I felt virtuous because I decided to do a load of laundry before I went to bed, even though it was well after ten on a school night. I just don’t feel right if I don’t have clean pink clothes, and I have enough stuff in various shades of pink that it requires its own wash load. Girly but true. My bedroom is pink, but that’s another, prettier story.
I flicked on the light switch in my laundry room with my elbow because I had my arms full of clothes, and it’s one of those energy efficient bulbs that takes half a minute to warm up and actually illuminate the space, so I was already pouring the soap in the washer when I saw the beast perched behind my washing machine. Luckily, I didn’t drop the Purex, which I’m sure would have broken my foot if the two had collided. Pure survival instinct kept that detergent bottle in my hand. Darwin knows I could not possibly have escaped that spider with smashed metatarsals.
He was stretched out menacingly on the rough plaster of the wall, and I guess I had interrupted his beauty sleep, because he turned to me in a boiling rage. He gnashed his terrible fang-mandible things and reared up like an eight-legged rodeo horse from hell. Venom rolled off his horrid spider tusks. I stopped breathing. Over the sound of the water filling the machine and the erratic bongo drum beat of my poor heart, I swear I heard the nasty bugger hissing at me. Or speaking Dutch. I can’t remember now in the wake of my post-traumatic stress.
My first instinct was to run. Well, actually my first instinct was to surrender control of my bladder, but I managed to suppress that impulse and make a plan. The biggest issue was that all my clothes were piled on top of my dryer, and if I had retreated from the laundry room and abandoned my clothes, I knew I would have to get rid of them. If I left my housecoat, towels, favorite hoodie, etc. on the top of the dryer, within a good icky skitter of that spider, I knew I would have to destroy them. If there was even a chance that spider could have crawled into my pile of laundry, everything would be compromised and I would have to dispose of all of it. There were three problems with sacrificing that load of laundry:
A) I am right out of kerosene, butane and other stuff with a little campfire on the bottle
B) I could not possibly live without that fuzzy pink housecoat
C) the neighbours think I’m weird enough without me lighting a bonfire in a rainstorm
I deal with teenagers all day, so I am good at diffusing potentially volatile situations. I started to talk to the freaky thing threatening me from behind the dryer. I don’t speak any Dutch, so I went to the next best option and listed off all the furniture names I could remember from the 2011 IKEA catalogue that arrived earlier this week.
Apparently, he had no appreciation for quality home furnishings at affordable prices. The nasty critter puffed himself up as big as he could, willing each bristle on his back to stand on end like the cat does when that mangy grey tabby strolls up our sidewalk. I shoved item after item into the washer, praying he wouldn’t jump and land on me while I grabbed my clothes. I had a really good grammar lesson planned for the next day at school, and I knew I couldn’t teach prepositional phrases if I was dead.
After I dropped the last piece of laundry, a cotton candy coloured bathmat, into the washer, I scanned the room for something I could use to exterminate the beast. I have a real issue with squishing things, partly because of the crunching sound, and partly because if you smoosh a spider, you risk touching it (shudder). My options were Febreeze and something called Shoo! Animal Repellent. Truthfully, I was looking for something with the little pirate flag picture on the side, but I had the choice between making the gnarly thing smell like lilacs or keeping the neighbourhood mammals far, far away from his hairy little corpse.
I chose the Shoo! because I figured the aerosol can might have something rather volatile in it. I sang a Queen song while I reached slowly for the spray can. Nope, it wasn’t “Another One Bites the Dust,” because I figured using the word “bite” might work against me in this showdown. I went with “Fat-Bottomed Girls” for its positive message and kicky rhythm.
When the spray hit him, his knees bent immediately (all eight of ’em) and he shrieked in agony. Then he fell behind the dryer with a thump. Based on a true story. Loosely. As soon as I figured he wasn’t going to crawl back up the wall, I dashed back out of the laundry room, stubbing my toe in the process but fighting the pain to ensure my speedy escape.
So now I’m worried. I may need protective equipment to wear when I go into the laundry room. I’m thinking pants made of something durable, like Carhaarts (do they come in fuchsia?), and maybe some steel-toed footwear. I think my brother can give me an old pair of welding gloves. Alternately, I guess I could establish my dominance in the area by wearing a spider costume into the basement for laundry for a while so any resident spiders decide I’m not worth a battle to the death and simply move out of the neighbourhood.
Can you imagine the spiders’ conversations if I made that costume?
(translated from Dutch)
“Holy crap Len! Didja see the size of that dude.”
“Yep. Geeze Ted, we’d better pack our junk and get the heck outta here.”
“No doubt. Wouldn’t want to tangle with him.”
“We can find another laundry room. Let’s split, man.”
Yeah. I definitely need to make a couple of auxiliary arms and some fierce fangs. Let’s get Operation Scram Spidey Vermin underway.
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