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408th Friday Blog Roundup

We had an encounter with a spider this week on par with the cricket-in-my-hair incident.  Tuesday morning, we were about to leave the house, and I picked up my purse.  It was taking the kids forever to put on their socks and shoes, so I decided now would be a fine time to dispose of a few pieces of paper that I had been carrying around in my purse.  You know, neaten things up.

As I picked up my gargantuan purse, something jumped out at me and landed on the kitchen floor, and I took my purse — the gargantuan one that happened to be holding an iPad at the moment — and threw it across the room in reflexive surprise.  On the floor, a few inches from my bare foot, was a spider that was larger than Queens, New York; a brown recluse spider (p.s. don’t click the link if you don’t want to see a Wikipedia picture).

The body itself was a bit smaller than a dime, but the span of the legs took the spider to about four centimeters.  Meaning; it was too big to hit with a shoe, my normal method for killing spiders in the house.  Oh, and I should mention at this point that I was screaming this long, continuous shriek interspersed with a high-pitched “oh my G-d oh my G-d oh my G-d” and then more screams while the kids — who were totally confused — stood on the steps holding the shoes they were supposed to be putting on.

I grabbed the Dyson and sucked the spider into it, and once I knew it was safely inside the clear canister, I turned off the vacuum and said in a calm voice, “got it.”  At which point the ChickieNob burst into tears because (1) I had freaked her out with my Lily-Potter-facing-Voldemort-like screams and (2) she really hates spiders.

After I calmed her down, the reality of the situation kicked in: I had been carrying an enormous, brown recluse spider in my purse for G-d knows how long.  I told the kids that I was certain that it had climbed inside when I left my purse open outside while I was talking to a friend the day before, but the more likely scenario is that it jumped in while we were at the beach.  Which means I’ve been carrying around a brown recluse spider for days.  FOR DAYS.

I reassured the ChickieNob by pointing out how quickly I had dealt with the situation.  Sure, I dealt with it loudly, but I dealt with it and the spider was gone.  But for the rest of the day, I felt invisible spiders crawling on me.  I felt like I was covered in spider bites.  Though you’ll be happy to know that the Apple snap cover actually works.  Beyond protecting the iPad when I dropped a flashlight on it earlier this year (while the flashlight took a chunk out of the cover, the iPad underneath was unaffected), it also kept the tablet in one piece when I threw it across the room and stomped on it in an effort to get around the spider so I could get to the Dyson.  Can’t recommend that snap cover enough if you’re a flashlight dropper or purse thrower.


And now the blogs…

But first, second helpings of the posts that appeared in the open comment thread last week as well as the week before.  In order to read the description before clicking over, please return to the open thread:

Okay, now my choices this week.

Three is a Magic Number has a beautiful sign-off post ending her blog, bringing in the concept of trail markers.  Because isn’t that what we’re also doing sometimes for one another; leaving clues for the people who end up walking this same path which not only lets them know that others have been here but gives them small bits of information to follow as they chart their own journey emotionally, physically, and financially.  And I love this: “The end of trail sign, as I learned it in Girl Scouts, is a ring of rocks surrounding a solitary rock in the center. Which is fitting, really, because that’s exactly how this community has felt to me over these last three years: A seemingly solitary gal encompassed in an endless circle of really strong, really tenacious, really lustrous ladies.”  Please read the whole post.

The Bickerstaff Blog has a great birthday post that I am positive that I’ll remember each year on my birthday.  She explains the title of the post, which ties in a Sandra Cisneros short story, “So today, I am 29, but I am also 28 and 24 and 23 and 21 and 19 and all ages in between.  My 29 self wouldn’t be who she is if it weren’t for my 28th year, or my 23rd year when I got married.”  And I loved loved loved her family’s birthday cake tradition.

Non Sequitur Chica has a post about trying to fill the unfillable hole left by infertility.  It’s about all the other bits of life that happen that sidetrack your plans to tackle infertility, and how you need to let yourself get sidetracked so that infertility isn’t your whole world.  I know she says that the post ends in a bitter place, but I saw the post ending in a really good place; of a life lived rather than waited for, with sights set on the future while also focused on the present.

Lastly, one of the most beautiful posts I read this week was A Half Baked Life’sWhat You Need: A Recliner, Chocolate Cake, Perspective.”  I don’t know if it was the story itself, the way she told it, the fact that she still has the chair from the story… Reading this made me feel sad and comforted and joyous and quiet all at the same time.

The roundup to the Roundup: I survived attack of the brown recluse spider.  And lots of great posts to read.  So what did you find this week?  Please use a permalink to the blog post (written between August 24th and August 31st) and not the blog’s main url. Not understanding why I’m asking you what you found this week?  Read the original open thread post here.


