I should have known. But it was early yet; I was just easing into my first cup of coffee, not really conscious of much other than the unrelenting heat ...
Bonnie is not normally a kitty (euphemism); she is, more generally, a tiger. So when a short conversation like this occurs, I should know ...
"Honey ... ? ............... There's a spider ..............."
"Oh? .................... Do you want me to kill it?"
For years, I have been the primary pest exterminator in our house, but familiarity does often breed contempt, and Bonnie has gradually reached the point where she has no compunction about swatting, often with her bare hand, a run-of-the-mill penny-sized spider, ant, or whatever insectoid creature may manage to offend her sense of propriety. So when she indicates a definite and emphatic preference for my intervention, I should know ...
I have no idea of the provenance or species of this particular spider - it was relatively slender and inky black, but the abdomen and cephalothorax combined were the size of my upper thumb joint (take a second to glance at your own) and the legspan was such that it would completely cover a home printer toner cartridge. I have seen spiders this size before; we have a species that is golden brown with glittering emerald eyes; I have had to remove three or four of these from the house over the years. But I had never before seen one that affected me so viscerally, simply because it had the look of something that could move extremely fast if provoked. One thing that really bugs me (oh, that was cheap, wasn't it?) is a spider that can move much faster than me. I don't know if it was poisonous, but I certainly wouldn't want to be bitten by it, and if somehow it managed to get in among our mice ...
So I determined that, in this case, it had to die. Now for the tip of the day (useful for once) -
Deodorant. We don't like to spray commercial insecticides inside the house; we don't trust them and are unsure of how they may affect our mice. However, while deodorant is not generally considered to be poisonous, it is exceedingly sticky, and it is excellent for obstructing an insect's spiracles. It has the added benefit of causing insects to partially adhere to any surface which is coated with a blot of deodorant.
We were lucky that this spider chose to park its carcass inside of a paper bag in which we store old newspapers, so after liberally applying deodorant to the spider, it was relatively easy to rapidly fold over the corner of the bag and slam it back against the wall (the underside of a dustpan made a nice large, flat surface with which to apply extra force and solidity.)
Okay, this is not exactly a marvel of frisson-producing suspense, but, until Billy Joel decides to aim his vehicle at our house, this is what presently passes for excitement in the Mott household.
(If you feel compelled to read the lyrics and hear the tune of "Itsy Bitsy Spider", they can be found here.)