I live in Arizona; home of coyotes, saguaro cactus and usually large and sometimes rather nasty spiders. Last night, just before bed time, my wife and I were picking up the scattered, abandoned toys on the floor of the bedroom for our two youngest boys. They are six and three, which means that every toy has to be pulled out of the toy box to find the one they’re looking for, because it is always at the bottom.
Suddenly, in mid-retrieval of a toy, my wife stopped and pointed under one of the beds.
“The boys need to go brush their teeth right now”, she said in that not quite panicky voice that indicates there is a major problem looming on the horizon. That voice also leaves no room for argument until whatever the situation is can be resolved to her satisfaction.
We called the two older kids to come upstairs and help the two little boys finish getting ready for bed – me with a “what’s going on?” look plastered all over my face and her with a “not until they’re out of the room” look on hers. The older two, sensing something of an emergency in the air, eventually made their way upstairs and eventually after several questions of “what is it?”, “what’s the matter?”, managed to get the boys in to brush their teeth.
Meanwhile, my wife had retrieved a flashlight, closed the bedroom door and was sitting on the floor, shining the flashlight under the bed.
“Is that a spider under there in the corner?” she asked, while sitting ten feet away.
Now, either my eyes are not what they used to be, or the batteries in the flashlight were dying because I couldn’t see anything. So, I relieved her of the flashlight, crawled three or four feet closer and peered under the bed where she was indicating.
“Don’t get too close”, she advised. “If it’s a wolf spider, they can jump at you. And they’re fast”, she added for emphasis.
Sure enough, hiding in the corner was a spider well over an inch in diameter from leg tip to leg tip. Big! Two or three swats with a shoe big. Time to formulate an extermination plan. So, I made a trip to the garage for the can of bug spray, then to our bedroom for one of my size ten shoes. I figured the bug spray probably wouldn’t kill it, but should slow it down enough for me to give it a good whack or two with my shoe. And, because I didn’t want my bare feet exposed to a possible venomous bite, I slipped a pair of shoes on. Back to the kids’ bedroom to execute the plan.
“Here’s what we’re going to do”, I said. “You yank the bed away from the wall, I’ll squirt the beastie with the bug spray, and then bash it over the head with my shoe. That should take care of it.”
“But then it’s going to get smushed all over the carpet”, she said.
We discussed briefly the merits of just trying to kill it with the bug spray as opposed to smushing it (smush, yeesh! is that even a word?) and eventually, my argument in favor of hitting it with the shoe after the bug spray won out. I think it was the point I made about if it gets away and gets behind the dresser, this is going to be much more difficult and time consuming.
We assumed our positions, she at the foot of the bed so she could yank it out of the way, and me at the headboard, fumbling with which hand to use with which utensil. Should I put the bug spray in my right hand for better accuracy, or shoe in my right hand for more whacking force? I finally decided the bug spray would work in my left hand because of the wider spray pattern, and I could better control the placement of the impact from the shoe with my right.
“Ready”, I said.
“About time”, she said.
She reached down, grabbed the bed with both hands and yanked it out of the way. I leapt to the attack – SQUIRRRTTTT! Whack! Whack! The spider bounced up about three inches off the floor on the second whack and fell back to the floor. I paused in mid-third whack and couldn’t help but laugh. It turns out, the wolf spider was a plastic, Halloween spider toy ring.
“I want those things out of here”, my wife said.
So, a trip to the toy box, removal of two others of the same “breed” and a discrete trip to the wastebasket later, our house is now spider free. That’ll teach ’em.