blame the spiders…illustrated with crappy pictures™

I'm not really an anxious or over-protective parent. At least I don't think.

But there is this thing I sometimes do that I just recently admitted.

Sometimes, every once in a while, I take a quick peek under my son's bed to make sure there are no dangerous things lurking under there.  I'm not exactly sure what I'm looking for but something compels me to do it. Snakes? Rabid mice? Raccoons? I'm not sure.

I told this to a friend of mine and she said I was crazy. Which is likely true.

So I promised myself I would stop doing that.

I also decided last Saturday that I was going to be calm and relaxed throughout the whole holiday weekend…

So it is Saturday afternoon and I'm so calm and relaxed that I lounge on my favorite patio chair.

From my comfy chair, I watch my sons and husband play ball in the yard.  

By "play ball" I mean they play with all the balls randomly which results in the yard being littered with them.

But this is okay! I'm calm. Relaxed! I don't even wince when a ball goes straight towards the toddler's head. I'm doing great.

Sometimes a ball winds up on the patio and rolls under my chair.  Which is what happens.   

The baby is struggling to reach the ball under my chair.

I fumble around under there, trying to reach it but not really making that much of an effort either.  

My husband bends down to grab it.

And tells me to get up.

At first I think he is making a huge deal over a ball, that it can't possibly be that hard to reach. I'm lazy and relaxed and don't want to get up.

Until he says, "Now" in that secret tone that all parents use.

The "secret tone" is the one that you use to show your partner that something very serious is happening but you do so in such a way as to not scare the kids. You are basically yelling, "HOLY SHIT!" calmly, quietly and in code.

So I catapult from my chair.

Meanwhile, he takes a photo.

Of a huge black widow spider.  Under my chair.  Where I was sitting.  Where the baby and I were grabbing, trying to reach a ball.

Mama bear has taken over and calm and relaxed are gone.  I sprint to the door and snatch up the little ones on the way, leaving my husband to deal with the spider and to check the other chairs for more.

I'm not afraid of spiders. I'm terrified of black widows. 

Even though we are safely inside and nothing bad happened, my mind goes over scenario after scenario of horribleness. I can't stop thinking about how close we all were, blindly reaching under there, right where she was dangling. An endless loop of images of how it could have gone badly.  

I'm tense and deep in anxious thoughts.    

And I'm so startled by a sudden tap on the back patio door that I actually jump.

But it wasn't the spider trying to get in.


It was my husband. I was so panicked when we flew inside that I locked the door on him.

I let him in, but not until I take a really good look to make sure there aren't any black widow hitchhikers on his body.

He is amused as usual.

He fully knows (and makes fun of) my black widow phobia.

Through my adrenaline fog, I'm slightly able to see humor in this.


Spider-15But truly, I am thankful so I tell him how amazing he is.


Which is his cue to try to get something out of the conversation. He shoots for the bedtime routine.

(Just in case there are any non-parents reading, "bedtime routine" is not something sexy. It means putting the kids to bed which is a long and arduous process that is much worse than it sounds.)

To which I reply…

And we both laugh and I feel better.

I did, of course, do the bedtime routine that night. 

And I totally looked under the bed.



(I posted the spider photo, by the way, on my @AmberDusick Twitter feed on July 2 if you want to see the real thing. I don't blame you if you don't.)









This entry was posted in anxiety, crappy pictures, parenting. Bookmark the permalink.

77 Responses to blame the spiders…illustrated with crappy pictures™

  1. black & brown widows are out of control in los angeles. they freak the hell out of me too.

  2. too freaking funny

  3. JGuest says:

    That is one fat, super scary spider. <-- quick link for other readers. I get freaked out by getting in my car in the dark. I open the door, more like throw open the door, to allow the baddie to flee the car, turn the overhead light on and make sure there is NO ONE in the back seat. I've done this since I was 15. Rationally, I know no one is there. Irrationally, I've seen the movie Urban Legends and die inside when approaching the car of horrors parked in my driveway.

