Category Archives: Spiders

Our New Neighbors

One morning about two weeks ago, I was knee-deep in my daily morning routine: coffee in hand, I take my handy dandy little golfcart for a spin around the grounds to check all the units. (For those who might not remember, I work–and live–at a storage facility.) So there I was…minding my own business, when out of the corner of my eye, I notice the sun glinting ever-so-gently on something hanging from the building.

I slowed the cart, and my heart started racing before my brain even registered what it was that I was looking at.

There, spanning almost the entire width of unit 503’s door, was the biggest spider web I’ve ever seen in my life. And attached to it was, you guessed it, the “Big Foot” of the spider world.

I tried, for the sake of blog fodder, to take a picture with my cell phone. I really really did. And I’ve tried every single day since then, so I could prove to you that I’m not crazy and that Spiderman’s cousin, Merve, lives at my job now. But I just couldn’t do it. So, here’s a bad drawing instead.

Spider1

Damn. I couldn’t even bring myself to draw it. Forgive me, readers. Blame my raging case of arachnophobia.

Anyway, after this first Spider Sighting, I spent a lot of time thinking about just how to handle the situation. I was too chicken to deal with it myself, so I had two options: Tell my husband and make him go kill it, or leave it alone and hope it would get bored and move somewhere with a more swinging night life.

Brian didn’t go kill it. And it didn’t move to Vegas.

So for two weeks, I drove ever-so-slowly past the giant sleeping spider, hoping beyond hope that it wouldn’t leap from its perch and eat my face.

LET THE RECORD REFLECT THAT I HAVE NOT KILLED IT, ATTEMPTED TO KILL IT, OR REPORTED SAID SPIDER TO THE AUTHORITIES SO THAT THEY’D COME KILL IT!

It was with pride that the spider had lasted for so long that I mentioned it to longtime family friend and spider advocate, Charlene, on her recent visit. Interested, she asked to be escorted to see the eight-legged fiend. Ever the hostess, I took her back on the golf cart.

“Oh, that’s a writer spider,” she said with glee. “You know, like Charlotte’s Web!”

I didn’t have the heart to tell her my true opinion of the children’s opus…

Web copy

…and so I nodded politely instead.

“Oh, Abby, did you notice?” Charlene said with enthusiasm. “It looks like your spider friend has also laid her eggs! See the sack hanging there?”

It was at this point that the mild panic attack started: ears ringing, throat closing, skin itching. I allowed my gaze to follow Charlene’s pointing finger and saw, with horror, the tiny little egg sack hanging from the rain gutter above the web. “Oh, that’s nice,” I said, feigning normalcy.

“The cool thing is that when it hatches, the little babies will make little web parachutes and fly away on the breeze.”

Thanks for the science lesson, Charlene. Now, every day, when I drive my golf cart by the unit hosting the little Eight Legged Family, it goes a little something like this:

 

But at least I haven’t committed mass murder yet. That’s the definition of progress. Right?

The Post Where I Totally Solve Marvel’s Biggest Problem

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *  *   *   *   *            
WARNING: This post may contain spoilers about the latest movie in the Spiderman franchise (The Amazing Spiderman). I won’t give away any MAJOR plot details, but if you’d rather be left completely in the dark, then this post may not be for you. Just sayin’.
*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *  *   *   *   *     
 
Fresh from a major victory over Donnie Wahlberg, Brian decided that yesterday was going to be a 100% Abby-and-Brian, no distractions, Just Us Day. He treated me to lunch (sushi–yay!). We toodled around Target and World Market. We held hands. We talked about our bright future, discussed design ideas for our (eventual) new home, and weighed the pros and cons of Toyota versus Chevy for our (sooner-but-still-eventual) new car. 
 
But the highlight of date day? An afternoon matinee viewing of “The Amazing Spiderman.”
 
Now, let me be clear. Spiderman has never been one of my favorite Marvel characters. There are several reasons for that, the main one being…well….this:
 
More than 6 legs = demon from the depths of hell. Remember?

