Thursday, August 23, 2007

Hobos, Spiders, and Piles of Dirty Laundry

I admit, I’ve been a delinquent blogger. I’ve also neglected putting my columns online lately. So I’ll post the latest one here, inspidered (get it? in-SPIDERed? haha) by the Hobo Spider. They’re all over the place here. Ew!

When I first called to set up our phone service here in Idaho Falls last October, the nice lady I talked to was a virtual welcoming committee, sharing all things good and bad about the area.

“Hobos are horrible here,” she said at the end of our conversation.

I imagined scads of homeless people filing the sidewalks of old downtown, complete with smudged faces and polka-dot bindles. I said something silly about not knowing Idaho Falls had a problem with the destitute.

She laughed. “No. Hobo Spiders. They’re nasty!” She explained how the Hobo killed entire populations and kept most Idaho residents entrenched in fear. Okay, so I’m exaggerating. She said something about them being poisonous and drawn to large piles of unfinished laundry. Just what I needed to hear.

Now I had heard of the black widow, and even the brown recluse, but never the hobo spider. And Google gave me just the panic attack I needed; they’re hideous looking creatures with long, icky legs and those strange dangling eyes. Other pictures illustrated how a hobo bite pickled a man’s thumb while extraneous text explained that it had killed countless others. Should we call an exterminator, bug-bomb the place, or move to Atlanta? A call to the extension office (which also provided us with a lovely pear-butter recipe) gave us just the answer we needed: sticky traps. That’s it. Pesticides, exterminators, and even the evil eye would do us no good. We just needed a good set of sticky traps.

So I diligently set up eight in the basement, putting them against the floor boards and praying that not one delinquent spider would make its way up the stairs. Little did I know that by October hobo season was nearly over; I had nothing to worry about.

Until last week. Because I guess August is mating season for the hobo (yes, I Googled that too) and all the adult spiders are looking to get lucky. In my basement.

How do I know this? Just last week I was working on a little freelance at the library when I got a call from my mother-in-law who occasionally watches my children and tackles Mt. Laundry. She reported witnessing a real live hobo spider by the washing machine in my basement, big enough to carry one of my offspring from the house.

So betwixt more Googling and an informative conversation with two young moms at the park, we decided that rather than purchase the hobo-specific, pheromone-laded sticky trap I had read about online (because, apparently, that’s inviting all the hobos in the wild to come live with you), I would buy some good old fashioned bug spray at Walmart and exterminate my basement.

That’s why, two hours later, you would find me in my basement, wearing a nuisance mask, a long-sleeved shirt, gloves and some tennis shoes, picking through piles of laundry and spraying pesticide like it was air freshener, trying to unearth the hobo.

What did I discover? Three suspiciously hobo-esque spiders and a lot of unmatched socks. Which begs the question, which problem is really worse at my house? The infestation of venomous spiders or all my loads of unfinished laundry?

I’d like to say that for once, it’s not the laundry, thank you very much.

(And you're welcome. Because I was only thinking of your well-being when I decided NOT to include a picture with this post...)

20 comments:

Becky said...

OH MY GOODNESS!!! I was TOTALLY expecting a picture and I am glad you chose to omit that...because I am already freaked out and scared to put my feet down in front of my computer desk now.

We have big-scarry-long-legged-fast moving-freak-you-out spiders here too. Not sure if they are Hobo's...and quite frankly I don't care what they are called...I HATE THEM!

Now, I am officailly on spider patrol! Thanks for the warning Shauna :)

slackermommy said...

Ewww! Spiders freak me out!

shauna said...

You'd recognize Hobos because they're aggressive. Instead of running away from the big, ugly humans they run at you. Ick, ick, ick. It creeps me out just thinking about them...

Erin said...

Shauna,

I did a search for Hobos because there was one we saw today. BUt guess what? The googly eyes-not eyes. They are the males...ummm..happy parts. I thought it was funny. I sooooooo HATE spiders. I try and make a deal with them every year--"you can live outside and eat all the bugs you want," I tell them, "but if you come in my house--I'll kill you!"

myminivanisfasterthanyours said...

We have scorpions here. EWWW!!! Not only are they nasty old looking spiders, they are so scary looking! They're fast and if you swat at one and think you killed it...you probably didn't. They play dead. Play dead? This isn't a game! This is DISGUSTING!!

