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Hollow Tree Ventures parenting humor
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The Spider Doesn't Fall Far From the Tree

I must've done something good in a past life, because a few days ago I was mercifully spared a spider to the face.

I was climbing the stairs, and in my house that means I was staring at my feet.  That's because our stairs turn a corner midway up, and since there's no landing, the treads all come together at a point at the turn.  I have to believe this design flies in the face of the Official Building Code, because my stairs are just begging for someone (me) to misstep on one of those skinny slivers of tread and fall, smashing my face, followed closely by the snapping off of the rest of my body parts.

But the other day, something  (woman's intuition?  a higher power?  good karma?  spidey sense?) told me to forget the danger that was lurking underfoot, and look up.

That's when I found myself eyeball-to-eyeball with a spider, who was scurrying down his Silken Butt Thread (it's a Science Word, I looked it up) in a calculated attempt to land on my face.  His plan would have worked, too, if I'd just kept barreling up the stairs all rhinoceros-like, as I usually do.

I thought a picture would make my terrible description of the scenario easier to understand,
but I think my terrible art skills are only making things worse.


Now, I love all creatures as much as the next guy (as long as the next guy doesn't love spiders), but I can't have a vicious arachnid crawling around my house, pulsating with flesh-eating venom and potentially creeping down his Butt Thread toward my children.  That's just not responsible parenting.

So I ended up batting the beast around as he dangled there, feeling like I was playing some macabre game of tether ball, until he finally landed on the extremely generous quantity of tissue I'd wrapped around my hand for protection (sorry, trees) and I was able to squeal him all the way to the bathroom, where I tossed him in the toilet.

And yes, when you do it like I do, "squeal" is a verb that denotes sound as well as motion.
I think that's fair, because if he's smart enough to get out, he lives!  If not, then not so much.  However, not knowing his fate has left me paranoid that a super-smart, self-aware, uber-strong spider with an axe to grind is still lurking around near the top of my stairs, so I have to watch for him every time I go up and down.

I call this Ghost Spider Syndrome.  It's a mental condition causing me to believe a bug that's probably  dead is actually hiding in my home, plotting his revenge.  For whatever reason, even though I know spiders are highly mobile, I only watch for them in the last place they were spotted.  The condition lasts until I see a different spider (or the same spider, which I assume is a different one because it's in a different place), and then all my Ghost Spider paranoia is transferred to the new one.

I'm telling you this because I recently found out that Ghost Spider Syndrome is genetic, and I've passed it on to my daughter, Zoe.

My mom's HOA had sprayed for bugs, which resulted in a large spider carcass finding its final resting place on her driveway.  Zoe hopped out of my mom's car and started to run toward the house, but freaked out because the grizzly spider corpse was right between the car and the garage door, directly in her path.  She had to go around the other way to avoid it, and was pretty shaken up by her encounter.

The next time she went to my mom's, she hopped out of the car but froze immediately, remembering the dead spider.  She was terrified, but my mom reminded her, "He's long gone - it's been really windy, so the spider blew away."

Suffering from what can only be a crippling case of Ghost Spider Syndrome, an unconvinced Zoe replied, "Maybe, BUT HIS SOUL IS STILL THERE."

Thank you, Zoe.  Now I'm going to have to watch for spiders even when I know  they're dead.  No amount of post-tether-ball flushing can save me now.


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49 comments:

  1. Wouldn't it be neat if we could shoot out our own Silken Butt Thread? How does it disconnect from the, um, source? Do they have little scissors in there?

    Man, I *really* don't want to get in a fight with a spider. I'm glad you won. And I also think you should get the government to give you a grant to write about Ghost Spider Syndrome.

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  2. I try very hard to be the big brave person when I have to take care of a bug in my house so as not to pass along any freaking out stuff onto my girls. That being said 4 yo girl came in screaming bloody murder last week because she saw 2 worms in the ground outside. I'm pretty sure our genes are going to screw up our kids no matter what we do.

