A Tangled Web


It’s time for a moral conundrum! As if we need any more of them in our lives. But here we go.

The first summer after we moved in, we noticed these huge crazy orb weaver spiders that loved to build webs on and around our house. I found it quite charming and did what I could to avoid disturbing them. We were unable to use the back door for a month, unless we ducked under a spider web with a behemoth the size of Shelob sitting in the middle of it. I don’t have any particular fear of spiders, but crouching underneath one that could arbitrarily decide to jump onto the back of my neck can still be a little unnerving.

The next year they were not only building on and around the back door, but on the side of the house around the air conditioner. I’m fairly certain they didn’t actually rupture the copper tubing that was the cause of the Hot Mess that last summer became, but who knows. I decided to clear away the webs in the doorway, hoping they would get the hint and stop building there.

And that brings us to this year. Having taken over the back and side of our house, the spiders also began building on and around our front porch. Every surface became covered with webbing and tens of thousands of tiny corpses—the insects attracted by the porch lights. It was starting to look like the Addams Family lived in our house. And while I love them, I can’t rock a mustache like John Astin, so I finally decided it’s time to stop letting the spiders control my life.

Sam and I began clearing the webs off the house, and I used a large stick to transport spiders through the backyard and onto the other side of the parkway trail, where I hoped they would find someplace else to hang out. But there were SO MANY, I realized it would take hours. And the population would probably continue to grow every year. So here’s where the moral dilemma kicks in.

I’ve tried hard to help Sam develop a reverence for life. We try not to kill things, even when they annoy us (an important lesson for anyone with siblings). But I decided that I had to kill at least some of these spiders, or someday archaeologists would use lasers to cut through the massive petrified web surrounding the house, uncover our desiccated corpses, and try to reconstruct our lives. Seriously, one night we were out at 10:30 trying to gently clear away spiders from the garbage can to take it to the street.

So… last night while Sam was otherwise occupied, I cleaned all the webs off the house and killed the spiders I could. The house looks much better, and I slept just fine. I’ll just hope he doesn’t ask me where they all went.


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