Saturday, September 08, 2007

Woulda coulda shoulda

This is a picture of pretty much nothing. The eaves of our porch. Well, pine trees. Trees are nice. But yesterday, and for a couple months, we've had a big beautiful garden spider living there. Now she's gone.

We may be too emotionally involved with our wildlife around here, but aside from the fact that, thanks to her, no annoying flying insects have come in our front door to divebomb us--not one all summer--we just loved her. We watched her and her downstairs "sister" build their webs. Larry took care when weeding around the downstairs lady not to disturb a line of weeds that anchored the bottom of her web. We enjoyed the drama as a collection of small males sidled over to each web, hinting around for the privilege of being her lover and her next meal. (Actually in the wild, the female only lunches on the guy sometimes. But if I'd gotten a good photo of the suitors, I still had an "eatHarmony" post all planned out.)

In the AA program I learned the dangers of "woulda coulda shoulda." All the things we wish we could go back and do over. They can drive you crazy. Some of them seep through anyway.

We got back from the grocery store yesterday and there was the Termite Guy.

This isn't our house. My parents own it as a guest house and we live here gratis which makes it possible to meet a lot of our obligations, especially medical ones. It's wonderful. But it's their house and we do things their way. My dad loves lawns. Larry and I both hate 'em. Someday in our mountain acreage we'll have woods and gardens. No bleepin grass. But we keep up the lawn here. OK, Larry does it. 8~)

In our own place, we'll avoid chemical pest control as much as possible. But the folks send the Termite Guy around periodically and it's OK. We did stop the inside spraying long ago. We figured that termite damage affects the house, but inside, chemical sensitivities take precedence. We've got cats for that anyway. Somehow we both thought that ended everything but the termite service itself.
So yesterday we waved Hi at the Termite Guy, said hello to our pretty spider, went inside and put the stuff away. After awhile the bell rang. Termite Guy said "OK, your termite inspection and pest control are done," presented me with the orders to sign, we bantered about the weather as per usual and he went cheerfully on his way. I didn't think to look over at our lady on her web. Though it would have been too late then.

We didn't notice till this morning that our girl and her whole structure were gone. Pest control had done its work. Her sister downstairs was cleaned away too. The words suddenly came back to me: "Your inspection and pest control are done."

Woulda, coulda, shoulda. "Hey we like the spiders so don't bother them, OK?" If I'd thought of saying it when we saw him in the driveway, they'd still be there, munching happily and making eggs. He didn't attend to them till after we got back. Upstairs Girl was still there when we went up with the groceries.

You wouldn't believe how much we care. Larry called the pest people up and told their Saturday answering machine never to bother our spiders again. I went out, looked around hoping she'd escaped, but knew that Termite Guy wouldn't have been doing his job if he just said "Shoo." Our 2 spiders are dead. No rewind.

I sat on the steps and had a good cry, helped some by the cat pragmatism of Scooter who mewed irritably and headbutted me: "This isn't about me so it can't possibly be important. Scratch right here." Then I walked around and visited the three who had not built on the house itself and thank God, they were well and happy.

There's one:

But the two on the house -- they shouldn't have died, damn it.


Sherwood Harrington said...

Oh, ouch. I probably would have sat and wept, too.

You probably saw the spider web pictures at the start of the "Signs of the San Lorenzo Valley" entry in my blog. Later on in that day, Diane came through the gate and walked through the web, not even knowing it was there. As she was putting bags, etc., down in the kitchen, I noticed a spider (I presume the same one) on her collar, and we managed to scrape it onto a piece of paper and liberate it outside. For several days thereafter, we enjoyed its web-building in various places around the front yard. Haven't seen it in a few days, though, so it may have become bird food.

As appreciative as we are of spiders in general, though, I'm not at all sorry about the five black widows I've stomped in the last two years. (Oddly, we had never seen one around here until two years ago.) The last one was just two days ago, while I was cleaning out the chicken run. My tolerance stops, it seems, at the potential for neurological poisoning.

ronnie said...

If it is any consolation, after reading this post I feel grateful that there are people on the earth like you and Larry who are good enough and kind enough to care about such things.

And I would've sat down and had a damned good cry, too.


Nostalgic for the Pleistocene said...

Update: Pest Folks got our message, called back and vowed to leave all garden spiders at this address alone!

Sherwood - I liked your spiderweb story, and bravo to you both for liberating it. The Pest Folks, when they called back, said "But it's part of your pest control service!" and Larry said "They AREN'T pests." And it's true.

We don't extend kindness to black widows, or to brown recluses which are even worse.

ronnie - One awful night in 1969, in Vietnam, Larry awoke at 2AM to find a tarantula sitting on his chest. So his wilingness to appreciate any spider is kind of remarkable - tho' it's confined to the outdoors. 8~) We do still try to relocate them.

Dann said...

My boss was retelling the tale about an encounter with a vacuum cleaner salesman that was touting the spider and web removal capabilities of his product. Due to his past issues relating to spiders and his children, my boss exclaimed: "Oh, no. We don't do that here. We pick them up very carefully and then while we are walking them out the door, we patiently explain that there are people places and there are spider places and you, Mr. Spider, have mistakenly wandered into a people place."

Curiously, that perspective is hard to maintain when one has a shrieking spouse perched upon a chair whilst an eight legged guest wanders across the floor.....