    • Kelly says:

      Me too! At night, especially. When driving at night, before turning on the ignition, for some crazy reason I think saying ‘Hey, if you’re back there, just letting you know I’m driving by the police station…’ would help anything……… Yea, I’m a smart one.

  4. krista says:

    Hmmm maybe I should start looking under my daughters bed. I totally know that *tone* you refer to. Hate spiders

  5. WordyDoodles says:

    I totally LOL’d at the explanation of “bedtime routine.” It didn’t even cross my mind…

  6. Angela says:

    ah man this one was hilarious. Thank you for sharing your phobia. I loved it!

  7. Misty says:

    HILARIOUS!!! and oh so me! Thanks for the laughs!

  8. Leslie says:

    That was a gnarly black widow. We have a bunch where I live too. They make webs that look like those fake Halloween ones if you are ever on the lookout. Creepy.

  9. Pamela Susan says:

    Omigosh… hilarious. Your stories and pics kick serious booty.

    p.s. When we lived in Medford, Oregon, black widows were EVERYWHERE. At night I’d go out with a flashlight in one hand, and a flyswatter in the other. Each swat that ended with a lifeless black widow resulted in a victory dance! 🙂

  10. Rainyday says:

    I have a thing about snakes and if we lived anywhere with them (I refuse to move out of the city, into the country which I love, due to snakes. We can’t even go on proper vacations due to my fear) I would totally lock the door on my poor hubby if we’d been faced with one, too.

    I can’t even imagine a black widow spider. Uuuuuuuuggghhhh!!!!!!!

  11. jen says:

    How bad is it that I am just as terrified of cockroaches?? (which do not, of course, have poison venom.)

    I saw one in the bedroom where I sleep with the baby and FREAKED. OUT. Like made my husband move every item of furniture to try to find it. Woke him up at midnight.

    I’m impressed that you are not in a loony bin after that experience!

  12. jamye says:

    Bahahahahaha I am like that…but with ALL spiders!! LOVED the story. You are awesome.

  13. Jess says:

    I laughed soo hard. Thank you for your hilarity and openness. You will look back on this with your kids one day and show them just how much you sacrificed for them!

  14. Kelly says:

    OMG I FELT your panic reading this…black widows are one thing I do NOT miss from CA!

    So just a few days ago another mom and her baby came to visit me; the two little ones were playing on the floor while we were talking when I noticed both of them going toward a fat black something on the floor…

    I ran over and realized it was a big ugly spider that our cat had thoughtfully brought them as a present (still living, of course).

    I hate spiders! But in mama bear bravery I whisked my little one out of the way while calling for the other mom to do so too, grabbed half a roll of paper towels and smushed it, trembling with fear all the while.

    Of course, now I’m going to have to start checking underneath the bed…

  15. Amber says:

    I check the ceiling in every room that I enter for spiders! We don’t have the widows here, thank God, but we have sac spiders, which are nasty. I was bit by one in the night, when my son was a couple months old(I was co-sleeping with him too). I had a red welt bigger than a 50 cent piece for over a week! Now, when we lived in Vegas, our neighbor found a couple widows outside in his grill, and one of my husbands coworkers found a camel spider in his apartment!

  16. Laura says:

    Haha, clearly I am a parent, because “the bedtime routine” meant nothing to me but the arduous process that it is!

  17. “(Just in case there are any non-parents reading, “bedtime routine” is not something sexy. It means putting the kids to bed which is a long and arduous process that is much worse than it sounds.)”


  18. nina says:

    i completely adore you!!

  19. Chimomwriter says:

    Holy cow. I’m far, far away from that spider, but sitting in my basement and now my eyes are darting everywhere. Little monsters. Well, in your case, giant monster.

    And yes, arduous is the correct term for the bedtime routine!

  20. TexasMom says:

    I found a wolf spider in my boys laundry basket the other day and a scorpion was found by my husband the next day on the blanket my boys play on/with and I have since begun the same night time routine as you. Only I do it all day. If the baby starts crying, I am looking him over and checking all around him to see if something bit him. I am glad nothing bad happened!

