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Medium Dawn Felagund of the Fountain

The Duel of Dawn and the Spider *cue OK Corral music and tumbleweeds*

The (Cyber) Bag of Weasels

bread and puppet

"About as much fun as a bag of weasels"...when I first saw this Irish adage, it made me think of the life of a writer: sometimes perilous, sometimes painful, certainly interesting. My paper journal has always been called "The Bag of Weasels." This is the Bag of Weasels' online home.

The Duel of Dawn and the Spider *cue OK Corral music and tumbleweeds*

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Last night, Bobby called me late, after I'd already gone to sleep, to let me know that he'd safely arrived in Washington. Since I was awake and since I'd had several glasses of iced tea while petting the muses and talking on YIM with Tarion last night, I decided that a potty break was in order. So I shuffled into the bathroom, flipped on the light, and...well, you know.

When I noticed a huge black spider sitting in the middle of the floor.

Now when I was a kid, I wanted to be an entomologist, so there is very little of the creepy-crawly variety that scares me. I'd learned not to fear insects and spiders so much as respect them and also to learn what poses an actually threat and what is just...creepy. This was just a common house spider and certainly not dangerous, but it was huge, about an inch (2.5 cm) from front to back. I've certainly seen worse, having come from a rural upbringing in a place where we had wolf spiders the size of my palm with eyes that actually gleamed when you shined a flashlight on them. *shudders* This spider was a wolf spider's pet (or midnight snack) but it startled me, sitting all huge and black and creepy in the middle of the floor like that.

So I finished up what I was doing and tried to carefully creep around it, but it must have felt the vibrations from my footsteps and skittered into a crack beneath the doorframe. One of its legs was still poking out, though, so I hastened into the kitchen and retrieved a big, clear glass and an envelope with all intentions of catching it.

I should mention that I really try not to kill insects and spiders, even when they come into the home. Most I would even leave right where they are, but Bobby tends not to like them and had learned early in our relationship (from my clever sister, incidentally) that the best way to get Dawn to catch a bothersome critter that she would otherwise keep as a roommate is to yell, "Dawn! There's a spider! Come and get it or I'm going to kill it!" That brings me running. But this one was a little too big and a little too creepy even for me to be comfortable with it.

When I got back into the bathroom, the leg poking out from under the doorframe was gone. I prodded my envelope under there, hoping to scare it out, and flicked some water into the crack, hoping for the same, but the crevice was deeper than I thought, and the spider had escaped. For now.

Of course, by then, I was thoroughly creeped out. The damned thing had startled me and got all the anxiety juices flowing, and I couldn't fall asleep. I kept picturing that damned spider crawling across my face and snuggling into the blankets with me. The blanket moved once on my foot, and I jumped about a mile in the air. Finally, I realized that as long as I allowed myself to lie there and ruminate on the variety of ways that one can be surprised by a large spider--it could crawl up between the hand towels or slip into my shoe or hide in the bottom of my drinking cup--the more anxious I would become and the harder it would be to sleep. So I read until the anxiety reaction had settled and I could sleep with the lights off.

In the midst of all of this, I thought of Bobby. Bobby would not like the spider. He's a city boy, and city boys do not get along with large arachnids in any context much less when they surprise a person in the loo in the middle of the night. I wondered--if I didn't manage to catch it before he returned--should I tell him about it? On the one hand, he could help me look out for it. On the other hand, he would certainly be more freaked out and hypervigilant than me and perhaps without reason. The spider could leave at any time, making it useless to worry about it.

This morning, I woke up to the thought: The spider! I wondered if maybe it had crept back out in the night. I had left my glass and envelope in the bathroom just in case.

So I went to the bathroom and checked it like a cop clearing a room. I felt a little ridiculous. It wasn't on the floor, walls, or ceiling and it wasn't behind the door. I checked the sink and my waterglass, just in case. Not there. Behind the toilet? Maybe...and bingo.

It was crouched in the corner behind the toilet brush, but this time, there was nowhere for it to hide. I managed to get the glass over top of it (the thing was fast!) and slipped the envelope beneath the glass. Now the critter was trapped. The next step involves sliding the envelope onto a hardcover book so that the paper doesn't wrinkle and allow the spider to run up one's arm while being taken outside. I wasn't working in the best of conditions--behind the toilet--so this was tough, but it got down. Whew. And the poor thing was running around inside the glass madly, probably thinking I was going to eat it. I felt sorry for it.

