The Critter that was Supposed to Have Been Moved Months Ago...
Yo-Yo has been living with us for about 4 months now. She’s quiet, doesn’t eat much, and stays out of the way for the most part.
Who is Yo-Yo?
Yo-Yo is a spider. Yeah, yeah, I know…. Trust me, I know.
My boyfriend thinks Yo-Yo is a female Orbweaver spider, but we aren’t sure. I will refer to this spider as a she, but my apologies if we’ve misgendered or misidentified the species. I can’t see it well; she’s up high and I don’t wear my glasses for much outside of watching television.
When we first met Yo-Yo, she was hanging around near the light fixture above our kitchen table. My boyfriend named her Yo-Yo because she descends on a sticky strand and then zips back up. When she drops too low, he will stick his finger out, and she either rests on it or climbs back up. I wasn’t keen on the name at first, but that was because my grandma used to have two African dwarf frogs which she had named Pudding and Yo-Yo and that’s what I wanted to think about when I heard the name. Not… you know… a spider?
My partner is a friend of spiders. I… not so much. While I try to refrain from killing them outright nowadays due to my boyfriend’s insistence, I can’t deny that I’ve fear-smooshed plenty this year. In my defense, they were either crawling on me or at me, rapidly, and I didn’t have time enough to decide to be nice. Fear override; death to spiders. My boyfriend and I argue very little, but the thing that gets him upset? Yep; that I have hurt or killed a spider.
It happened this year with one of those little jumping spiders. He had told me that there were a few in the window next to my chair on the ground level, but I’d forgotten. Suddenly one appeared next to me, and I set an empty almond container on top of it. As it happened, a few minutes later, he came up and was asking about them, looking in the window. I recalled that he had told me about them and had to decide: would I tell him one was under the almond container so he could free it, or withhold that information and release the spider myself? My partner was chatty that day, so I opted to tell him, fearing if we got too chatty, the spider would eventually suffocate or I’d forget about it altogether.
“There’s one under the almond container. I forgot you said they were over there and it spooked me, so I trapped it.”
“Why would you do that!?!” he exclaimed angrily as he freed the jumping spider, who was fine and crawled off. I swear, despite little other issue, it’s going to be a spider that ends our relationship. He cares more about them than the fact that I can't stand them.
I was immediately hurt over this - I had just told him the how and why, and now was telling him to release it so it didn’t die! I could have kept silent and let it suffocate….
When Yo-Yo appeared, he said he would move her… 4 months ago. She’s since gotten larger, moved several times, and he’s now trying to figure out how to draw more of the remaining insects towards her as the Colorado winter closes in. Honestly, this year is odd; we’re used to having our first snow around Halloween, but we haven’t seen any in the foothills and it’s nearly Thanksgiving.
Anyway, the delayed change in seasons means there are still insects about. Our back porch light is on and the interior dark tonight; for the sake of drawing in potential food for this one particular spider.
She had moved last month to hang by the back door out into the yard, but I think there was enough activity with the dogs going in and out that she moved again. She does like to dangle down a bit, so she was probably getting moved around from the motion of the door too much. She seems to hang onto one or two strands, rather than an entire web.
She almost died a few weeks ago, shortly after moving there. She must have descended all the way to the floor. Lucky spider; I noticed our male cat, Milo, was very interested in something on the floor while I was cleaning up the kitchen. Given that I knew the spider had been over there lately, and also that one of the critters managed to kill a bat that I found over near there this year, I suspected it might be Yo-Yo and knew I had to move fast. I glanced up at the beam she had been near the day before; no Yo-Yo. I glanced down at the floor in front of Milo.
I thought she was dead; there was a spider I suspected was Yo-Yo, curled into a tight little ball. I shooed Milo out of the area and stepped back myself, watching.
I started wondering how my boyfriend would take it if she was dead. I also debated if I should even tell him. I thought about leaving the presumed corpse to fate: if one of the critters ate it, they ate it, or if I stepped on it later, that would happen.
‘Should I tell him Milo killed her, or just let him assume she crawled off somewhere?’ I wondered. I left the curled spider to finish up in the kitchen, figuring I’d think about it. It also felt strange to be so concerned that a spider may have died, but I chalked it up to the attachment that my boyfriend had to the creepy crawler and the fact that we now both referred to this spider as Yo-Yo.
After I finished up in the kitchen a few minutes later, I decided to go sit down and watch some T.V. or play World of Warcraft. As I walked past, I looked at the curled spider. To my surprise, she uncurled! For a minute she rested on the hardwood floor, then eagerly started moving toward the other recliner. I breathed a sigh of relief that she looked to be moving perfectly; Milo must not have had the time to damage her before I intervened.
I debated moving her myself, but I couldn’t find a ready piece of paper to scoop her up; unlike my boyfriend, I don't like to touch the household spiders. I also figured that if she had descended earlier, maybe she needed to move elsewhere for a better area to find food, and figured she knew better than me where she needed or wanted to go. I let her crawl off, noting she was still going kind of towards the second recliner that we rarely use.
When my boyfriend came upstairs later in the evening, I told him what happened, so he wouldn’t worry about Yo-Yo. It actually had the opposite effect; despite me vouching how well the arachnid moved off, he was certain he’d find her dead, if at all. Milo is a spider killer, after all. He was convinced that she had been hurt worse than I thought and perished. I told him I didn’t think so; she moved perfectly fine and with speed. I argued that I thought I’d shooed Milo away in time.
Days passed - nearly a week - without any sign of Yo-Yo. My boyfriend looked every time he came into the main level, and I could tell he was sad that his spider buddy had seemingly died. He wasn’t mean to Milo, but I could tell he was bitter and thought he’d killed Yo-Yo. I started to worry maybe she had died, but I still held that I didn’t think she had been hurt and would pop up.
And then she did.
Yo-Yo showed up again; this time above the entryway to the lower staircase. While I don't enjoy the thought that she could easily descend onto me when I'm going up or down the stairs there, I don’t really go downstairs much. Maybe to handle laundry or sometimes go watch television with my partner on the couch, but beyond that, I'm mostly in the upper two levels of the house; downstairs is my boyfriend’s domain.
My boyfriend was happy again, knowing his little spider buddy was alive and well, and I was just happy he was out of that funk. I reminded him that he’d said he’d move her months ago, but he always makes an excuse; there’s other spiders here, not enough food there, getting too cold there. So I'm stuck with this spider for who knows how long.
And then tonight, after stating yesterday that he doesn’t think she’s getting enough food there in the stairway, he’s turned on the back porch light for the solitary purpose of drawing in more insects. He’s also kept the lights off on the main level, much to my annoyance as I’ve tried to cross the main level in the growing dark. This after he brought in a bunch of things from the garage that are currently stacked and strewn about the main room, where I have to walk through frequently.
The things we do for love. Him, a love of this random spider. Me, for my arachnid-loving boyfriend.
All hail the spider overlord of the house; Yo-Yo.