  21. You know it’s serious when the secret tone is used.

  22. Marta says:

    That is the most frightening thing as I have an irrational fear of spiders already, though I fear brown recluses as black widows aren’t common where I live. In order to freak myself out more I followed you on twitter and looked at the real photo. Silly me!

  23. Katy says:

    Oh dear, I was doing so well being a calm, non-stressed parent for a few minutes there. I didn’t check under beds for creepies before, but I will now.


  24. Misty says:

    LOL!! I’ve never checked under my kids’ beds before, but now I will!! LMBO!! Also, I think you should publish these. I would buy the book. I <3 crappy pictures! Better than Picasso, for sure!

  25. Erica says:

    I adore this blog. Just today I was talking to my 4 year old about black widows… how fitting!

  26. You just hate black widows? Lucky you.
    I hate every single spider species in existance. 😉
    Awesome blog. Am definately your latest subscriber!
    Pop over and say hi sometime. 🙂

  27. toni says:

    You make something so scary seem so funny!

  28. amy says:

    When my dad was a teenager he stepped in a nest of baby black widows. He would’ve died if not for the fact that he was only a few hundred yards from a hospital, but since he didn’t die the massive amounts of venom he got hit with made him immune to it. To this day the neighbors still come knocking to ask him to deal with the damn things for them.

    Also, when I was a baby my mom found one in my crib that she said was the size of an oreo cookie. (She’s prone to exaggeration though, so I’m not sure if it was actually that big.)

  29. amy says:

    P.S. Anyone else with google reader getting every Crappy Pictures post twice?

  30. Tanya says:

    I love your explanation of the bedtime routine – and my husband and I negotiate it every night. We usually take turns but if he saved me from a spider I would totally take his turn that night too. 🙂

  31. Julie says:

    Amber, you are totally funny! And, yes, the ‘bedtime routine’ is probably my most dreaded moment of the day… and yet it sounds so harmless.

  32. SYNESTHESIA says:

    that was so funny. *is hyper not scared of spiders and has 2 wolf spiders*

  33. O M G ….. I love every moment of this. AND I live in FL and we are having a HUGE problem with Black Widows & my home… I have never seen a Black Widow in my whole life until the past 2 months… one has hitchhiked on my car’s tail pipe, there was like 50 under the birdbath (where my kids insist on poking at), etc, etc etc.

  34. Dana says:

    just fyi, black widow bites are not as bad as people think.

    this was one funny post though from start to finish.

  35. RuthS says:

    In Arizona the death fear is scorpions and I had gotten better and better about my fear UNTIL I was laying on the couch with my arms careless slung behind my head over the top of the couch and when I pulled my hand back a scorpion was sitting on my palm, I screamed and pulled my shirt off for some unknown reason. I had become somewhat lax about trolling my kids rooms with a blacklight each night for scorpions but needless to say we are back!

  36. Amber Dusick says:

    Oh no! I’m never ever going to visit Arizona again. Shudder! Scorpions are way worse than spiders.

  37. Sonora says:

    If you are crazy, then I am crazy too. I fairly regularly check under my kids beds. I used to check under my own bed as a kid and apparently those strange phobias don’t go away just because you are a parent. I just would feel so bad if the one night I didn’t check under there, something was there! 🙂 Oh and I hate spiders, black widows especially.

  38. Carrisa says:

    Holy crap!! I am terrified of spiders, especially Black Widows!! I have tears ROLLING down my face as I read this!!! Luv your blog… so Happy I found it!!!

