Nov 242010

It was kind of hard to miss it when we came home from Lancaster Sunday night. The web was strung from the bottom of the porch roof, to the right of the front door, and lounging in the middle of the web was the biggest motherfucker with eight legs I’ve ever seen in Pittsburgh.

The front window of the house is directly on the other side of the web and it’s common practice for me to run up the front steps and lean off the front porch so I can peek in the window to see what the cats are doing. I like to observe them when they think no one is watching. If I were to do that now, I’d be face-planting myself right in this bastard spider’s lair.  I thought of this immediately on Sunday, as we all stood there staring in disgust, and the thought of it gave me full-body shudders.

“Is it poisonous?” I asked Henry. His “probably not” didn’t sound very convincing.

A few minutes later, Henry frantically called me to the front door. “He caught something!” Henry said, probably reminded of all the nights he spent street walker-watching when he was stationed in Panama.

We stood with the front door open, watching this big brown blob of horror drag a small bug up to the middle of the web, where he then proceeded to cocoon it. It was fascinating, and I decided that Marcy shouldn’t be missing this so I ran in to the house to get her.

“She won’t look at him!” I whined, holding Marcy up to the web.

“She’s a CAT, Erin. She doesn’t give a shit,” Henry said in annoyance. And then he repeated, “She’s a cat!” in an exaggerated sing-song voice when I pushed Marcy closer to the web like a sacrificial lamb.

The rest of Sunday night was spent with me confusing Henry with someone who actually knows things. “Is it going to come in the house? How long is it going to stay? Will it jump off the web at me? Is it going to suck the blood out of that bug now? Can we just throw bugs into the web? Will it eat this dead stink bug? What if it gets in my hair? What if it attacks the mail man? What if one of my enemies planted it there OMG we’re all going to die now!”

Monday night at work, Henry emailed me the photos I took of the spider Sunday night so I could show Barb.

I know my southern friends are laughing right now and thinking, “You dumb Yankee, that ain’t SHIT.”

Barb seemed adequately horrified when she opened the photos, as did everyone else in the office who had the misfortune of strolling by while the picture was up on her screen.

“Do you own or rent your house?” Derek asked me.

Before I could even finish saying that I rent, he blurted out, “LEAVE. Just leave. Don’t pack your stuff. Set the house on fire and leave.”

He really doesn’t like spiders.

One of the analysts, this big tall guy who I recently discovered is much less Fearless Leader than he looks, glanced at it and said, “KILL IT I WOULD HAVE KILLED THAT THING BY NOW OMG.” Another analyst recommended I give it its own Twitter account.

Meanwhile, Barb was scouring the Internet to see if I was going to land my ass in the Exotic Bites ward of the hospital. “Well,” she said around dry heaves. “It’s not a brown recluse.” I didn’t even need to know what she was looking at; the gagging concert behind me was enough to make involuntarily shudder.

I snagged Jeannie as she was walking by, because she’s a genius so I figured, “If anyone knows if I’m sharing my house with a murderer, it’s Jeannie.”

“I doubt it’s going to hurt you,” was Jeannie’s verdict after looking at its mug shot. “I mean, just don’t go out and PLAY with it.” And it’s a good thing she said that, because I was already thinking of looking for dresses for it on Etsy. It would be greater than the time I was 10 and my dad caught me in the garage teaching a Praying Mantis how to count change. (100% true tale.)

When I came home from work that night, he was gone. I was kind of sad about this. I had somehow grown attached without even realizing it. But then I was angry! What, my fucking front porch wasn’t good enough for this elitist arachnid? What a motherfucker! And then my anger turned to horror and I screamed, “What if he’s in the house? WHAT IF HE’S IN MY HAIR?”

“He’s still there,” Henry said. “He retreated into that little crevice up there.” And sure enough, next to the web was a little hole in the ceiling of the roof, out of which one of his spiny legs was dangling.

My friend Gina lives in the same part of town as me, and she said she recently had a similar-looking spider at her house, too, but now he’s gone.

“Are they like, new to the area?” I asked her, because I have never seen spiders this big around here.

