Wednesday, November 03, 2010
I can pinpoint the date that I decided I liked her and wanted to keep her. It was the morning I was standing semi-comatose, warming my hands over the stove as the espresso brewed and noted that she had caught three ants in the night. Any ally in our ongoing war against the Chicken House Ants is welcome. I poured myself a latte, toasted the newest member of the family, and went to work.
This is not the first time the Conger clan has hosted a spider. We used to watch with fascination as spiders would build elaborate webs between the newell posts on the front porch of our West Seattle home. The dew would dust these complicated constructions and provide an endless source of fractal entertainment throughout the fall. The side yard played host on multiple occasions to the million scattered mobile flying dots of spider egg bursts. Every single spider invasion – whether in the lifelines in Canada or in the plants on the dining room table in Philadelphia – has been a source of pleasure, interest, and education for my husband, myself, and now our children.
Honestly, the only spider scare we've ever experienced was a truly notable and hysterically funny encounter between Jaime and a 13 cm spider in the Karangahake Gorge a few months go. I can't remember the last time the entire family laughed so hard as when Jaime came bursting out of that cave screaming and kareening down the trail at high speed with her hair on fire. Even she found the whole thing amusing after we finally caught up with her, calmed her down, reassured her that there were no signs of spiders anywhere on or near her and most particularly not in her hair. You could almost say that we're a pro-spider family.
So she – our latest spider neighbor – settled in for the winter. But this spider isn't exactly a neighbor, now is she? Living in the kitchen, she's more like a quiet roommate. A quiet, growing roommate. We've watched her shed her skin, like a lobster, several times now. Our little spider has grown to nearly an inch now. Yesterday, she caught a horse fly, the day before an enormous moth. Her web stretches over the entire corner of the window – about a square foot. Mera witnessed the fly capture. It blundered into the web in one corner. Mera was doing the dishes and paused to watch our girl dash over, sedate the fly before it ripped the web apart, wrap it up, and drag it into the center of her lair. Short of an Animal Planet video, I'm not certain how Mera could have been treated to a better visual experience of spider dining.
It also possible that she is just going to keep growing until Jaime freaks out and insists that “Either that spider goes, or I do.” And while I can understand her recent spider-paranoia given her caving experience, I'm going miss her. It's been nice having Jaime around all these years.