As a husband, it is my responsibility and duty to protect my wife, especially when she is pregnant. Unfortunately, there was a time when I failed in my duties and it’s an incident that still lives on in infamy in our household. I try to not ever mention it, but it looms over our relationship and the details seem to resurface every few months as my wife reclaims her fitful rage from this dark day. All I can do, and all I have done, is kneel at her bedside and continually beg for forgiveness, even though it’s been years since the invasion.
When we moved into our house, there was a small bedroom on the main floor that I claimed for my office. My office needed a desk, and my first inclination as a cheapskate was to find something used and preferably free. I called my dad and he quickly volunteered his old roll-top desk on the condition that I am the one who moves it. Fair enough. The desk was located out on my father’s farm and was being stored in one of the sheds out there, doing nothing but accumulating dust over the last few years. I was alone when I drove the 150 miles out to the farm for this heavy and bulky antique. It was the last week of December and the temperature was below freezing; this is important information, as you will soon discover.
I wiped off the desk as much as I could and somehow maneuvered it into the back of my old truck. It survived the long drive home and I managed to drag it into the office inches at a time so I could surprise my wife with our new addition. I was feeling fairly proud of myself for managing this without any assistance and I knew my wife would love the desk and appreciate all my hard work when she got home from work. She ended up working late and, when arriving home, said “That looks nice” and quickly went to feed before we went to bed. GEE THANKS WIFE, GLAD TO BE OF SERVICE. Perhaps what followed was just karma, right? Unless my wife is reading this, in which case it is all my fault.
I woke up and was off to work while my wife had the day off. I was away from my phone for most of the day and when I checked it, there were 19 missed calls and several ALL CAPS AND NOT SO NICELY WORDED TEXTS. Uh-oh. So here is what happened: my wife had woke up and gone through her morning routine. After breakfast, she decided to start tidying the office and start arranging things in our new desk. When walking into the office, she quickly spotted a Brown Recluse spider scurrying across the floor. For those unfamiliar, Brown Recluses are the most dangerous spider we have locally, and bites from them can get real nasty in a hurry. My wife grew up in the country and had had some run-ins with these little beasts, including a few bites to family members that required multiple hospital visits. These things are not anything to mess around with, but, like most things in nature, leave them alone and they won’t do you any harm.
So my wife, with an ingrained fear of these spiders, can’t catch this runner in time for a sudden smash. She leaves the office and grabs the bug spray out of the kitchen; when she returns: anarchy. She opens the door, flips the light, and sees DOZENS AND DOZENS of brown recluses crawling everywhere. They are pouring out of the old desk and apparently settling in quite nicely in their new home. My wife, tears and hate burning in her eyes, quickly starts gassing all the runaways. She empties the bottle on the first invasion volley from the spiders, but has to reach for the Windex for the next wave of arachnid troops. She’s spraying and stomping and crying and cursing me all at once. She manages to get a few phone calls out and my grandmother volunteers to help and stops by in just a few minutes. She brings more bug spray and the carnage continues. I wish I could say that this portion of the story is exaggerated (since my wife tends to dramatize about any story she tells) but my grandmother verified it and I myself saw all of these little corpses piled into a mason jar. There were no less than 50 dead brown recluses. When I finally checked my phone, I was sure one more body was going to be added to the kill count…mine.
Apparently what happened was that the desk was full of recluse nests and eggs and whatever. I picked up the desk in the dead of winter when it was below freezing; apparently the spiders were all tucked away nice and cozy when I brought it home. When they sat overnight in a heated home, well they must have thought Spring had arrived so they started piling out in droves. And now my wife, horrified and scarred forever, holds this story over my head like a guillotine any time I get fussy about something else. The office smelled of toxic bug spray for abooooouuuutttt 18 months but eventually went away.
I was supposed to protect my pregnant wife, but instead I left her in a house of horrors with her childhood nightmare coming at her from every angle. Nobody’s perfect, right?