And while I enjoyed the first two movies in the last Spiderman series, I never particularly found Tobey Maguire to be the right choice for Peter Parker. Yes, he had the awkward, nerdy, outcast thing going on. But the slight-swagger and sarcasm? Maguire never had a chance. Not to mention the whole “jazz hands” incident of Spiderman 3 that left me cold in my theater seat.

James Brown? Seriously? 


BUT, it was Abby-and-Brian, no holds barred, Just Us Day. And my hubby wanted to see “The Amazing Spiderman.” In fact, he was downright excited about it. So, off we went, 3-D glasses in hand. As the theater went dark, Brian leaned over and whispered, “Looks like it’s going to be a private screening.” I glanced around and realized that, other than one dude sitting in the very back row, we were indeed the only ones in the room. “Cool,” I whispered. “That way, when I scream about ALL THE SPIDERS, it’ll be less embarrassing.”


Brian laughed, squeezed my hand reassuringly, and said, “Don’t worry, honey. It’s just the ONE spider.”


Bolstered by my husband’s insistence that I’d only have to endure one creepy-crawly, I sat back and enjoyed the previews. 


And then…


The movie started.


With a GIANT spider web literally CRAWLING with spiders across the ENTIRE screen.


I started to throw my shoe, but I’ve been told that isn’t proper behavior while in a public setting. Even if you’re trying to save yourself from arachnids that are trying to eat your face.


And it didn’t stop there, readers. Oh, no. For instance, there’s the scene where a curious Peter Parker wanders into the lab where the infamous infected spider lives. Expecting one spider in a test tube, I already had my eyelids at half mast when Peter let himself in to that room. The camera was zoomed in on his face, leaving the rest of the room totally out of focus. By the time I realized what I was looking at, it was too late.


It was an entire room dedicated to an enormous, circular web covered in radio-active spiders.


Just before I had the chance to close my eyes tight, Peter backed into the web and all the hell demons started falling down on him like so much rain.


(Author’s note: I just threw up a little in my mouth.)


As promised, I screamed like a busty blonde in a slasher movie and dove for cover beneath my husband’s arm. 


Hours later, I was still traumatized by this scene in the movie. I had nightmares. Seriously. Here I sit, all wounded and stuff. So, I have a suggestion for Marvel. Let’s pretend Peter Parker got bitten by something less scary, ok?

Problem solved.

PS: Look honey, I updated the scorecard!! And you’re still winning!!

A Spider Encounter, A NaNoWriMo Update, A Novel Blurb, And Yet Another Poll

Wow, that’s a really long title. But don’t worry, readers. I will deliver on what I have promised.

Last night, after several hours of writing, I decided it was finally time to save, quit, and head to bed. I sauntered into my bathroom to brush my teeth. Halfway through applying the toothpaste to the toothbrush, I got the uncanny sense that someone was watching me. Glancing around, I noticed that the bathroom was still empty of all felines, so I knew that my audience wasn’t furry, or friendly.

Yes, I’m going there.

My spider-sense was tingling.

And not the kind that tells me that there’s an armed gunman holding up a bank teller on Main Street in Gotham.

But the kind that tells me there’s a creepy crawly somewhere within 10 feet of me.

Determined not to be run out of my own bathroom, I continued to brush my teeth while scanning the corners for any lurkers. And that’s when I see it…tucked into a corner on the ceiling.

Those are his “I’m Going To Kill You” eyes.

Now granted, this wasn’t a very big spider. In fact, without my glasses on and while squinting, it was barely bigger than an ant.

However, there are two very distinct reasons why this spider freaked me out beyond reason. Number one: It was on the ceiling. Which means at any given moment, it could drop down on me unawares and land somewhere on my body. Like, in my hair. *shudder* And Number two: I was home alone. As in, sans husband. As in, there was no one at home to rescue me from the arrant arachnid taking up residence in my bathroom.

So I did the only logical thing there was to do. I closed the door and spat my toothpaste into the kitchen sink. I stuffed a towel under the door so the little bugger couldn’t escape. And I left my husband a note to vanquish the evil beastie.

I will not be bested by an eight-legged  insect.

