...and, while five of you "liked" it (I will assume you like my hilariously witty status-update writing, not my misfortune), more of you requested pictures, via Facebook and other means. I must really be getting a reputation for ALWAYS having a camera on hand. But no. Sorry. The following is the best I could do.
I intended to go to bed. Waylaid by incessant meowing and chomping of my appendages, I detoured to feed the cats instead. A few minutes later I was sprinting about my backyard, shirtless, at 1 a.m., covered in spiders and ripping my hair out.
The fact that when I told this to my husband all he did was shrug and say "Well, if you were going to be tearing your clothes off in the dark, you could at least have invited me;" with no comment as to the late hour, my outdoor indecency, or the spider-infested condition of my half-clothed form; speaks volumes about the extreme nature of my spider-related activities. However, everyone has a limit. I reached mine this week.
Let me back up. I really was on my way to bed. I had stayed up once again
Bedtime was definitely off. First, the cats were now quite sure I was trying to kill them; and second, even the most passing contact with ants invariably leaves me a lumpy, swollen, itchy mass of ... well, I'm not sure what, exactly, but it's not attractive.
I scooped up both cats -- who were pretty ticked by now -- tossed them in the office, and set to work eradicating the ants. So far, so good. Pain in the ass, but I was dealing like a champ.
Then I got the bright idea to go check for the ants' trail outside. I'm a huge advocate of "live and let live" but with cats/kids/food/living and still looking human at stake, I had to keep these ants out of the house. I figured I'd stop it at the source. My shoes were closed in the office with the cats, but my husband's super-ugly humongous Crocs were available. They flopped around on my feet, but who cares, I thought. It's not like I'm going to be running around in them.
Hideous clown shoes on feet, flashlight in one hand and poison in the other, I crept outside. No ants anywhere. I did, however, notice several giant black widows.
They seemed to be converting our stepladder into a quickly filling apartment complex. I decided that while I had the poison ready, it was eviction day (again, proximity issue - most spiders, black widows included, are highly respected in this house). I walked forward to get a good angle at the first one. When I did, for some reason, my hair kept getting in my face. I brushed it away, but there were a whole bunch of hairs in my face.
I kept brushing them off, but the hair was really sticky. And stretchy. And my hair was still getting in my face, especially from in front of me and also from above ... wait. What?
That's when I noticed that I had also walked into a giant clump of hair, and there were still pieces floating in the air. I aimed the flashlight toward the nuisance, and noticed that every "hair" floating -- and landing on my face and head -- looked like this:
...and that the giant swath on my chest looked like this:
By this point, I was quite unsurprised to find a spent egg sac beside one of the females. It looked quite innocuous -- like a flimsy, hollowed out piece of Kix cereal. It had hatched, and a hundred or so black widow spiderlings had moved to the top rung of the ladder, where I hadn't even looked since black widows tend to prefer low corners. They had attached their temporary home to some anchor -- I never figured out what, exactly, after blundering through it -- where dozens and dozens were just hanging out. The rest were dispersing on tiny bits of web they let out, no doubt to take over the small fraction of my yard that is not yet occupied by their sisters.
I saw and noticed all this -- the egg sac; the dispersal method; even the Kix cereal analogy, which I've used for years -- in a fraction of a second. I love black widows. I really do. I'm intimately familar with them. I can promise you I wouldn't be recounting that part otherwise, because I certainly didn't take time to put it together at that moment. There is such a thing as being TOO intimately familiar with an animal, and I would say the line is definitely crossed when hundreds of offspring of an extremely venomous spider are currently landing in one's hair, face, boobs. Eyes. MOUTH.
Upon realizing I was wearing a spider hair mask, a spider face mask, and a spider vest, I remained supremely calm and rational.
In the interest of optimal spider removal, I decided to go after their stronghold, which was now my torso. I tore their new base from my body.
...but somehow, this did little to make me look collected and dignified. I'm not sure why.
There were more ants. Tons more.
I didn't have time to find another shirt, because now the ants were dispersing. I had to drop down and get them right now. I thought all the spiders were out of my hair. Besides, it's not like the babies are harmful anyway. But what if they were still in my hair? I thought. What if they hitchhike on my head, drop off in corners, and become giant, venomous adults? And this time it would be INDOORS. I had to find some way to contain them until I was sure. I had to quarantine my head.
Hats were out. They have holes, and besides, my husband would totally freak if I defiled his Sun Devils hat in such a manner.
We have lots of bags. They're sort of head sized.
Imagine you're my husband. You get home from work late. You might picture your wife snuggled in a cozy shirt, if it's warm, or more likely (in Arizona) sweating it out in some flirty camisole and pajama shorts. You might imagine that, after a calm, sane evening, she's tucked your son in, cleaned up the house, and is either serenely awaiting your arrival or already asleep in bed, waiting to cuddle contentedly up to you.
Instead, you get this:
I'd just like to point out one thing. The Crocs are still the stupidest-looking part of that ensemble.
Read some less-insane stuff about black widows, and see some pretty (real) pictures, here.