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Girly girl

Want to know what a Fraidy-Cat I am?

I have a serious case of arachnaphobia. In the past, I have seen doctors about it, and left when they proposed having a spider in the room and me possibly touching it. I have actually moved out of an apartment because of a spider. I have changed hotel rooms (where I was staying because I wouldn't go back to said apartment) because there was a spider.

Over the past 10 or so years, I have worked very hard to face my fears and deal with them on my own. Especially since having the kids, I try to not visibly react no matter how much I'm screaming on the inside. I don't want to breed fears in them like my mom did with me, so I even showed it to them this morning and we talked about how 'cool' it was.

Snakes? No problem. Reptiles of any kind? No problem. Insects? Don't bother me. Spiders? I get goosebumps and want to get far away. To my mind, even though I know it isn't rational, every spider is rabid, poisonous and capable of jumping several feet just to attack me. I vaguely remember as a kid having a large (in my mind) spider come down from the ceiling in our converted den / old garage and land on me. Did he bite me? I don't recall. I don't remember being particularly scared of spiders as a kid after that, but I do remember it well now so it might be the base of the adult fear.

Anyway, I've seen this particular spider twice over the past couple of weeks. The first time, I was in the backyard at night and saw an object hanging between the fence and our patio umbrella. Looked big. Ran back inside. A few nights later, as I was pulling into the garage late one night, I had driven into some of its web across out driveway, so it was pulling itself up to the house backlit by the garage lights and front lit by my headlights. VERY large (to me). I now look for that spider whenever I go out to the garage or anywhere around there. I've never seen it during the day.

Last night, I about had a heart attack. I go out into the backyard with the dogs each time right now so I can praise the Shasta puppy for going potty outside. I saw something not normal out of the corner of my eye and realized I had just walked under the web spun by that spider. This thing is, with NO exaggeration, at LEAST six feet across and just as high. It goes from our light on one side of the door, above the door, to the top of our gazebo (on the other side of the door - 10 foot gazebo) and then is also anchored at point up on the second floor of our house. I yelped, ducked down, and ran right back inside. I called Scott down to see it, where he shook his head at me and said the spider was just doing its job, hanging out near a light source to catch bugs.

Yes, I get that, but it doesn't make me any happier about it.

So, I've been trying to come to terms with the spider. Better the known than the unknown. I tried to get pictures last night, but couldn't. Today, since I can see clearly where the web is, I've been ducking it (although it's got to be a good 2 feet above my head if I stood up straight) and going outside to get pictures. I'll post them later and try to identify the spider. Really, it's only as big as a quarter or half dollar, but to me, it is HUGE and scary.

Oh! I forgot the funniest part! I'm using my 300mm zoom lens so I don't have to get anywhere near the spider. I have to autofocus on it each time to make sure I have it correct, and it makes me jump EVERY time, even though I'm expecting it, because this brown blur become a suddenly SHARP spider right in front of my eyes! My brain doesn't get that I'm viewing it from far away with zoom, but rather thinks I must be right up on the sucker. :)


( 9 thoughts — Whatcha' think? )
Oct. 11th, 2007 04:50 pm (UTC)
My in-laws had a web like that - they couldn't get out of their backdoor from the kitchen because of the web. I forget what kind of spider it was - I'll try to remember and ask Caleb when he gets home today.
I hate hate hate hate spiders as well. One of my KINDERGARTEN STUDENTS killed one the other day because it was crawling on my desk. I literally had tears in my eyes. My boss came in about two months ago and killed two hanging on my wall. I Cried then, too.
I empathize.
Oct. 11th, 2007 08:52 pm (UTC)
When I lived in North Carolina, we had a spiderweb like that anchored to a doorjamb, roof overhang, and deck railing -- 4-5 feet across. We ID'ed that spider as a garden orb-weaver spider.
Oct. 12th, 2007 01:09 am (UTC)
There's no way you'll be able to outrun it if it sees you, so don't even try. It'll eat your brain first, so make sure your will's legal (witnessed by a notary) before you venture into the backyard again.

I would tell you to get a $3 can of wasp/hornet spray which will shoot a stream 20+ feet, but that would take the fun out of your torment, n'est-ce pas?
Oct. 12th, 2007 02:11 am (UTC)
Come kill it for me, GB! I'll give ya a dollah!
Oct. 12th, 2007 12:02 pm (UTC)
tell Scott I'll reimburse him the cost of the wasp/hornet spray*

* and in small print on the can: "not recommended for use on spiders, who will become angry and eat the brain of the person doing the spraying"
Oct. 12th, 2007 12:06 pm (UTC)
Oh, I know how to deal with spiders if they are in a place where I just can NOT live with letting them be. If they are small, I try to drive them into a container and then throw them out at the curb. I let them live to do their job, just not right in my face.

For the bigger or creepier sort, I take a long instrument of some kind to drive them down to the floor. Then I throw heavy objects at them - shoes, bricks, War and Peace, etc.
Oct. 12th, 2007 12:30 pm (UTC)
you obviously haven't read (gasp!) THIS:

How many spiders do people accidently eat at night?

Oct. 12th, 2007 12:32 pm (UTC)
did you know that there is a spiders.com website?

Oct. 14th, 2007 10:40 pm (UTC)
You know, being willing to photograph it even using a long lens and being able to show it to your kids is already a step along the path to dealing with your phobia!

I am only scared of the unknown (things surprising me - more a fear of being surprised than of the things) and WASPS (which are evil and so it is not an unreasonable fear) and actively like spiders but then none of our spiders (in the UK) are poisonous and so a fear of spiders here is a true phobia because it is not rational. A fear of spiders in AUS or the US is more rational, though, as the odd few can actually harm you.

I think that you are dealing with this very bravely. Knowing your enemy (photographing and identifying it) is a rational response and I am proud of you.

I will try to remember to lj-cut any spider photos that I might post in the future... ;-p
( 9 thoughts — Whatcha' think? )