How I spent vacation saving but also drowning (more) spiders

Welcome to anyone reading after a post I wrote about accidentally drowning a spider got picked for Wordpress Discover. What a surprise that was, but no more surprising than when I accidentally on purpose drowned another spider this week though saved another just minutes before and am now wondering if it was somehow the same spider. There was also that spider I saved in the shower last week, but he was paler and clearly not related. I should probably craft a tiny life preserver with eight arm holes and keep it on me at all times, even in the shower.

The latest spider rescue and subsequent drowning started 12 years ago at a small inn in the Adirondacks which alluded to a view of the lake in its name though you had to crane your neck just so to imagine it. Cars rumbled by on a busy road separating the cottage from the lake and on the interstate just behind a thin layer of woods. It was not as peaceful as we’d imagined but the charming couple that had only recently bought and fixed up the place left baked goods in the room and lured us out each night with a campfire and s’mores. It was just me and my husband and our one daughter then. I took this picture of them at the far away lake.


This year we went back and the first thing we noticed was the For Sale sign out front. A different woman checked us into the same cottage, which felt smaller than we’d remembered and the bathroom smelled like body odor or ass depending on which one of us you asked, so we just kept the door closed. After settling in and wondering why the hell we’d come back, we headed down to the lake and attempted to recreate the beloved photo.



We can’t help it that the pier and ‘no trespassing’ sign were long gone. My husband could have stooped down but it would have seemed forced. We let our other kid stand in and no one is in a diaper or cowboy hat because we suck at re-creating old photographs from memory.

The spiders, though, well I’m getting to that. The cottage stay came with unlimited use of a kayak and canoe, which by the looks of both hadn’t been used in some time. We did our best to clean them both out of wolf spiders, but we missed one. I think it hid behind my youngest daughter’s seat cushion because I first noticed it climbing up the back of her rain jacket. It paused a bit on the top of her head like one would on the top of a mountain to take in the view and then kept going until it disappeared from view and onto what I assumed was her face.

You can’t just stand up in a tandem kayak. You can, as calmly as possible, urge your daughter, who is sometimes afraid of gnats, to “just bat it off with your hand”. You will still only be able to see the back of her head, which is further obscured by a hood, so you may feel like you’re instructing someone you can’t see where to wipe away a pesky glob of ketchup if ketchup were hairy and horrifying. You will be able to see that her hands are maddeningly still by her side and you will hear her terrified whimpers, so naturally you will shout the same instructions only louder. JUST BAT IT OFF. YOU HAVE TO BAT IT OFF.

The good news is this spider came round to her shoulder to see what all the yelling was about and I used the paddle to fling him into the water. I didn’t feel great about it, but I had no choice. The kayak mood was killed after that. We paddled back to shore and my older daughter said she noticed right away that something was wrong by her sister’s posture and face and how her hair covered her face. She hadn’t heard the yelling, oddly. After I explained about the spider, my younger daughter asked “There was a spider on me?” She had no idea what I was freaking out about, though assumed a bug or horrible monster.Those were her words, by the way. Freaking out. I need to work on my calm voice.

Can wolf spiders swim? I think they might be able to because I rescued one with the same paddle moments before we launched the kayak and it kind of seemed like it was already heading to shore. My husband claims he accidentally flung that one into the lake and I got pissy with him, though now wonder if I didn’t somehow rescue it right back into the kayak. Anyway, I drowned the other (or possibly same) spider. Nature can be surprisingly quick with the whole balance thing.

We stayed a few nights at the cottage and settled into the sound of trucks rumbling by and even the body odor/ass smell in the bathroom. No one coaxed us out for campfires and s’mores so my husband built a roaring one and we bought supplies at a store down the road. We only ever saw one of the owners. The other, it seemed, was no longer in the picture. I thought for longer than seemed sane about buying the inn and running it ourselves, but those days of infinite possibility and hope are over. I’m fine watching Fawlty Towers once a year (usually around Thanksgiving) and being reminded why running an inn is a terrible idea.

