The NOT-So-Itsy-Bitsy-Spider

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I’m among the 1 out of 2 women that suffer from arachnophobia, although if I can toot my own horn, I have built some confidence in smooshing the 8-legged creatures with age {my apologies to you spider-hugging peeps!}

In Middle School, I’d literally peer into the shower, scan the top perimeter once, twice, phew! If no creepy crawlies were in sight, in I’d charged. But if spider stared back… “Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad,” I’d scream until he came and killed, ahem, removed the innocent arachnid. Because that’s what dad’s do- they kill spiders in showers! And when first married, my husband took over the fun job of running to my rescue.

With confidence and kids, I’ve grown braver and taken matters into my own hands. Spider in the corner? Smoosh. Spider climbing up the door? Smoosh, dust off hands. Spider tiptoeing across the kitchen floor? Smoosh, dust off hands, evil laugh. Okay, maybe I’ve gotten a little crazy, but it’s called growth, people!

And I’ve been doing great with this whole arachnophobia conquering thing, until… last summer.

Bryan and I had been working all day in the yard, clearing grass, turning soil, planting trumpet vines, geraniums, alyssum, and roses along the back wall. With shovels, the boys had helped dig and pat dirt and clear weeds. But let’s be honest, they really searched for worms 98% of the time! And of course, all this was done on my spontaneous whim to “landscape the backyard the day before we took 50 middle school students to summer camp!” {Said this wife with a clenched smile and pat on the booty to my patient husband.} After hours of wearing sweat and dirt, a shower was in order. I stood under the faucet probably ten minutes, relaxing, listening to happy backyard shrieks, our bathroom back door only steps away from the yard and our shower.

My eyes were closed and I was shampooing my hair exactly like they do on Herbal Essence commercials. When I opened my eyes upward, he was staring down at me, this NOT so itsy-bitsy-spider:

jumping spider

 Oh, I’m sorry, did you shriek?

Well, it’s probably nothing compared to the heart attack I gave my husband when I careened out of the shower, scruh-eeeeeeeeeeeming at the top of my lungs, and ran into the backyard buck naked. Or as Ty-Ty would say, “nakey.” {My sincerest apologies to our neighbors.}

When I finally calmed down enough to tell him, No, it was not a dead body I discovered in our shower, but rather, the son of a tarantula, he came to the rescue like he always does, and even made me feel not-so-foolish when he gave a small jump and “Oh whoa, that’s a big one!” Darn right it’s a big one. That thing is as big as a truck and it was staring into my soul!!!!!

Ten minutes later I washed the shampoo out of my hair, got dressed, and researched what type of spider had been making himself at home in our bathroom only to learn that this, my friends is a Daring Jumping Spider. Awesome, right? As if the word ‘Daring’ isn’t sufficient, let’s just throw in the fact that these boogers like to JUMP! Faint!

In a nutshell, here’s the stats on Mr. Daring Jumping Spider: They are large, black, hairy {yes, hairy}, four of their eight eyes are on their “face” colored a green iridescent that stare into your soul {my definition} and they use these eyes to watch, then pounce on their prey. HOLD THE PHONE… did that hairy fella plan to pounce on me? {Blood drains from my face and I consider truly fainting}. I read on, scouring until the silver lining reads:  “Although scary looking, these spiders are non-poisonous and are not harmful to humans.” Deep breath out! A little self talk and twelve hours later my heart rate returns to normal.

Life went on as usual until three days ago.

He came back to visit.

In our shower.

It was that thin line, the narrow window of time while Ty was busy doing the alphabet train puzzle and before we had to pick up Tanner from school. I had 15, maybe 20 minutes.

I slid the shower door open and there he was. Staring at me. At my soul. My green eyes stared back at his four. Before our first encounter, I was confident to grab a tissue and squash these guys dead. But knowing what I know now, that they jump, that they are hairy, bluhhhhhh… most likely he’d karate attack my hand in mid air!

Nope, I couldn’t do it. I just stared. Maybe he’ll go away. Maybe he knows I’d like some privacy. Minutes ticked on… I was losing traction. So I did what any normal person would do. I took a picture and sent it to Bry.

spider

He’s back.

I dare you to eat him!

You’re lame.

It was then I decided to have a little chat with my Daring Jumping Spider Friend.

Listen buddy… I’m not going to kill you today. Could he sense the fear in my voice? Nope, I’m going to open our bathroom door to the great outdoors and expect you to cooperate. If you would please just crawl down from my honeysuckle body wash and join your family outside, I’d be much obliged. Thank you. I bowed my hand in a kind gesture towards the back door and proceeded to shower in the boys tub, complete with dinosaurs underfoot, Strawberry Surf Shampoo, and Aveeno Baby Body Wash. Double awesome! I returned an hour later to find our bathroom spider-less. That’s right, I yelled to the open yard.

And then today… climbing up the window in our bedroom. That spider. Our spider. By now, I was considering getting him a bling collar and taking him on family walks. Will he ever go away? I trapped him in the window slider between the glass and screen. I shouted for the boys to come look and we all oohed and ahhed at the green eyed furry ginormous spider. I even took a video and sent it to Bryan telling him I’d won the battle. His reply? Did you kill it. No response.

There’s something about this spider – he in a weird sort of scary way pushes me to face my fears, even if it’s because of him. Every time I see Mr. Daring Jumping Spider and choose a deep breath as opposed to screaming, every time I take a step into the heart-pounding, I grow braver. And stronger. And every time, it gets a little easier to remain calm and start with, “Okay, NOT-So-Itsy-Bitsy…let’s chat.”

“It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that they are difficult.”
Lucius Annaeus Seneca

To catch prey, Daring Jumping Spiders sneak up on it, then pounce. They can leap great distances when you consider their

These spiders eat all sorts of insects, as well as other spiders. They do most

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