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  3. I seriously hate spiders. I live near the lake with lot's of mature trees. Not only do I have to watch for bird poop during the day I once had a spider poop on me as I was walking out my front door. I spend entire weekends trying to scrub spider poop off of my siding. Plus, spiders are even crappier housekeepers than me. I mean really, can't they clean up their take out containers when they're done?

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  4. This made me laugh out loud. You really are one of my new favourite bloggers...so glad I found you!

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  5. "His soul is still there!" So funny!! I have not heard of the ghost spider syndrome phenomenon. I'm like this with moths, with anything that flits. It completely freaks me out. So, for me, it will be the 'ghost moth syndrome'.
    Thoroughly enjoyed this post!

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  6. You didn't mention The Teeny Toilet Paper Spider, The Creepy-Fast Couch Spider, or The Spider to be Named Later. You make me laugh, baby! And I <3 your graphics.

    Spider Souls is gonna be the name of our fifth album. The Faulty Gyroscopes bring you Spider Souls and Butt Webs.

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  7. I killed a spider that was hiding on my bed today. Now, thanks to your post, I'm beginning to doubt that it was really dead when I tossed it into the garbage bag and is only biding its time to come attack me while I sleep...

    -Barb the French Bean

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  8. @Tumbleweed, I think the government grant is a great idea, except I might have to look at spiders up close, which I'm not into, not even the ones that are presumed dead. Plus I can't run the risk of getting shivved with those tiny Butt Thread scissors.

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  9. @justkeepswimming, I agree - I'd say 99.9% of my bravery in any given bug situation is due to the fact that my kids are watching and I don't want to saddle them with my phobias. Obviously I'm failing with at least one of the kids...

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  10. @Vanessa - SPIDERS POOP??? And here I thought they couldn't be any more gross. This is very bad news, indeed.

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  11. @Stephanie - thank you so much! That makes me smiley - I love your blog! :)

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  12. @Heidi, thank you! I'm sure there's a whole family of Ghost Syndromes, one for each of Nature's Nastiest Creatures. I don't think it's limited to bugs, either - I have a self-diagnosed case of Ghost Fish Syndrome, which crops up any time I'm swimming in a lake and something brushes up against my leg.

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  13. @thirdparty, I work very hard to forget about the Creepy-Fast Couch Spider because there's nowhere else to sit in our living room. But I do still look for it every day. We might need to move, or at least burn that couch down.

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  14. @thebeans, it was on your bed?!? Then the only rational course of action is to spray it with toxic bug killer, smash it, suck it up in the vacuum, throw the vacuum in the trash, and take the trash out to the curb. If you really want to be safe, it's probably best to put the trash on the curb in front of someone else's house.

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  15. Omg, I don't even care about your spider issues, I couldn't stop laughing at your stick figure with a pot belly......lol!!!!!

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  16. Ack! I've had a few spider incidences at my house too...they usually like to party in the middle of the night here on my son's door when he's crying and I must get to him. You are much kinder than I. My weapon of choice was an empty paper town roll to squish those intruders and down the toilet they went! This was so, SO very entertaining!

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  17. Robyn, this is hilarious! The graphic makes your post so much more interesting. You have a beautiful blog and am so glad to find you through yeah-write.

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  18. Ha! I love the drawing. And GAAAAAAAH SPIDER EEEEEEEK.

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  19. Love the pic, but I love the "his soul is still there" line even more!

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  20. Oh good God - sooo good.
    Spidey sense! And I loved your drawing.
    And the whole soul thing.
    Love this! Butt thread ---> Ha!

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  21. A really entertaining post, one of my favourites. I could identify with the phrase 'squealing to the bathroom'. Personally I make 'throwing up' noises.

    And does the thread really come out of the butt? Gross ...

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  22. Funny post. In our house, I'm the only one afraid of spiders or any bugs. if we find a bug (no matter how gross, or small, or big), my husband and son will catch it and set it outside so it can "live free and in the wild." (He's a huge Wild Kratts fan).