1 sass { 08.31.12 at 10:15 am }

This post started my heart racing. We had brown recluse spiders occassionally in the home I grew up in. They’re terrifying. Last summer, when I was visiting my parents, there was one outside over the door. I refused to go in and walked all the way around the house for days, and then when it was gone one morning I worried that it had decided to make itself at home inside. If only you had been there with your dyson skills!

We did come across a spider once, who had long inhabited a space in our home, and successfully sucked him up with a vacuum. We were going to make rye bread, and had just opened a new bag of flour. We carefully measured out however many cups we needed, when the flour in our mixer started moving. This one inch (with legs) spider came to the top and shook himself off. My husband screamed, and I looked in because I didn’t believe him when the spider jumped at my face! How long do you think a spider can stay alive in an unopened bag of flour? Weeks? Months? How long does it take for the flour to get from the warehouse to our pantry? That’s what I get for buying organic I guess 🙂

2 Ellen K. { 08.31.12 at 10:21 am }

This isn’t much consolation to anyone with the least bit of arachnophobia, but it’s not likely that it was a brown recluse in your handbag, unless you had just started using that bag after keeping it on a shelf or in storage for awhile. They really are reclusive and wouldn’t like to be in motion, plus they aren’t common on the eastern seaboard. I’m sure there are brown recluses somewhere in my old house here in St. Louis, but I’ve actually never seen a brown spider that perfectly fit the description. It’s one of those “mistaken identity” species. Again, not really consoling. I’m usually OK with spiders smaller than wolf spiders and such — I am rather fond of a little spider living under my nightstand — but I would freak the eff out if one was in my handbag. And last summer I was relieved when an enormous golden orb weaver in the corner of my back porch finally relocated or was washed down the spout or something.

3 Katie { 08.31.12 at 11:26 am }

My skin is crawling after reading this post. I HATE spiders. When I was in college, I went out of my room and into the kitchen without turning the light on and almost stepped on a giant brown recluse. Two of my roommates (also both screaming, twenty-something-year-old girls) and I took turns standing over top of it on our coffee table and spraying it with Windex (we didn’t have bug spray) for about 20 minutes. Suddenly, it made a beeline for UNDER MY BED. I grabbed the closest thing I could find (a running shoe) and went after it. As soon as I stepped on the floor, I slipped and fell on my face (because it was a tile floor and we’d soaked it with Windex… not intelligent), but I didn’t even care. I army crawled until I reached the spider and beat it to death. Worst spider encounter ever. I had nightmares for weeks.

4 a { 08.31.12 at 1:07 pm }

I was going to say what Ellen said – the spider was probably out for its semi-annual constitutional (living in your house somewhere where you usually don’t see it) and was exploring your purse to see if it might make for a nice new home. Not to say you shouldn’t throw your purse or anything, but it probably wasn’t in there for a long time. But if it makes you feel better, you can get a nice white box to put the items from your purse in every night, and then you can reload them every morning after giving the purse a vigorous shake-out. Or you can just say that these brushes with terror are a part of life, and there’s nothing you can do to prevent them from happening in one form or another.

My daughter has decided that it’s funny to tell me we have ants/spiders/whatever in the house. It’s not funny. She also catches crickets, caterpillars, roly polys, grasshoppers, and anything else she can get her hands on and brings them into the house (safely encased in plastic containers, usually with no ventilation – I feel sorry for the poor bugs).

5 Jeanna { 08.31.12 at 1:47 pm }

Thanks for recognizing my blog 🙂 made my day!

6 Stupid Stork { 08.31.12 at 6:17 pm }

Oh my whyyy did I click on that wikipedia link – why! Now I am covered in spiders just from looking. You poor thing.

Some entries I dug this week:

Aspgriswold at Growing Griswolds wrote about how infertility is a constant loss/battle with grief:


Bebe Suisse wrote about loss, and those horrible anniversaries that we have to go through:


7 Justine { 08.31.12 at 6:39 pm }

Thank you for the compliment!

I wanted to give a shout out to the blogger that Amy found … I love her post on reading infertility blogs, even the ones with a happy “ending,” and finding a message of hope for herself. http://hopetrustandtruth.wordpress.com/2012/08/31/its-right-there/ … such a beautiful way to express the meaning and purpose of this community.

8 Justine { 08.31.12 at 6:40 pm }

Oh … and I HATE spiders. HATE HATE HATE spiders. And we found a brown recluse in my house this week, too. It was about as bad as the cave cricket incident. Which I should probably blog about sometime, for posterity, and humor. 😉

9 Mali { 08.31.12 at 9:53 pm }

Wow. I’m excited to see two of my posts got the call-up last week. Thanks Marwil!

