The William Morris Post: 2014 | I KILLED IT

A couple of weeks ago I noticed a pimple on Mikey’s left cheek. He’s nine, so I was a little surprised. Pimples in 7th and 8th or maybe 6th grade I expect. Not so much in 4th grade. I told him to wash his face. The next morning I looked at it again and wondered if it was really a pimple. By the end of the day, I decided it was a spider bite.

The next morning I an appointment with the doctor since it didn’t seem any better. I was talking about it to some other moms at school and pointed it out. They thought it looked more like a mosquito bite, and then Mikey turned his head and said, “Well, I got more last night.” His ear was blistered with bites. One was really and truly blistered over. I kept my poker mom face on the outside. On the inside I was already imagining dousing his bed in gasoline and lighting a match. The doctor confirmed my suspicions. Five spider bites. FIVE. I wasn’t surprised after I gave it some thought.

A week prior, as I was getting into bed, I pulled back the sheets and saw an enormous spider on the Mister’s pillow. I briefly considered pulling him out of the shower to handle the situation while I called a real estate agent. During my internal debate, I lost track of the spider. (!!) I did what anyone would do in my situation. I tore apart the bedroom and moved all the furniture until I found the spider and snuffed out its life like a 17th century candle. My apologies to vegan and animal activists.

Whole House

This, on top of the ants. The first thing I do in the morning is roll over and put on my glasses. There were days where I would put on my glasses and see ants crawl across the lenses. Ants and spiders in this area aren’t unusual, especially when it gets hot. But this, this is unheard of. We are teeming with ants and spiders and even one cockroach. One, but it was large enough for me to think I had Gregor Samsa in my family room. Also, there is never just one cockroach.

I am really weird about kitchen cleanliness. I don’t like food laying around, don’t leave stuff on the counter, and eat in the dining room or family room since we use our bedrooms only for sleep. The Mister is even more particular about crumbs and, for the most part, the boys are pretty neat when it comes to food because we live in ant country. They know better. If you grew up in this area, you don’t leave food on the counter or dishes out overnight. It’s just not done by humans age 7 and up.

I’m trying to explain that I have no idea why we are suddenly having this ant and spider problem. A friend on Facebook suggested that one of our neighbors must have recently bombed their house for pests. Well, that sucks for my other neighbors because we are bombing the hell out of this house on Monday. In 14 years of marriage, we have never had to bomb or spray or do any sort of pest control. There’s a first time for everything. They’re even testing for bed bugs–OMG PLEASE NO. GROSS.

Small Pet Storage

Whole House, 5

Whole House, 6

Whole House, 7

We were told to remove all items like food and kitchen equipment stored waist high or lower and put it under a tarp on the dining room table. Pull all furniture away from the walls and make sure there is access to baseboards and corners. What a task! And on a Sunday! I freaked out about it from Friday on because, really? Who wants to do all that on the weekend. It’s like moving.

Well, we did it as a family and as much as it sucked, I knocked out so many projects. Gone are the little piles. The Mister got rid of two large trash bags of clothes. The boys finally cleaned out and organized their closet and toy cabinet. I purged the kitchen again, though there wasn’t much I got rid of. I bought two precision screwdrivers for my battery box and cleaned out all our goldfish supplies and replaced it with our hermit crab supplies. The counter tops are clear of paperwork and clutter. I created a donation pile. I feel really, really good.

Thanks, ants and spiders.

Jules Kendall writes about books, family, and easygoing simplicity.


  1. Lan says

    I hear ya about ants and cockroaches. My husband thinks I get too paranoid about them. But I always remind him that they never travel alone! ; ) And as for spiders … once I was bitten by something (not sure, but I think it was a spider because of the two-hole bite mark), the area got severely infected and I actually had to have surgery. So, I completely understand where you are coming from. I especially had to laugh about the calling a real estate agent comment. All the resulting decluttering – a pretty good silver lining. : )

  2. says

    Had a similar experience (and result) last spring, which is when we get ants. Hope all goes well today. Have been seeing the spider meme all over the internets lately (, and I get it (I really do, and I am a huge Charlotte’s Web fan), but I still get rid of them when I see them in the house. I saw one target one of my babies once–that sucker moved FAST–and I know that for some of them, we are just very large insects. If I see them out and about the house, I figure they’re just a little too ballsy to live in it.

