The black widow

 - by Sarah Lipoff

black widow

Last year it was all about garden snakes at our house. The cats couldn’t get enough of bringing them into the house at all hours and then taunting and playing with them. Needless to say, I started feeling more like a snake handler than a new mama! I was happy when things started calming down, and that same snake – or family of snakes – decided it was a good idea to find someone else’s house to live under.

Or, the cats just got tired and wanted something new.

Either way, it’s been nice not man-handling a snake during the wee hours of the night while everyone else is slumbering (and the cats are licking their lips).

So, the other day when the weather had finally decided to be warm, the wee tot and I figured it was time to head outdoors and enjoy the wonders of nature. We have an indoor outdoor kind-o-room that is our safe-haven from the heat during the summer months, and as soon as the babe and I opened up the room , I noticed something lurking in the corner.

Something BIG.

I’d heard of them, thought I’d seen them in the past, but, at that very moment, I was frozen like stone.

I KNEW it was a BLACK WIDOW.

My life turned into a total action hero movie as I moved to quickly wrap myself around the wee tot sheltering her from any black widow shooting venom or special spidey abilities. In slow-mo, we deftly twisted and turned away from the gigantic black mass and barely squeaked out the door before being violently attacked.

Well, not really.

Black widow spiders are actually quite common in warm areas of the United States. Yes, they can pack a mighty bite, but like all small things, aren’t really excited to tango with something bigger. Often, black widows prefer dark, cool spots, and won’t bother you unless you mess with their territory. They are a force to be reckoned with – and totally deserve your respect. That translates to back away from the spider and determine your choice of action.

Yeah, I would have loved to have been able to call an extermination, but I’m on a budget. I also wanted to be somewhat understanding that this is a special creature and I’d prefer NOT to kill it, but I have a small child, an unable-to-deal-with-spiders husband, and pets.

Sadly, that spider had to go.

After asking around and doing some basic research, I decided that a quick and humane death was in order. I got out the wasp/bee killer spray, gathered my favorite bug whacking implement (a flip-flop) and prepared for battle. By the time I built up my courage, that spider had hidden itself. It took me quite some determined concentration to find it lurking in a yet-to-be-encloesed gap in the drywall of that downstairs playroom (shudder).

As uniquely beautiful and special that spider was, it was truly gratifying taking care of it.

I think I’ll sleep tonight.

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