Face to Face with a Wolf Spider: Not Good

2 01 2008

The following is a true story. I wish it were not, and I am risking my very manhood making it public, but it is true. When we moved into our house, we discovered it to be the shelter for a plethora of spiders. I believe this to be the result of two main factors: 1. It was a relatively new neighborhood and had previously been a field. 2. Our particular house was only about a year old when we bought it and had been vacant for a month or so due to the previous owner having to move for her job.

Many a spider had been enjoying the human-free environment, and when we moved in, it became a daily occurrence to have a standoff with one of the eight-leggers. Let me make this clear: I do not like seeing, hearing about, reading about, or having nightmares about spiders. I realize they do good things for us, such as kill unwanted pests, but I prefer they do that just outside of the house or in the crawlspace. Having said this, the majority of the spiders we came across were small and looked pretty harmless. Yeah, “most” but not “all.”

For those of you who are not aware of the wolf spider, think tarantula but smaller (not THAT much smaller, though). We had the misfortune of finding a couple of these suckers in our house the first couple of months. The story below is about the dark, early morning that we had our closest call with one of these things. (I’ll say this right now. I’m the type of person that does not really like to kill things, even flies, but…sorry PETA…I’m not letting large spiders run around in our house, nor am I likely to be able to stand trapping it and putting it outside).

My wife likes to work out. She does not often miss a day, not even on a holiday, not even when she has to get up in the extreme a.m. during the overtime hours of tax season (she’s an accountant). One dark, early morning, as I no doubt lay snoozing in bed, possibly having a dream that involved a deserted island and that main woman from Lost, I was startled awake by a frantic wife jumping into bed and yelling something about a big hairy spider on the floor of the closet. Upon gaining full comprehension, I learned that it was a wolf spider “the size of Texas” and that it was actually on top of her workout shirt, which was on the floor.

At this point, I’m thinking to myself, “That’s it. We have to move away. NOW.” It soon became clear that my beautiful wife expected me to do something about the spider. Subsequently, it became clear to her that I had no intention of going anywhere near our closet in the next 24 hours or so.

If you are a guy, or you know any guy, you’ll understand how brilliant her next move was. She calmly stated, “I can call my dad to come over and get it.” It took only seconds for the following thoughts to enter my mind: For the rest of my life, I’ll have to hear the story of how my wife had to wake her dad at 5 a.m. to come kill a spider while her husband hid under the covers. This is the dad who works a real man’s job and hunts. I’m the husband who likes to write and works in psychology. (I do play sports…I felt a real need to throw that in here).

At this point, I had no choice. I was going to have to face one of my worst fears. I slowly got up out of bed and peeked into the closet. There it was. It was big; it was gross; it was staring at me in a mocking fashion, it was basically saying, “I’m huge, and you’re a loser.” My pulse quickened, and I began to sweat. I started thinking maybe we SHOULD call her dad. Maybe we could just avoid all extended family functions in the future. No, that wouldn’t work. I knew I had to take care of the situation. With my wife clutching my back and looking over my shoulder, I picked up a shoe. I was suddenly wishing I had much bigger feet, maybe a size 50, but alas, I was stuck with a size 10. I approached the spider about as fast as a turtle approaches a rock. I walked (or was it that my wife pushed me) closer and closer. I was within a couple feet of the thing when my wife felt it prudent to scream, “It’s a wolf spider. They jump!” Adrenaline pumping, we both flew out of the closet. I nearly broke my arm on the doorway, but I didn’t care. I was sure the spider could do much worse things than that to me. Her screaming, and our running also caused the spider to take cover in the deep recesses of the closet. Once we regained the nerve to go back in, we were deeply saddened to learn that we were going to have to search for the spider.

After some tense shoe box moving, we finally found it in a corner. The whole “jumping” thing had thoroughly freaked me out, and I was no longer willing to go at the thing with a shoe. I was now armed with the extension arm of the vacuum cleaner. This way, I only had to get within a couple feet of the monster. I also was happy to avoid hearing any form of crunching sound that may have occurred if I used the shoe method. With a shaky hand, I turned on the vacuum and jabbed the extension arm toward the creature. After we sucked the thing up, (I think my wife screamed again at this point), we actually put the whole vacuum cleaner out in the garage, fearing that the thing might escape somehow. I believe it was out there for three days before I brought it back in.

So far, we have had no further (knock on wood) close encounters of the giant spider kind. I apologize in advance, but below is a picture link of one of these guys on top of someone’s hands, someone who is obviously very mentally ill.

Yuck

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I’m Sick of these People.

9 12 2007

I’m generally an optimistic, humanity-loving person. Sometimes, though, I get in a mood like I’m in right now. When this happens, there is only one remedy: Blog it.

I am sick of a few people. In no particular order, here they are:

1. The Obvious, Unoriginal Line-Using Dude. Situation: You are at a party or meeting and you’ve just been introduced to many people you do not know. You’ve been given a long string of names of the people in your vicinity (Pat, Charlotte, Steve, Marissa, Ted, Wolfgang, Sharquan, Leo, etc). Someone, usually the most annoying man at the gathering, says, “That’s a lot of names to remember. There’s going to be a quiz later!” If it’s not bad enough that you’ve been subjected to one of the most overused lines in human history, don’t worry because you also get to experience two more unpleasant things simultaneously: The guy’s super annoying laughter, and an uneasy feeling that you have to force out a laugh to appease the dude.