Spiders. I hate them. I firmly declare that anything with more than four legs is creepy and unnatural, and anything with more than six is just wrong. It’s interesting about Chickienob though. I wonder if her fear of spiders is a result of sensing your fear – or hearing it screamed blue-bloody-murder (which I will add I think is highly justifiable)? I know I’m scared of heights, and one of my earliest memories is being on the edge of a very high mountain pass, with my father (mountain goat that he was) standing right on the edge, my baby sister about to run over to him, and my mother panicking and pulling us both well back from the edge. It was a long drop – I distinctly recall seeing nothing between us, the edge and the plains in the distance. I could sense her fear. Since then, the fear of falling has grown, and really explains my fear of heights.

10 Cherish { 08.31.12 at 11:34 pm }

AHHH! I am reliving your horror through my imagination! My coworker’s wife is deadly afraid of spiders and once set their bathroom on fire trying to kill one with hair spray and a lighter.

11 Nonsequiturchica { 08.31.12 at 11:59 pm }

Thanks for highlighting my post!

I would have had the same reaction to a spider in my purse. I’m glad your iPad didn’t suffer in your quest to kill the spider. 🙂

12 Erica { 09.01.12 at 12:24 am }

It’s that season, I guess. We found what may well be a hobo spider (we’re in prime hobo territory but apparently they look like a lot of other big brown spiders) in our basement this week. I am not bothered by small spiders but this was big, fast, and then I looked online & learned more than I ever wanted to know about necrotic spider bites. I’m sorry you found a terrifying spider in your purse, though. And I’m glad you and the ChickieNob and the iPad are all okay.

13 St. E { 09.01.12 at 12:46 am }

Oh my! I am not really scared of spiders, but I don’t get to be around the kind you mentioned …but I know that I would still freak out if I found them in my purse.

Gorgeous posts this week:



14 StacieT { 09.01.12 at 1:39 am }

My dad was bitten by a brown recluse (it was on the door knob of his office building). I have a healthy, healthy fear of those suckers after I saw just what it did to his hand. Ugh. Makes me shudder to think about it to this day.

I read a beautiful post by Three Ring Circus. I loved how she turned what could have been a sad reflection of all she hasn’t accomplish before she turned 40 into an amazing post about how much she HAS accomplished before this upcoming milestone.


15 Mud Hut Mama { 09.01.12 at 4:06 am }

I’m with you that if you have a brown recluse spider in your purse you have to get rid of it and I think you dealt with it superbly, but, I’m surprised at how many people here hate spiders. Spiders are cool – they eat all the annoying insects, they make beautiful webs, and if you do get bit by one there is always the chance you will turn into spider man or maybe even spider woman.

16 Jessica { 09.01.12 at 12:37 pm }

Spiders are one of the few things I am not scared of for some crazy reason. I’m a total wimp about everything else. Thanks for such great links to read. I need to come here much more often.

17 Battynurse { 09.02.12 at 4:29 am }

That would totally be my reaction if a spider jumped out of my purse. Heck I almost jumped out of a car once in a busy intersection thanks to a spider on the window and I’ve been known to kill them by throwing shoes at them from a chair across the room when they were too big.

18 Trinity { 09.03.12 at 8:29 am }

Thanks, Mel. Genuinely. For more than I can articulate in this little comment box.

19 Natalie { 09.03.12 at 2:24 pm }

Oh shit! I am not normally terribly freaked out by spiders, like the small ones I find in my house. But a huge one in my purse?! I am glad you survived!

20 jjiraffe { 09.03.12 at 3:31 pm }

There is more to think about in one of your posts than in my entire newspaper. I’ll be ruminating on this and the comments all day. As usual 😉

21 marwil { 09.04.12 at 4:42 am }

You are welcome Mali 🙂

A thoughtful post about coming to terms with having one baby:

22 loribeth { 09.05.12 at 2:12 pm }

A writer I follow on Facebook shared this link & recommended it as “an essay that will teach you a lot about how to tell a tough story free of sentimentality, and filled with feeling.” I thought it was well written and thought provoking. However, a warning that some in this community may find the subject matter difficult (spoiler alert! — among other topics, it includes an unplanned midlife pregnancy, reproductive & life choices and grief).


23 loribeth { 09.06.12 at 8:28 pm }

Msfitzita eloquently and wistfully describes the emotional minefield that is back-to-school time for bereaved &/or childless mothers:


24 St. E { 09.07.12 at 6:25 am }
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