You can’t always go back. You can’t save a spider without drowning another one. You can’t fix things that are broken because sometimes they’re meant to be that way. It’s sad if you look at something broken in the usual way, but over time the picture might change into something different, surprising even.



17 thoughts on “How I spent vacation saving but also drowning (more) spiders

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  1. Ironically I saw two spiders yesterday. I killed the first one quickly and then regretted it. I was worried it was going to bite me but that was silly. I should have tried to get it outside. The other one is in my mailbox (we live in a rural area). I grabbed my mail and then shut the box, leaving the spider behind. Both of these occurred within ten minutes or so.
    I don’t like killing anything these days (even bugs) so I’m hoping I don’t see anymore spiders today.
    Maybe next time you rent a cabin take some Febreeze spray with you ;).
    Congratulations on being featured by WordPress! Awesome!
    xo Joanne

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Another winner. However, I used to work with a dermatologist that would treat spider bites. They can do some awful damage and I’ve been told they all bite so I have no qualms about squishing them. Sorry, but not really.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a brilliant narrative you have here. The way you weave the spider recurrence (congrats by the way on whatever Discover picking you up means! I’m not surprised at all) with the the way we can never be quite sure if the things we once knew are still there. Those ‘pictures’ keep changing me for me. Lately, changing so fast I can’t seem to keep up. And part of me says ‘why bother’ just keep moving forward and whatever stays, is meant to stay. This was a particularily excquisite post of yours I think. Thank you for sharing it.


    1. Discover replaced Freshly Pressed, which I only recently learned. I get what you mean about trying to keep up with change and focusing on accepting what stays…I like that.


  4. Hey Kristen! Love the new photo of your family, thanks for sharing. And wow, that must feel good to have been recognized by WP, congrats! That’s a long time coming, really nice. Enjoy it —
    I know the wolf spider too. I blogged about one when I started this in 2009 I think. They are tough SOB’s. Scared the living hell out of me. I discovered one in the cab of my pick-up truck I was driving on the interstate and I tell you I made some sounds and movements I’m not proud of. They are the Harley Davidsons of spiders. Hope you’re well and enjoying the last of summer. Where was the cottage you rented?


    1. Thanks Bill! It was in Schroon Lake, NY. I’ll be searching up that spider post of yours. My husband just sent a video of a wolf spider walking across water so that’s plenty of spider for today.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Cool, yeah that post of mine probably not looking for but thanks. Child’s scrawls you know, “still shitting yellow” as a guy said to me once when I was waiting tables, in reference to my age and inexperience. Time to get my grill going, it’s getting late even here.


  5. I love the photo of your family too!
    When I see a spider in my house I say, “I will go away, and if your gone when I come back, I won’t kill you.”
    Most of the time, they high tail it out of there!
    If it’s really big, I can’t kill it! Too scary!


  6. Dear Kristen,
    First: Congrats on “being discovered!” Christy sent me a tweet proclaiming it on the day that it happened. No surprise. I LOVED that spider story – I love all of your stories.

    And now this one. We truly are kindred sisters – I’ve even learn to adore the face-covering wolf spiders and share your lamentation over losing one. My husband (and son) and I have had more than one or two “pissy” exchanges over a too-quick decision to squash rather than save.

    And then your bigger story. The memories of the cabin and the owners and even staying too long on the notion of buying the place. You have such a soothing way to share memories and events. I could read your passages all day.
    Thanks for sharing…I’m going to carry this new calm with me all day. xo

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Entertaining and witty! Liked it. When my wife and I were living in the Philippines some years back, a large spider set up residence in our lounge/dining room. He used to come over on the wall near the dining table and watch us. I liked him. I used some fly spray to kill off the mosquitoes, but unfortunately killed the spider in the process (I found him in the contracted death position the next morning). It made me very sad.

    Liked by 1 person

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