2. The Slutty Teenage Girl on Myspace. Apparently somewhere around 1999, it became necessary that 90% of females aged 15 to 19 do three things on their myspace (or similar) page: Post at least one picture of themselves lying on a bed, post at least one picture of themselves making out or acting like they are making out with a female friend, and post at least one picture of themselves with a beer bottle, wine cooler or margarita. These girls are desperately trying to look like adults and are failing miserably. They are, however, succeeding at getting friend requests from teenage boys with profile names like “The Pleaser” and “Love Dat Booty.”

3. The “Highlight-My-Fat-As-Much-As-Possible” Dresser. Also somewhere around 1999 (maybe that was just a bad year), something was added to the water that made a good number of 20-something women lose any sense of style. I’m including reasonably attractive women who maybe just have a “problem area” so to speak. They woke up one morning, and (after having a big glass of the aforementioned H2O) suddenly said to themselves, “Hey, I really need to start wearing stuff that shows off my fattest areas.” They proceeded to follow the following formulas: If I’m a little heavy in the behind and/or thighs, I’m going to wear skin tight pants and shorts, preferably made of something stretchy. If I have a bit of a fat roll around the waist, I’m going to wear low-riders and cropped tops. I want to point out that I consider myself far from a prude and a definite connoisseur of the beauty that is woman. However, some of them are in desperate need of a couple of episodes of “What Not to Wear” on TLC (guys, don’t make fun of me; my wife makes me watch it). I want to add that I am not trying to pick only on women here. If I see a fat guy wearing super tight jeans and a 3/4 length shirt, I’ll immediately be sick of him as well).

4. The Marketers Who Think We Are All Stupid. My personal favorites in this category are the people who came up with the term “fun size” for Halloween-sized candy bars. I guess they thought “super tiny” or “you’ll-want-to-eat-at-least-4-of-these-at-a-time-size” would not go over as well. Next are the marketers who came up with ways to try to make food products seem healthier than they are. For example, they started adding phrases on sugary, kids’ cereal boxes like, “Made with Grains!” or “A significant source of little-known vitamins, such as vitamin M3!” They never say, “As much sugar as a whole chocolate cake!” or “You’ll feel really sick if you eat more than two bowls in a 30-minute span!” My wife’s favorite is when food packages for products like pretzels or raisins say, “No Cholesterol!” on them. These are on foods that have no business having cholesterol in them and that no one ever suspected would have cholesterol in them. It’s like taking a package of condoms and writing, “No Sulphuric Acid!” on it. (How many guys would buy that brand in fear that the other brands did possibly contain acid?)

5. The “Look-I’m-On-TV!” People. Also somewhere around 1999, it became obligatory that every baseball game on tv must have one guy sitting behind home plate talking on his cell phone. This guy is talking to a buddy who is back home watching the game on tv and telling the guy whenever he appears on the screen. Every time a pitch is about to be thrown, the guy stands and waves toward the camera with his cell phone free hand, usually with a really dorky look on his face. He might even jump up and down a couple of times to ensure that his friend (and the hundreds of thousands of other people who just want to watch the freaking game) see him repeatedly. The 7-second delay the networks use only makes it worse. You get the joy of actually anticipating the guy’s next move. Ushers, please start removing these people from the stadium.

6. The Over-Punctuation-in-Blogs-People. These people are awful. They write a blog about people that annoy them, and they use the following: At least 7 colons. These people…wait a minute…oops.





No One Can MAKE Me Angry….Right?

8 12 2007

Even though I work as a counselor, I have to admit that there are some things you will hear from some social workers or counselors (I’ll call them SW/C from here on out) that are complete crap. Their techniques are generally based on research, but let’s be honest people…we are still talking about human beings who make mistakes and say stupid things just like the rest of us. If you come across an SW/C in your life, you do not have to accept everything they say as though it is gospel. One such statement would be, “No one can MAKE you angry; only you can ALLOW yourself to be angry.” Oh really? Yes, we are robots who can completely control our human emotions. Let’s talk about a couple of examples. Your making a quick trip to a grocery store. You park, grab your items (corn on the cob and margarine? Nah, this is hypothetical, so let’s go with whipped cream and strawberries.) You come outside and see an ex-girlfriend keying your car after having spray-painted, “You Suck” on it. Now, remember that expensive counseling you’ve had. “She can’t MAKE you angry.” Yeah, right…I beg to differ. Let’s go with another example any parent can relate to: You’ve just made it back home after your four-year-old has been on your last nerve all day (he threw a fit about his shoes, kicked the dog, and screamed and hit at you while you tried to get him to leave the library in a peaceful and quiet manner). The moment you walk in your house, he makes a move for the kitchen, yanks open the fridge door, and grabs orange juice. You tell him to stop as your carrying in an armload of goodies from the library. Does he stop? No, he unscrews the lid and, while trying to run from you, spills the majority of the sticky stuff all over the kitchen floor. Are you going to get mad? You bet your sweet butt you will.

I tell people I work with that we all have to deal with mean people, obnoxious people, rude people (the list goes on). We will all (beyond our control) get angry from time to time; it’s natural. It’s what we do when we are angry that is either right or wrong. Bottom line, a good counselor or social worker (in my opinion) is one that can provide some common sense guidance and help you to see for yourself what you might want to change about your life. There’s my two cents. Take it for what it’s worth (probably about two cents).

(I will add that if you are the type who gets angry every day or regularly blows up at something small like your cell phone being moved one end table over, you might want to consider talking to an SW/C because you’ve got an issue that is going to negatively affect your life).