of course, there were indeed two doors and it crawled into your bed to escape the noxious fumes!
Oh my gosh, Sarah, I was CRACKING UP reading this. I’m glad no one was harmed by the spider. 🙂 And although I am generally a creepy crawly killer, I definitely would not have enjoyed having a spider in my hair!! (had on one my eyelash once…)
Thought you might appreciate this story- On our honeymoon I woke up in the middle of the night to the sound of something scratching the tile floor. I turned on the light and saw a HUGE Costa Rican jungle cockroach right next to the bed. I woke up John, and instead of, you know, killing it, he PUT THE COVERS OVER HIS HEAD and left me to deal with it. I found a big metal flashlight and bludgeoned that prehistoric thing to death. It was a proud moment for me. 🙂
Hahaha! Yes! That is what they are like in Hong Kong! The fly and they hiss!!! It is the most disgusting thing ever! I can’t believe John will hunt animals of every variety but leaves you to fend for yourself with a cockroach…on your honeymoon no less! I may just have to give him a hard time about that. 🙂
Ewww…I was grimacing as I read this. Glad you got her!!! And FYI, the males are smaller and don’t have the red on their abdomen.
Pingback: Creamy Lemon Pasta « sarahsjoys