For whatever reason, I’ve always been terrified of spiders. There are exceptions, (I’ll let a tarantula crawl all over my arm,) but for the most part, I avoid them like the plague.

I recently drove my mom and I to a little mini family reunion, and was reminded of the fact that when I was in college and living at home, she would have to remove the occasional arachnid from the shower before I would even set foot in the bathroom. I’m not proud. But the bathtub spiders were HUGE.

When I lived in Portland, I was constantly dodging giant house spiders. Seriously, they were everywhere. I even found a particularly giant one on my bed one afternoon. Almost had to burn the entire house down. So I had a dilemma: to kill or not to kill. I love animals, so I generally won’t kill them without a good reason (like they’re a tasty animal and I plan on eating them.) I came up with a rule for spiders. If they were either outside, or in a generally unused part of the house, I’d let them be. But if they were in my bed, or in my kitchen, or any other inside area I frequented, they had to die.

A couple of weeks ago I was working in the garage and noticed a creepy looking critter trying to hang out just inside. I recognized it from the old fake images from Iraq I saw years ago. It was a relatively small camel spider, which isn’t even a spider. They aren’t venomous, but they have crab-claw-looking pincers on their faces. It was even kind of cute in a nightmare-inducing kind of way. Apparently they like the shade, and this one was hanging out just inside the shade line in the garage. It wasn’t bothering anybody, so I let it be.

Now that I think about it, I don’t think I’ve seen a single spider in the house since I moved back to Montana. Actually, I had more wildlife in and around my house in Portland than I have here. It’s odd. At any rate, I’m getting used to seeing spiders in the garage.

At the end of last summer, when I brought the boat in for the winter, I inadvertently brought a hornet’s nest in with it. There was a large crab spider type thing in the garage window then, and it massacred every hornet that headed for the window in an attempt to escape the garage. I liked that spider.

This summer, there’s a new resident in the garage window. I glanced over at the window last week and saw her, just hanging out. I thought she looked familiar, so I got closer. Sure enough, there was a red hourglass on the underside of her belly. I’d seen a black widow a decade or two before, but this is the first one that didn’t run and hide immediately.

Since the first sighting, I’ve been keeping an eye on her. She’s a busy girl. She murders every single bug that gets caught up in her web. There are no hornets left in the garage, but plenty of other pesky things, so I like her too.

I’m really just hoping she doesn’t have babies in the window. How do you ask a black widow to go outside to procreate?

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