‘Biffy’, spider share spotlight

Never in a million years did I think I would call an outhouse with a roof and walls “deluxe.”
But having sat on a makeshift “box” out in the open in the middle of the bush on a very cold fall day, where anything with eyes can see me “do my do’s,” gives me licence to tout luxury in the upgrade taking shape in the wilderness camp where I spend some of my time.
Some would say I need to get out more but I can hardly wait to have to use the “loo”—and be able to go in and shut the door and latch it. It will be akin to a “Calgon take me away” moment.
The next “middle of nowhere” triumph for “Little Miss Pioneer” will be getting from the wall tent to the deluxe relief station at night without summoning all the carnivorous night creatures merely by my sheer fright of the “black as the inside of a cow” darkness of the forest.
To paraphrase a saying I read once: “I may not be a great warrior but I still need courage. Sometimes it takes more courage to do the ordinary things in life [like getting to the outhouse in the dark] than it does to walk to the door of the airplane and jump.”
A close second to the courage it takes for my dark walk would be looking in my washing machine and finding a full-grown wolf spider inside and trying to figure out how to get it out.
I usually run my hand around the bottom of the agitator to check for bobby pins and other pencil-thin projectiles headed for collision with the gears in the washing machine motor before throwing my clothes in.
Thankfully, that day I didn’t stick my fingers down there and connect them with the fangs of that big spider.
I shut the lid, ran upstairs, and washed a sink of dishes while I pondered my next move.
Insecticide! A big grin reshaped my face. I grabbed the spray can and went back to the washing machine, lifted the lid, let it rip, dropped the lid, ran in a panic back up to the kitchen, and dried the dishes—pondering my next move.
Some 10-15 minutes passed and I was sure the tarantula’s cousin had succumbed to the near full can of chemical spray I had emptied like a pistol into the guts of the washing machine.
Wearing elbow-length rubber gloves and carrying a big stick, I gingerly opened the lid and nudged the hairy thing. It moved, I squealed, and ran back upstairs for a long pair of barbecue tongs.
With a pail of water at the ready, I summoned all my courage (and that of my ancestors) and picked out the wicked, wiggling creature, plopped it into the pail, and carried it outside.
That’s where I learned quickly, in the light of the sunshine, that I would rather walk to the outhouse 10 times in the dark without a head lamp than find one of those arachnids in my washing machine again.
Jumping out of an airplane? Piece of cake.