“I don’t know. I didn’t ask,” she said. I’m now convinced that it’s the same spider, driven away by her sarcastic attitude. So now I feel like I have to care for the poor thing. I want to give him a blanket and a copy of Us Weekly but I’m afraid to get too close. God, this is already just like every relationship I’ve been in. Except I haven’t blown him yet. Sorry, spider. But I wouldn’t even know where to start.


When I got to work yesterday, I had just sat down and went to put my hand on the mouse to log on when I noticed it.

“Aw, who put that there?” I asked out loud, and was answered by snickering.

“I was waiting for you to notice it,” Derek said from his desk, but it was Kaitlin who did it! Sweet, demure, macaron-slinging Kaitlin. Bravo, Kaitlin!

“Did it scare you?” Barb asked excitedly, like she had been waiting all day for this. (Too bad she wasn’t even at her desk when I sat down!)

“Well, no. It has glitter on it.”


I still have to think of a name for him. Right now, I’ve just been calling him Sir.

As in, “Good day, Sir; you’re looking mighty majestic today, Sir. Please may I pass peacefully, Sir? I brought some more of Henry’s blood for you, Sir.”

This is way more fun than the pet mouse I had in 2008.

  8 Responses to “Sir: A Spider Story”

  1. It’s a common spider of the weaver family. If it bit you it would hurt like a horsefly bite and itch like a mosquito bite for a while, but that’s all. They’re pretty harmless.

    I like spiders, btw. ;)

  2. Sir?!? What happened to “John”? This was a truly entertaining story (for someone who doesn’t have Gargantua on their porch). I think your co-workers are awesome and amazingly fun to be around!

  3. I would of had a heartattack ……lol.

  4. Very funny, Erin! Only you could have written such a hilarious and entertaining encounter with a spider — well, on second thought I could have written one two, but I’m more into writing about my ex-husband! See, you’re still with the love of your life, Henry — so you have to resort to writing about spiders! Love you, Erin — and keep up the good writing!

    • Erin, could you do me a favor? I used the wrong “too” in my comment to you. I meant to say, “I could have written one too” — but instead I wrote “two”. Would you mind going in and correcting the “two” for me — and changing it to “too.” Knowing that you have such a large and academically astute readership — I did not want your readers to think that I was an ignoramus and did not know grammar. I did go to college, you know! :)

      I hate to drag you away from whatever you are doing — especially if you are making love to Henry, or he is making love to you. It has been so long since I have had sex that I don’t even remember who does what to who. But it is really important to me if you could make this change immediately for me — because as you already know, being a great writer is in the details, and it is really annoying to me that I used the wrong “too.” Henry, my deepest apologies to you if you were making love to Erin — or Erin was making love to you — but Erin, being a writer herself, will totally understand how important this is to me.

      And Erin, if I have made any other grammatical errors in either this reply or my reply above please go in and clean them up for me. Thank you, and I remain your biggest fan!

  5. Boy, Erin, what would you have done if a spider had dropped from above onto your keyboard as you were typing, as happened to me the other day? By the way, spiders apparently have the ability to become invisible — I never saw it come out, but after a minute couldn’t see it anymore through the transparent plastic back of the keyboard.
    I wonder what kind of spiders these are that I’ve been catching and putting out in the snow for the past month. “Wolf” spiders, Scott says. Best do some googling, me, and find out what I’m up against. I’m not scared of spiders, but I don’t want to touch them or them to touch me. Mostly because I’m afraid I’ll hurt them, and any kind of physical carnage gives me the heebie-jeebies.

    To Joan, the previous commenter: Being a great writer is not in the details of grammar. Some of the world’s greatest writers couldn’t spell or punctuate worth a shit; this is why editors and proofreaders are important. What makes a great writer is original ideas and good storytelling. Worrying too much about grammatical details can kill your inspiration. Don’t let it.

    • I’m not scared of spiders either, but if one was ever crawling on me, I might die. The good thing about where I live is that we don’t really have many deadly insects or snakes.

      And about the spelling error – my god, my blog is chockful of them. But then, I’m not really a writer, so what do I care? That comment was a bit over the top.

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