I've just returned from a three-week visit to my childhood home in the Bay Area, which was bookended by BlogHer at the beginning and my 20-year high school reunion at the end. Spending three weeks with my parents in the house I grew up brought back plenty of memories of the routines and quirks of my own childhood, one of which I would like to share with you now.
We were, and still are, a family of animal lovers. This includes insects (except mosquitos and earwigs, accursed creatures), so all house spiders get released into the backyard to go about their pest-eating little lives.
Many years ago, my father hit upon the superior tool for the job: the spider cone. Take a few sheets of newspaper, roll them into a sturdy cone-shaped funnel, fold over the pointy tip so it's closed at the bottom. (To this day, there's a spider cone lying on the floor next to my parents' front door, most likely fashioned from a newspaper from the early 80s.)
Why is it superior? First, it's long enough to reach high up the wall, where spiders like to hang out. Second, something about the darkness inside the cone makes spiders feel safe, and they literally jump inside as the cone approaches. I'm not kidding. They jump in, and then you flick the sides of the cone a couple times so they fall toward the interior of the cone, giving you plenty of time to make it to the door. Once outside, you turn the cone over, flick a few times, and out they come, probably thinking grateful thoughts in their little spider minds.
My kids think I'm a major hero each time I liberate a spider. And I don't need to explain to them why hitting is bad but violent bug-smashing is okay. And finally, I'm sure the spider appreciates change of scene.