My friend Mary came up from Haslett to attend a musical production of "Drumline" with me on Saturday and spent the night here. Mary and Jim have become dear friends and as I go through maturity, grumbling and mumbling, I realize how good friends who share your ups and downs are a precious thing.
But as with any overnight visitor to my house, (a rather rare occurrence), I went on a cleaning jag. Yeah, I know it was way overdue, but it just seems to get away from me, as I keep the rooms we spend the most time in relatively clean and ignore the rest. We, well I, made the decision to have Tally, our truly incorrigible black lab, spayed in October. Same day surgery, she came home that afternoon seeming none the worse for wear. Instructions to not let her lick her sutures, keep her relatively calm and in two weeks the sutures would be removed and in four weeks she could resume hunting activity. Seemed pretty straightforward to me. Leave it to Tally to do the opposite. She licked her sutures and I think moreso when I wasn't looking which was often. I thought having her spayed took away the friendly scent that drove Gauge to being an indiot dog, spraying the house liberally with his scent and chasing after Tally to have more than a convival romp. I was so wrong. All of the above happened and so we had to separate the two once again. Three days after the surgery, there was a blood tinged discharge from the incision. Tally seemed fine but I had to put down old towels and blankets wherever she lay. I hoped it was just post surgical discharge but when it was no better by Monday, I took her into the vet, such a fun experience as Tally believes this is her own personal chance to bark her fool head off. By the time we had gone twice a week, for the next two weeks for vet visits, (yes she had pulled a suture and had to be belly bandaged to keep from licking the sutures), the office personnel just shook their heads and smiled ruefully. For some strange reason she was always excited to go back, even though it was less than graceful to haul her wiggly butt up on the examination table. Finally on last Thursday the belly bandage was removed and she was declared healed and everything could go back to some kind of normal.
The gist of all of this was that I had put off major cleaning until I knew she wouldn't bleed on anything. The carpets needed cleaning and a detour of sorts had gone on there, when I started my old steam carpet cleaner, only to have it make a loud noise, emit smoke and spit out small plastic pieces. A new cleaner was in my immediate future, as the old one had certainly given me my monies worth at over a decade since purchased. Of course, being me, I waited until the last two days before Mary's arrival to really clean up a storm. Apparently, I never look up normally and when I was finally forced to in the mad dash to finish up the cleaning, I found cobwebs. Cobwebs every where. Cobwebs of every design. Cobwebs, long and short. Cobwebs stretching over two feet over ten foot ceilings. Cobwebs behind the deer antlers of the mounted heads hanging from my walls. Cobwebs under the tables. Cobwebs on the duck decoys and cobwebs crisscrossing the books on my book shelves highest areas. How in the world did they come up with the term, "cobweb" anyway?....Charlotte has been busy and somewhere Wilbur was smiling like a pig.
Now cobwebs are a part of the end of summer into autumn around here. They are as much a part of my house's landscape as are the returning ladybugs, uh, Asian lady beetles, which with the harvest of soybeans fields will be seen to wander in east facing windows throughout the winter months. And a more recent interloper, box elder bugs, are annoying, crawly things on windows, floors, and in the carpet every warm, sunny day now. Such freaking fun. So, spiders and cobwebs have always seemed the lesser of all these evils. I have never had an arachnid phobia, and really believed if I killed a spider as a child, it would rain the next day, something that was horrible to even contemplate in the summer's of my youth when I wanted every day to be one of sunshine and lollipops. Heck, if I thought that would work now, I'd have been committing spider-o-cide at every dry spell we encountered in July and August.
No, cobwebs are as much a part of country living as anything I can think on. Cobwebs would hang thick and dusty in the hay barns of my youth. In the storage areas of the old tool shed they warned us to not bother to try to break through as we would be the ones to suffer the sticky threads and dust and dirt they incorporated. There were just dirty, dark places, the housewives of the 60's never went and there in were the spiders and the webs they created. As a new wife, and young mother, my old farmhouse basement was the place they lived and breathed. I didn't go down there. Before the house was remodeled it was dank and damp and I allowed the spiders and spinmeisters to have free reign. In 1989, when we did the whole house remodel, we replaced a corner wall of the old basement and dried up the area with this addition. While spiders still found purchase in an area I didn't frequent every day, a twice a year sweep down with a broom, seemed to be serviceable. It was the cobweb spinning in the upper levels of my house that are the most vexing. I give the little buggers pretty much free reign of the basement, why can't they just stay down there. But no, they have to take over the stairwells, climb the corners of every room and wreak havoc in closets and under beds.
I swept, I vacuumed. I took dust wands behind the televisions. I dusted them away in the book shelves. And I thought I had finally triumphed for another autumn.
Mary came, and we had a great time. We talked and laughed and she was a wonderful respite to a difficult year. Yesterday after she left, Kurt was in an upper cabinet in the utility room looking for gun shells for the start of deer gun season on Tuesday. I stood on the ground below him and saw a huge, three foot long spider web draped from the column across to the wall and corner behind where Kurt was standing on the stool. It was gigantic and I had walked under it a hundred times a week for weeks now.
I give up, I surrender, UNCLE. Cobwebs have taken over. So it shall be....