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  23. Oh my goodness this was good stuff!

    I love how your spider drawing looked like an Alien from Space Invaders!

    I love Ghost Spider Syndrome!

    And I adore that "His Soul is still here."

    Oh and I forgot to mention that I snorted after reading "Silken Butt Thread." BWAHAHAHA!
    Ellen

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  24. @LadyGooGoo, thanks! :) I figured I should be a bit more realistic with the midsection, since I made my thighs slightly more svelte than they really are...

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  25. @January, how do spiders always know how to be in the worst possible spot at the worst time? But your kid's door - that's low, even for a spider. Thanks for being here!

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  26. @jamie, thank you! I'm so glad you were here!

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  27. @Gia, well thank you what a compliment, especially coming from the Post With Pictures guru herself! :)

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  28. @Kristin, yeah, I laughed pretty hard when I hear that myself! :)

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  29. @Sandra I bet the throwing up noises really help - I'm going to try that next time!

    I wish I could tell you for sure if the thread really comes from the butt, but I wouldn't put it past them.

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  30. @Christie, I always really WANT to be that person with the trap-and-release program, but unfortunately it requires entirely too much interaction (read: possible touching) with the bugs.

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  31. @Sisterhood/Ellen, I like to pretend I'm way too mature to think of things like Silken Butt Threads, but alas, it's who I am...

    Thanks for reading - love seeing you here!

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  32. Oh, man. It might even be luring inside your toilet!

    You're welcome.

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  33. I laughed at this on so many different levels! You are so funny!

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  34. Oh my gosh, were we separated at birth? I have my own spider post set to go for next week. It is eerily similar to yours, I think these spiders are plotting en masse now. I'm skeered.

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  35. Ghost Bug Syndrome - I have it too! Once I accidentally beheaded a lizard (yes it became a blog post of course) when I shut a cabinet door on its neck, because I didn't see it. Forever afterwards, I kept thinking it was still hanging on there, head squished and separated from its body.

    OK I just gagged a little recalling it. EEEK!!

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  36. I love your writing style and your paranoia. I can relate to both.

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  37. Goodness! In my house, we all have to call my husband to come save the spider. He doesn't kill anything (it must be the hippocratic oath he took). We give him 30 seconds to come to its rescue, if not, we throw shoes at it.

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  38. That was an incredibly informative picture--loved it! I had a spider in my bathroom sink for a few days. Now it's gone and that's worse because i don't know where it's hiding.

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  39. This is too funny. I'm the spider killer around my house. Even my husband calls on me. (Pls. don't tell him I told you.) Unfortunately though, my girls haven't seemed to take after my spider hunting skills.


    And your drawing is pure awesomeness. Totally helped me picture exactly what happened. Haha!

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  40. @Ben, that is just so uncool. Now you know I'll be checking every time, and for a long time too, if history is any guide. I just recently stopped carefully inspecting my shampoo bottles before picking them up, after I'd touched a spider on one back in 1986.

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  41. @JenniferW, thanks so much - glad you were here!

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  42. @Delilah I'm skeered, too - I always suspected they were organizing something. Solitary hunters, my humps.

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  43. @Alison I wasn't even THERE and that image is somehow imprinted on the inside of my eyelids - it's all I see!!!!!

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  44. @YourDoctor'sWife, I really do want to be humane about it, so I admire your husband's compassion. It's too bad my fear just won't let me. I like your tactic, though - throwing shoes is something you can do from a safe distance. :)

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  45. @TriGirl - EXACTLY! Don't worry, though. It's probably over here by now.

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  46. @Janice, you're my hero!

    Glad the picture helped - by the time I was done with it, though, even I couldn't figure out what I was talking about! :)

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  47. So funny! Tell you daughter not worry, spiders don't have souls. Roaches, on the other hand, those suckers will haunt you.

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  48. @failedcrunchymom, I've always held the belief that roaches are roughly eleventy million times more disgusting and evil than spiders. :)

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