• “Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple. Dr. Suess

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Yesterday started wrong.
 It is not that I didn't know the spider was there -

I tried to whack it before but it was too fast. And it is very hard to WHACK between the knife block, paper towel roll and the microwave mounted over the stove.  That is where it got away to - behind the microwave. 

I have been thinking on how to catch it for many minutes since. I know spiders are creatures of habit.  They build a web, make a nice cozy place to live and then live there - in other word I knew I would see it again in the same locale.  

And if you know me I did not forget it was lurking.  I have been watching, and thinking.

6:15 in the morning is not a good time to bother me.  
I am a bit, well, not awake really.  
That sounds nicer than groggy, cranky, testy, 
or other similar adjectives!

I decided oatmeal would be nice for breakfast.  
I decided to make some for hubby too. 
I was trying to be quiet so he could sleep in a bit. I am very grateful for all he has done for me while I recuperated this summer and fall. I rummaged for a pot, and lid, dropped several, made enough noise to wake the dead (but not David) and generally made myself testy and cranky by the time I filled it with water and turned to place it on the stove. 

(Thanks again to all my kids - 
it is so new and clean and shiny still).

THAT is when I saw it. Some small movement caught the corner of my eye and I must admit I absolutely froze.  There it was! hanging midway between a knife handle and the microwave. I was not about to repeat our previous encounter.  David does not kill most insects. I do - but usually only if they come in my house.  He captures them by inverting a glass over them, slides a paper under the glass and carries them outside to freedom.  I let him.

I have seen him do it many times.  It is very simple and effective.  Sly kicked up a notch as I set my pot of water on a burner, picked up a nice thick envelop from the pile of mail on the table, and a mostly empty glass from nearby.

It worked too.  
Now what was I supposed to do?
Here I was at dawn standing in my kitchen barefoot, in my nightgown, holding an envelop over a glass to keep the spider inside and all I wanted was a bowl of oatmeal - good hot oatmeal - the way I fix it - not gooey or slimey but light and flakey,with honey and fruit. 

I had told David about the spider and what I thought were unusual markings - I hadn't seen the striped back or the strange light tummy before. I wanted him to see those but it could be an hour before he was up if he got this chance to sleep in a little. I found a heavy bowl (do not try to imagine that process with my hands both occupied) and balanced it on top of the envelop on top of the glass on top of the counter.  I could look at it eyeball to eyeball that way.  I could also make sure it did not get away.

My parents were strict about not tormenting little creatures.  If they had to be killed so be it but without suffering.  I don't know what makes a spider suffer but I don't suppose the spoonful of water in the glass bottom was its most pleasant moments.  I almost felt sorry for it but not quite.  I also felt bad that one of its legs got caught under the edge of the glass as it tried to get away and now it was dragging that leg a little bit BUT too bad! it should not have been in my house!

I heated the oatmeal, turned the burner off and left it steaming under the lid and David got up. We messed around with the spider and he took some pictures of it - I put on my sandals in case it tried to get away (David likes to magnify the pictures on the computer - I admit that is interesting). After the pictures he went to get ready for work.  

WAIT a minute!
The spider was still in the kitchen!
I asked him what HE was going to do with it.
It had snowed over night and was very cold outside.  
He seemed to not hear me so I dumped it out and stepped on it.
As my foot came down I heard him suggest, from the other room, that I take it outside.  He felt like it might be able to crawl into some place and survive. 

I said nothing, put the glass in the dishwasher and the envelop in the trash, and off and on for much of the day thought about habits and patterns of living. 

I don't feel guilty.  I am NOT going to let a spider nest in my kitchen and I am not going to go outside in the cold, much less in my nightgown and sandals, to let the thing freeze to death slowly.  It did not die slowly. It looked way too much like the black widows that occasionally turn up around here - but then 'they' all look alike to me - generally speaking, ya know?

When we know little about people or creatures 'they' can all look alike and be categorized as good or bad with little thought.  David helps me think past categories and generalizations.  I like that. (It can also be irritating).

Speaking of irritating - I never did get my oatmeal.  The pot vacuum sealed itself shut while we were taking pictures (mostly I just hovered nervously). I almost made more oatmeal but then made a valiant attempt to reheat it and get it open. David ate toast and fruit and went to work meanwhile. The oatmeal burned - and stayed stuck. It was still stuck at 5:30 when he came home.  I tried ice and hot water and, and, and ... nothing worked.  He tried to take the lid apart - nope. He tried to get an opening, even tiny to let air or water in by prying - nope. He boiled it in a much larger pot of water for more than an hour.  It finally came loose and could be cleaned - smelled up the house like burnt oatmeal but could be cleaned.

My day went downhill from the dawn to dusk.
The rest of the day was a comedy of clumsiness and chaos
 - and although mostly uneventful just immensely irksome.

It was difficult to choose to be cheerful,
 and not say cranky things all day.

By bedtime blizzard warnings had become the reality and bitter temperatures froze blowing snow over both the front and the back door.

This morning drift sculptures that eddy around the car tempt me to get dressed and go out to take some photos.

I have become a pansy.  I only stay out long enough to document some strange snow around the car and decide not to move it.  

I knew I would catch that spider sooner or later.  
I knew where it had hidden. 
When I removed its webs I knew it would make more.
I knew I would be able to 'get' it there.  
It would be there. That is how spiders are.

I suppose I also knew I would kill it 
and that David wouldn't.
Sometimes I take them out ...

I am grateful for his example to me in this.
It helps me be a more compassionate, considerate being.

I am left wondering about habits, traps and webs.
Is there anyone or anything trying to catch me? or you?
Lying in wait?watching? waiting for our vulnerable times?

If so what do I (or you) need to do to foil that?

Surely we must at least consider and ask,
"Do I have habits that endanger my well being
or even my very soul?"