Friday, April 20, 2012

Zombie Spider Rule No. 2

For my new readers - a classic tale of woman vs. spider.  Duty calls and I will be away for a bit, but not before  a bite to eat with Tam and long time friend PA State Cop near the airport so I can get on the road.  But there will be some saved posts  of meals and adventures past to come up til I return.  - Brigid

On a hunting trip with the boys, Og brought over these round green balls that appeared to be some kind of pod or alien fruit. "What the heck are those?". I asked. Apparently they were the fruit off of the Osage Orange tree, otherwise known as Hedge Apples. He's found a bunch on Frank James Farm where we are invited to hunt. He said they repel spiders. You put them in a bowl or on a piece of foil and place them around the house. They won't spoil or mold and eventually just shrink to the side of a walnut. I should have brought more of them home.

For I am afraid of spiders.

Snakes, bats in my hair (been there, done that), no problem. When you're out in the wild, sometimes hunting, sometimes working, you run into it all, bears, wolves, coyotes, horny toads, horny tourists, bugs, ants that bite and those little plastic containered, cellophane-covered sandwiches they carbon date for freshness and sell at gas stations.

I lived in the desert after grad school, and woke once to find a tarantula in my bed. My roommate, raised there, heard my shout and got a dust pan and gently picked it up, talking to it softly, and took it back to the yard to be released. "They do more good than harm" she said. I slept on the couch for the next month.

Moving to the country years ago, spiders were a constant, short of running them over with your giant Chevy Subdivision, they were pretty hard to kill.  One night I opened the door to let the dog in and in rushes a grasshopper, into the house as fast as he could go.  What the. . ??  He was being chased, by a large spider.  I got the door closed before a spidey security breach, got the grasshopper picked up in a jar, and put him out the back door.  Next time I opened the front door, the spider was waiting, rushing at the door again. . .  "I Am Sparta!  SLAM.  We used the back door for a couple of weeks.

I can handle a lot of things, be it heights or hippies. But not spiders.

So there I was, safe at home, up at 3:30 in the morning to use the bathroom (note to self no Guinness after 8 pm) and as I'm taking care of business, a wolf spider about the size of a Buick runs across the floor towards me. Barefoot, bare everything, I threw a hand towel on it and proceeded with my rendition of the Grapes of Wrath stomp.

Stomp Stomp Stomp. Die Spider Die!

No movement from under the towel. He didn't escape, the floor around it was clear. I left it there for the morning.

At 5 am, I got up (wearing slippers just in case) and look at the towel, prepared to just shake it outside and then throw it in the wash. But what caught my eye was the large dead spider, legs curled up, a few inches away. He'd managed to crawl out and expire next to the tub, rolled up like a crescent roll. OK. At least he was dead. I went to get a paper towel to dispose of the remains.

This is where the fun started

I came back and Mr. Spider was completely reanimated, and pissed off, on TOP of the towel, ready to pounce on my foot like a Chihuahua on a pork chop.

He'd been dead. I'd been sure of it. I'm kind of trained in those things. Now he's back.

I had the only zombie spider in all of Indiana.

Fortunately, I was highly trained in zombie spider removal and wearing nothing but tactical bunny slippers, beat him to death with a roll of paper towels.

Zombie Spider Rule # 2
The Double Tap


  1. OMG Brigid you precipitated a flashback In one of my former lives I, a young 23 year old stud just back from Viet Nam hired on as a farmhand for a corn/pig farmer in Central Nebraska. I didn't know that farmhand meant crawling 'round underneath 100 year old houses fixing the plumbing. Long story short, I was swarmed with black widders crawling all over me and am terrified of crawl spaces to this day.

    Flashback to when I was about 6 years old and got tangled up in a bunch of wild razzleberry bushs, couldn't get myself untangled and got swarmed with grasshoppers spitting tobacco juice all over me. Pretty traumatic for a youngster.

    So I feel your angst about the creepy crawly critters.

  2. Beware of zombie spiders in body armor - they're the worst (or so my my wife tells me).

  3. I was wondering if you were in town this morn. Heading home at zero-dark-thirty (just to beat traffic), cruisin through your neck of the woods, jammin to some Gaelic Storm (trying to stay awake at that ungodly hour) ... couldn't help smile thinking you were out there, somewhere in the dark. So ... if you heard "The Hills of Connemara" or "Tell Me Ma" ... that was me. :)

    Btw, where was the pooch during the whole spider incident?

