Creepy-crawlies 'r' us

>> Tuesday, 29 January 2008

So here I sit, in our cubby-hole office, tapping away, throwing Smarties down my neck (and feeling slightly queasy as a result, blast my mother-in-law for bringing them for the boys, did she really for one moment think they would actually get passed on?) surrounded by... by... I can hardly bring myself to say it.... spiders.

I hate spiders.

Ever since I was a child, I loathed them. There's something about the way they scuttle about, dropping down silently from the ceiling to sit glaring malevolently at you from corners that really freaks me out.

Don't get me wrong - I'm not phobic. I'm able to make use of a glass and sheet of paper with the best of them. Always assuming the offending creature is on a smooth surface of course - carpets are just a nightmare, I end up with decapitations, amputations, and spider legs all over the shop.

And I'm not a spider murderer. Well, not any more. The days of telephone directories being dropped from a great height - and then dropped repeatedly if the little bugger was on guard, until the deed was done - are long gone. Now I just capture them in a glass and take them out of the flat, up the stairs, across the road and drop them into the garden square where I trust they will find a new and happier home. And if they don't, well, it's too far for them to come back. That's not excessive behaviour. Is it?

My mother used to despair of me. I grew up in a very old house in the middle of the countryside surrounded on 3 sides by a garden. It was arachna-tastic in that house. She spent much of the time racing up stairs coming to rescue me from the wretched creatures as I perched on a bed / chair / the edge of the bath screaming blue murder. But, as time passed, I grew up a bit. And learnt to deal with them.

But when I sit here tapping away and make the mistake of looking up - I wish I hadn't. For some reason this tiny room is what the spiders of South Kensington see as a highly desirable residence. They make every effort to come in here, setting up home in the book shelves and over the spotlights, so wherever I look is covered by fine mesh of cob-webs, rather like that scene in the first Indiana Jones film when he - oh, I can't bear to write about it.

And it's not like I don't fight back. I move them. I dust. I even - when I'm feeling particularly ruthless - hoover the shelves, wall, door and ceiling. And occasionally, the floor. Then we have a spider-free zone for about 2 days before they all come back in with their suitcases and mulitple pairs of shoes. Why? It's not even as if there are any flies in here.


I digress. This post was actually meant to be about my chasing Boy #2 round the viewing gallery during Boy #1's swimming lesson at Chelsea Leisure Centre this afternoon.

Imagine a charmingly reconditioned 1920's style swimming pool with a 3 tier bench viewing platform suspended 20 feet up, with only a set of railings that are set just a little too far apart for comfort between you and the drop, and you'll have the right picture.

Now imagine a cheeky 2 year old seeing just how far his mother is capable of being pushed without cracking. His opening move was the old 'orange peel dropped from 20ft into the pool' gambit. Well, it wasn't, not quite, but only because I clearly have more kung-fu reflexes than I realised. After a pause to lull me into a false sense of security, he decided to race along behind the benches to see if he could beat mama to the next gap - and a clear run down to those worrying railings. And then, when he had me stranded on the other side of the pool, he tried simply heading off for the exit in the hope someone would open the door and it would just be Boy #2 and 20 concrete steps.

And all of this in 27 deg C heat. Which meant I was rather more flustered than I would have liked to be whilst chatting to Boy #1's extremely good looking swimming coach after his lesson. There's just something about those wetsuits...

In any case, I was a little snappy on the way home.

But not so snappy that I have forgotten I still have an award and a tag to pass out. So, firstly, here is the 'Best Blogging Buddies' Award.

As Mya (who was kind enough to give this one to me in the first place) said, it is 'quite nauseatingly kitsch' - but very cute for all that. I would like to pass this one on to Iota at Not Wrong, Just Different, even though she's not blogging right now (not blogging, that is, in the same way that I'm not eating chocolate), and to Tracey at cRaZy tRaCe for being brave beyond the call of duty in cycling long distances and throwing herself down canyons with only a lolly-stick for buoyancy. Or something. And that's not to say that there aren't loads more people who don't equally qualify, but I will get bored with putting the links for their sites on this post. So if you want it, just take it.

Secondly, I need to delight a couple of people with the tag Reluctant Memsahib passed my way a week or so ago. You remember, you need to let us know what, in the last week, you have:

  • read
  • watched on tv
  • listened to
  • and surfed

I hope your selection is more edifying than mine, Expat Mum and Beta Mum... Enjoy!


beta mum 29 January 2008 at 21:51  

Hm - I think you may find my selection very unedifying.
But I will set to it...

Iota 29 January 2008 at 22:46  

Arachna-tastic is a great word.

I hope your boys get into Spiderman as they get older. It would seem appropriate somehow, and he is such a jolly good egg ("with great power comes great responsibility" sounds almost Biblical - perhaps it is).

