During the great storm of 1992, I encountered an intruder in my home.
My husband was away. That’s the first thing. Secondly, the storm was touted as “historical” and “major” and “dangerous” and other scary words, the scariest of which were “Snow Hurricane”. My children were 6 and 3. We lived on Elm Street. We had moved into our house a couple of months prior and we and the house were still learning about each other. I had learned, for instance, that many of the windows had broken ropes, after one slammed down, trapping my finger between the sashes, necessitating a visit from the fire department. That happened on our first day in the house, just after my husband left on a business trip. I sensed the house might not like us or maybe it resented our painting the dining room pink, which, looking back, was not unreasonable.
I bought bread, milk, batteries and wine. The storm got off to an impressive start. Great, swirling clouds of snowflakes fell, buffeting the neighborhood. It was eerily quiet other than the thunder, which was as surreal as you’d expect. That evening, I tucked my girls into bed, added another log on the fire, poured a glass of red wine and retired to the couch to watch “Mad About You”. I didn’t have to work the next day and I was thankful the electricity was still on. All in all, it was kind of cozy. I’ve always enjoyed a good snow storm.
Around about the second glass of wine, something caught my eye. Something on the wall. Something scary.
Slowly, because I didn’t really want to look, I shifted my gaze from the television to the wall. I adjusted my vision for the distance. Yup. There was something there. Something big and black. Shit.
A big, black blob. But was it moving? Was it?
I stared at it. Jamie and Paul continued their comedic whining in the background. Oh my God, I think it’s moving. It’s moving. Oh my God. ohmygodohmygod.
It was December. During a snowstorm. Where in hell did that huge, ugly spider come from? And where in hell was my husband? First he leaves, and a window slams on my finger. Then he leaves again and a precociously huge spider shows up on the wall, in the middle of Snowmageddon. I knew my marriage was doomed. Mangled finger, meh, but leaving me trapped in a house with a ginormous fucking spider was just too much, even for my forgiving nature. As soon as the storm stopped, I resolved to pack my shit, put the kids in the car and move further north, where big ass spiders don’t show up on walls in the middle of snow hurricanes. I poured more wine and began to strategize. I kept an eye on the spider. It flipped me the bird. Bastard.
I considered waking the girls. The older one was smart and freakishly strong. The younger one was practical and, properly plied with sugar, possessed a creative streak bordering on genius. Sadly, I had raised the girls to respect living things, which was going to present a conundrum the day they realized the grilled steak they loved so much used to be a cow, but that’s a story for another day. What if the girls lobbied to relocate this monster? Where, exactly, would I relocate it to? There was no way I was releasing it anywhere near our house and there was no way I was getting into a car with it, even without a snow hurricane, to drive it to, say, Texas, which just might be far enough. No. I couldn’t risk the girls and their goody two-shoes, Pollyanna outlooks getting in the way of my mental health. Sometimes, when you need a dirty job done and you can’t afford henchmen and your husband deserts you, you just have to pull up your big girl pants and do it yourself.
I took a swig of wine for courage and gave the spider another glare. It winked at me and slowly waved two of its arms in the universal “come and get me” gesture. That’s it. This asshole was going down.
One good thing about spiders in December; they don’t move fast. Too cold and too old. I, however, was young and had warm blood flowing through my veins, not to mention two glasses of red wine. “You can take him”, I muttered to myself as I rummaged around our bedroom closet for my husband’s biggest shoe. Then, I dragged a chair into the living room and placed it a couple feet out from the wall. Eight beady eyes tracked me. I removed my robe so it wouldn’t restrict my movement. I climbed on the chair, stood up, realized I was still holding the wine bottle, took another gulp for luck, and slowly, slowly, lowered it back to the floor. I didn’t want it to spill. I was going to need it in a minute. I stood back up, swaying just a little, lifted the shoe and took aim. I wasn’t brave enough to get too close so my plan was to throw the shoe and take him out with my first shot, since I probably wouldn’t get a second. If I missed, I was going to shovel three feet of snow, wake the girls, venture into the snow hurricane, and check into a hotel. I took a deep breath, released it slowly, and centered myself. Then, I drew my arm back as far as it would go, threw the shoe with all the force I could muster, and yelled “TAKE THAT YOU MOTHERFUCKER!”.
When I came to, I was still standing on the chair, legs weak, breathing ragged, and all around me was silence. The snow was still falling. A black smudge on the wall was all that remained of my foe. “How’d you like that, motherfucker?”, I whispered, as I climbed down to safer ground. I retrieved the bottle of wine and retreated to the couch. A voice floated down the stairwell. “Momma? What was that?”
“Nothing Sweetie. Just the TV. Everything’s fine.”
“Ok Momma. Love you.”
“Love you, too. Now go to sleep. We have a big day tomorrow.”
The next day we moved to Canada.
Just kidding. We didn’t move to Canada. But the rest? Well, you decide.