  39. Christina says:

    OMG! Practically the exact same thing just happened to me, but involving my son’s toy dump truck and big gigantic freaky as all f*ck black widow!! My husband wasn’t home, so I took the hose to it (spiders could totally drown right?) and it did nothing! It just hid in some little hole. I had to wait for my husband to come home to really nuke it with some Raid. But now I feel compelled to search every crack, crevice and underside of every outside toy, everyday, sigh…

  40. Jen says:

    Funniest thing ever! keep em coming!! LOL

  41. Denise says:

    I totally use bedtime routine when my husband owes me, glad to know I;m not the only one. LOL

  42. Rach says:

    As much as I would love to look at the pic I can’t even touch a book with pics of any creepy crawly that I am afraid of, so I will pass 😀

  43. Rach says:

    Oh man me too!!! And we get tons of the bloody things!! I also don’t like daddy long legs or money/jumping spiders which can’t even bite you!! 9Even if they are the most poisonous)

    I knew someone who was terrified of butterflies, I mean run away screaming terrified claiming they were chasing her terrified lol

  44. Julie Bernhardt says:

    I have to stop reading these around my husband because he’s finding my laughter a little annoying. I can’t help it! I love how you locked your hubby out there! I have had a black widow experience too. It was in my bowl of grapes I was eating. I was reading and reaching into the bowl without looking. If it hadn’t moved it wouldn’t have caught my eye …. Ugh! I’m shuddering just thinking about it. I hate black widows too!

  45. NobbyNobody says:

    So glad there’s nothing venomous here in the UK.. other than David Cameron of course.

  46. Denise says:

    Love it! We use bedtime as marriage currency also! I have never been so glad to live on Massachsetts where there are no Black Widows or Scorpions!

  47. Chris says:

    So I’ve never been afraid of spiders. And then I looked at that picture.

    Apparently I have been mistaken all of these years as to what a spider actually is. Could you please come over and check under our bed?

  48. Lacey says:

    SOOO glad we live in Seattle where there are no poisonous snakes and poisonous spiders are few and all imported. I grew up in California with a house that had thousands of black widows in the crawlspace. I had encounters with them half a dozen times as a kid, but fortunately no bites – the one that makes my parents still shudder was the Easter where my dad hid a plastic chick in the front-seat of our old van… and realized after I’d retrieved it that the webs festooning the interior were made by black widows. I was also an adult before I realized that all the “daddy long legs” I was feeding dead flies to as a child were actually male black widows… they lived in webs on every window and ceiling corner… (yes, my parents tried to combat the spiders for years and barely made a dent. We had a bi-yearly “camping weekend” where we would set bug bombs and leave the house for 48 hrs. They were always back within a month. YES they definitely checked under by bed AND taught me how to identify a female BW at a very young age and announce my find as loudly as I could….)

    • Lacey says:

      (And I don’t check under my child’s bed, but then again he sleeps with me, upstairs, and I’m pretty sure under the bed I would only find a cat. Maybe I should check tho, just to be sure….)

  49. Casey says:

    ALL spiders scare the crap out of me, i was sitting in my living room the other night minding my own business to look down and see a spider on my foot i almost had a heart attack i don’t know how i didn’t wake the baby and my husband.

  50. Angie says:

    Holy shit! Even the drawing of the spider freaked me out! Here in Vegas we have lots of Black Widows and they still scare the heck out of me!

  51. trisha says:

    I have a brown one that is in my mail box. I hate those bastards.

  52. Shaina Stinard says:

    Again. So, me!! However, I hate all spiders and have actually made my daughter scared of bugs in general yelling “bug, Momma!” every time she even sees dirt on the floor in the SHAPE of a possible bug. She just turned 2….I have scarred her for life, LOL. I totally relate to the “going over the event…”what if-ing”‘ it to death. I pretty much do that with everything also, LOL. Being a mom is HARD!!!

  53. Lori says:

    About 2 years ago we discovered a whole bunch of widows in our yard. My experience was almost identical to yours except I was helping our baby onto the chair when I noticed a web with a big fat spider on it. I ran those kids inside FAST. I live in San Diego and our yard isn’t huge, but when we called the exterminator I overheard him on the phone with his boss using words like “complete infestation” and “worst I’ve seen in a long time”. We had a few black widows and a ton of brown widows. I had never even heard of brown widows even though I grew up I southern California. They are just as awful….their bite is “not as bad” since they have smaller fangs (who measures those things??) but in my book they are worse because they are comfortable living in groups instead of being solitary like the black widows. And why must they sit and hide under chairs, or swing sets, or playhouses, or little red wagons?!?