Anyway, I'll stop wittering and say a big thank you for my award. I'm not going to try and put it on my blog, because (a) as you say, I'm not blogging at the moment, and (b) that kind of techno task takes me forever and is full of small frustrations along the way, and I know you wouldn't want to add to the tally of small frustrations in my day. Thank you very much.

aims 30 January 2008 at 00:48  

Shoes? Did you say shoes?? Many shoes? I have a shoe of the day calendar - but I haven't seen any for spiders yet - but then it is only January.

A little more description of that guy in his wet suit..hmmm - please?

Expatmum 30 January 2008 at 02:36  

Agh. Agh. I hope there's no big deadline on this - I have a ridiculous scedule this week. Any road up, I am "Scribing" in school tomorrow morning and then dealing with 4 year old, so forgive me if my response is tardy.
Scribing - our school is very in to parental involvement, It being Private, it actually relies on parental involvement to run the thing, but we are also invited to take part (with no pressure) in classroom activities. Scribing means that you write down what the 4 year olds are saying about a particular subject. The only contract we have with our teacher is - don't believe everything they tell you happens in class, and we won't believe everything they say happens at home.
Just as well!

Potty Mummy 30 January 2008 at 11:14  

Beta Mum - you clearly haven't read mine. The bench has been set VERY low...

Iota, I know, isn't it (arachna-tastic)descriptive? Shame I can use it to describe part of my own house though... And you're right - I really don't want to add to the grit in your oyster.

Aims, spiders have eight legs; of COURSE they wear shoes. You have clearly only seen them au naturel. And as for the swimming coach - well, young, fit, yummy, good with kids, polite - and south african. Normally the last would cancel out the others, but in this case... Having said that, I'm sure if I saw him in normal attire I wouldn't look twice! It's definitely the wetsuit...

Expat Mum - whenever you have moment, don't sweat it. And scribing? Why? What do you do with the output? (Seriously, I'm interested). Is it to show the parents how wise and amusing their four year olds are, or simply a subtle way of keeping an eye on the teacher?

Pig in the Kitchen 30 January 2008 at 14:09  

urgh! Two things i really detest; spiders and trying to entertain small ones by the side of a swimming pool.
I once spent so long chasing one small one that when I looked up my daughter had disappeared from her swimming class. And the teacher didn't know where she was. She'd just wandered off to the loo on her own and no-one had noticed....i'm still frothing at the mouth about that, and it was about 4 years ago!

Expatmum 30 January 2008 at 14:44  

Now that you've asked the question, I'm not sure exactly why we scribe, it's just the way the school is. There are usually as many parents wandering round as there are kids. The scribing is usually around a theme, like Halloween, so you write down what they say they are going to be. They also draw a picture and the teacher will then display everything in the classroom or send it home for parents. At the end of the year, we get all of their work - even academic stuff when they're older. It usually sits in a pile somewhere till we go back in September!

Frog in the Field 30 January 2008 at 14:45  

Bloody hell, Potty Mummy, I only have to blink and you've written another thesis in the form of a Blog, AND it's interesting, AND funny, AND you've got comments!
Can we have a picture of the swimming instructor?

ped crossing 30 January 2008 at 16:42  

My houses always seem to be spider magnets. At one house we let them be, then they helped take care of the ant problem.

I usually suck them up with the vacuum. I won't bother them outside, but inside look out.

dulwichmum 30 January 2008 at 18:45  

Darling Potty Mummy,

And I thought that I was the only one who scoffed the munchkins' chocolate - I am sooo looking forward to Easter - aren't you?


Potty Mummy 30 January 2008 at 20:17  

Pig, oh my god, I would have been frantic. As it is, even when I have both of them safe and sound with me in the changing rooms I manage to lose them. Boy #1 thinks it's fun to hide in the lockers (which REALLY freaks me out), and Boy #2 has an unhygienic interest in the loos, so by the time we leave each week I'm in a bit of a state. We're doing it for the kids, right?

Hi ExpatMum, sounds interesting. Especially since Boy #1's prospective school is reputed to be something of a black hole; you drop them off in the morning, pick them up in the afternoon, and have no idea what goes on in between. Maybe I should suggest scribing to try and find out what the hell goes on in there!

Frog - what can I say? Husband is away, I have time on my hands... No picture, I'm afraid. I think he might refuse to teach Boy #1 if I turned up with a camera in my hands. Though I doubt I would be alone in wanting a picture - you should see the other mums giggling and coyley flicking their long hair... (I hate hair-flickers. I have short hair. You probably guessed...)

Ped, oh god, spiders AND ants? That would do me in. (Now I've said that I'm sure there is an ant colony somewhere targeting my house for their summer holiday).

DM - forget Christmas, Easter and it's chocoholic festival is definitely the best time of the year for me...

Tattie Weasle 30 January 2008 at 21:34  

Thank you! Oh thank you for rescuing me form my tax return!!!!! I have been hors de combat and not blogging or even looking for ages so thank you for the nudge and yes I AM OK and I have done seven random facts for delectation! (See new blog posting)
January has been hectic but not half as hectic as chasing a two year old round the viewing gallery!!!!