I went and opened the balcony door and carried it outside, bumped over the glass, and the spider took off in a panic. So did I...right back into the house.

Usually, I name my house spiders. I had a Turgon for the longest time in the corner between the bathtub and the floor. (He was really small, so Bobby didn't mind him much. Plus, we had a fruit fly problem at the time, and I convinced Bobby that Turgon was our first line of defense in fruit-fly control. So he stayed, and I was careful to vacuum under his web.) Then an Aredhel in the study. When I lived with my parents, I had a whole succession of spiders named Coal that I actually think were the same kind that I caught today...only about a tenth of the size. But this one, luckily, didn't hang around long enough to earn a name. I thought about calling it Ungoliant as I watched it scramble across the table on the balcony, but that seems unfair now. If I had been startled by it, I hate to think of what it thought of me!

Jenni, Alina, Tarion, and I were talking about spiders a few weeks ago, and I mentioned that there is one local species that wholly gives me the creeps. These things used to like to build webs outside my bedroom windows at my parents' house, and during the spring, my mom would come along and open the windows, unthinking, and there they'd be when I'd come in. Ai! They build huge orb webs, and spiderwebs have always freaked me out much more than spiders. While poking around for pictures of my houseguest last night, I found a picture of this spider, apparently called Magora placida, that used to terrorize me as an elfling. They have big fat white bodies and chitinous red legs.... *shudders* I can barely look at the picture. But I'm offering it to any of you brave enough to try.

I haven't been able to find a picture of the spider I ousted today, but this kind is fairly common--albeit, usually much smaller--in our area. They are dark gray to black in color with two pale yellowish stripes down the back.
  • Yeek! I tell myself I am NOT freaked out by spiders, but...*cough* Anyway, I will spare you my own spider story as I'm sure everybody has one, but bravo to you for ousting and not killing him.
    • Yes, I have a spider-story too. ;) (There was a while when I identified myself as arachnophobic because of it.)

      Some spiders freak me out more than others. Under normal circumstances, I would have been content to simply remove this one without lots of angst, but it really startled me and things went downhill from there.

      Now those spiders with the fat white bodies and reddish legs.... *shudders*
  • I've never minded spiders even though one bit(????) me when I was younger, it was hiding in our mailbox, we didn't know if it was harmful(highly doubtful)but even then, they don't bug me. I even take the babies to see the spiders in the pet stores, along with the snakes and other creepy crawlies that I enjoy. I've come acroos thos magora placida too, when we lived with Brandon's Grandmother, they would build huge webs on her porch, I tried to get some piccies but couldn't. The only time I get freaked by spiders or other insects and all is if they're close to the babies, because i know what the harmful ones here in MD do look like, then I grab my hairspray and make sure that they leave my babies alone.
    • I have always wanted a tarantula, but I couldn't feed it other live critters. So I'm destined to keep just pepper plants and a husband, I guess. ;)

      Web-building spiders--like the Magora placida--freak me out more than ground spiders, like my little friend today or even wolf spiders. Spiderwebs are just...ick.

      As far as I know, the only poisonous spiders in Maryland are the black widow and brown recluse. I've seen a couple of black widows but brown recluses--as far as I know--tend to live in woodpiles.
  • OMG what a fantastic story! I don't believe it, because I had a spider on me last night while I was eating dinner and had to make a fast dash out through the sliding doors with my paper napkin so I could brush it off. It was pure white and small, with a large abdomen sticking up like a crab's. I think I got rid of it without killing it but I was scared afterward that it might have been still attached to me by a thread.

    I just love spider stories!
    • It probably was a crab spider! I've seen those on occasion. They're kind of neat looking.

      The day after we had that conversation in your LJ about the spider that kept running across the wall while you were working, I was making candy in the kitchen and Bobby comes in and says, "Did you want to get rid of that spider, Dawn?" and I said, "What spider?" and looked up, and there was a huge jumping spider crawling across the kitchen ceiling.

      "Yes!" I said. "I don't want it to fall into the chocolate!"

      So we caught it with a cup against the ceiling in our biggest drinking glass, which is about a foot tall. I managed to knock it into the bottom of the cup so that I could slip a piece of paper over top of it, and the sucker jumped from the bottom of the cup to the ceiling, which was like a foot! Ai!