  4. I am the official dispatcher of spiders here at home. My Lovely Wife has an intense fear of them. The upside is, when I kill a spider, I make dang sure that there is no corpse left to reanimate. I'm a big fan of smears (and, like Mike, a non-fan of crawlspaces).

  5. Forgot to mention ... How do you get Marines to scream like little Girl Scouts? Send 'em on night patrol in Okinawa. During night training back in the 90's, a bunch of us were patrolling (wandering around in the dark) during a training exercise. We must have wandered into the Area of Operations for a colony of Okinawan spiders. Almost every guy ended up with a face full of silk and a hand sized spider in his face. Our poor 2ndLt had no clue what was happening to his squad.

    If you get a chance, Google "Okinawa Spiders" ... you'll understand.

    We didn't stay long enough to check and see if they were zombie spiders.

  6. Ever see anybody try to kill a spider with a kleenex? That's just dumb. Aqua net and a zippo. That's what I use!

  7. I watched a dinner-plate spider stalk and kill a large mouse-small rat on the Toronto subway one late evening. Still gives me the heebi-jeebies.

  8. Brigid, this link is to a news report of a snake-killing spider Down Under.

    Based on the preponderance of poisonously deadly snakes there and these freakin' hy=uge spiders, I'm staying OUT of Down Under!


  9. Fort Hood, Texas, summer of '75...

    The missus goes into the bathroom of our luxurious 12 X 50 on Pecan Street in Killeen looking for some cleaning supplies. She opens the door to the "undersink cabinet" and immediately lets out a stifled yell, "Blue", (not her exact words) and flies like a bat out of hell to the other end of the luxurious 12 X 50 on Pecan Street in Killeen.

    Being the concerned and caring, dutiful husband that I am, I sauntered into the luxurious 12 X 50 on Pecan Street in Killeen where I found the missus sitting on the edge of the kitchen sink with her feet 2 feet off the floor.

    I calmly asked her what was the matter and all she would say was "there's a f'n monster in the bathroom. Go kill it. Now." I can hear those words and see the look on her face to this day. I took her seriously.

    I walked to the bathroom of our luxurious 12 X 50 on Pecan Street, not knowing what kind of monster I would find in there. Figgered that it might be Communists.

    The missus was still hyperventilating in the kitchen.

    Upon entering the bathroom I immediately noticed that the door to the undersink cabinet was standing wide open and that a cute furry critter sitting there. Black and brown. Almost as big as my hand. (Well, perhaps 2/3 as big as my hand) The sort of critter that one can only dream of. A bee-you-tee-ful tarantula spider! Whoa!

    I sat down on the floor to look at this beautiful creature and tried not to scare it off. After a few minutes I placed my hand, palm up, at the edge of the undersink cabinet. I put my other hand behind the spider and gently nudged it onto my open hand.

    I could hear the missus in the background asking if I'd killed it yet.

    I sat there for a minute or two then slowly got up and started toward the kitchen. I asked the missus for something to put the spider in so that I could take it across the field and into the woods to release it.

    She warned me not to come any (f'n) closer with that "damned thing" and she got a big pickle jar and sat it on the table then went back to her perch on the sink. I put the critter in the jar, setting the lid loosely on top, and went back outside to continue working on the car.

    I could hear through the open door that she was talking on the phone to our friend Sandy who was married to Carl, with whom I had been stationed in Germany. Carl and Sandy lived in a luxurious 12 X 50 two lots up from us on Pecan Street in Killeen. They were from Johnson City, Tennessee and Sandy wasn't afraid of spiders. Well, she wasn't afraid of spiders until she saw this one. :) I'm getting ahead of myself, though...

    A few minutes after I had heard the missus talking to Sandy on the phone, Sandy and Carl show up at our luxurious 12 X 50 on Pecan Street in Killeen. Sandy goes into our abode and Carl talks to me outside for a few minutes, then he goes inside.

    I hear some muffled comments for a few minutes, then it's quiet again. I paid no attention to it as it was a pretty normal situation for that time and place. A few minutes later Carl and Sandy come out and say goodbye and just walk away. That's kinda weird...