*****
In other news, my novel writing for NaNoWriMo is going smashingly well. I crossed the 10,000 word mark last night, and I’m just plowing right along. I’m feeling really confident about the quantity of the words I’ve written, and I’ve got to say, I’m feeling pretty good about the quality as well.
Of course, I’m still in the stage of writing the part of the book I’d envisioned all along.
Who knows what will happen when I get beyond that point. Seriously, who knows? Anybody? Would you be interested in cluing me in?
However, I do have a slight problem. I’m having a bit of a novel identity crisis.

There are several genres to choose from when it comes to classifying your novel on the NaNo website, and I’m flip flopping between Chick Lit and Mainstream Fiction. Or possibly Humor.

I originally planned to go with Chick Lit, but when I checked into the forums, a lot of the authors there were describing books that sounded like a cross between romance and erotica. And while my tale may include a bit of flirtation, I don’t forsee a major romance involved in the plot. At least not in the FIRST 50,000 words. (Maybe something sexy will happen later. We’ll see.)
That being said, the mainstream fiction forum is all over the place. There seems to be a bit of everything over there, and it feels a little like I’d get lost in the shuffle.
I’ll figure it out. Eventually.

Friday Fright Night

It was the perfect Friday evening. We’d already enjoyed a cookout, a game or two of Carolina Panther’s themed cornhole (don’t ask, just click the link), and some frosty beverages. The dinner dishes were washed, mosquito bites tended to, and the television tuned to a little preseason football.

There we were, my whole family. Happy and full, cheering on our favorite team, with the dogs curled at our feet.

The newest phase of Abby Gab’s illustrations…photoshop meets bad drawing.

That’s when the unthinkable happened.

My brother, Adam, saw it first. As he lunged for his giant, boat-sized flip flop, I locked eyes on the intruder as well.

Adam saw this:

I saw this:

Just LOOK at those crazy eyes!!!

At the moment that I saw the Evil Creature of Death, my mind went black and I did the only thing I thought made sense.

I jumped up from my perch on the floor, turned around, and belly flopped on my husband.

What Brian saw:

Adam, in an attempt to save the family from Total Destruction, whacked at the spider with his giant shoe.

And missed.

Twice.

By the time the smoke cleared, I was still wrapped around my husband like second skin, he was gasping for breath, and the Monstrous Eight-Legged Devil had escaped unscathed.

And my entire family was laughing at me.

I don’t blame them. I probably looked like a crazy person as I dove onto my husband.

Though I choose to believe it looked more like this:

What? I stand by my mental image. I’m graceful. (Like a trucker.)

How To Completely Freak Out Your Sister From 2,000 Miles Away

Step One:
Convince her to take you to Frankie’s Fun Park, where you will play mini-golf, ride go-carts, and earn tickets while playing arcade games. Use said tickets to purchase strange, creepy-crawly things from the ticket-taking lady.

Step Two:
When you get back to your sister’s house from all your amusement park fun, find convenient place to stash your winnings, like her favorite over-sized coffee mug/kitchen catch-all, located in a somewhat visible place.

Step Three: 
Place the creepy-crawly things into said mug, wander off to play the Sims/eat your dinner/sleep the sleep of innocence, and forget about them in a matter of minutes. Then, a few days later, board your airplane to take you back to the other side of the country, leaving your creepy-crawly friends right where you left them.

Step Four:
Upon discovery, big sister eventually locates creepy-crawlies and cringes at their realistically rendered forms. She will then more closely investigate the contents of the mug, where she will find the single thing that creeps her out more than the real thing: a plastic spider. Once she realizes she is holding a plastic spider, she will shriek at the top of her lungs and fling the horrid thing halfway across the room, where it will land in an eerily natural pose on top of her newly purchased lemons.

Step Five:
Bound and determined to do the sisterly thing, no matter how sick to her stomach she may be, big sister will then bag the contents of the mug, evil plastic spider included, to eventually be shipped back to little sister.

You didn’t expect her to pick it up with her fingers, did you?

I Finally Know I’m Not Alone

For years, I’ve tried to find a way to describe how much I hate spiders.