      I think I spoke to soon that day when I said that we don't have as many scary spiders in Howard County as we did up north. Ai....
  • Yick. And that picture...nasty! *hates spiders, like Ron Weasely*
    • Which one? The wolf spider or the magora? :^D

      I'd sooner deal with a wolf spider, truth be known. They're the size of my palm, yes, but they don't build webs. Webs are icky. (Magoras don't get much bigger than the size of a quarter, that I've seen anyway.)

      Luckily, I've yet to see either in Howard County. *knocks wood*
  • Shelob in the bathroom...

    Spiders are....*shudders* so gross...

    I read this with horrified fascination and thought, Dawn should submit this somewhere...you really are a good writer, sweet pea!

    So, could you right about a pretty elf slaying the nasty spider next time? Ack.

    • *blushes* Thank you! I try to see comedy in my daily ordeals. :^P

      As requested, here is your pretty-Elf-slaying-spider-in-the-bathroom badfic.

      Erestor reclined in the bathtub, skin as pale as the porcelain beneath the oil-dark swatch of silken hair spilling over the side. The warm water slid like a lover's caress over his naked skin.

      Glorfindel was gone on one of his famous "missions," this time to assuage a possible quandry involving a mishmash of adventurers preparing to cross the Bruinen. Well, that was all that he would tell Erestor, ignoring--Erestor thought with some annoyance--the fact that it was their anniversary and they'd had plans that Erestor had wholly expected to be...erm..."tended to," until roughly two hours ago, when Glorfindel had left.

      So he was left, beautiful Elf naked in the bathtub and quite obviously needing...erm..."tending to."

      "Ai, quandry indeed," muttered Erestor because the damned thing insisted on poking above the surface of the bathwater no matter how many times he thought of how utterly, irrevocably incensed he was with Glorfindel.

      He knew how it would progress from many years of experience (that were supposed to be honored tonight, he might add): Glorfindel would return late and grimy and smelling of horses and mud and filth and Erestor dared not ponder what else; he would slide between the sheets of their clean bed (made up just this morning by Erestor, who didn't trust Elrond's vapid-eyed servants), and expect Erestor to simply relinquish to his charms and oh-so-supple warrior's hands.

      "Not tonight," Erestor growled.

      Glorfindel was the revered warrior, but as Erestor was fond of teasing him, given the right motivations, Erestor was also very skilled with taking sword in hand. And with a delightfully bitter thought of turning his back upon Glorfindel that night and leaving him unfulfilled, Erestor did just that.

      He was approaching a very key moment in his self "sparring" when he noticed the spider.

      No matter all the charms of Rivendell, the place cultivated the biggest spiders Erestor had ever seen. (Elrond, in his wisdom, suggested it was the dampness.) No matter the cause, Erestor was stricken, naked in the water, "sword" in hand, with the spider blocking his passage to the door and crawling steadily toward him on chitinous legs that Erestor imagined he could hear clicking on the bathroom floor.

      Quandry, indeed.

      But at the moment the bathroom door flew open hard enough to hit the wall and knock the portrait of Manwe that Glorfindel insisted on keeping there to the floor, revealing none other than Glorfindel himself, golden skin humid with perspiration, clothing torn asunder, and with a mutinous gleam in his eye.

      "Erestor," he said, "how delightful to find you with sword in hand, ready to spar. Prepare to immolate your foe!"

      As he launched himself across the room to tumble fully clothed into the bathtub, his foot quashed the spider.
    • (no subject) - digdigil - Expand
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    • EEP indeed! I always "empty" the spider right away to prevent that. Ai, I can see how that might be a little horrifying. ;)
  • Ugh... spiders...

    I don't mind ants, or flies, or moths, or anything like that. But spiders freak me out. I think it's because of all the eyes. My skin crawls thinking about them.

    Centipedes, earthworms, grubs and such are worse. They wriggle

    *sobs and goes off to whimper in a corner*
    • I wanted to be an entomologist at one time, so most of that stuff doesn't bother me.

      But then there are the rare species--like the Magora placida--that inexplicably do, so I feel your pain.

      Regarding centipedes, my sister had a dream once that there was a centipede on her ceiling that dropped down on her while she was asleep. It scared her awake, and she looked up to see...a centipede on her ceiling. Weird!
  • Eeek. I guess I'd have called my mom. (Which would be a bit unfortunate since I moved to another town about two years ago and spend only a few week now where I grew up, hehe)

    I'm trying not to kill spiders either. I'm rather comfortable with the smaller kind but the big ones freak me out. But since I've moved to an upper floor some time ago, spiders (and critters of all kind) are not much of a problem anymore anyway... ;)
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