Gustogirl said...

I can so relate to the piles of laundry! Spiders can be scary. My brother and I were staying at my sister's house just a couple of months ago and we were trying to stay up late because another sister was coming in on a really late(early 2am) flight. The room was dark, except for the dull light from the tv. My sister, who was hosting us all, had just set up an air matress and was laying on it half asleep. Out of nowhere a spider literally jumped out from under the mattress and was darting across it straight for her leg. My brother and I screamed, "Rachel, Rachel", but she was too slow, so my brother grabbed her leg and pratically threw her across the room. My heart was going a million miles a minute and we ran and turned on the light. We searched high and low until we found it and squished it! I have never been that afraid of a spider in my life.

Gustogirl said...

So freaky! I just google hobo spider and I swear this one I was talking about was one!!

Mrs. Smith said...

I have never been so glad to be living in India! Idaho has just made my "Never Gonna Live There" list.

Pinks & Blues Girls said...

Three thoughts:

1) EWWWWWW!!!

2) I am now going to HAVE to Google it.

3) Have I told you before what a fantastic writer you are!?

Jane, Pinks & Blues Girls

Becky said...

Well, I couldn't resist...I GOOGLED it too and yep, .......they are HOBO's that I am seeing. And, the fall is mating season....lovely....thank God we have exterminators in the family....I am calling now for a bug spray!!

LikeAstaR said...

OOO.. I am crawly all over now.. And being the ever-curious one, I had to google it too. Yuck!! I can't stand their ugly little selves. Along with the pics, I got a few nice shots of infected legs and arms. Gotta love GOOGLE.

LikeAstaR said...

I was the subject of Gustogirl's freakout and let me just say that I have thought about that freaky spider more than once. I am even more scared now that she admits that it looked like a HOBO!!!! It was sweet how they both jumped to my rescue though... You would have thought Freddy Kruger just walked through the door. It better beware if I see something like that coming towards my baby!

shauna said...

Okay, everyone. I apologize. It sounds like I really freaked everyone out. Hobo spiders are aggressive though--it sounds like that's what came at Likeastar. They're so icky!

Mymini, okay you win. Scorpions are definitely worse than hobo spiders.

Erin, See, I knew they were ballsy for a reason. Both literally and figuratively. haha.

Jane, You're too kind! Thanks for number 3 (and I hope the google search didn't creep you out too...)

Becky said...

ok Shauna....you jinxed me. Go read my blog....one invaded my house this morning!! Eekkk!

suburbancorrespondent said...

Could this be the solution to the mystery of missing socks? Do the spiders take them.

And thank you for not sharing the picture.

Anonymous said...

OH my gosh, you make me laugh. Mt. Laundry. You just added another phrase to our household vocabulary. We already use "hoochie-wear" and "destructo-girl" (a variation but still inspired by you) regularly.

Mary

Midwest Mommy said...

Oh my goodness! I made the mistake of googling it! Gross!

Eileen said...

Thank you for not leaving a picture, but now I will be curious and google it, I just know it. I don't know what I hate more spiders or the never ending piles of laundry that sit on my laundry room floor. Ummm, I guess the spiders win. I feel for you, those Hobos sound really mean. Hope your try at self extermination did the trick!

Torrie Nicholas said...

Ok, so if anyone didn't know this already, Hobo's have migrated to Bakersfield, CA. I have seen 2 in my house in the last week. One in the tub, I tried washing it down the drain and it crawled back up a minute later so I caught it in a jar to make sure it was what I thought it was and sure enough. And the second one, just this morning at the entrance to my front door as I was sweeping. EEEEKKKKK. I hate them so bad.......We used to live in Utah and we had them awful in our home there. I didn't think they were down here in Bakersfield. Well I was wrong. ICKY!!!! They literally make the hair on my neck stand up, give me chills and goose bumps and make me sick to my stomach. Isn't it sad how something SO small can have that kind of effect on someone. YUCK!!!! If I see one more I am going to spray, I hate the sticky traps, especially with kids.

Jenean said...

My friend just said they have a nest of HOBO spiders in their basement! she is pregnant too! her husband has like ten bites on him and they think she has one too. Now the fun begins.. getting the nest out. We are in Spokane, Wa. these things are HORRIBLE!!!!!!!!!