I’m nearing the end of my kitchen/laundry room makeover project, with tiling the laundry room section the major hurdle remaining. Unfortunately, I ran into a bit of a snag when I pulled the cabinets out to prep the floor … there was a good bit of wood rot in the back corner near the washing machine. I found myself gazing into a dark abyss and shuddering at what horrors lay below in the frightening netherworld of the crawlspace.
I’m not 100% sure that the problem was caused by water damage, but it was right next to the washing machine, and rather than have someone come inspect for termites, I decided to just convince myself that there isn’t an ongoing issue, and to just shore up the framing in that area and build a slightly raised shelf area above it that the washer/dryer could rest upon, because I’ve learned so many times in life that the best way to address issues is to ignore them, and the best way to ignore them is to cover them up and pretend they don’t exist, and all will be okely-dokely in the end. This approach never ever fails, whether it be in the arena of home repairs, finance, health, or personal relationships.
Luckily, there was access to the foundation, and I figured that all I had to do was build up a little section of framing and secure it to the joist, and I’d have a rock solid base for my little platform thingy. On the other hand, I’m fully aware that the crawlspace is the Realm Of The Spider, and have had a long standing agreement with them that if they don’t come upstairs, I won’t set off a spider bomb down there. Now, though, it was as if there was a gaping tear in between parallel universes, and, by god, worlds were about to collide.
Sure enough, after gearing up in my insectafari suit for my excursion into the forsaken border region separating our heretofore exclusionary existences, my fears were soon realized. I was reaching down to get some debris off of the foundation, and faster’n I can get slapped downtown on a Friday night, a huge-ass hairy spider leg shot up and wrapped itself around my wrist. It must have been three feet long, and I swear I could see the beast’s hideous eyes glowing red in the depths. I struggled to get a hold of the Skil-saw, and after what seemed like an eternity, was able to drag it over by the extension cord, and I prepared to literally disarm my foe. “I hope seven is your lucky number, punk, because that’s all the legs you’re gonna have!” I mumbled, wishing, as I often do in such situations, that I was more adept at extemporaneous witty utterances. James Bond I’m not.
I’m not sure what happened next, or why, but for whatever reason, I stopped. Maybe I sensed that the spider was acting not out of aggression, but fear and confusion. I certainly was, after all. He didn’t seem to be trying to pull me down into his lair; rather, it seemed his grip had actually loosened by just the slightest amount. Was this an overture toward a peaceful resolution?
I set the saw down, and slowly reached into the box of frosty adult beverages that I keep near during such projects. I didn’t want to just throw one into the hole, as he might take that the wrong way, but instead held it against his leg, so that he could feel the cold damp can and perhaps understand that I was responding to his offer of de-escalation. After a few tense seconds, he released my wrist, slowly took the can from my hand, and retreated into the darkness. I cautiously began to work again on my framing job, and to my amazement, was actually provided some much needed assistance in holding the support as I pounded the nails.
We shared a few more cold ones, and with a final nod, I began to assemble the platform, knowing that once again, our worlds would be distinct. “Au revoir, my new arachnoid friend …” I spoke softly. “Au revoir.” I don't think he spoke French, because I swear I heard something that sounded like "Jesus, you drama queen, it's just a couple of beers. Douchebag."
6 days ago