  3. Fairfax Avenue says

    “There’s no great loss without some small gain.” Why do I remember that from one of the Laura Ingalls Wilder books? I don’t know, but I say it frequently enough!

    Over a dozen years ago we had to do this at our house; unloading everything onto the dining room table caused it to collapse. Which is something I do not bless you with! And I won’t mention that my daughter found a Black Widow spider wandering around my kitchen counter just two years ago…

  4. says

    There is nothing quite like bugs to motivate you to simplify things!

    Last summer, we almost (the almost is the most important part) moved into an apartment with bedbugs. The only things I had moved in were my clothes – yep, pretty much all of them. Luckily, I found the bedbugs before moving in anything else…but it did force me to cut down my wardrobe quite a bit because I had to wash everything in hot water, and dry it in hot water. Anything I knew wouldn’t survive that had to be thrown out…so it forced me to get rid of so many things I had been holding onto.

    Glad to hear you’re getting it taken care of – especially those spiders…they’re brutal!

  5. Susan says

    I have the exterminators coming out for the 2nd time in 2 weeks today. I am in the Chicagoland area, and the ants are horrible this year. Even after they sprayed once, I still have 3 different varieties turning up. I hope you and I both get rid of them for good today!

  6. JennC says

    Gah. We just moved to Orange in February and have already had two cockroaches (that I had to deal with because my husband was out of town) and a spider bite on the baby along with all the crickets, ants and spiders just hanging out. I kind of don’t want to spray because of the chemicals, but I think all the neighbors do so that makes us the creepy crawly safe house right?

    Glad you got some motivation for a quick declutter out of it.

  7. J.Lee says

    Our last home was a mid-century split- really loved it, adorable and fun house. But it was built over an apple orchard which rotted beneath and fed tons of tiny, little sugar ants. Everyone had them at some time or another. I was an absolute neat freak and had nightmares about them. So we eventually move and I think our problems are over- until I see a single one in our new house and I have literally every possible cleaning item out. Poor little thing did not expect that but I hope his friends were watching.

    Well done on all of your projects. Here’s to hoping your “friends” have found a new place to crash.

  8. says

    In January we had our house tented for termites (gah) and you would think that would solve all our problems, but no, we have giant spiders (far too large for comfort, found one inside the washing machine yesterday) and now some weird ass long bug with pointed horns on its tail and I am totally freaked out by ALL THE BUGS. I totally understand calling a real estate agent.

  9. says

    First…the title. You DID completely kill it.

    Second…cockroaches? I’ll take winter until May and -30 degree temperatures. Bugs give me the heebie-jeebies.

    • says

      With the warm, dry heat comes spiders, ants, and other bugs. The cockroach (just one that I found) is new. I’ll be happy to never have that happen again.

  10. Beverly says

    I second Katie! We were still getting frost overnight last week. But I also have never seen a cockroach in my life! This entire post gives me the heebies. I’m so sorry you’re going through all of this!

    • says

      I’ve only seen a few, but I’m obsessively clean when it comes to the kitchen. They’re very common, especially in garages.

  11. says

    Oy. I was bitten by a brown recluse spider in February of 2012, and we bombed the daylights out of our home, too. I still see the occasional dead spider in the basement, but things have been better. Also, massive decluttering ensued, and it’s a big part of what keeps me motivated to keep cleaning to this day. Because NOPE. Don’t want to experience that again. Ever.

  12. says

    I’m from Texas…and live in Ft. Hood, which is a fairly transient community. Unfortunately, Texas + transient = cockroaches. Terminix has solved that for us, but OMG gross. I’m borderline obsessive compulsive (no really, but behavioral modification therapy helps), so the feeling that my home isn’t clean makes me twitch.

  13. Anna says

    We use something called Ortho Home Defense MAX. You spray it around the house/room perimeter, inside or out, then let it dry. It kills bugs and spiders that cross it and repels anything coming in from outside. We try to spray it around our basement each spring, and also on the door thresholds to keep the creepy crawlies out. Free-range chickens are a good option for folks than can and want to have them. Thanks to our hens, our outdoor bug populations are significantly less than they were when we moved into this house a year ago.

  14. Karen says

    You had me laughing out loud twice (call a real estate agent! Gregor Samsa!!) – pretty impressive for a post about bug infestations. :-) We have seasonable bug problems (ants when it gets cold and wet, usually just in time for Christmas), so you have my sympathies. Nice silver lining with everything lovely and tidy!

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