Tracey 30 January 2008 at 22:24  

Hey, thank you for the kitties! (And the mention and the link etc!) Very chuffed. I am meant to be frantically cleaning today (and was yesterday) so blog post acceptance speeches and passing it forward will have to wait another day... (Unless I can reward myself later for being very very good and achieving things.)

If you are arachnaphobic, you are a very brave one if you can still manage to catch them and relocate them - very impressed. (I had to face up to my insecty/spidery fears when the husband worked away so much, and I had to remove offending 6 or 8 legged creatures from within sight of screaming children.)

"Scribing". Gee... I hadn't heard of that. Parents volunteer to do reading at our schools. But scribing?!!

AliBlahBlah 31 January 2008 at 01:12  

I'm with you on the spider thing, although strangely the fear has waned with age, which makes no sense as now I'm living in the land of seriously-one-bite-can-kill spiders. I had a black widow living happily in the corner of our shower for about a year!

Jonny's Mommy 31 January 2008 at 02:09  

Potty Mommy:

Well, the tag was just a silly one anyhow,so don't worry about it. I was sure I'd mentioned you, but some days I swear...I don't know where my head is. Also, I wonder why wordpress doesn't like you and if this is a common problem? I had a couple other people tell me they tried to comment but it never showed. Argh...I approve all comments before they pop up...just in case someone tells me I'm a big loser or something. :-) Kidding...but I do approve them so it takes a bit, depending on how busy I am.

Frog in the Field 31 January 2008 at 07:36  

Have to butt in her PM, sorry, but AliBlahbalh!! What IS she on??
How can you have a Black Widow living in the corner of the shower for a year??????
That's seriously urarghh!!
Scary person? Brave person? Bloody lunatic! (no offence!)

Potty Mummy 31 January 2008 at 12:49  

Hi Tattie, good to hear from you and whilst I would put chasing Boy #2 around the viewing gallery pretty high in the whole stress level monitor, I think your tax return trumps it!

Tracey, I hope the cleaning went well. I don't want to give the wrong impression; I'm probably not arachnaphobic, I just really really really really really don't like spiders very much. But I won't faint if I see one. Having said that, it's enough of a dislike to put me off the thought of ever moving to Aus...

Hello Ali, thanks for the visit and for commenting. And as Frog said: A BLACK WIDOW IN YOUR SHOWER? Take me back to blighty RIGHT NOW!

Hi J's Mommy, it's fine, and you do realise you probably saved yourself 2 minutes of extreme boredom reading my reply to that tag? The nearest book to me in here is The Children's Writers' and Artists' Handbook 2008. How exciting that would have been...

Frog - again, with the wittering. Pot, kettle, black. That's all I'm saying... (though I agree with every word you wrote, obviously!)

Omega Mum 31 January 2008 at 12:53  

Good news - apparently house spiders are in sharp decline so you should be able to avoid that spider on the ceiling above my bed will it drop on to my face in the night moment that so many of us have enjoyed in the past. And that swimming pool story brought so many deeply stressful memories back. Hang in there - you're doing well.

Potty Mummy 31 January 2008 at 13:15  

Thanks OM. The problem is though, WHY are they in sharp decline? Is it to do with global warming? Will I be hastening the end of the world as we know it if I play any part in bringing about the end of the species? Does this mean I can never kill a spider again? Worry, worry, worry...

Mya 31 January 2008 at 19:59  

I think they're in sharp decline because they've all been sucked up the nozzle of my hoover. Any spider-huggers offended by this nugget can bugger off - or offer to come and clean up after the pesky blighters chez moi.

Mya x

Potty Mummy 31 January 2008 at 22:51  

Mya, don't get me wrong, I'm no spider-hugger (such a charming term). Am just off now (well, in the morning in any case) to send yet more to spider heaven inside the hoover. Lucky for me the cleaner gets to dispose of the evidence on her next visit...

The Rotten Correspondent 1 February 2008 at 16:31  

I'm catching up here. Sorry I've been remiss!

I'm with you on the spiders. They just seem to be everywhere. I can deal with them as long as they aren't poisonous, but around here we have some poisonous ones who supposedly live IN the houses.

I don't feel so good.

Potty Mummy 1 February 2008 at 19:53  

RC, if that were me I would be SO paranoid... Every shoe would be shaken out before I put it on, clothes checked inside and out before dressing, and as for reaching into the back of a cupboard, well, forget it. Good thing it's you not me living there, is all I can say!

elizabethm 1 February 2008 at 22:33  

Oh dear, we have giant spiders in our house (old, full of holes and dust). Have become not quite immune to them. Can manage any spider, any size (UK obviously, not huge US or Australian beasts) in the day and am only left with a nervousness of spiders in the bedroom, in the dark, possibly climbing up the bedclothes or hanging from the ceiling. sorry, I'm not helping, am I?

Potty Mummy 1 February 2008 at 23:37  

Hi Elizabeth, no, not helping - especially since I'm sitting here typing without my contacts in and am sure that every shadow I see has eight legs!

Thanks for the visit though!

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