    I finish what I'm doing and then go inside. The missus tells me I'm gonna be pissed. I ask why? She says that Carl killed the spider. I say, what? She says "yeah, he took the lid off and sprayed it with Raid".

    Sure as shit, the spider was curled up in a ball in the pickle jar, dead as a door nail. The lid was screwed on tight. The luxurious 12 X 50 on Pecan Street in Killeen smelled like Raid.

    To this day I can't stand the smell of Raid.

    What did I learn?

    Some folks don't like spiders much. I'm ok with that. I guess :)

  10. I use a rubber mallet - more decisive than a kleenex and you can really go to town on them without chipping the tile. A good solid hit and the fat ones will splatter all over the place, so keep your mouth closed when you swing. Ask me how I know.

  11. I sympathize because I, too, suffer from arachnophobia. I have a non-psychological theory why some of us find the critters so disturbing. Like every other creature, they are bilaterally symmetrical, but they LOOK radial. In short, they look alien to this planet. That's my theory and I'm sticking to it.

    Doesn't bode well for future interstellar relations with non-hominids, does it?

  12. I just get Miss 10 to pick them up and take them outside ... daddy long-legs; wolf spiders; huntsmen; garden spiders she's fine with relocating them. (If she's not here I put a jar over them and wait for her to get home).

    the only ones that get terminated are redbacks ... but i rarely see them.

  13. When I was married, the wife and I had an arrangement...
    I kill the sewer roaches (sometimes 3 inches long!)
    SHE kills the spiders - especially black widows.
    As we are no longer together, I've had to learn to do these things myself...

  14. Mike - my last huskie ate a grasspopper that got in the house, From his hilariously horrible expression I do not think it tasted very good.

    Wild Deune - ah Gaelic Storm, excellent choice, wherever you are.

    oldandintheway - welcome! You have the method down, that is for sure!

    Monkeywrangler - ditto

    Blue - I can so picture J. doing that. hahaha

    Nikc - ewwww! But effective.

    Julie - I know you get some pretty big spiders down there. Good for Miss 10!

    Nashville Beat - Alien is right.

  15. They DO do more good than harm, ya know. ;-)

  16. Thank you so much for the rip roaring great belly laugh this Saturday morning :D

  17. If y'all (I've never previously used that contraction, but the context seems to mandate it here), ever come to Texas, you will call those bumpy green balls, bois d'arcs ("bow dark"). They grow on a bois d'arc tree. I live on the corner of Bois d'Arc street. The bois d'arc tree got the name from its wood being suitable for, you guessed it, bows. The old wive's tale here is that they repel crickets which become a pestilence in the fall during some years. They do not work in that role and probably don't have much impact on spiders which aren't vegetarians.

  18. @ Mike in Wa: I can't go in my crawlspace anymore, either. The spiders I've seen under there make my skin crawl.

    When I worked for the NWS up on Kodiak Island, my house was constantly invaded by these spiders everyone called Hobo spiders. They would wander across the floors when I was sitting on the couch (SPLAT! DIE, SPIDER!) and would regularly show up on the walls in the shower. You've never been so freaked out as when you've got shampoo in your hair and look down to see a large, hairy spider walking toward your foot in the shower! This happened more than once. I got so paranoid that I'd check the entire bathroom armed with a flyswatter before taking care of any business in there.

  19. I know it's going to rain here when the spider webs are thick in the air...
    We had lots of BIG trantulas up at the horse corrals in college...they could jump a long way...we took out of town friends to feed with us a dusk...a little boot to the butt and the T's would jump on them...god we were terrible.

  20. Brigid, This is out of order but I have eyed the grips on the 45 at the top of your page and would like to know where you can get a set. Thank you for your time. i have enjoyed your site now for a long time. Others have come and gone but never have I had a thought to delete your site. Thanks again for your time and effort. mwp

  21. I have minimal problem with the little spiders we have up here. Which doesn't mean that I don't make Husband kill them on site when he's around, or do the duty myself if he's not.

    However I have spent a few summers in FL, and have ABSOLUTELY no intention of ever visiting Australia. Spiders the size of my hands and larger ought to be shot on site. I don't care if they eat the other bugs. If they are inside my abode they can damn well die.

  22. hamyhead - on the fly here but they were handmade and the person who makes them isn't around any more.


