And yes, I do know the meaning of literally. I clicked "publish," stood up to head into the kitchen to get more delicious decaf coffee, and heard the Peanut Butter Kid let out a little scream.
She was backing away from the refrigerator.
She screamed because she saw this:
What? You don't see it? She didn't either. Until it moved. So let's take another look, shall we?
"Mommy. There is a really. big. spider. in the refrigerator."
Now, the Peanut Butter Kid is not fond of bugs and other crawlies. So I figured she was exaggerating. I grabbed a wad of paper towels, expecting to find a gnat or maybe a Daddy Long-Legs.
Instead I saw a Black Widow spider. In my crisper drawer. In a bag of grapes we bought five days ago. And the little bastard was still alive.
Hello, adrenaline. I hadn't seen you in, oh, five minutes.
I stood there for a good two minutes, paper towels in hand, staring at the bag of grapes, debating my course of action. The spider was inside the open bag, clinging to the underside of the edge of the opening.
I would like to note that although I am not the girliest of girls, I will generally hand off spider-squishing responsibilities to my husband, who doesn't mind killing bugs with his bare hands. He's manly like that. Or has no sense of hygiene. Whatever. But if he's not home, I'll get myself a giant wad of paper towels and go after bugs myself. It's fine.
My husband was at work and I had never seen a Black Widow in real life before, so it kind of gave me ... pause.
I would also like to note that I did not swear. I'm really proud of myself on that one, because inside my head was a solid stream of profanity. I mean, really, what the (expletive) was I supposed to do? I was afraid if I tried to squish it, I might miss. And if I startled the thing, it might bite me, or worse, go skritching around the refrigerator. And what if it got out of the crisper? What if it got into the rest of my fridge and I couldn't find it?
Well, we'd have to move, that's what.
And I've done enough moving over the last two years. I'm kinda over it.
Plus, I didn't want to have to go to the emergency room, because everyone was still in their pajamas, and for me that means I was in my husband's Batman boxer shorts, a tank top, and no bra. I cannot go out like that. Especially because of the no bra.
Eventually, my refrigerator started beeping at me, because it's fancy and it gets pissed if you leave the door open too long. So then I'm talking to the refrigerator: "I know, I know. But I have a situation here."
I poked the bag a little, and the spider moved. Damn. Still alive.
|Nunchucks for suburban housewives: |
IKEA cups of doom.
I'm like a ninja with these suckers.
I trapped it in the two cups, banged one of the cups against the counter so the spider would drop to the bottom, and then dumped it into a zip-loc sandwich baggie.
I sent an expletive-filled text to my husband, because the swears have to come out somehow.
Then, I took a crapload of pictures for you. Because otherwise, who is going to believe me that there was a Black Widow spider in my grapes? It sounds ludicrous, an urban myth. Like alligators in the sewer or tantrum-free toddlers.
Spider-in-a-bag. You can see the red spots on its back.
See how shiny it is?
The hourglass marking on the abdomen. Also, a nice shot of my 1970s-era Harvest Gold countertop.
Okay, this picture totally sucks and I know it. But you can see the hourglass.
After the spider and I were done with its photo shoot, I looked up "black widow spider" online, and sure enough, all the pictures looked just like mine, except not blurry and usually not featuring such a hideous countertop.
I double-bagged the spider (in like twenty more baggies) and put it in the freezer. As evidence. I don't really know why, except that I figured the Absent-Minded Professor would think I was just being histrionic if he didn't see the damn thing.
Then I posted the pics on Facebook. Obviously.
With all the important steps taken care of (trap spider - baggie - curse like Samuel L. Jackson - update Facebook), I called the store from whence the spidery grapes had come. We'll refer to that store as Nationally Known House of Evil Produce. If you want a better clue, let's just say I haven't won a damn thing in their Sizzlin' Summer Giveaway except this freaking spider.
Here's the thing about my local House of Evil Produce: The woman who answered the phone was not sufficiently freaked out when I reported that my seven-year-old daughter had found a Black Widow spider in their grapes. She asked me if I wanted to bring the grapes back in for a refund.
I don't want my four bucks back. I want my freaking innocence back. I want the five years back that just got shaved off my lifespan.
I explained that I wasn't calling for a refund, I was calling because the store needed to check the rest of the grapes.
"The last thing you want is for some toddler in a grocery cart to reach for a grape and get a handful of Black Widow," I pointed out helpfully.
That sufficiently freaked the woman out. She said they would inspect all the produce right away, and restated her offer of a refund on the grapes. I just needed to bring in my receipt from last Saturday, as if I keep that kind of stuff. Whatever.
After discussing the matter extensively on Facebook (clearly the best resource for this kind of thing), I decided that this was the kind of thing that needs to be reported. To somebody. Environmental Protection Agency? Department of Health? Immigration Services?
Ultimately, I emailed the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture through their "Eat Safe, PA!" website. Because my food was not safe. I haven't heard back yet, possibly because crazed suburban moms with anxiety issues are not their top priority.
Also, one of my friends Googled "black widow in my grapes" and disturbingly, found news articles. My kids were dying for me to call the local news, but then I'd have to put on make-up and clean the kitchen, and after trapping a deadly arachnid, that would just be way too much work.