Nature may be trying to kill me.
I am the first to admit, I love nature on my own terms.
Seeing it through the window of my air-conditioned space is usually enough to satisfy my soul for all things pastoral.
I can see our deer come into the yard to feed. There is even a tame little squirrel that has enough moxie to come up on the porch rail and gaze into the kitchen window until she is given peanuts.
The adorable animals are the limits of my nature loving.
Bugs, however, are another story.
Lightning bugs, lady bugs, grasshoppers, butterflies, and dragonflies are all precious, but the creepy, crawling things not so much.
Especially when they look like they defy normal sizes.
And apparently, the mountains of north Georgia can produce spiders that look like something straight out of Australia.
My first experience with a monstrously sized arachnid happened several weeks ago as Cole and I were leaving to go to an event. I was standing at the kitchen sink when I saw something outside the window that seemed unusual.
I almost thought it was a small rodent, that’s how big it was.
Cole was in the bathroom getting ready and immediately ran out to see what prompted my shrieks.
“It’s outside. Should we leave it outside?” he asked.
“It will get in,” I said in a terrified whisper.
“Why are you whispering?” he asked.
“So, the spider won’t hear me,” I answered, still in a whisper.
“I’d feel bad killing it though,” he said. “I thought we said if it was outside it could live.”
True, I had declared that, but this one was on my windowsill and looked like it was trying to gain entry.
I took this as a preventative measure.
“Where’s the peppermint oil?” I whispered.
Cole shook his head. “We’re out and Mom, I don’t think your essential oils are gonna handle that.”
He was probably right. It took me seven minutes to find the Raid, with the enormous spider waiting to meet his destiny.
I sprayed him until he dropped to the porch floor and curled up, rigor mortis setting in on all eight legs.
“I feel bad,” Cole said.
“I do, too,” I said.
“Why are you still whispering?”
“Out of respect for the dead,” I said, pointing at the corpse.
We left to go to our event, me shivering and having serious heebie jeebies the whole time.
I made sure I showed the spider to Lamar when he got home, telling him how big it was.
“It doesn’t look that big now,” he said, eyeing the remains.
“It was, just believe me.”
How dare he doubt my account of the size or ferociousness of the spider.
Thinking that was not the last of the ginormous spiders, I made sure to put the Raid where it was easier to find.
Good thing I did, too.
One evening, I went in the bathroom trying to find my sleep shorts as it was too hot for a chubby woman to sleep in leggings.
I found them and had just slipped the shorts on when I looked down at the laundry basket under the shelves.
There was the mother of all spiders, one that made the kitchen window spider look small in comparison.
I screamed, a bloodcurdling, glass shattering scream. Janet Leigh would have been proud.
“Cole, go see what your mother is screaming about,” Lamar yelled.
“No!” I screamed back. “You need to handle this!”
The thing lifted a leg at me as if it was putting me on notice.
I screamed again.
It was, literally, the size of my hand with its legs spread out. And it looked like it worked out; its legs looked muscular.
More panic ensued as I waited for someone male with some sort of weapon to come in the bathroom.
The door pushed open to show Lamar and Cole with Cole holding the Raid.
“You need to do this,” I said. “This is an abnormally large spider.”
Lamar sighed and frowned, quite used to my overreactions involving basically anything.
He motioned for me to step aside as he entered our bathroom.
“Dear God,” he muttered. “Cole, give me the Raid.”
Finally, he saw that I was being pretty accurate with this one.
I stepped out of the bathroom so Cole could hand the bug spray to his father and was waiting for the kill shot when suddenly the spider ran out of the bathroom and came rushing towards me, as if it was going to finish the job.
I am not over-exaggerating — it was heading straight towards me.
I turned and ran towards the bedroom, screaming for my life the whole way.
Somehow, I was running in air, like I was Keanu Reeves in the Matrix minus the wires and long leather coat as I ran up on the bed.
Doodle joined me, shaking with fear herself.
That’s how big the spider was; it scared a pittie mix.
“It’s not dead!” I heard Cole say.
“I sprayed it!” Lamar said.
“You napalmed it but it’s not dead!” Cole said.
“It should be dead!”
“Dad – it’s not!”
I don’t know who finished off the spider or how, but it took a solid five minutes.
Doodle and I shook all night.
The next day, I went to the store and got two bottles of Raid, a new torch lighter, some cheap hairspray, and some peppermint oil, just in case.
Nature was trying to kill me.
But next time, I would be ready.
Sudie Crouch is an award-winning humor columnist residing in the North Georgia Mountains among the bears, deer, and possibly Sasquatch. She lives to disappoint her mother, or at least that is what she has been told. You can connect with her on Facebook at Mama Said: A Collection of Wit, Humor, and Deep-Fried Wisdom.