  23. My sister-in-law is the BIGGEST spider-phobe.....I was working in the barn and she was baby sitting my daughter who was a small infant T the time....I'm working the table saw and I heard something behind me...There's my Sis-in-law standing in the doorway, holding the baby. I shut down the saw and asked her, " What's up??"

    She is standing there, quivering, and making mumbling noises....her eyes are in wide fright but she is unable to speak....she's holding the baby. I am starting to freak out as I walk right up to her and say, " Kris, what's wrong ???"

    I look down and there on the baby's blanket is a small brown spider crawling near the baby....Kris had walked into the barn to see me, and just as she did, the spider dropped onto the baby's blanket.

    Kris wanted to throw the child down and run away screaming...but it's a can't drop it.

    The poor woman was in a complete state of LOCKUP....she couldn't move, speak or react.

    I reached out and grabbed e spider....." ohhhh was this the problem???"

    It was at that point that I had to catch both of them as Kris collapsed into my arms, exhausted and completely freaked out....

  24. I hate all spiders, but daddy-longlegs, and I hate rattle snakes.

    All the stories above resonate. I'll spare y'all my own. It would only be redundant. Spiders are incredibly tough and hard to kill. I keep a spray can handy by kitchen door and also in bed room and bathroom.

    My favorite rattlesnake story is about a friend who was helping me clean up an old travel trailer to live in on an outback property I was renting from his soon-to-be ex-wife. The water supply was a marginal spring, but there was a reservoir just a mile or so downgrade where I could bathe under the county bridge. Anyhow, back to the snake. I was choppin' weeds and hacking a fresh path while he was working on the gas fired water heater in an old wooden outbuilding. He'd reached under the tank to pull out a coiled up length of garden hose, and along with the hose he pulled out a rattler coiled up inside it. When he yelled out, something that sounded like he was summoning the Savoir, I glanced up. The snake now was coiled, madder'n hell, and striking at him. "Flip me the ax!" I tossed the Pulaski I was workin' with to him, underhanded, and he snatched it out of the air and in one fluid motion he took the head off that snake in mid-strike. Probably one in a million, that one.

  25. hamyhead: A good friend of mine manufactures a similar grip. Find them at

  26. Spiders I can handle...Mostly.
    As kids we used to use seeding grass stems as tarantula fishing rigs.

    We'd roll the tufted tops of a stem into a fuzzy ball and poke it down a spider hole until we could feel the tug of a spider biting into it, whereupon we'd drag the hapless critter out.

    I kept one for a time in a well-sealed shoe box and fed him (Astaroth; chaotic evil D&D teen days...) live anole lizards I'd caught with a coconut frond spine tied into a lasso as the picky devil would not suck the life-giving juices out of anything else. He lived in that prison box until losing a couple limbs, and his life, to a curious classmate's pencil one fateful show 'n tell morning at St. Dunstan's Episcopal School. I do somewhat fear spidey vengeance so haven't fished for tarantulas since, but spiders don't really give me the heebeegeebees unless they're on my face.

    Now Centipedes...They freak me to all get out. They're the only creature who's bite has only increased my level of sheer terror...And I've been bit or stung by dogs, cats, horses, africanized bees, jack-spaniard wasps, iguanas, kids, nettles, stonefish, acacia, cacti, cowitch, parrots, carpenter ants, fire ants, several species of beetle, scorpions, and spiders named after demons. Centipides, however are in an entirely different league...Somewhere between bullet ants, and the fer-de-lance.

    They're sneaky, hateful things that are to be killed on sight, and where there's one there's undoubtedly others lurking about in impossible places. Did I mention they're hard to kill and rather sneaky about it? I once smashed one between two books...Squashed and bent it back upon itself only to have it escape and turn up two days later reared up and chasing my dog across the room. Got him then. You don't ever want one to escape in your home if you want to sleep again and it's not uncommon to hear the machine-gun slapping sound of shoes on floor at any given hour. Everyone knows what it's about and will only call to offer a place to stay in case the evening's centipede hunt was unsuccessful.

    We get them so big and ornery you can hear them rustling in the leaves or across a pillow or bedsheet the split second before they pounce...And they have a particular woodsey evil smell about them. Even the blood red, death black and sulfurous yellows of their coloration project danger. I suspect that, gram for gram, no mere 'spider' would stand a chance against one of our armored killers in a deathmatch.

