Atomic Arachnids

The tap, tap, tap is a reminder of the time of year. And not that one is sitting in a kids’-camp metal craft shop.

Woody’s outside, hammering away at a tree. Thankfully. And not the house’s siding. The tree trunk now looks like the B-B gun target range at the same camp, or a well-used battlefield, pocked with craters.

While Woody’s on the hunt for food, the knocking signals those who can’t be bothered. They enter without the middle-class politeness redheads know and abide by.

Sooner or later, a mouse will squeeze under a door or through a small crevice making its way into the house.

For some reason, we always refer to mice as “he.” Seems wrong. And hurtful. Not to mention prejudicial and ungrammatical. If it’s “mice,” then it should be “they,” shouldn’t it? Someone locate an English teacher.

Neither mice nor woodpeckers are the worry, though. No matter his (their) boldness.

It’s spiders. Unless you’ve got those big, green, heavily textured bumpy things – fruit, maybe – said to ward off spiders, beware. The big, green bumpy things frighten me. And I’m a million times bigger than a spider. Or at least most of them.

Don’t panic. It’s not yet an epidemic. But it is a novelty. Thus far this season, two identical spiders have emerged. Reddish-brown (more red than brown, which leads one to assume a relationship to Woody), with lots of legs, like mice they’re large enough to be noticeable and startling. But small enough to not feel threatening.

One, admittedly, was dead. Croaked and splayed out on the off-white carpet, it (he) seemed nearly petrified. One pass with the vacuum cleaner and he (it) was gone.

The other, though, thought it a neat trick to rappel down from the ceiling to the table where breakfast coffee was being consumed. Thirsty? Need a wake-up?

What is this guy? A ninja? Green beret? Seal team? And right here, at this hour (4 a.m.), in front of God and everyone!

Among the things that have changed in my lifetime: no sense of modesty, appropriateness (no matter how many times we use the word, apparently) and decorum.

If Ann Landers was there, she’d say: “Takes a lot of nerve, Buster. Lot-of-nerve.”

Luckily, a napkin was nearby.

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