Screaming works somewhat. Turning the color of pureed peas and dashing from the room works sometimes, too. And there has been a time or two when beating said arachnid to a bloody pulp with whatever I have nearby that’s handy (a shoe, a catalog, a chair, a hammer, a cleaver) helps alleviate my fears somewhat.

But when it comes to creating clear and coherent sentences to describe my feelings while I’m occupying the same room as an 8-legged creature of doom, I just can’t do it. Everything just comes out sounding like

“KILLITKILLITKILLITKILLITEEEEEEEEEEE!”


So when I found Allie’s account of her own terror of spiders on her blog Hyperbole and a Half, I finally felt like there were other people in the world who might hate spiders as much as I do. (Please, oh please, oh PLEASE go read Allie’s blog before you read mine. Because truly, it’s the funniest thing I’ve ever read. WAY funnier than what I’m about to write. Oh wait….maybe  you shouldn’t go read her blog after all….)

I read Allie’s post on the same day as my Most Recent Terror-Inducing Encounter with A Spider This Month. So…in the spirit of sharing…here it goes.

I was sitting on my adorable green sofa, minding my own business, watching an episode of the Gilmore Girls. It was an ordinary Friday evening, and I was in junk food, Netflix heaven. Suddenly, after a particularly humorous Lorelei pun, I happened to notice that my cat, Harry, was sitting on the floor in front of me, staring at a spot somewhere between the ceiling and the floor.

I didn’t think anything of it, because cats often do the “Stare At One Spot For Awhile Because It Seems Intriguing” thing.

A few moments later I noticed that my other cat, Scooter, had joined him in the staring.

Before I even SAW the little monster, I knew exactly what they were staring at.

Trying to calm my breathing and keep my dinner in my stomach as opposed to all over the rug, I sat perfectly still and attempted to focus my eyes on the same spot they were staring at.

And then, there it was—-The Spider—sliding down its icky sticky web like Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible.

To my credit, I did not scream.

Because screaming only works if there’s someone to hear your screams and then rush to your rescue.

I was home alone.

Except for the cats but they don’t think “OMG SPIDER OF DEATH KILL IT,” they think, “Oh yea, a new friend! Let’s bat him around until all his legs fall off then eat him!”

In what feels like a ten-year time span, but what in reality was probably 10 seconds, I come up with The Most Brilliant Plan Known To Man. Except that plan was to beat the ever-loving crap out of that spider with my shoe.

I waited. And I waited. And I waited some more.

And the damn thing never continued its disgusting trip down its web. It just stayed there, dangling from the ceiling, as if taunting me with its hairy little self.

UGH.

So, I decided to stop waiting, and took matters into my own hands. It went something like this:

KILLITKILLITKILLITEEEEE!!
I did it! It’s dead! Hooray for me!

 

Oh, snap. What if it’s NOT dead? What if it’s just waiting for me to move these shoes just slightly so it can jump out and eat my face??????
WAAAAAAAAAAH!

I stood there, frozen, for eleven years, and wondered what my fate would be if I just dropped the shoes and ran for the hills.

Eventually, I started breathing again, and my mind started working enough to begin thinking “Where the hell is that wonderful husband of mine when I really need him?” That’s when I devised Phase Two of my Not So Brilliant Plan Afterall.

After careful planning (as much as I could without drawing a diagram and calling in reinforcements. Because let’s face it, those shoes weren’t budging) I took a deep breath and launched Phase Two. Which went something like this:

Grip shoes, with *hopefully* dead spider carcass with one hand while…
…opening the front door with the other hand so I could…
…launch shoes out front door, with *hopefully* dead carcass still smooshed between Loafers 1 and 2…
…and breathe. And don’t pass out or throw up…

Because my husband knows me so well, he didn’t even question the sprawled loafers in the front yard when he got home from work later that night. He just checked for bodies, picked them up and brought them in.

And I *know* illustrations would’ve been funnier….but unlike Allie, I can’t even draw spiders.

Even cartoons of spiders creep me out.

So….maybe I am alone.