This is Bob—or, more accurately, Bob the 8th Duke of the Window. I have dispatched the duke’s predecessors many times, and now, as always, an heir has shown up to claim the family estate. There is a small crack between the frame and the bottom of the window that is just big enough to let in small puffs of winter air and spiders. We had planned to have the window replaced, but in the last few months, thanks to the pandemic, contractors can turn away customers, and we were late to the pandemic remodeling craze. I have run off dukes one through seven, but this duchy is never without a duke for long.
To anyone suggesting insecticide—tried it. And to those who are interested, crushing and insecticide are equally effective—at best, both work for about five days before the next heir arrives. Occupancy occurs so quickly after an unfortunate demise that I am beginning to believe spiders have wills and estate transfers. These spiders are persistent in asserting their rights, so from time to time, exasperated I give up for a while. My compromise is that they may live and love until Spider Day— the day I am irritated enough to get rid of all, the spider nests around the house.
I have come to realize that the reason so many spiders are around is partially my fault. The garden is full of every kind of bug imaginable, and spiders love bugs. Apparently, like lions, they follow the food. And a garden stocked with insects is the ideal spider restaurant.
The spiders of the garden-view duchies are even more persistent than Bob and his relatives. I can wipe away a nest at night, and the following day it is back as if I never touched it. Frustrating doesn’t begin to cover it. Here again, insecticide delays the reappearance only a few days or so. I’ll be painting soon, and everyone has to go—again. (I know I’m deluding myself, but I have to believe I can win.)
Making matters worse, I admire the engineering capability of spiders. Once, I nearly walked through a web in the backyard that was almost five feet across. I stopped doing yard work just to figure out how the spider covered such a large span. I never saw the spider, but out of admiration, I left the web in place for a few more days. Not long ago, I found another spider web built across the deck steps. That one had to go, but I’m sure it’s back now—I’ll look in a few days.
Delivery people, walking into what can look at times like a spider subdivision, give disapproving looks as they come onto the porch—I’ve learned to ignore them. I’m doing my best and will not accept being spider-shamed. They don’t know my life…
For the sake of knowing one’s enemies, I’ve given them names since we seem to be somewhat permanent neighbors. The Eighth Duke lives in the Window. George, the 7th Earl of the Electrical Outlet, lives on the front porch, and Ralph, the 5th Marquess of the Mailbox has the adjoining estate. They all look happy, going about their lives. But Spider Day, a day when I take a step for all mankind (cue uplifting music) is next week. And, who doesn’t love a festive holiday?
At least I have that…