How to Kill a Spider like a Mom with Mad Skills

How I became a hero to my arachnophobic children

© Can Stock Photo Inc. / lineartestpilot
© Can Stock Photo Inc. / lineartestpilot

My sons are constantly after me to remove spiders from their room. My preferred method is to use a glass to scoop the spider up and release him back into the cruel outdoor world of “kill or be killed”. However, until recently, I have not had an effective way to get spiders off of the ceiling. It is just too far out of reach. So, unless my husband is home, vicious spiders have the upper hand (legs?).

I can usually talk the kids into letting a daddy longlegs reside in their rooms, but I have no pull whatsoever when it comes to anything that “might” be a black widow. Actually, even though I have sought out websites to show my two boys that black widows have a particular form and function and to my knowledge have never lived in our house, the kids still suspect any spider. My younger son, fueled by Star Trek, suggested spiders might employ a cloaking device. “They might all be poisonous, and we would never know until it is too late,” he’s told me in a worried tone. I’ve tried to reason him out of this particular stance, suggesting that there is little scientific evidence that spiders have evolved this type of technology. He will nod his head through a “little chat” like this, and then say, “Yeah, but we’ll never really know!”

Many would suggest I simply use a broom to rid myself of the creepy crawlies that haunt my children’s rooms. But a broom is too risky. I live in dread of the spider falling right on my head, or disappearing into the broom to return later. And my sons and I agree on one point: “Don’t make a spider mad if you can help it!” But recently, I was again faced with a dreaded spider on the ceiling, which may or may not have been employing a cloaking device. I could have climbed on a chair, but that involves a perilous disregard for my own existence. The boys have spent so much time leaning back on the chairs that they are now very rickety. The last thing I wanted was to step up on a chair, grab the spider and come crashing to the floor. Not only would I be risking possible broken bones, but an angry loose spider as well.

I grabbed my broom, but here, a stroke of genius hit me. A reverie fell over me as I achieved the Gestalt, or “Aha” moment. I didn’t have to use the sweeping end of the broom. I could simply use the top of the broom, aim accurately, and squish the spider. My aim would have to be precise. The top of the handle of my broom is not a generous space. I concentrated, visualized my goal of perfect squishing, and “Whack!” Dead spider. My children were impressed for a moment, a very brief moment. I was their champion, and then: “That is so gross!” my older son screamed. “You left dead spider all over my ceiling!”

A new challenge had been issued. How was I going to get the remains of the bug off the ceiling? Inspiration struck again as I looked at the end of my broom. The handle is plastic and has a hole through it, right before the top. I could feed something through the hole, wrap it around the top, and thus remove squished arachnid. Toilet paper suggested itself. Using a few damp sheets, I threaded them through the hole of the broom, lifted it up to the flattened bug, and wiped that darn thing off. “Ew,” said my kids. Later, I peeked in on my children sleeping peacefully, all trace of care gone from their faces, all spider worries spent. The broom was in the corner, not just a sweeping device anymore, but also my new genuine spider killer.