My Facebook friends already know that we had a large, eight-legged and most unwelcome visitor a couple of weeks ago…
Fortunately for the spider, it is discovered by my son and not my daughter. Carla’s somewhat direct approach to problem-solving would probably have resulted in it being summarily pulverized by fairy wand, Barbie doll or other gender-appropriate blunt instrument. Stanley, on the other hand, comes running to tell me all about it.
Unlike my wife, I’m not normally scared of spiders, but this is a biggie and I must confess to letting slip the odd abortive expletive while looking at it. As well as its impressive size and reach, it’s also fast and canny, as I discover to my cost. While I’m uploading this photograph to Facebook, the spider seizes the opportunity to completely vanish, much to the annoyance of my wife who is refusing to enter the bathroom and is blaming me for losing control of the situation. I look everywhere, tentatively using my camera to snap nooks and crannies that I can’t or won’t get close to, but there is no sign and the search is called off for the night.
The next day I’m not thrilled about calling pest control to come and deal with a spider that isn’t there any more, but it’s the only way to persuade my wife to come home from work. In the event, pest control fails to show, but Jenni does (reluctantly) and she proceeds to feverishly run Google image searches. She concludes that the intruder must be a brown recluse (or fiddleback). They’re not native to Florida but there have been reports and they can deliver a nasty bite. Thank goodness it’s gone.
Five days later – inevitably – it’s back and this time it has a plan. That plan is to lurk in the folds of the hand towel. It’s a good plan, but I too have a plan, and that is to get the can of bug spray without updating Facebook first, which affords me the decisive advantage I lacked in our first encounter. I discharge half the can at point blank range on its sorry, brown cephalathorass. It’s not spider spray; it’s roach and wasp spray, but I figure it won’t half make its eyes water – all six of them. The effort to crawl away from the foamy, noxious deluge that’s following it across the bathroom floor proves futile, until the spider abandons hope, embracing itself and then death.
And then a couple of days ago…this:
I momentarily wonder if a picture of me is soon to be uploaded to its Facebook page, but – after doing what I have to do – I discover that it’s quite common for the eyes of large spiders to reflect a camera flash. Next time I’ll see if the red eye setting makes a difference, but before then I hope I’ve managed to replace the now empty can of bug spray.