  54. Sherry says:

    Personally I think this is a much better blog:
    There’s a great post about spiders. Go read it! This one’s still cool though 🙂

  55. holly says:

    I don’t care that this post is a year old I just had this moment. We were at a friend’s house helping them pack for a move, and DH forgot the play pen for the baby. She fell asleep and I was looking for somewhere safe and out of the way to put her down. Under the art table looked good, no one would trip on her, or accidentally step on her. As I went to lay her down I happened to look at the under side of the table and not only was there a HUGE black widow (seriously, the biggest I’ve seen) it had an EGG SACK! I am still convinced that that spider was plotting to have her egg sack hatch above the baby, covering her in tiny spiders.

    Needless to say I didn’t put her down for about three months.

  56. Terri says:

    I didn’t know “bedtime routine” could be something sexy. lol

  57. Tobi says:

    Ha! I’m going to have to show this post to my husband. Shortly after our son was born, I asked him if he ever checked on the sleeping baby, worried that something might be wrong. He said, “What, like, blankets over his head?” I should have said yes, but I said, “No, like there’s something scary in there.” I totally envisioned scorpions crawling up the crib, even though we live in the Midwest. Not wanting to admit that, I said, “Like…bumblebees…or something.” He has never let me forget it.

  58. Julz says:

    hahaha at work at 3am, laughing silently with the stitch, and tears pouring down my face!!

  59. Lacy says:

    We have a family friend who has a major fear of spiders. I found out exactly how much she can’t handle them this week.
    My daughter made a spider at school. It is an egg carton “cup” painted black then SPARKLY and it has pink and purple pipe cleaners legs and some big googly eyes. It is more pretty than creepy and does not look much like a spider.
    This friend had to use a napkin to move it out of sight so she could eat her lunch. 🙂
    PS Your picture is not on Twitter anymore as far as I can see.

  60. I HATE Spiders! And now we have a new species that lives here, the brown widow. Great!

  61. erin says:

    When our oldest (now 9) was two or so, he was trying to clean off a toy tractor at my out-laws house by dipping it in the pool. He had his chubby little fingers in the cab to keep a hold on it. At some point, one of us took it to help out and noticed the black widow in the cab of that tractor…you know, where his chubby little fingers just were. Ahh, the memories.

    I stuck my foot in one of my outside shoes only to find a sweet little web with a male black widow in it (harmless if I recall correctly).

    A match and WD-40 work really well on a black widow and her two egg sacks (yeah, friggin’ TWO egg sacks) that you may find on your gardening table…just be careful you don’t end up on the 9 ‘o clock news with that one…”Family defends house against black widows with fire…but burn down the neighborhood” (and if that sentence doesn’t give you images of black widows running around with tiny torches, there is something seriously wrong with you!).

    I’m actually not as scared of BW’s as I am terrified of the cock-a-roach. Those f*ck*rs are nasty and need to just leave. I blame this fear on my mom. True story.

    Anyway, we are 35 minutes into 12/21/12 and the world hasn’t ended…so I’m going to stop randomly commenting on old blog posts and go to bed. Thank you for the entertainment.

    Pssst!…I didn’t seriously think the world was going to eAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH! FIREBALLS FROM THE SKY! RUN! WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE!

  62. Joy says:

    HAD to see the picture of that black widow. Took 10 min to scroll through old tweets to find it, totally worth it. ::shudder::

  63. Ruth says:

    I tried to find the picture, but couldn’t. Not that I really WANT to see the devil-with-eight-legs, but ya know…curiosity.

  64. Lizanne says:

    I just really enjoy your writing, and your crappy pictures, but felt this time inspired to comment on thus particular post and hope this song I wrote might just rock your arachnophobia away for good…

    Thanks for putting a smile on my face on a regular basis!


