Thursday, October 13, 2005

My Plan for a Better Florida

So we recently moved to Florida from Korea, due to my husband's being an officer in the Navy, which likes to ping-pong us around the globe (never-mind-the-global-warming-emissions-caused-by-transporting-us-and-our-stuff-all-over-the-free-world) and I have to say, this place is not doing wonders for my deep, deep fear of spiders. I hate, hate, LOATHE spiders with the white-hot fiery passion of a thousand suns, and the mere sight of a daddy long-legs is enough to make my skin slough off and crawl into the next room. Florida, it seems is not only the place for those seeking tropical weather and year-round sunshine, but it must be Spider Valhalla as well. (ASIDE: Did you ever notice that just about everyone is deathly afraid of one of three things: spiders, snakes, or rats? I've always found that interesting.)

Our new house is built on a preserve lot with a patch of "woods" in the back, which, while lovely, must be somewhat akin to that patch of woods in the Harry Potter movies/books where the giant, people-eating, ten-eyed spider monsters live. Because I seem to have more than my share of bugs and arachnids, which those who've been here for awhile blame on the preserve lot we paid a premium price for. You'd think there'd be a disclosure law about that....

Anyway, concerned about just what kind of spider I most often spotted skittering around my house, I did a little research on the web and decided it was most likely a wolf spider. Hairy, six-eyed, and about the size of a fifty-cent piece. Wolf spiders, said my sources, are scary as all get out, but not poisonous. So. While I was still massively creeped out by the sight of one, I wasn't as worried as I'd have been had the nasty things been venomous.

Until yesterday, that is, when a woman on a writers' listserv I'm on mentions that she has hobo spiders in her house. Curious as to what exactly a hobo spider was, I looked it up ... and was horrified to discover that they bore an even greater resemblance to the creatures in my house than the photos I'd found of wolf spiders. In short, the scaryass but non-poisonous wolf spiders that have been lurking about are not, indeed, scaryass but non-poisonous wolf spiders, but scaryass AND poisonous hobo spiders. UGH!

Did you know that the bite of a hobo spider will necrotize like that of a brown recluse? And sometimes it takes 2-3 years for said bite to heal? And in some cases, said bite results in a systemic reaction that causes chronic headaches, nausea, lethargy, and even some kind of bone marrow issue that I can't completely remember due to the traumatic nature of this news that can lead to death?!?!?!

I'm currently dealing with this revelation the only way I know how -- I'm developing a plan to saw Florida off the continent and watch it float away. Who's with me?

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Tracy Montoya writes romantic suspense for Harlequin Intrigue.

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