    Anyway, local legend has it that sighting one in a home is a sure sign of a pregnant inhabitant; Which I disbelieved until a girlfriend related the story of how, shortly after giving birth to her first child, she woke up in a malarial sweat one night with a glowing hot poker of pain in her breast, only to find a three inch centipede clamped on and hanging off her boob like a goth nipple-ring from hell itself.

    I'd have had a bloody heart attack.

  27. I'd like to hear the soundtrack from that video...

    or maybe not...

    Once upon a time I had a large-ish common garden orb spider who would build a web across my patio door every night, and in the morning would gather it back up again. She was a good neighbor.

    Safe travels!

  28. Spider I do not like...or scorpions. Before moving into my house, I found a tarantula in my garage so big I would have needed a hunting license to kill it. Tarantulas where I live are not dangerous, but I still get the willies from them. Scorpions I also don't like...used to be afraid of them, now I just hate the little SOBs!
    P.S....what caliber for spiders???

  29. My kids and do Ok with spiders, my Ex, not so much. I got a call waking me up at 4:20 in the am with her having a gibbering fit. Since the boys were with her that night, I thought something had happened. Since she lives 40 yards away, I grabbed my med bag put on my shoes and hotfooted it over there. I find her wrapped in a towel covered in lather, pointing into the bathroom and speaking in tongues. I walk i there and there is a jumping spider with a body about the size of a half dollar piece in her shower, which is still running, trying to get out. I carefully pulled on a pair of vinyl gloves out of my kit, pick up said spider and walk back into her room to go out the back door, and got hit dead in the face with a frying pan. Well I don't know where the spider went, but my Ex and the boys were back at my house for a few days while she had an exterminator over.

    Now snakes on the other hand, I kill 6-10 western diamondbacks a year on my property and 2-5 coral snakes as well. Those feller get shot on sight. I will not risk my kids or pets around those suckers.

  30. I'm not afraid of much, spending a fair amount of time in combat zones in small Asian countries. I've been shot, dropped from a helicopter 40' with a full pack (you dropped me now come back and pick me up), nothing will make me squirm like a spider. 1 pissed off black widow bite and I was as close to death as I've ever been. 3 days in a cardiac ICU with morphine in my saline. Doc said I'm allergic and not to get bit again. No problem doc!

  31. Sons' first tour in Iraq, when the spring came the camel spiders hatched. They found that if one came scuttling along and hit your shadow it'd stop; if you moved, it tried to stay in the shade. Which caused one poor bugger to think one was chasing him.

    Yep; 3-round burst from his M4.

    Well, some bits were still twitching, which caused him to yell something along the lines of "IT'S STILL ALIVE!!!" They finally got him to hear "Dude, it's DEAD already! No, you can't shoot it again!"

    When I heard about it, told him should've said "Yeah, the ones that keep moving after that are the zombie spiders." Daughter heard this and said "Yeah, have a nervous guy with an automatic weapon sitting up looking for zombie spiders; whatever could go wrong?"

  32. Brighid - I was at this conference center in Florida where there were a bunch of walking paths around the facility. I'd been there before. Some newbies were asking about the trails after dark as far as safety (crime) I said it's pretty quiet, but n (bit pause and scared look) "watch out for giant flying lizards". I bet they didn't go. No such thing but sometimes you just have to have some fun with it.

    I laughed very hard at all the spider stories, especially Firehand's camel spiders and (still chuckling) RL's tarantula fishing. Thanks for brightening up (even as I check the dark corners of my lodging) a busy weekend.

  33. Gunsmith Bob: "Tamara, there are only two kinds of spiders we kill. Do you know what they are?"

    Me: "Yeah. Ones that are on me, and ones that are trying to get on me."

  34. I don't like spiders, and most of the ones that cross me end up dead.

    Crickets, however, are another thing altogether. Those are actively hunted down and eliminated, using blunt force or chemical/biological means, as necessary.

    I was headed to a birthday party with my family some time last year. I was driving down the highway (I'd rather not discuss my speed), when I looked down and saw a spider crawling up my leg. We made it just fine, the spider did not. Had that been a cricket...


I started this blog so the child I gave up for adoption could get to know me, and in turn, her children, as well as share stories for a family that lives too far away. So please keep it friendly, kid safe, and open to discussion, not criticism. If you comment as unknown and have nothing nice to say you go straight to SPAM.