  65. Cristina says:

    This is the very first illustration I viewed through FB. I remember sitting on my couch and thinking, “This lady and I have so much in common!” I think being a mother, our thoughts will be somewhat on the similar side. I always check under my kids’ beds and their closets, not because of spiders, really. Mainly for creeps. People intruders. This has to be one of my favorites because this story is what made me click the “like” button and I haven’t stopped since! 🙂
    This comment was left for the chance to win a free (signed) copy of your book.

  66. RejoicedOver says:

    I’m reading this really late at night when I should be in bed…and now I realize I probably won’t be sleeping tonight. I’ll be fending off terrible what-if scenarios, ultimately ending up in searching my littlies rooms for nasty spiders and scorpions

  67. Jocelyn Pooler says:

    You are NOT crazy. I check under beds too. Its a habit. Did it all through my childhood and now I can’t stop. I think I’m looking for secret people hiding under the bed waiting for us to go to sleep so they can snatch up my kiddos. But when I was a kid, I watched too many unsolved mysteries and I always looked under my bed for the dead body someone could have shoved under there.
    And spiders? Black widows? Shiver….

  68. Jenni S says:

    I grew up in the mountains in a log cabin with no electricity and my dad always used to check out beds for “critters” one time we found an alligator lizard curled up ready to attack under my blanket and my brother laid on a potato bug…. I don’t think checking under your child’s bed is crazy at all!

  69. suzanne says:

    i had a black widow climb up my pool chair while i was sitting in it. needless to say, i no longer go to that pool.

  70. Christin says:

    When I get up in the night to pee (which I still do even when I’m not pregnant), I always check the seat for a spider.

  71. justme says:

    We’re from Spain where there are no potentially harmful animals/insects and I was pretty scared of a lot of things when we moved to California. Earthquakes… rattle snakes… black widows…

    And guess what? One day: surprise! My son got bitten by a Black Widow!! And it wasn’t as bad as we all think it’ll be. Really, it wasn’t. He got pretty swollen (it was on his lower back) and had some muscle pain for a couple of days (the bite itself hurt quite a bit), but no fever, no nausea, no nothing else. He pretty much went through his day as if nothing had happened, and only remembered he had a bite on his back a couple of times (of course I remembered about 220 times more than him).

    So it’s not that bad!!

    • dewi says:

      @justme,your son very lucky.
      Not like our son,he has spider bite allergy.
      Even a bite from a little spider lawn will make him miserable,feverish,diarrhea,big swollen and need go to ER once.
      So for black widow bite will be very fatal for him.
      Unfortunately we live in area with many black widow spiders,and trust me they not easy to kill except stomp on them for sure.
      No chemical really can kill them,the only thing is make them starv to death with kill their food source(other little spider).
      So now we hiring pest control who came to spray around our house on a month.
      Its help a lot actually,before that I found and killed almost 10 black widow spiders around the house when gardening(yea,that bad) not including my hubby killed also(luckily both of us not afraid with spider).
      My son even almost got bite when we pick up mail on the corner of the street,I am always on red alert here,sigh.

      • dewi says:

        Sorry,little bit update,we hiring pest control who came to spray around the house once a month.
        And my husband also killed the black widow spider also.
        I am typed so fast and without realizing left some words 🙂

  72. B. Riddle says:

    We came home to a massive brown spider (more like tarantula because this thing was freaking huge) and it was hanging out on top of the china hutch. I tried to spray it with kitchen cleaner, like that was going to magically kill it. (the spider was probably just pissed off by that attempt but maybe he appreciated the nice citrus scent) He fell/crawled behind the hutch and while we look around for this thing, my husband finally gives up and says “oh well, looks like one of us is gonna die tonight”. And he walks out of the kitchen. I’m left alone to find and kill this thing and I have a major phobia of these a-holes. About 45 minutes later, I am bashing this spider to pieces (literally) with the broom.