Remember when I was fantasizing about spending the night with Bill Murray? I was in the trenches about to begin a battle with moles. Well, I must say, I think I won.
My front yard is looking good and, thanks to some foul-smelling garlic and other oils, I did it humanely. Not a head was whacked.
However, it seems I built up something of a karmic debt because I’m finding myself at war once again. Only this time it’s on my patio.
Weather permitting, I have almost zen-like moments in the mornings. I sit on a chair with a cushion so bright yellow the folks at Crayola would call it “Happy Yellow.” I drink my coffee and listen to the birds. It’s so peaceful and quiet.
It’s mornings like that when I get to pretend all is right in the world, that there is this peaceful co-existence among all beings everywhere, because it seems like the only beings anywhere are just me and the birds and we get along just fine.
I was there in one of those perfect mornings today. My coffee was just the right temp. I had a notebook on my lap. I could tell the stirrings of inspiration were about to start in my fuzzy-little mind. I looked up and realized the moon was smiling at me — at first I thought I was an upside-down smile, but after I rotated my chair, all was perfect.
And then I felt the eyes on me.
I looked to my left, and perched on the Happy Yellow chair beside me was a spider, at eye level. I’m sure it was taunting me. I almost cried. It was such hard work to be able to sit out there this morning. It was quite the battle. At one point I almost gave up. But I didn’t and I won. I really thought I won anyway.
But there was that spider suggesting otherwise.
It’s not that I’m afraid of spiders. I once did live in mortal fear of them. I always kept a can of Raid nearby and when I’d spot one who had the audacity to invade my home, I’d stand as far away as possible, hold my breath and spray for as long as I could stand on my tip toes. I’ve no idea why I was unable to do it flat-footed. Anyway, once convinced it was dead, I’d connect all the extensions to the vacuum cleaner so that I could suck it up while remaining out of reach. I’d set the vacuum outside until either my boyfriend or my very understanding neighbor could empty it for me — just in case I caught a Spider Messiah who had since resurrected himself.
I don’t know if it’s age or wisdom or if it’s because I just got tired of being afraid, but the little guys don’t scare me anymore. I don’t like them inside my house, but 20 Mule Teem Borax keeps them off my turf (though a couple times a year, after I’ve “dusted” the inside perimeter of my home with it, I’m always afraid of being suspected as a sloppy cocaine addict). So they must stay outside and I really thought they were in peaceful agreement with me.
But, I guess peace just wasn’t good enough for them. They decided to make my patio their territory. Keep in mind, it’s a small space: 8 ft. x 8 ft. On that tiny plot of land, I’ve a pot of petunias, a bunch of bromeliads and a lime tree that I keep indoors in the winter, two chairs with Happy Yellow cushions and matching ottomans, a tiny table between them and the bar-be-que grill. Once I rest my bulk in a chair and put my coffee cup on the table, there really isn’t any room for much else, not even a spider or two (hundred).
I opened the door today and wiped a daddy long-legs off the door jamb. Then I had to swish several off the cover of my favorite chair. I pulled the cover back and looked around for Alfred Hitchcock and a camera crew. It was like a horror movie. My skin is still crawling from thinking about it.
Spiders were everywhere inside the cover and all over my chair. It was an arachnid convention, extended family reunion, and Live Aid concert all wrapped up in one.
I gave up on Raid a long time ago as I decided the world was toxic enough and no longer needed me to abet its destruction. So I was left with nothing but a broom and my willful determination to sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee with the birds, damn it!
It took time. It took energy (both of which seem in short supply these days). It took a certain amount of guts, too (though my muffin top suggests I have plenty of that). And I did it. I cleared them all from my tiny piece of cement.
But apparently they’re about as tenacious as I am and they weren’t willing to let me set up camp long enough for a cup of coffee. I’m wondering if the same garlic mixture will do the job. Maybe I just need to hang cloves around my neck.