I Don’t Like Spiders and Snakes, But That’s Not What it Takes to Love Me…

This morning, while I was lugging an enormous basket of folded laundry up the stairs, I happened to glance over at the wall, and BEHOLD!

The younger brother of last night’s spider! On! The! Wall!

The most horrible part of this wasn’t that he was actually ON my wall. Nope. The most horrible part was that I was HOME ALONE, PEOPLE, WITHOUT SOMEONE TO HEAR MY SCREAMS.

So really? I didn’t even scream, because why bother?

I debated calling Hubs right there and insisting (Nay, DEMANDING!) that he come home immediately and eradicate my house of all creatures sporting more than four legs, but I knew that he’d be less than thrilled to receive such a call. He would have, in fact, just told me to toughen up and take care of business, like I was some sort of Mrs. Chuck Norris.

So I did. I set the laundry basket down, and I used the lavender-scented fabric softener sheet that was garbage-bound and in my hand. I squeezed my eyes shut, and I slammed the fabric softener onto the wall and grit my teeth while the deed took place.

Because you know…all the popping and the oozing and the silent spider screams…

At lunch, I bragged to Hubs about my conquest like I had just bagged an elk on the mountain with a single shot to a vital organ. I showed Hubs my karate kick, just for good measure, and I told him, “Listen! These spiders that are working their way into our house this fall don’t stand a chance, because you and I will pop ’em full of caps and haul their dirty little carcasses to the taxidermist. We should’ve done a full body mount on that sucker you took care of last night, and thrown him up on the fireplace mantel as a lesson to all spiders who dare enter our house this fall. Wha-hoo!” I had the tough talk down to an art.

And this, people, is exactly the point where Hubs looked at me and said, “Yeah. You know that spider that I caught last night? I didn’t kill him. He was like the trophy spider, so I just let him loose in the backyard and told him to go in peace and kill some bugs. Guys like him are Bug Killers, and that’s an important occupation.”

I was so shocked with Hubs’ confession, he might just as well have said, “I decided to vote on the Democratic ticket this time around and pierce my belly button, and if we could have tofu in olive oil for dinner tonight, I’d be powerfully pleased.”

I told him, “Dude! I can’t believe you did that! That spider knows where the gate is to get into our house, and he’s going to just march through the yard and come back into my bathroom, just as soon as the temperature drops again tonight!”

So clearly, the whole concept of sleeping at night is going to be a bit of a problem, since the arachnid’s extended family has decided to shack up inside the Jedi Manor, and since the granddaddy of all wolf spiders was a victim of the Catch and Release Program.

Which makes him a complete non-victim. I’m sure he’s back in the spider hole this afternoon, bragging to the family about how he stood up on his back four legs and swung the front two legs at Hubs and hissed some incantations, until Hubs’ eyes swirled with the hypnotic spell and THAT is how he escaped.

But poor Bob, well, he never saw the fabric softener sheet coming; may his lavender-scented corpse rest in peace.

And then, I did find a way to Win Friends and Influence People today.

The boy and I stopped into the pet store after school, and we had to wait for the gal to get our crickets, because she was busy at the counter, making a pet sale. In front of us was a rather rough looking woman, who was explaining that she couldn’t (Just! Couldn’t!) take the cage with the animal today, because she thought she had an extra fifty dollars in her purse — SHE, IN FACT, KNEW THAT SHE HAD AN EXTRA FIFTY DOLLARS IN HER PURSE! — but apparently one of the kids got into her purse and swiped it, and GOODNESS! But was she ever going to have some words with the kids when she got home and saw who had a new pair of jeans on.

I kind of grinned at her animated reasoning for why she was not going to buy the cage, and I began to look around. Right there, beside the counter, was a ferret, who had snuggled into a ferret-sized hammock and was in the middle of a nap. I decided that, Low! She had bought the ferret, but she was taking him home, minus the cage, which apparently cost somewhere in the ballpark of $50, but someone at her house was currently wearing the $50 that HAD BEEN in her purse in the form of a new pair of Lucky Brands.

Then, this gal asked the pointed question, “When did he shed last?”

Really? Because that ferret looks hairy enough to shed all the time, exactly like Cats 1 and 2 do, and I’d say he probably shed last right before he fell asleep in that tiny rodent hammock.

The pet store owner replied, “Oh, he shed two months ago.”

The woman asked, “And did he have any problems?”

“No. Absolutely none. He just crawled right out of that skin, exactly like a textbook says he should.”

People, it was EXACTLY HERE that I realized the ferret had not been purchased.

The pet store owner had to run to the back to grab some sort of form, and the rough-looking woman turned to me, so I decided to be polite and make some pleasant small talk, so I said the first thing I could think of.

“Oh, gross. Did you just buy a snake?”

I’m pretty sure that it was the “Oh, gross” part that won her heart over and made her want to adopt me as her new best friend. I can be so polite sometimes.

And she beamed and said, “Oh my goodness! I did! I bought HIM!” And she pointed, with an acrylic nail that was roughly the length of a yardstick, at the six-foot-long python who has turned my weekly trips to the pet store to secure crickets for the frog beasts into a living nightmare. She replied, “I am so in love with him! I’ve been coming in to see him daily, and my boyfriend said that we just didn’t have the money for him, but since when have I ever let my boyfriend dictate how I’ll spend my money? Never! That’s what I say! Never! It’s my money, and if I want to spend every last red cent on that python beauty, then so be it! Of course, now I just have to explain to my boyfriend that the snake will be living with us, too, and I doubt he’ll be too happy about that, but what can he do?”

And then she asked me, “So? Don’t you just loooove him?”

Without even missing a beat, I replied, “If I saw him on the road, I would run over him with my Suburban.”

And she sort of gasped and looked at me like I was yesterday’s trash.

So I backpedaled a bit and said, “But…the snakes…and me…it’s just…I…you know…don’t. I don’t…you know…looooove them. But I’m glad you do!”

And then, apparently, I genuinely did win her over as my friend, because she launched into this lengthy monologue about how she’s been passionately in love with snakes for the last twenty years, when an old deadbeat boyfriend just up and left her AND left his snake at her house, so she ended up with Rosie by default, and she and Rosie became just the best of friends, until Rosie, who was an escape artist, escaped the tank one day in her house and was never, ever seen again. But she told me not to worry, because she doesn’t even live in that house anymore, and that she has, in fact, sold the house to other people. And that, as a matter of fact, happened YEARS AGO. Just years and years ago.

I asked the obvious: “Weren’t you afraid to go to bed at night?”

“Oh, goodness, no! Not at all! Rosie was just a skinny four-footer, and I missed her dreadfully! All of my friends were afraid to come over to my house, because they kept expecting her to crawl out of the heat vent or something, and I always told them that I genuinely WISHED Rosie would crawl into bed with me at night, so I could put her back into her cage, and we could be a family again.”

I asked the other obvious question: “Did you tell your real estate agent that Rosie may or may not have been loose in the house when you put it up for sale?”

And she said, “No. No I did not.”

And that, people, in a nutshell, is why Hubs and I BUILT THIS STINKING HOUSE OF OURS! It’s because you can’t always trust the disclosure parts of your real estate contract, and you never know if maybe (Just! Maybe!) there is a skinny four-foot python living in your heat vent who answers to the name of Rosie.

And I seriously doubt that there’s a lavender-scented fabric softener sheet large enough to take care of THAT problem!

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